Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

Texas Post-Game Quotes

Opening Statement:
“I’m excited for our players who have won 11 games in two consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. There aren’t a lot of things you can do at the University of Texas that haven’t already been done. So, that’s a mark these young guys will leave on this program for the rest of their lives. That sets a higher standard for us next yearÉfor the guys coming back.
“Give LSU a lot of credit. They had great plans coming into the game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as lopsided a first quarter. I think we had the ball three plays. They were running up and down the field. Cory Redding makes a great play to keep us in the ballgame with a fumble, and then we pick it up and run it back for a touchdown. But, our defensive staff changed things up. We were so involved in stopping their running game that Marcus (Randall) was really hurting us with the passing game.
“Offensively, we didn’t have the ball much. I think we had it 26 plays at halftime, and they had it about 49. They had it about 20 minutes. But, when we had it, we made some big plays in the first half and moved the ball better in the second half. I thought a turning point in the ballgame, when we turned the emotion back, was obviously the Cory Redding play and then coming back with Roy Williams’ 74-yard touchdown. That got us right back in the game. We hadn’t done anything, and we’re behind only 17-14. Then there were the plays in the third quarter where Chris and Greg Davis had three plays for 68 yards and a touchdown. That was a momentum changer again.
“Then we didn’t handle things as well with about seven minutes left to go. I think we got excited before the game was over and stood around for a while, and let them score again and gave them a chance to get back in the game. But, I’m really proud of these guys. They played well. You see that about half of the underdogs in bowl games won. LSU came out disappointed after their loss to Arkansas and jumped right in our face. The thing that this bunch did was they were tough enough to jump right back. There are a lot of teams that would have laid down and quit today, and this one didn’t. I’m more proud of their toughness than anything else.”
On the play of Chris Simms:
“Chris finished his career today like he should have. I’m really, really proud of him. He has matured as much as anybody I’ve seen. He’ll be able to buy all of those people who have criticized him in a year or two because he is going to be a great pro player. But, he has done a lot for the University of Texas. He kept his class when people were critical of him. He used it as a motivator, I would say, in watching him. After the OU game this year, about Tuesday, I said, ‘How are you handling everything?’ And he said, ‘I’m disappointed in the loss, but I’ve got my head back up and we’re going to go beat Kansas State.’ And he did that. I think today by winning he’s the second winningest quarterback behind Bobby Layne in Texas football history. So, I don’t think Chris ever has to apologize to anybody for anything he did here. He handled himself with class. He handled himself with dignity. He wasn’t alone. Quarterbacks across the country now are getting criticized like head coaches and like offensive coordinators. The only difference is he’s a young man who doesn’t get paid for it. But, he’s sure ready to go where they do get paid for it and be criticized because he’ll be able to handle whatever is said to him, I can promise you that.”
On what the win over Kansas State meant to the program later on:
“Kansas State was a key game for us. And it was a game that at the end of the year looks better to some people than it did in the middle of the year. We thought this game today would be like the Kansas State game. It sure started that way. It was a game about toughness and attitude and confidence. Not many people win in Manhattan, Kansas.”
On the contributions of the senior class:
“That’s the only sad part of today. Sally and I met with all the seniors last night and told them how much we appreciated them, how much we loved them, how much we cared about them, how much they have done for us, and how much we have learned from them. This bunch has exceeded every expectation that anyone could have asked. You can go back and say they didn’t win a championship. Other than that, they’ve done everything else. They’ve put us in position to win themÉback-to-back Top 10 finishes. Hopefully, this will put us in the Top 5. I don’t know how the other games are going to fall, but we’re going to be close. This bunch has done what we’ve asked them to do. The sad thing for them is that people have been on them so much. I had about four of them walk up to me in the dressing room and say, ‘I’m sorry we didn’t win the championship for you.’ But, they’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. They have done everything within their power to be successful, and that’s all you can ask out of anybody.”
“I thought they did a great job of preparation for us. It wasn’t so much that they showed us something new as it was their execution early in the game. They were well prepared. What made the difference for us in the second half was that we got some hits on him (LSU QB Marcus Randall). It got much hotter in the second half and with us putting pressure on them, this enabled us to get the ball back.”
