February 3, 2010

Mack Brown weighs in on 2010 class

I don't want to overlap with Jason Suchomel, who was also at Mack Brown's press conference today, but here are 30 things that jumped out at me.

1. Case McCoy and Connor Wood, who are both on campus will battle it out with Sherrod Harris to back up Garrett Gilbert. Mack said one would probably play in 2010, and the other would redshirt.

"When one decided to come early, I think the other one decided to come early," Mack said of McCoy and Wood.

2. Mack said he thinks only three players enrolled early (McCoy, Wood and DB Adrian White) because so many of the other kids in this class play basketball and spring sports that they wanted to finish in high school.

3. Jackson Jeffcoat is the only one in the class thinking of playing another sport at UT (basketball). Rick Barnes has told Jeffcoat he reminds him of another P.J. Tucker.

4. Mack said he wishes he would have signed another OL in this class and will have to go heavy on OL for the 2011 class.

"We are a little thin there, and that's on me," Mack said.

5. Even though Texas is loaded in the secondary, Mack said he could see some of the freshman DBs playing this season because UT will lose Curtis Brown and Chykie Brown after the 2010 season, "And you have some others who may leave early, you never know." (Translation: Aaron Williams.)

6. Mack said the same could be true on the offensive line with Dominic Espinosa and Trey Hopkins.

"I think we lose four senior offensive linemen after next season, and we have to have guys ready to step in behind them," Mack said. "So we may have to play some of the young guys on the line and may look at playing a second line in games."

7. Mack called Jordan Hicks' ceiling "unlimited."

"He's really smart, really athletic and really talented. He has a chance to be really special."

8. Mack said three kickers showed interest in Texas late in the recruiting process, and Mack settled on Will Russ of Shreveport Evangel, because he said the thought of Justin Tucker spraining an ankle in the opener against Rice "means we can't kick field goals."

9. Mack said after the 2007 season, when Ryan Bailey kicked his second game-winner for Texas (at Oklahoma State), it was his plan to have Hunter Lawrence redshirt in 2008.

"But then Hunter came in and just killed it," Mack said. "You all saw it. Ryan didn't change. But Hunter was better. And there were times in 2007 in practice when Hunter hit the center right in the butt on a field goal attempt. To see what happened with his improvement was just amazing."

10. That led to Mack telling a funny story about a punter he recruited who did great in practice when Mack wasn't around, but did poorly when Mack would walk up to watch him. Mack finally went up to him and said, "What's the deal?" The punter said, "You make me nervous." Mack said, "'Well, I'm going to be at most games. So that's going to be a real problem.' And he never kicked for us."

11. Mack is the only one who offers scholarships because he's the one who has to decide how many schollies will go to each position in a recruiting class.

"The position coaches would like to offer 13 at every position," Mack said. "So I'm the one who has to make all the numbers fit. That's why I'm the only one who can offer a scholarship.

"It is one of the lesser talked about things in recruiting and one of the more difficult things - for me to have a magic wand and decide two years from now what position we need the most before Feb. 13 (UT's first Junior Day).

"How many we can take? Then we have to offer those, and then you all call every one and tell them who we've offered and who we haven't. So they get mad before they even get home if we haven't offered. Then, if we come back to them, they say, 'You didn't offer me, you didn't want me.'

"And all the other schools use that, too. They'll say, 'Texas didn't want you. They offered these other 18. I know because I saw it on the Internet.'

"It's a different deal now. We're having to recruit in public now, and the juniors love to talk. The seniors usually cut you all off. But the juniors love to talk. Right now, you've got 'em all."

12. Mack Brown said Mike Davis (UT lists him at 6-2, 183), Darius White (UT lists him at 6-3, 200) and John Harris (6-3, 200) are all outside receivers big enough to block downfield and will be mismatches for defenses in many cases. Mack said WR Chris Jones (6-0, 175) would be more of an inside receiver.

13. Mack said DeMarco Cobbs (6-2, 212) has told him, "I want to play early. I'd rather play offense than defense if that chance is available.' He really doesn't know where he wants to play or what he would play best, he just wants to play."

14. Mack reiterated that RB Chris Whaley had a great fall and had outstanding bowl practices.

"He's in great shape, so it will be interesting to see how far he's come," Mack said. "People talk about how he's from Madisonville, and can he transition from that to Texas? We didn't have enough time to experiment with him because we had so many backs. So we'll see.

"The same will be true for Traylon Shead and if that's what we do with Demarco Cobbs, it will be the same thing. You bring them in and hit 'em. And people don't like to hear it, but the most difficult thing for a young back is pass protection.

"Demarco has never protected for a pass in his life, and Chris ran the ball every time at Madisonville. If they passed it, it was a sprintout. They've never protected, and that's a hard thing to do. You see Roddrick Muckelroy coming through on the first day of practice, it's new. And you have to be careful with your quarterback. You put a young back in there who misses an assignment, you get your quarterback hurt."

