Charlie Strong’s weekly media availability has come and gone.
Injury updates: Strong said he felt everyone should be ready for Saturday’s game, pointing out safety Jason Hall and running back Chris Warren specifically. Receiver Marcus Johnson, who hurt his ankle against Notre Dame, dressed out against Cal but did not play. He’s listed No. 2 on the depth chart this week, behind Daje Johnson.
On Texas’ struggling defense: It’s all about fundamentals, Strong said.
“On the one run there before the half, we missed a tackle and you see guys coming in on the ball, but the running back got lost in the pile and bounced out. On that 74-yard run, once he breaks the line of scrimmage, all eyes should be on the ball. It’s just the fundamental integrity, which we can correct.”
“There are always plays that can be fixed. It’s all about fundamentals and technique. It’s something we have to get fixed, and we have to get fixed right away.”
On Jerrod Heard — and why it took so long for him to play: Basically, Strong said, Heard’s a gamer on Saturdays, not necessarily a star in weekday practices.
“I have always felt like this: You just don’t know what you’re going to get sometimes. You watch him in practice sometimes and it’s like ‘Wow.’ But he knows if it breaks down and can’t find a receiver, he knows he can take off with it.”
“It wasn’t so much that he didn’t look in practice, it’s that he wasn’t placed in (practice) situations, he wasn’t in the game.”
“Before that last drive, I said (to Heard) we’re out of timeouts. I said it’s like you practice now — we practice those situations where I give them 1:10 and go score a touchdown. He said coach, we’re going to go score a touchdown. I just wanted to make sure, whatever you do, do not call a timeout.”
On Texas’ goals moving forward: Win the Big 12.
“Our goal is to win the conference. That’s one of our goals. We’re going to go out and compete each and every week. For us, it starts with Oklahoma State. Our mindset is go out and go win the conference.”
On Nick Rose, and whether Strong would go for 2 if he’s ever in the same situation:
“I’m 100 percent certain that Nick would not get down. If you look at it, there was 1:11 left in the game, we had the crowd back and just (have to) go get a stop and get into overtime. I have a lot of confidence in him.”
“For the first time, I saw a team that actually took a loss the way they should take it. It hurt a lot of players. Saturday night, he was sitting there in the locker room, I talked to him till 12:30, 1 o’clock. I told him there’s going to be battles in life, there’s going to be struggles in life. There’s going to be a tight game down the stretch here and we’re going to need a 50-yarder, and you’re going to win the game. Yesterday, he said he was feeling a little bit better. I told our team we can’t put it on his shoulders. If we take care of the offense and defense, that would never have happened.”
FYI: Kickoff times have been set for two upcoming games. Texas-TCU on Oct. 3 will start at 11 a.m. and will be televised either on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. And the Texas-Kansas game on Nov. 7 will kick off at 7 p.m. That’s a Longhorn Network game.
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