AUSTIN — Embattled Texas offensive play caller Jay Norvell touched on a variety of topics Tuesday at his weekly media availability session that was probably not a fun exercise in wake of Saturday’s shut out against Iowa State.
Norvell, who many have speculated is perhaps coaching for his UT life over the course of the next month, was certainly straight forward Tuesday while answering questions about his struggling and inconsistent offense that was in Ames on Saturday night. He also began the press conference unlike his media availabilities before: he didn’t wait to take the first question, he just started talking…
” Very disappointed in how we played Saturday,” Norvell said. ” We’ve played three games on the road and we haven’t played very well in any of them. We have to show a lot more maturity, a lot more mental toughness, we have to start faster, we have to handle adversity better.
“A week ago before we had a chance to play we told our kids that we were going to play against a team that was fighting for their lives in a very competitive environment and we were going to get their best shot. I take responsibility, I did a poor job of pounding that home all week.”
Norvell quickly got to the point about what went wrong Saturday in the loss.
“We didn’t throw the ball accurately. We didn’t throw the ball on time. We didn’t make plays down the field. We’ve got to learn from this, we’ve got to be more mature. We’ve got to understand that we work 365 days a year to play 12 football games. We get 12 Saturdays to compete. We’ve got to compete and be excited every Saturday, and we didn’t do that last Saturday.”
Norvell was asked specifically about the struggles in the passing game over the course of the last three games specifically, and he was – again – pretty straightforward in his assessment.
“We’re not throwing the ball very good. We’re not. We’ve got to throw the ball better. Do I think we can? Yes. Do we practice it? Yes. We’ve got capable players. We’ve got capable schemes. We’ve got to throw the ball better. It’s not rocket science.”
Norvell also made it seem as though Texas’ offensive struggles were far beyond the perception that the Longhorns are simply playing poorly, he added what fans and analysts have been saying about UT since Saturday: that the Longhorns didn’t seem to be in the game mentally against the Cyclones.
Norvell said the team will take redshirts off some players (he didn’t give specific names), giving younger players the chance to play the rest of the way. When asked about freshman quarterback Kai Locksley’s chances of playing, he praised his work and progress but added, “He’s not ready yet.”
Norvell said changing the team’s mentally – quickly – is the most urgent need in the wake of the Iowa State defeat.
“There’s no excuse for the way we played,” Norvell said. “We’re a much more capable team than we showed, and we’ve got to show that down the stretch. We’ve got four opportunities to play, and we need to have the proper response.”
Norvell also talked about potential distractions that football coaches in 2015 have to deal with.
“We live in a different age,” Norvell said. “We live in an age where our kids, their attention gets stolen in every direction. When I was in college, I didn’t have anything except Saturday afternoons. That was all I thought of all week. Our kids aren’t always like that, and we have to remember that as coaches.
“Kids just have so many things that get their attention. When I was in school, a million years ago, I couldn’t wait for Saturday night, that’s all I thought about all week long. It’s just different now, and it’s a struggle. When our kids come into our building we try and pound them with our values and our beliefs. And the things that are important in this building aren’t necessarily important in the outside world. Social media, self-importance…everything else is important in the outside world. That culture is difficult when you are in a college football world. And it is a 24-hour job as a coach. That’s what we do, that’s what we’re responsible for, and you have to deal with it every day.”
“You’re going to play every Saturday and when that happens, you’re either going to whip somebody or you’re going to get whipped. And if you think about it any other way, you’re in the wrong sport. We need to get ourselves ready to whip somebody every Saturday. If we don’t do that, then we’re going to be on the other side of the ledger. You have to play with an edge…this ain’t tennis, ok? You better have a mentality to bring it.
“We all have to live with it. That’s the way it works. You have to live with it until you change it.”
On his difficulties against the Cyclones: “It’s just one of those things when it doesn’t fall for you. We’ve got four more games we’ve got to go get and win so we have to forget it.”
On the team’s inconsistent play: “It’s just about being a dog every day, every time you get on the field. It can’t become a pattern.”
On the ups and downs of playing quarterback at UT: “If I was playing just for the fans, it would bother me. But I’m a fan, I change with the weather, too. I love the fans, and I understand where they’re coming from. I’ve been through that in Guyer and in middle school. When you won, you got high fives, and I was getting lunches from my neighbors. When we lost, everyone was taking my lunch. That’s how it is. I’m used to that. That’s just something you have to go through.”
On the team’s bumpy plane ride from Iowa: “Turbulence was horrible.”
On his interception: “It was one when you let it go, it was like, ‘Oh, crap.’ Honestly when I threw it I was like, ‘Don’t let this influence you for the whole game.'”