15. Mack said you can not have enough pass rushers and Texas will play as many as can help.

16. Mack said he has the staff doing an evaluation of every play for the last two years. He's also deciding on who to visit with about how to tweak the offense.

"I don't think we transitioned in the running game from Vince to Colt as well as we did from Chris Simms to Vince. So we've got to go back and look at who we are over the next month. That will be fun for us," Mack said.

17. Mack was asked if having so much talent in the pipeline would make it harder to retire.

"Well, other than you all (the media), it never comes up," Mack said. "A future coach thing is experimental with people because you don't know if it's going to work or not when you do it. When DeLoss (Dodds), Bill (Powers) and I sat down to discuss it, we did it for the future, not for the present. But I think it helps the present.

"I think with our situation, I can tell the kids, 'I'm going to try and stay while they're here.' And I plan on staying while they're here. If something happens to me, the same staff's going to be here and the same thing is in place.

"We really have more security with our situation right now than anyone else in the country. No one else can promise a kid the same structure will be here the whole time they are here, and we can do that. That helps us. But again, it's working. Will and I are at a great place. He's excited about the bunch coming in. He's excited about being the defensive coordinator. We're all working well together, and I'm really having fun.

"As much as it hurt me to lose that game, I do think I had as much fun in recruiting as I've ever had. I needed to get out. It got me out of my funk. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I haven't spoken to Sally in a month. But I think it's good if it hurts. If it doesn't bother you to lose, you probably shouldn't be doing this. So I think I should still be doing this."

18. Mack said he thinks this 2010 class "has the potential to be the best we've ever signed."

19. On comparisons to Texas' great 2002 class, Mack said, "Not everyone in the 02 class made it. I hope everyone in this class makes it."

20. Mack said he's looking hard at punting and whether to continue the rugby punt.

21. Mack offered 30 scholarships. There were 25 official visits, and every one who took an official visit signed with Texas today. Mack said he can't ever remember going 100 percent on official visits (25) and signings (25) before this year.

22. Mack said, "Reggie Wilson is from the Ivory Coast and didn't know how to put his football pads on when he first took up the sport. Reggie will tell you he put his pads on backwards." Fair to say he knows how to put on his pads now. The kid's motor never stops.

23. Mack said Darius White "looks like some of the No. 4s we've had around here."

24. Mack said Justin Tucker has the edge at kicking FG and extra points right now, but Mack said K Will Russ can kick off out of the end zone and will get a serious look there.

"Those kickoffs are what jumped out at me when I watched his film," Mack said. "We all know we've made kick returns for the other team pretty exciting around here at times."

25. Mack said Texas did not recruit QB Case McCoy because of Colt McCoy.

"We think Case is really good."

26. Mack said, "We hopes every signee in this class will have the chance to play next year."

27. Mack said: "There's a number of guys in this class we could directly snap the ball to." Hmmm. Could be fun.

28. Mack said publicly for the first time what OB reported last week that Marquise Goodwin will be track only in the spring. "He'll do nothing with football."

29. Mack said he still has not watched the BCS national title game.

"I don't think I'll ever recover from it," Mack said. "I've never been so hurt with a football game. To see those kids. I thought we were in great shape. I thought we had a great chance to win. The kids were prepared. They were in great shape. They were excited about the game. The crowd was unbelievable.

"And then to get behind like we did. At halftime, I was so proud of those kids, because it looked bad at halftime. I was honest. I said it is what it is. It doesn't look good. But they worked their way back.

"I felt worse than Colt after the game. I told the players I thought it was great respect for our team that the AP and the coaches voted us second. And that really and truly I thought we did control what we could control after we got in trouble and that was fight and confidence.

"And I think what got me the worst was with six minutes left I thought we'd stop them and get the ball back and win the game because we have so many times.

"I was disappointed they drove down the field, and they bounced outside on third down, and I thought they wouldn't because the defense was playing so hard. And then to have the turnover late. With 3:50 left, I still thought we would win the game. And I think most of our kids did.

"I still haven't watched it. I will before the spring - 13-1 and No. 2 is not what you want, but we've come a long way if that is disappointing."

30. Mack said he told the team today the expecatations at Texas will be the same in 2010.

"Our goal and expectation is to win all the games every year. We can do it. It's hard to do, so don't lay around and say, 'We lost Colt. We did this and lost that.' Keep your mouth shut and go back to work. It's a great time to be at Texas, and the recruiting class today is a sign the players all think it's a great time to be here.

"It's our responsibility as coaches to keep them going and give them the energy to have the chance to win all the games because that's what we're here for.

"I remember when I first got to Texas and people said, 'If you can just get us back to respectability, to where people care again.' And we've done that. If you would have told me before the year that we were going to lose the national title game the way we did, I wouldn't have believed it. But it's probably good if we're all disappointed with 13-1 and No. 2."

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