NCF Nation: Raiders-Longhorns 09 coverage

Big 12 media days live: Day 2

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
9:40
AM ET
The Big 12 media days continue on Tuesday in Dallas, as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and new Texas coach Charlie Strong each take the stage. Keep this page open throughout the day's proceedings as we bring you the latest from our reporters, who will cover all 10 teams at the event.


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Colt McCoy is in line to break every passing record in Texas history if he continues his current pace. But he’s more concerned about the Longhorns’ upcoming game against Texas Tech on Saturday night in Austin.

I caught up with him earlier this week. McCoy talked about his friends and family who attend and work at Texas Tech, his game preparations for Saturday night, how his season has played out so far and what he remembers about last season’s dramatic game against the Red Raiders in Lubbock.

 
 AP Photo/Harry Cabluck
 Colt McCoy says he won't have revenge on his mind during Saturday's matchup with Texas Tech.
Do you guys still think about how last year's game with Texas Tech transpired?

Colt McCoy: Tech played great last year and deserved to win the game. We’re not focused on that game at all. We’re a different team with different guys than last year. We have enough motivation with this being the first game of our conference. Our goal is to win every game. We’ve got to be focused this week really well to do that. Our focus isn’t on last year.

With the development of some of the other running backs on the team, it looks like you personally haven’t had to run the ball as much as last year. Do you like this change in your offense?

CM: It’s nice. We have great running backs here. If you look at what we’re doing this year, we’re running the ball more and having more yards per carry. Our offensive line is doing a nice job and I’m just sitting back there with the ball. I have the mentality to do everything we can when we play. If I need to run, I’ll run. If not, I’ll let the other guys make those plays. I’m definitely pleased with where we are running the ball.

Does the Texas Tech game mean any more to you because you grew up so close to Lubbock?

CM: I have a lot of friends and family that go to school out there. It’s a big game for me every year and means a lot to me. One of our goals is to win every game we play against anybody in Texas. For me, playing Tech is fun. I enjoy playing against them. I grew up in the area. I’m excited to have a chance to play against them one more time.

What happened to explain your slow start, both individually and as a team, last week against Wyoming?

CM: I just think we were a little inconsistent. Football is the biggest team sport and when you have 10 guys doing the right thing and one guy not, it can cause you problems. That’s all it was. At the end of the first quarter, it was just inconsistency more than anything else, getting penalties and making mistakes like that. Once we had a chance to regroup and get on the same page at halftime, everything worked out for us.

What have you seen so far in your examination of the Texas Tech defense?

CM: I expect they’ll be a lot like they were last year. I expect those guys will approach this game “lights out.” When they played well against us last year, they played fast from the beginning of the game. We can’t let those things happen and we need to be prepared to start from the beginning. I expect them to be the same way as they were last year.

You mentioned earlier about how big of a presence Texas Tech has in your area. What is that like, especially considering you play at Texas, one of their biggest rivals?

CM: A lot of people remind me of that. [Laughs.] In my senior class I had 90 people from Jim Ned High School and about half went to Tech. Then you look at the grades above and below me and you really see a lot of people who have gone there. I’ve got a lot of friends and family that go out there. I’ve known about that over the years and that’s what’s made the game so special for me. I actually have a couple of cousins who got to school there and an uncle who even works for the school.

As you’ve had a chance to watch coach Mike Leach’s offense at Texas Tech, what do you think about what the Red Raiders do offensively?

CM: They swing the ball around and have a great scheme. It’s a quarterback’s dream to play in that offense. They are very explosive and Taylor Potts is a great quarterback for what they ask of him. He went to Abilene High School which is only about 15 minutes from my high school. I’ve known him as a kid growing up, but we’ve never played each other because our schools are in different [high school] classifications. Coach Leach is very sharp and knows what they need to do. And they’ve made it work out there for a long time. You’ve got to give them credit.

What do you know about Taylor Potts and his playing style?

CM: He’s a big, strong quarterback who’s about 6-5 and has a strong arm. He’s perfect for that system. If you don’t pressure him, Taylor will sit back and pick you apart.

What are your memories of last season’s game against Texas Tech and how have they prepared you for Saturday’s game?

CM: Obviously, that was tough for us. But there’s no revenge or anything like that heading into the game. We have our goals going into the game. We’re excited about starting our conference play. We’re starting a little bit early this year. We had two games to prepare to get us ready. But regardless, we’ve got to be ready.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


Blake Gideon has been careful to not talk too much about revenge this week as he prepares for Texas Tech.

The Texas sophomore safety says he remembers how his team lost to the Red Raiders last season in dramatic fashion.

And like most of his teammates, Gideon claims to not have any extra motivation about that game, except when asked how long he’s been looking forward to meeting up with the Red Raiders again.
 
 Karl Anderson/Icon SMI
 Texas returns all four starters from last season's game against Tech, including Blake Gideon, for this year's rematch.


“Say about 365 days,” Gideon said.

While last year’s game isn’t exactly as long ago as Gideon remembered, it remains one of the most painful endings in Texas football history.

Texas' young secondary came within two plays of being able to close out the victory that likely would have sent the Longhorns into the Big 12 championship game with a solid shot of playing for the BCS title.

But two late passes by former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell changed all of that.

On the next-to-last offensive snap of the game, Gideon dropped a sure interception that fluttered through his fingers. Harrell was flushed from the pocket before he lobbed a soft pass to wide receiver Edward Britton. The receiver got both hands on the ball, but it popped straight up in the air where Gideon appeared to have almost cradled it before it hurt the turf.

And on the play after that, Michael Crabtree beat double-team coverage from Earl Thomas and Curtis Brown for a 28-yard touchdown grab that provided the Red Raiders a wild 39-33 victory.

Thomas, thinking that he heard a whistle blow the play dead, was a step late and whiffed on a tackle that could have knocked Crabtree out of bounds as time expired.

Gideon said he remained in a funk for about 24 hours after the drop, but has largely tried to forget about it.

“I don’t think it’s any bigger than it was,” Gideon said. “It was a play that I should have made, but it would be selfish if I made any more of it. I’ve moved on.”

For his part, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said earlier this week that too much is made of Gideon’s drop.

“I don’t think he would catch it, for one,” Leach said. “And for another, it’s always interesting to me that they highlight that play because I can probably rattle off 10 other things that would have allowed us to win by more. So, I don’t see that as being particularly significant.”

All four starters in the defensive backfield are back for the Longhorns along with nickelback Aaron Williams, providing them with more collective experience for this season’s rematch.

The Longhorns’ secondary has played well during their first two games of the season, although none of the early opponents have been as proficient in passing as Texas Tech.

Texas has not allowed more than 200 passing yards in either of their first two games. Thomas and Brown have produced four pass breakups apiece. And Texas opponents have completed only 5 of 22 passes on third down.

Harrell and Crabtree are both gone. But the Red Raiders arrive with their gunslinger du jour in Taylor Potts, who leads the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes.

The Red Raiders’ retooled passing attack will be facing a secondary that has more experience and moxie than before.

“It’s just not me, but the entire secondary has grown up a lot,” Thomas said. “We’ve been playing lights out for the last two weeks. Everybody has grown up and it’s paying off for us. We’ll be ready.”

Gideon said he’s similarly excited in facing the Red Raiders, although he doesn’t feel any personal demons will be exorcised by playing against them again.

“We’re a year better and it’s because of all the experience we had last season,” Gideon said. “Since going through the adversity of the Tech game, we’ve all grown up. It's caused us to be a lot more prepared than we were before.”

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