November 12, 2010

MUSCHAMP 101 Going inside the mind of UT's DC and future HC

1. Texas is No. 5 nationally in total defense, giving up 267.3 yards per game. But the Longhorns are 52nd nationally in scoring defense (giving up 23.3 ppg) because UT is stopping many drives but has given up more big plays for scores this season.

at Rice

--Randy Kitchens 47-yard TD pass from Taylor McHargue

Wyoming

--Austyn Carta-Samuels 18-yard TD run


Texas Tech


--Lyle Leong 15-yard TD pass from Taylor Potts

UCLA

--Johnathan Franklin 11-yard TD run
--Kevin Prince 38-yard TD run
--Derrick Coleman 29-yard TD run

Oklahoma

--DeMarco Murray 18-yard TD run
--Kenny Stills 16-yard TD pass from Landry Jones
--DeMarco Murray 20-yard TD run

Iowa State

--Darius Reynolds 18-yard pass from Austen Arnaud
--Josh Lenz 15-yard TD pass from Arnaud
--Alexander Robinson 20-yard TD run

Baylor

--Terrance Williams 59-yard TD pass from Robert Griffin
--Jay Finley 69-yard TD run
--Kendall Wright 30-yard TD pass from Robert Griffin

at Kansas State

--Daniel Thomas 34-yard TD run
--Collin Klein 12-yard TD run

Oklahoma State is a big-play offense that scored 41 points against Nebraska with explosive plays, including an 80-yard flea flicker pass from Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon.


2. Muschamp said it's little mistakes that add up to those big plays by opposing offenses.

"It goes back to what I've been saying for the whole season, which goes back to consistency in performance," Will Muschamp said. "You just have to consistently play well. And that's really hurt us this year. It's not been one thing. It's been a multitude of things. It's been different situational things.

"Third down. Loss of eye control. Not striking up front. Hitting the wrong gap as a linebacker. I mean it's been a lot of things. It's where you go back and look at it.

"It covers a lot of pretty broad spectrum of issues. It's not just one thing. There's some very bright spots of what we've done in some spots as far as playing really well defensively against some really good offensive football teams.

"We just haven't done it consistently, and that's been the most frustrating thing for me."


3. Muschamp wants to hold teams to 40 percent touchdowns in the red zone and 60 percent field goals.

Right now, Texas is allowing opponents to score touchdowns 67 percent of the time in the red zone (18 of 27 trips).

Against Kansas State, the Wildcats scored TDs on runs of 12, 10, 9 and 8 yards and scored touchdowns on four of five trips inside UT's 20.
Texas had eight missed tackles for the game, and half of those happened near the goal line.

"I thought there was a couple (missed tackles) that obviously hurt," Muschamp said. "Down near the goal line, you've got to get him down on the ground. So obviously those pop up and magnify a little bit more as the game is going.

"I wish we would have tackled better in critical situations. When we get them in the red zone, we just have to hold them to a field goal."
Muschamp's defense last season was among the best in the nation in sudden change, helping to erase Colt McCoy's 12 interceptions last season. This season, Garrett Gilbert has 14 interceptions, and the offense has fumbled the ball away 9 times.

This season, Texas has been respectable in sudden change defense, giving up just four touchdowns on 18 turnovers through the first seven games of the season. But against Kansas State last week, of Gilbert's five interceptions, two resulted in K-State touchdown drives.

"Teams are going to get in the red zone," Muschamp said. "We just have to hold them to field goals. Sixty percent of the time we need to make 'em kick a field goal.

"Regardless of the situation, we are the firemen who have to put the fire out. That's our attitude. I think a year ago we led the nation in sudden change defense as far as points allowed. We have to do a better job. That's the only way you can look at it."


4. Muschamp credited Kansas State coach Bill Snyder with switching quarterbacks for the Texas game. Carson Kauffman had started seven games for K-State. But Snyder went with mobile QB Collin Klein against Texas in his first college start.

Klein finished with 25 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns (5.1 ypc) against the Longhorns.

"I was a little surprised they switched quarterbacks," Muschamp said. "Kaufman had played well. We had prepared for the wildcat runs with Thomas doing it, not the quarterback necessarily.

"So as far as a one back set creating a two-back run, that was 60 percent of our practice based off that. Different looks. Different formations. Different personnel, but the same concepts. Wish we would have adjusted a little quicker."


