Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson, left, and head coach, Charlie Strong come out onto the field for the second half against Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Football

Malik Jefferson couldn’t watch bowl games, but did watch Notre Dame tape

'I think I had a lot of success in that game, but that didn’t mean anything to me.'

Posted August 23rd, 2016

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Texas coach Charlie Strong played last year’s game tapes on a constant loop, because “I want it to burn,” he said.

Linebacker Malik Jefferson couldn’t bring himself to watch any bowl games last season. “Bitter,” he said. But the sophomore has watched replays of last season’s 38-3 loss to Notre Dame plenty.

“Throughout the summer, throughout the year, I watched that game, because I knew it was important to me,” Jefferson said.

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Jefferson covered a wide array of topics on Tuesday in his first meeting with reporters since the spring. But there was no doubt the season-opening disaster in South Bend left an indelible impression on Jefferson and the rest of the Longhorns.

“I was walking off the field and feeling like nothing was accomplished,” Jefferson said. “I think that was the worst feeling. I think I had a lot of success in that game, but that didn’t mean anything to me. We still lost, and that was my focus.

“We try not to talk about the past anymore,” he added. “You can’t do anything about it. So our focus is on what they do this year and getting our selves prepared for what they’ll throw at us.”

Jefferson finished the 2015 season with 61 tackles, the second-most on the team, and earned freshman All-American status.

Asked how he felt being named the Big 12’s preseason defensive player of the year, Jefferson said, “Nothing, honestly. I didn’t think about it last year when I got the award, and I still don’t think about it right now. It’s in the past what I did last year, and this year hasn’t even begun.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen with me,” Jefferson said. “That award is a defensive award for my team. If it ever happens, I’ll congratulate my teammates because I didn’t do it myself.”

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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