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November 14, 2009

Post-game from Texas' 47-14 victory over Baylor

1. WACO - The Legion of Boom sucked the life out of Baylor in the first half with a three-punch combination: an interception by Aaron Williams in the end zone, a fourth-down stop by Lamarr Houston and Dustin Earnest and a sack by Chykie Brown.

After the offense got off to a great start (more on that in a minute), the defense found itself on its heels thanks to some screens by the Bears on BU's first possession. The Bears drove it from their own 28 to the Texas 4. That's when Baylor tried to beat Aaron Williams twice - first on a slant, then on a corner route to Ernest Smith.

Williams broke up the slant on second-and-goal, and Baylor came right back to him on the corner route on third-and-goal. This time, Williams intercepted the pass for a touchback.

"He's just amazing with his athletic ability," Mack Brown said of Williams. "He just sees it. He's got long arms. He's tall. He can jump. It's just a great play. Good throw. Great play by us."

Muschamp was happy to have Williams back in the lineup this week after a knee injury kept Williams out of the Central Florida game.

"That's a huge play," Will Muschamp said. "We were in a max blitz. Repped it two times in a row. They knew we were in a max blitz. They ran a blitz beater and a man beater, and he made a great play. Great players make great plays, and he made one."

The second punch in the combination came on a fourth-down stop by Houston and Earnest when Art Briles made the coaching blunder of the game by trying to quick-tempo Texas on fourth-and-1 from Baylor's own 44 down only 7-0.

"That's something we worked on," Muschamp said. "We had seen it on film, and our players did a really nice job of adjusting to that situation. They were either going to run the sneak or the bubble if you don't cover down, and our players just really executed well."

Houston said Baylor tipped off the play, and Muschamp had worked on it all week.

"They were trying to quick tempo us and keep the momentum going," Houston said. "They tried to run the quarterback sneak. Coach Muschamp told us anytime their linemen get real tight and the quarterback gets under center, it's going to be a sneak. We worked on it all week, and then we executed it on the field."

Mack Brown said Texas had been burned by that at Oklahoma State and that Muschamp did a great job of adjusting after that.

"I thought we dominated the game from beginning, and the interception in the end zone by Aaron Williams probably started it," Mack said. "But it multiplied when they didn't make it on fourth down. We got caught short-handed a couple weeks ago at Oklahoma State on a fourth down with a quick tempo. Our guys prepared, jumped into it and made the great stop."

The third punch and maybe the most critical to shattering the confidence of quarterback Nick Florence was Chykie Brown's sack in the final minute of the first quarter. Baylor had second-and-6 at the Texas 46. It would be the last time Baylor was in Texas territory until midway through the fourth quarter.

Florence dropped back, and Muschamp brought a corner blitz from Florence's blind side. Brown dropped him for a 9-yard loss. Florence threw incomplete on his next seven passes, spanning four possessions, and finished the half 1-of-8 passing after that sack.

Lamarr Houston noticed a wide-eyed change in Florence after the sack.

"Any time we can affect the quarterback in the pocket and make him uncomfortable, get him off his game, that's we want. We want to rattle him back there," Houston said.

Muschamp got exactly what he wanted from the blitz.

"It was a corner pressure," Boom said. "We bring it a lot. We generally bring it from the quarterback's backside. We haven't brought it from that hash. They were in seven-man protection. The tight end didn't scan, and we got a nice hit on the quarterback."

Even Art Briles admitted his QB was not the same after the sack.

"Honestly, I think Nick (Florence) got rattled a little bit and rightfully so," Art Briles said. "He took a hard shot from the corner blitz and had an interception early in the game. When you have not played a bunch and you don't have the snaps under your belt to where you are able to shake stuff off, that can wear on you a little bit."


2. Texas had a field day on the ground, as Baylor opted to cover UT's receivers and play only seven in the box.

"Baylor played us different than what we thought," Mack Brown said. "They had more in the box against Missouri, and we thought they would do what Central Florida did and keep them in the box and force us to throw it. But they spread out today and let us run the ball better."

Mack was more than willing to work on his run game under those conditions. Cody Johnson ran for 109 yards (his first 100-yard game since the Texas A&M game last season) and Texas' first 100-yard back since Vondrell McGee ran for 104 yards against UTEP. (UT has had only two 100-yard backs this season.)

"We felt like to win down the stretch, we're going to have to run the ball some," Mack said. "If Colt gets dinged or if they just decide to man up, double team everyone else outside and force you to run it, you have to run it. And that's what we were able to do today."

Greg Davis said the team simplified some things in the run game this week.

