Charlie Strong’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s Oklahoma State game has come and gone. Strong spent nearly 30 minutes fielding almost 25 questions, from Oklahoma State to embattled defensive coordinator Vance Bedford to senior lineman Kent Perkins.
Here were the three most important takeaways:
1. Vance Bedford is still Texas’ defensive coordinator. Strong said he and Bedford and the defensive coaches sat down last week, went through the film, identified what the defensive problems are and talked it out. Strong will be more involved in game-planning and on Saturdays as needed.
2. Senior right guard Kent Perkins, who was arrested early Friday morning on DWI charges, is suspended for this week’s game. He’ll undergo counseling, do some community service and face “punishment within (our) program.”
3. Texas didn’t give us a depth chart. So make your best guess on who is and isn’t starting on Saturday.
OK, on to some questions and answers.
Was there serious consideration to making a change on defense?: “You’re three games into it, and I just didn’t see at that point how (changing coordinators) would help us. If anything, it would hurt us.”
How did Bedford take this?: “Vance is a professional, and I look at his track record, and it’s not like he all of a sudden forgot how to coach defense. … He knows himself we need to get better. It’s not like he’s running from it.”
On whether the defense will be any different?: “You can improve on schemes. We can’t just walk out there. Offenses are so sophisticated now. You need to give them different looks and you have to be aggressive. You have to go attack them.”
On Kent Perkins: “He’s one guy that I was really upset, totally upset about it. He (said) I let you down. I said no, you let yourself down and your teammates. I know that’s not who you are, and that’s not going to define who you are. ”
On whether Perkins’ arrest is a concern in terms of senior leadership: “He’s a senior, and he’s old enough to drink. I don’t drink. I tell them all the time, if you’re intoxicated and you get behind the wheel, not only are you risking your life, you’re risking the life of others. I said to them, there was enough of our players wherever you were, let’s look out for one another. Let’s not let him wander off and then say, where did he go? He’s 300 pounds, how can we lose him? I don’t drink, so I have a pretty strong stand against alcohol. You don’t want to see that happen at all to any of your players, but let’s be smart about it. Let’s take care of one another. Let’s make good decisions.”
On the state of the Big 12 — and making the case for Texas: “I said to them, ‘Why not us?’ Look at what we have. We’re a very talented football team. We can make the excuse of being young, but that’s no excuse. You have two quarterbacks who can go, two power backs that can run the football, on the offensive line you have depth, you have wide receivers that can run out wide on the perimeter. Defensively we’ve got to get better up front, we need to get off blocks, we need to control the line of scrimmage. We can’t have the ball thrown over our head in the secondary. You’ve got to make plays and have turnovers. And you have a punter who’s exceptional and a kicker who’s exceptional. Just go play hard; you’re very talented, it’s just a matter of us stepping out of our comfort zone. Let’s just go play.”
Perkins’ suspension means more playing time for Alex Anderson and/or Jake McMillon, and Brandon Hodges starting. Strong said the left side of the line (Connor Williams and Patrick Vahe) is healthy and that center Zach Shackelford is good to go.
Looking for a new name to follow? Try freshman safety Brandon Jones, who’s blocked two punts in Texas’ last two games and should get more playing time beyond special teams.
Saturday’s game in Stillwater is an 11 a.m. kickoff — the first of two straight, as next week’s Texas-Oklahoma game also has been slotted for 11 a.m. Texas-OSU will be on ABC.
Texas leads the all-time series, 24-6. The road team has won seven straight matchups in this series.
Texas is 16-4 all-time in its Big 12 openers. The Horns also are 16-4 in their all-time Big 12 road openers.
The last five Texas-OSU games:
2011: OSU, 38-26 (DKR)
2012: Texas, 41-36 (Stillwater)
2013: OSU, 38-13 (DKR)
2014: Texas, 28-7 (Stillwater)
2015: OSU, 30-27 (DKR)
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