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Day four brought social media discussion, defensive linemen questions, some brighter tight end news, good receiver news and questions about Herman’s hair (or lack thereof).
Opening statement: “Good day today. Couple news and notes, Jamari Chisholm is practicing with us. That’s a good thing. Reggie Hemphill today felt dizzy and had a headache. They took him in and are examining him. Right now, the last I heard was maybe a migraine, which he had never had any prior to this. Might have scared him more than anything. He’s being evaluated right now. I don’t think that it’s anything serious.
I should probably address the elephant in the room in terms of the social media deal. To give you guys the genesis of it, I absolutely respect you guys and the job that you have to do, and I understand everything about how you have to do it. My issue was that this is different, right? This post-practice informal, not live deal is different. And we’ve given a lot of access, and I’ve been misquoted a couple of times, and to be quite frank it was a phone call to John [Bianco]. “John, I want to continue to give the media as much access as I can, how can we help get it right?” And again, it wasn’t my intent to tell anybody [how to do things]. The statement could have been worded better, certainly, but it was my preference that everybody take a deep breath, and it was absolutely no disrespect to how you guys have to do your job.”
If someone had misquoted you, why not just go after them instead of the group as a whole, especially if someone shows some sort of repeated pattern of that?: “I think we have. I also think that the group can benefit from knowing maybe where that comes from.”
On if team is ahead of where he thought they’d be: “I don’t know that I thought they’d be anywhere, really. I’m happy with how hard we’re practicing and how well we’re staying on our feet, taking care of each other. We got a little tired toward the end of practice today. I can tell that the wall is probably going to hit. Tomorrow’s going to be a big test for us. Tomorrow and Saturday are going to be two really big tests for us because we’re going to put the pads on. We’re going to be physical. It’s going to be practice five. They’ve done a lot of running, banging a little bit here and there these last couple of practices. We need to be able to push through some of that fatigue and soreness and all that.”
On if pads will re-energize team: “Yeah, but that only lasts so long. At some point, the body’s going to come back, take over, and tell you ‘hey, I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m hurting.’ You’ve got to then turn your mind on and be able to combat that.”
On if Kendall Moore has helped with TE depth worries: “I don’t know that it’s solidified our worries. I think we feel better about where we’re at in terms of depth in that room. I think it’s important, on offense, to get your best 11 guys on the field and figure out a way to make sure you’re doing that without straying too far from your core beliefs of what you want to be on offense. We want to play with a tight end, but we’re not going to be so bull-headed as to say ‘if the tight end is not one of our best 11 players we’re going to put him out there just because we want to play with a tight end.’ It’s helped. Kendall and the young guys have a ways to go in terms of acclimating to our system. It’s a lot better than what it was in the spring.”
On what stands out about Cade Brewer: “The first thing is ball skills. For a guy his size, he’s got really good ball skills. I think it was the Westlake-Lake Travis game. We went out there to evaluate him. Running down a seam, he caught a ball in a behind-the-defender’s-back kind of thing. I turned to our recruiting guy and said ‘yeah, we should probably offer that kid.’ Ball skills. Really, really conscientious kid. He doesn’t like to not do well, which is a great trait. He’s also got to be patient and understand that he’s a freshman and development takes time.”
On Collin Johnson: “Coach Orlando talks about 95 percent of the game on defense is going to come down to technique versus technique, assignment versus assignment, this, that and the other. Five percent of it is going to be ‘does a guy go out and make a great athletic play?’ He made some catch, yesterday I think it was, and I said ‘TO, that’s probably in your five percent.’ He said ‘shoot, if that guy stays on track it may be closer to 10-12 percent.’ He’s fun to be around. I’ve never had a guy with his height and ball skills and ability to contort his body and have that much body control. We’ve got to see how physical can he be. I think we challenged him prior to camp. ‘Hey you check a lot of boxes. Height, ball skills, speed, want-to, all that stuff. It’s can you be physical?’ So far, he has shown he’s made a lot of improvement there.”
On how the new lockers affect recruiting: “I think the lockers affect recruiting because the kids that we’re recruiting, some of the best schools in the nation are as well. A scholarship is a scholarship is a scholarship wherever you go. How can you differentiate yourself in terms of why your place might be better for that young man? Obviously, the education you get at the University of Texas is one. Our program, our development of kids is another. You also want to provide them and show them that they’re going to have the very best tools in the country that help them achieve their goals of development. The lockers, as cool looking as they are, they’re still very functional, too. Stainless steel and anti-microbial deals. We’ve got fans coming out, super exhaust deal to dry their pads off. There’s a lot of things in those lockers that are beneficial beyond how they look.”
On Charles Omenihu: “In my opinion, we have three starting defensive ends in Malcolm, Chris Nelson and him. Only two can be on the field at the same time. Whether he jogs in on the first snap or the fourth snap doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day if he continues to play as well as he’s playing, his reps are going to be equal to those of the other defensive ends because of what I’ve said before; you’ve got to rotate defensive lineman, especially in the Big 12 with uptempo offenses and spread teams. You have to be able to rotate guys in. Whether you’re taking the first snap or the fourth, it’s irrelevant to us. He just needs to stay the course. He’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s playing between the tackles a lot better these last couple of practices. Happy with his development.”
On what he wants to see in full pads next two days: “I think tomorrow the biggest thing is we’ve got to stay physical for an entire practice. Your adrenaline is going to be going early in the practice. It’s probably going to be a lot of hooting and hollering. There’s a lot of tackle drills, our circle drill, goal line, short yardage, a lot of things that can get you excited and motivate you to play physical. But can you do it when you’ve been out there for two hours and on the fifth day of a long week? That would signal success for me. On Saturday, it’s probably just some clean execution. It will have been our sixth day and five days of install and fine tuning some things. Are you going to be perfect and be in game operation and execution? No, but we need to tighten some things up, see some less busts on defense, less assignment errors on offense, things like that. If we do that and come out of that scrimmage feeling like ‘hey, we’re progressing’ I think that would be a good thing.”
On Omenihu’s versatility in three and four-man fronts: “He can do both. He’s very versatile.”
On his involvement in stadium improvements and fan experience: “Fan experience, we’ve been involved. The details of the video board and the ribbon board and the sound system and all that, other than saying ‘yeah that’s a good idea,’ nothing really too detailed there. The fan experience, one, is important to me, and it’s player experience too for us, and recruit experience. That’s the big one for me. I love giving fans a great time at our games and hopefully the product on the field is going to be a majority of that entertainment. For me, the biggest thing in terms of being involved in that is one, our players. What songs are we playing on third down and when we run down on kickoff? What are we showing on the video board? The recruits, I want to make sure that the recruits have a great time at our games.”
On other facets like music: “Hopefully, everybody that enters the stadium will have a good time when they leave. The fan experience is a lot better when you win.”
On his new shaved head look: “I did. Since middle school, so going on probably 30 years, just kind of a functional training camp deal where I ain’t got to mess with any hair and stay cool. A little bit symbolic for me, too. This is the start of the grind. I think I’ve missed probably four or five in almost 30 years. Other than that, pretty much every year for training camp, the hair comes off to allow efficiency.”
On if he worries if the hair will come back: “I already have, but so far it has.”