"We focused this week on some things we wanted to run," Davis said. "So rather than touching on eight, nine, ten, twelve runs during the course of the week, we focused on about four things. By doing that, we were able to give it the base look, the counter base look, the blitz look. We were able to give each one of those runs a lot of time versus a lot of different looks. And I think it helped."


3. Cody Johnson ran over, around and through people … oh … and he can catch, too.

Johnson ran for 12 and 14 yards on his second and third carries of the game. It was a good omen. He added a 16-yard run in the second quarter. He had five carries in the second half - for 6, 8, 6, 2 and 4 yards before turning things over to Tre' Newton.

"Cody played great," Colt McCoy said. "He's a tough runner. He'll wear defenses out. Then, you've got a guy like Tre' Newton or Fozzy or Vondrell who will come in and make big plays. Tre made one today. Cody is just a workhorse. They all played well. We just have to keep rolling."

Mack Brown was pleased with how Johnson handled an increased workload. Coaches wanted to get him 15 to 20 carries, and Cody got 19.

"Cody played really, really well," Mack said. "We're seeing that. We didn't know how many carries he could handle. We took him out right after halftime. But he played really well. He was in good condition. He handled the heat and he kept moving the pile. That's what we think he can do."

Greg Davis said he was pleased with Johnson in the passing game.

"For the first time we gave Cody extended duty," Davis said. "There were certain plays we didn't run with Cody. There were certain plays in the passing game that we said, 'Hey, let's just give him a chance and see what he'll do.' He caught the ball well when we checked the ball down to him. He ran well. He picked up the blitz every time he had to. So as the game went on, he got lathered up and got to playing. So really pleased with that."

Cody said his confidence is high right now.

"If you practice like you're supposed to, you're not nervous in the game," Cody said. "If you practice right, you're going to play right. Our O-line did their job, so we can have those long runs like that all the time.

"I'm trying to get more involved in the passing game and be an all-around back. Being able to catch the ball for five yards and then make something out of it. That's what you need to be an all-around back, and having the check-down so Colt can throw to an R-B.

"We just wanted to show the world and other teams we can run the ball. We're not just one-dimensional with the pass game. WE can actually line up and run the ball against teams, and they are going to have to respect the run instead of trying back everyone up to stop Colt. They got to respect the run and the pass."


4. There was a Tre' Newton sighting.

After his concussion in the Colorado game, Newton hadn't gotten much reps at running back. But after the coaches brought him back slowly, Newton was back to his old self on Saturday (despite UT's only turnover with a fumble with 32 seconds left in the third quarter and UT up 40-0.

Newton ran seven times for 82 yards (11.4 ypc), and served up a wicked cut that left Baylor safety Mike Hicks falling backward en route to a 45-yard TD run. The 45-yarder was the longest scoring run of the season for UT.

"The line did a great job," Newton said. "It feels good being back. The doctors made me go through a series of tests to make sure it was safe for me to return. They brought me back slowly. After a hit like that, they just wanted to make sure I was OK. We practice at a high tempo, so my conditioning was good. It was an exciting week for me. It was fun being out there."

Greg Davis said it was good having Newton back.

"Tre' never looks like much is happening," Davis said. "But something is always happening. He's a very patient, slithery runner. On the long run, we got him to the second level. The safety was there, and he just doesn't make the play, and then it becomes an explosive run. The combination of those two guys did a really good job for us today."

Newton, who had only six carries in the three games since the Colorado game when he suffered the concussion, said he gets energized from watching Cody Johnson run.

"Cody's been doing a great job," Newton said. "Big back, runs straight downhill. When Cody runs, everyone gets excited because he's real physical, and he's able to run over just about anyone out there.

"That pumps me up on the sideline when he's doing that. And he has good hands for a big man. Cody brings the wood. He brings it hard. I'm not as big as him. I try to be physical.

"I fumbled today, and I don't like doing that. We all have things to work on and not get complacent."


5. Colt McCoy tied Georgia's David Greene for most career victories (42) by a quarterback in NCAA history.

"That's special," said McCoy, who can break the record next week against Kansas. "It's a tribute to great coaches and great teammates. I couldn't do it without them. Every time you step on the field, you do your best to help your team win. And I felt like I played really well in the first half and was able to take advantage of some opportunities that they gave us."

McCoy finished 23 of 34 passing for 181 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. McCoy played all but one series in the third quarter and then turned it over to Garrett Gilbert. McCoy's numbers from the game may not jump off the screen to Heisman voters, but Mack Brown had an explanation.