On Lee Jackson’s fumble return for a touchdown:
“Lee’s fumble return was one of the biggest plays in the game. Up to that point, we were playing lousy defense. You know, I’m not a ‘scoop and run’ kind of guy, but I’ll take that one today.”
“LSU made some great plays today on offense. They’re a very tough offensive team. Our coaches settled us down at halftime and told us to focus more on the run. We just huddled together after that first quarter and said, ‘we’re here to have fun and let’s not let this get us down’. Making big plays and having fun is what it’s all about.”
On winning the Defensive MVP Award:
“This is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. This is the real deal, winning the defensive MVP. I’ve never won anything quite like this before. I feel overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe when they announced that I was the winner.”
On coming back to the SBC Cotton Bowl:
“It seems like my whole career has come full circle. We lost to Arkansas here in my freshman year and now here we are back in my senior year and this is the perfect way for me to go out with this big win. I sat around yesterday thinking about all my years here at Texas. And we’ve had some great games and a lot of fun times. We came up with this saying, ‘F.I.T. - Finish It Together’. And that’s what we did today.”
“We came out very pumped up today. But LSU overpowered us in that first quarter. Our defense was backed up but we didn’t break. We made a few key plays and one of them was that fumble recovery.”
On his fumble return for a touchdown:
“I was blitzing off the edge a lot, coming off the tackle. I saw Cory (Redding) knock the ball loose and picked it up. All I heard was my teammates saying, ‘Go!’ It was a great play for us and I felt like it was a big shift in the momentum early in the game. It gave us hope, life, and we got rolling.”
“This was a great way to go out. No question about it. We made some mistakes, but Coach (Carl) Reese really got onto us at the half and made us play the run more aggressively.”
On his second INT which was nullified by penalty:
“I really didn’t worry about it too much. It would have been nice to have that second interception. But I was kidding Cory (Redding, for being offsides) about it after the game. We both said that we got the victory and that’s all that counts.”
“You know, the most important thing was that we got the monkey off our back. Our goal was to put Texas football back on the map. When people talk about Texas and our tradition, they expect winners and today we, the seniors, wanted to teach the younger guys how to win in this house. Everything goes through Dallas with the Big 12 Championship Game last year, so we needed to get back on track and we got that done today.”
On Texas’ second quarter adjustments: “I was concerned we weren’t in the game. I wasn’t overly concerned because there wasn’t a reason to be. You have to remember that we hadn’t played in over a month, so it was going to take more than three plays to get our game going full steam ahead.
“When we got the ball at the start of the second quarter, I knew we had to do something to help our defense stay off the field. The guys responded well and we got a score out of the drive.”
On adjusting to Michael Clayton playing on defense: “We hadn’t planned on it but it really didn’t change much. He’s a good player but his presence didn’t force us to do anything differently with our plays.”
On his career at the Cotton Bowl Stadium: “It was really emotional. The ball never bounced our way in this stadium. We have bounced back from adversity all season long. I am very happy to be taking off my jersey a winner. I am going to miss this a team a lot.”
On what motivated the team today: “Our fear of walking off the field a loser really motivated us.”
On Texas’ offensive adjustments after the first quarter: “We just needed a chance to get on the field and get into a flow. We gave them some match-up problems and after the first big play to Roy (Williams), they never went to a single safety defense again.”
On his game today: “It feels really good to be the MVP. I feel like the whole offensive unit should be the MVP. We started slow and put it together in the end.”
On announcing his decision to stay at Texas for his senior season: “It took a lot of pressure of me and allowed me to concentrate on the game. I don’t think I have done what I am capable of. I still think I can run routes better and read coverages better.”
On matching up against LSU’s Corey Webster: “He’s a good player. He was playing man-to-man all alone on the outside. It was just two good players going at it all day long.”
On the game: “We came out and did what we wanted to do. We played hard, executed well and made plays. And that’s why we came out on top.”
On experiencing his first bowl game: “The coaches did a good job preparing us and we had a lot of fun. It is especially good to cap it all off with a good victory.”