Monday Media Notes

Monday Media Notes

Ten quick hits from the Longhorns' Monday meeting with the media.

1) As it often is at this point in the week, the Longhorn injury situation is in wait-and-see mode. Miles Onyegbule and Alex De La Torre are both out for Saturday, while running back Malcolm Brown and linebacker Jordan Hicks will both be evaluated through the week. Anthony Fera is fine after kicking on Saturday, while Brandon Moore, who played just seven plays, will likely see more time this week.


2) David Ash didn't receive offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's highest grade for Saturday's contest, but he did pass with a "winnable" performance. Harsin said that Ash has yet to gain the highest overall grade, which is for a perfect, or incredibly near-perfect performance. In fact, Harsin said Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore never hit the highest mark, before amending his statement to say that Moore might have hit it once or twice in his entire career under Harsin.


3) Ash continues to take blame for the botched snap in the fourth quarter. Ash said he let the play clock run down too much as he was trying to audible to a specific pass when center Dominic Espinosa snapped the ball past him. Of course, that play ended Texas's chance for a touchdown on that drive, and Fera missed the ensuing 41-yarder, turning the game.


4) While Harsin stopped short of calling it a "breakout game," he was pleased with the performance of the tight ends Saturday. Both D.J. Grant and M.J. McFarland made big catches on wheel routes, and McFarland was a split second away from creating another big play. Instead, Ash was hit while he was throwing and wound up just missing the wide-open tight end.


5) Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said he was excited by the emergence of defensive tackle Malcom Brown Saturday. Diaz said that teams could always use more defensive linemen with the way that they rotate at the position, and praised defensive tackles coach Bo Davis for his development of the talented freshman.


6) Diaz is also thrilled about safety Mykkele Thompson, who represented the lone big depth chart change in claiming the clear starting spot at strong safety over Adrian Phillips. Diaz pointed out that the transition from a high school option quarterback to a physical defensive position isn't the most natural thing in the world, but he said that Thompson made a couple of big-time physical plays against West Virginia that demonstrated the requisite tenacity.


7) While Saturday's game against West Virginia was far from a perfect defensive result, Diaz said the film told a more positive story than the average fan might think. The Longhorns held quarterback Geno Smith to "about 120" yards and 50 percent completion percentage on non-screens on downs 1-3, and Texas's defense was, for the most part, a play away here or there from getting off the field early on drives. "There were things that we did in that game that I wasn't sure we were capable of doing," Diaz said.


8) Looking for the reason Texas expects to be more successful against Oklahoma than last year's 55-17 shellacking? Primarily, it's experience. Multiple older Longhorns said it was easy to get overwhelmed by the atmosphere in your first year playing in the game, as players like Case McCoy, David Ash, Malcolm Brown and Jaxon Shipley did last year. As for newcomers like Johnathan Gray this year, senior running back Jeremy Hills said the key was just to remember that the Sooners put their shoulder pads on the same way the Longhorns did.


9) Offensively, Oklahoma presents some of the same challenges West Virginia does, Diaz said. The Sooners have a big-time quarterback who can eat you up through the air, as well as an up-tempo offense that forces defenses to align quickly. Oklahoma may uses a bit more two-back, especially with talented fullback Trey Millard. And while Oklahoma's receivers aren't in the same class as the Mountaineers' grouping, the Sooners are considerably better at running back.


10) Defensively, Texas coach Mack Brown said it was too early to tell whether there were any significant changes in philosophy between last year's defensive coordinator Brent Venables and this year's, Mike Stoops. Since Stoops and Venables worked so closely together, Brown said the Longhorns expected a similar kind of defense. The Longhorn players cited the Oklahoma defensive line as a concern, while also mentioning safety Tony Jefferson as a playmaker defensively.

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