5. Here's how Muschamp described his performance as defensive coordinator this season.

"It's a reflection of what you put on the field, so it hasn't been good," Muschamp said. "That's the bottom line. This is a bottom line profession. It's about winning. Do what you gotta do to win games, and we're not doing that. So it's not good."


6. With Oklahoma State's explosive offense up next, Texas will be without Chykie Brown (broken forearm) this week. CB Aaron Williams is expected to come back from a head collision this week with S Kenny Vaccaro in the nickel.

"Chykie is a senior and a very good cover guy," Muschamp said. "Two of the next three teams we play are top-five offenses in the country that are very good at throwing the football.

"So as far as matchups, you'd like to have a guy who has played a lot of football. I feel awful sorry for the young man, being a senior and losing the chance to play in his last three games.

"It's a freak injury, and it's disappointing for him. He's had a decent year for us, and I'm just very upset for him. The injury was on a tackle on their sideline, and it looked like he just hit his arm funny."

Freshmen S Adrian Phillips and CB Carrington Byndom figure to play more over the next three games.

Muschamp said Byndom played well against Kansas State in limited action.

"He's far ahead of where most freshman defensive backs would be," Muschamp said. "He's very intelligent, very smart, athletic. He catches on very well. So we're excited about his future. Hopefully we get A.J. (Williams) back this week."

LB Jordan Hicks played a good bit against Kansas State and had an up-and-down night, including a personal foul penalty on third down that extended a drive for K-State.

There was an incomplete pass on the play, which would have forced a punt by K-State, but Hicks was called for hitting a defenseless receiver on a crossing route.

"Jordan was real active, missed a couple tackles, which is disappointing. But he's just got to bring his feet," Muschamp said. "He's a very athletic, smart, young man, and he's going to be an outstanding player here.

"He's just got to bring his feet on those tackles. A little of that is being unsure. It comes with being a freshman. But he's going to be outstanding."


7. Muschamp defended his decision to play a bunch of nickel against Kansas State, saying he left his defensive backs on islands against K-State's three receivers all game, so he could create an 8-man box to stop K-State RB Daniel Thomas.

"When they get in three wideouts, we played with an eight-man box against a one-back set and had three guys in blitz coverage with no help the entire game," Muschamp said. "If you watch the game, that's what you see.

"So instead of walking a linebacker and having him in coverage with no help, I'd rather play with three defensive backs. You have to cover a guy.

"There's three receivers and three DBs who we played like that, and then there's eight guys against a one-back set with no help."

Muschamp said K-State's running game is so effective because the offensive line takes such tight splits between the linemen, meaning there is very little room for gap penetration by the defense.

"With their splits, it's hard to get in there because they are foot-to-foot," Muschamp said. "Creating a negative play with what they do offensively is very difficult. They don't give up many negative plays.

"I thought we held the point again at times. At other times, we didn't play as well. We got displaced on the first touchdown run, where we were in a vertical stunt to take away the inside zone.

"The ball bounced outside and creased us. At times, you see some positive things. But it's not the consistency we need. For us to win for our football team right now, we have to play well defensively."


8. Oklahoma State has completely remade its offense thanks to the arrival of coordinator Dana Holgerson from the University of Houston. Gone are QB Zach Robinson, WR Dez Bryant, OT Russell Okung and RB Keith Toston. In are QB Brandon Weeden, WR Justin Blackmon, RB Kendall Hunter and four new offensive linemen.

Weeden is No. 4 nationally in total offense; Blackmon is No. 1 in receiving yards per game (160.6 ypg); and Hunter is No. 3 in rushing (137.8 ypg) and ran for 201 yards against Nebraska.

"They're very balanced," Muschamp said. "You look at them, and they run the ball very effective. They throw extremely well. They take advantage of their playmakers. Blackmon is a phenomenal receiver outside who is very dangerous with the ball in his hands after the catch.

"Kendall Hunter is a guy I have always thought was an outstanding player."
Dana Holgerson's offense is based on the passing attack Mike Leach used at Texas Tech. The difference, Muschamp said, is that the line splits are a little more narrow so that OSU can control gaps in the running game.

"They've committed to running the football," Muschamp said. "It goes back to getting the ball in your playmakers' hands. He's letting those guys make plays for him.

