Saturday, December 28th, 2002


On recent games:
“The head coach, Mack Brown, reminds me every day of what our defensive performances were the last two times we were out (previous two bowl games). We got involved in shootouts, and shootouts are not a good thing. Shootout is a term as a defensive coach we don’t want to hear about. É That’s what we got into. We won one of them and we lost the year before. Shutouts are what a defensive coach is after.”
On having previously coached at LSU:
“It’s always good to have been somewhere and know the tradition. That’s really to me what it’s about. LSU has great football tradition, and Texas is much like LSU. It’s a place that you need to win every football game, where you have pressure to win every football game. That’s why you coach. You want to be at a place like that. I know the LSU tradition. I know what that’s all about. I know the Texas tradition. I know what that’s all about. I’ve been at Texas for five years and I know what that’s all about. Going into the game, that’s what I know. I know that we will be Tiger bait.”
On the LSU offense:
“I think LSU has a great football team. I think when they lost their quarterback that their season didn’t turn out the way fans wanted it to be. So they’re here to make a difference and to make a change there. And we’re here to win 11 football games. . . . LSU has three good running backs, and (LaBrandon) Toefield is the guy who can make a difference in the game because he can run strong inside. And we haven’t been good against teams running strong inside on us. É He’s put together. É He’s a cannonball. We have to do a good job getting after him.”
On the similarities between the two programs:
“The two defenses are much alike in that we like to match the system the other team runs. We’re a matching defensive team. So if they have four wides in the game, we’ll play certain packages. If our offense has four wides in the game, they’ll run certain packages. So we’re much alike. We like to match what they’re doing personnel wise and then try to take it away. É Coach Saban is a defensive guru, and they get with it. They’re an attacking, matchup defense, and that’s what we try to be.”
On knowing LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher:
“Our first competition against Jimbo, he was at Auburn and I was at LSU. We used to have some great games. Luckily, we came out on top of that thing a couple of times in the three years I was there, and they came out on top one time. . É I know him, and strangely enough we followed each other on the speaking circuit at clinics this year. É It’s going to be fun competing against him, knowing that he has knowledge of what we do.”
On LSU quarterback Marcus Randall:
“After the Auburn game, the quarterback we’re playing against has gotten better. Throughout the year, they’ve had an excellent running game. They try to pound it and get with it. But I think their throwing game is what has gotten better. Their quarterback has good feet and can beat you with his legs. So we have to do a good job.”
On the defensive plans for the game:
“We’re going to play Texas football, and that’s what it’s all about. It has always been smashmouth and stopping the run and getting pressure and doing good things around the field. Other than that, it’s just going out, having fun and playing football.”
What’s remembered most about this season Ð the 10 wins or the two losses: “I remember more the 10 wins. I don’t dwell on the losses. I don’t dwell on negative things. I put negative things behind me and keep positive things in front of me. If I dwell on the negatives, that will keep me from making positive steps in life. I try to preach that to the rest of the guys on the team.”
Does it rankle you to see national writers downgrade the program just because it doesn’t win a national title: “People in the magazines, that’s their job. They’re going to promote us at the beginning of the season to win the national championship and if we don’t get it, they’re going to down us at the end. É We fell short the past few years, but we know how close this team is to getting there. I feel it coming. There’s no doubt how much talent we have here. It’s just a matter of time. We’ll have our year.”
Keys to stopping the LSU offense:
“Keeping our motor hot the whole game, stopping their running game, staying on their receivers, containing their quarterback and making him do things he doesn’t want to do. É Just playing hard and executing the longest. They’ve got three good backs. Not too many of them bounce outside. They want to hit the hole and run north-south.
On LSU quarterback Marcus Randall:
“Their quarterback can do a lot of things. É Their quarterbacks can do things with their legs as well as their arms. You have to contain them. As long as you keep them in front of you and not behind you, you’ll be OK.”
On preparation for LSU:
“Practice has been very high intensity. It’s going to be a great game, and I can’t wait for New Year’s.”
On if LSU compares to anyone in the Big 12:
“I would compare them to Kansas State. They have a fast quarterback who likes to scramble. It’s always hard to handle a scrambling quarterback. It’s going to be hard to contain him, and we’re going to have our hands full.”
On the LSU running game:
“It’s going to be hard stopping their running game. All three running backs are good. You’re going to have your hands full when each running back comes in. So you can’t have any lazy steps. That gives LSU a plus to have three running backs that are all good. We’re going to have to bear down on each one of them.”
On whether Coach Reese has stressed that LSU is a good team:
“Always. Every day in practice he tells us this is not going to be an easy game at all. We know that. They’re a great team, and they have high intensity on the field. É He has told us he coached there before. He told us they’re a good football team and a good program.”
On LSU quarterback Marcus Randall:
“If he gets outside our containment, he can hurt us. He’s different from the others we’ve faced.”
On stopping the LSU running game:
“Week in and week out, for our defense, that’s the biggest thing we try to do. We play in a conference where if you don’t stop the running game, you’re not going to win. We’ve been fortunate this year to play teams like K-State and Nebraska at their homes in a hostile environment, teams that have a great running game. If we play as a defense and play our hearts out like I know we can, then I don’t think we’ll have a problem. But if we let their linemen get on us and hold us down, then their running backs are going to have a field day. They have great running backs, they have great linemen and you have to take your hats off to them. They’re a great team, a great physical team.”
On what Coach Reese has said about the LSU program:
“He has always said that they have a lot of tradition and that their fans are going to be rowdier than the OU fans. They really take pride in their football down there. He told us it’s going to be nothing less than a dogfight when we go to the Cotton Bowl and play LSU.”
On how the seniors view their legacy:
“The biggest thing to me was to bring Texas back to a point where losing was a disappointment, where losing was a shot heard clear across the country, where national championships were talked about every time Texas football was talked about. É I think we did that. Chris (Simms) and Cory (Redding) have left a great legacy and are great leaders of this football team. They’ve left a great legacy. They’ve brought the standard of Texas back to the point where it used to be.”
On the LSU program:
“I like their fans. I like the way they cook. They’ve got some good cooking going on down there. I think they’ve got great coaches. I’ve watched film on them and watched their tendencies, the things they like to do on offense. I think they’ve got some real smart coaches. We’ll definitely have to come out there and be focused. Our coaches are going to have a great plan for us, and they will. They always do.”
On the Texas defensive plan:
“Make the quarterback beat you, and then don’t let him beat you. LSU can run the football. They ran the football on pretty much everybody they played against this year. We’ll definitely have to stop that and try to make them beat us passing the ball.”
On Texas playing man-to-man coverage:
“We’ve got the talent to do it. We have to do it due to the running games we face in the Big 12. We’ve got some great running games. Playing man-to-man is the best thing to do. É. It may be a risk for some people, but it’s not if you know that you’re good at what you do.”
On the LSU power running game:
“We’ve faced a few teams in the past that come straight at us. We faced Colorado. And nobody comes straight ahead running the football like Colorado. They will be a similar team to that. They come out sometimes with one wideout, and that’s it.”
What it means to play in Dallas:
“Besides the fact it’s in our home state, it’s the fact we have to come back here and play every year. Anytime you get in a rut, you may even start believing what people say about you not being able to win in Dallas. É We definitely have to do it for the young guys and the tradition of Texas. There’s no way you can win in the Big 12 anymore without coming through Dallas. É There’s definitely a sense of urgency around Texas, around Texas fans and around the alumni right now just for the fact this is Dallas, and they want to win in Dallas. And I don’t think they want to hear from LSU fans and LSU alumni because they’re kind of close to home, and you don’t want that coming back to haunt you.”