"Run game-wise, it fits what Kendall Hunter does best, and that's the zone cut series where he's able to take the ball a number of places and find air. When he bounces it outside, he's extremely quick and gets running downhill.

"I think Dana does a nice job of tailoring his scheme to his players, and that's what I see on tape. Then, he's got a great corps of receivers around Blackmon like (Josh) Cooper (41 catches for 466 yards and 3 TDs) and (Bo) Bowling (29 catches for 291 yards).

"They do a nice job. Very effective. It's not like Blackmon is getting all the balls or all the looks. They spread it out evenly. They get the ball to the backs. Joseph Randle (70 carries for 396 yards, 5.7 ypc) is a freshman back similar to Hunter. They've done a nice job."

Muschamp said he spent the summer scouting Houston to prepare for Holgerson's offense during training camp.

"Route concepts and that sort of thing," Muschamp said. "But Dana's tweaked everything to his talent at Oklahoma State as opposed to tailoring everything to what he was doing in Houston."

Oklahoma State has allowed only 9 sacks on the season. Muschamp gave as much credit for that stat to Weeden, a former New York Yankees' pitching prospect, as he does to the OSU offensive line.

"Very accurate," Muschamp said. "He's got a great feel for the offense. He gets the ball where it needs to go. When you pressure him, the ball gets out quickly.

"He doesn't hang onto the ball. Those are the things that jump out at me. He's very mature because he played baseball and probably has a good handle on college life, what's important and what's not important.

"He's an outstanding athlete. He doesn't run. They want him to sit in the pocket. They don't want him on the edges much. They want to see him throw it or hand it off."

Muschamp said Blackmon reminds him a lot of Dez Bryant.

"Blackmon snatches the ball in the air and takes the ball down the field," Muschamp said. "And then he's got the reverse game and run game and intermediate passing game. Very similar (to Dez Bryant). He's a very explosive guy.

"They spread the ball out so much. It's not like one side is getting all the looks. They create empty by motion, and it's not a huge part of what they do. But they like to be in some form of six-man protection and free-release the back."


9. Muschamp was asked how he was getting along with Mack Brown in trying to solve the problems of this year's defense and this year's team.

"The biggest thing is just self-evaluation," Muschamp said. "You have to go back and watch the film. You look at scheme, personnel. The first thing we look at is scheme. Are we being fair to our players in what we are asking them to do. That's the first thing you have to ask yourself as a coach when things aren't going well.

"From that point, you have to go back and obviously look at what have you not played well and what do we have to change to play well in those situations. We were awful on third down against Baylor.

"We were better this week against Kansas State. Two totally different offenses. I'm not trying to compare them. I'm just saying in our point of emphasis, we focused on third-down defense, and it was better.

"Again, consistency in performance has been stressed. We're not getting there defensively, and we need to."

Asked if he had seen a different side of Mack Brown this season as Texas has struggled, Muschamp said, "Not really. From an overall standpoint of where we are, I don't see a whole bunch of difference."


10. Texas, as a team, has a confidence problem. Muschamp said a lack of confidence comes from a lack of knowing.

"The confidence factor comes with playing and building confidence in what you're doing," Muschamp said. "When you don't have success, that's why we watch the film together as a defense so we can point out when we don't' have success this is exactly the reason.

"I think a lot of times a lack of confidence comes from a lack of knowing. When you have a better understanding of why something happened the way it should happen, you work from there.

"But we've got a lot of players who have played a lot of positive football for us and won a lot of games. We still have confidence in what we're doing and how we're doing it. And we've had some success in what we're doing this year.

"We look back at what we didn't do well and then we make the corrections. We still have a lot of positive things we've accomplished this year. A lot of them. We just have to be more consistent in what we're trying to do and play better situational football."

Muschamp said the coaches and players have to focus on what it takes to win and not simply the idea of winning.

"I think we have a pretty good idea of what it takes to win, and so do our players who have been here," Muschamp said. "They understand the work ethic and preparation and sacrifice and the commitment that it takes to be good and be successful on game day.

"It's not easy to win. We have to understand that process it takes to be good and not just focus on winning.

"My point was winning soothes an awful lot of things. But as you're losing, you should be motivated to prepare more and prepare better to be successful. And that's what we're trying to do."

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