"When you're ahead of someone 40-0 at halftime, for him to put up numbers, you're going to have to run it up, and we didn't want to do that," Brown said.

Brown, however, was excited for McCoy to tie the all-time wins record for a QB.

"We thought he was good, but obviously we didn't think he'd have 42 wins at this point in his career with some time left," Mack said. "We're really excited about him.

"The most important stat of any quarterback is how many games you win, and he's won a bunch. He's said himself he hasn't won a championship yet, and that's what he wants to do. He's won some bowl championships, but he hasn't won a league championship, and that's what he's after."


6. Yes, the Longhorn players were fully aware Art Briles voted Texas No. 5 in his final ballot in the coaches' poll last season.

Colt McCoy, Lamarr Houston, Jordan Shipley and Cody Johnson all acknowledged the players were aware that Briles voted UT fifth in his final coaches' poll ballot last season. But none of them wanted to comment on it.

Only Sergio Kindle ventured to say something. When asked if Texas made a statement to Briles with a 40-0 lead at halftime before calling off the dogs, Kindle said, "I would hope so."


7. How about Kenny Vaccaro's punt block that resulted in a 16-yard punt to the Baylor 29, setting up a touchdown drive aided by Baylor penalties.

"Vaccaro is probably one of the hardest hitters on the team," Aaron Williams said. "He works really hard. And if he gets a clear shot, he's going to give you a big hit. He's given me some pretty good licks in practice. And he gets in that film room and works.

"On special teams he's another one of our weapons, whether he's sticking someone or blocking a kick."


8. Eddie Jones is a true success story … and he didn't get caught from behind.

Jones returned an interception 60 yards for a TD with 7:37 left in the fourth quarter, giving Texas its 10th non-offensive touchdown this season (six special teams, four defense), which is the most in UT history.

"Eddie's been through a lot with his shoulder injuries and surgeries, so I think it's pretty special when a guy like that keeps coming back, battling, and makes a huge play like that. I'm happy for him," Lamarr Houston said.

"I was so happy for him," said LB Emmanuel Acho. "I wish I would have had the energy to run down there with him. But all I could do was throw my longhorns up in the air."

(The defense also notched a safety with 1:28 left in the second quarter, when Sam Acho stripped RB Terrance Gunaway. The ball rolled into the end zone, where Chykie Brown nearly recovered it for a fumble, but knocked into Keenan Robinson. Baylor recovered in the end zone.)

Muschamp said the defense worked all week on having the ends get their hands up on passes because of Baylor's reliance on short passes and screens.

"We had a jet call, and they were doing some things to get our ends up the field on some screens," Muschamp said. "And for Eddie it was a heads up play. He's a former tight end, got good ball skills and made a great play.

"Some of these screens, they had a hard time getting the ball down the field, so in the quick throwing game, the defensive line did a good job of picking up on some of these things."

The players and coaches were ready to give Jones grief if the big fella got caught from behind on his pick-six.

"I'm happy for him," Mack Brown said. "He's had so many injuries and so many setbacks. But for him to make that play and score. I think the guys would have been pretty hard on him if he didn't score, so I think Eddie was running to save face."


9. No Roddrick Muckelroy … no problem. Thanks to the heady play of Dustin Earnest and Emmanuel Acho.

Earnest got the start and came up huge on the fourth-down stop against Baylor in the first quarter. Emmanuel Acho also played some middle linebacker after working there most of the week.

His interception came when he was back at weakside linebacker with 1:31 left in the third. That pick gave Texas the ball at the Baylor 39, but Tre' Newton fumbled three plays later at the BU 26 to thwart a primo scoring opportunity.

"His knee was a little bit swollen during the week," Mack Brown said. "We thought he'd be fine, but he didn't get to practice enough. So he could have played today. But we felt like the other guys had earned the right during the week to play.

"And he hadn't practiced enough, so that's what we did. We even took Aaron Williams out early because he was a little sore, and we said get out because we've got a lot of guys who can play now.

"But it was a big day for Dustin Earnest. I was glad for him to get the start and play well. He's probably going to sleep good tonight."

Muschamp said Muckelroy should be back for the Kansas game next week.

"He twinged his knee," Muschamp said. "He probably could have played. But he wasn't 100 percent. If he's not 100 percent and can't cut it loose for the Longhorns, he's not going to play. He didn't feel totally comfortable with it. He's a very mature kid. He was great in his conversations with myself and Coach Brown. He'll be fine."


10. You know when Aaron Williams is in a game and when he isn't. Just follow the ball because that's where he'll be.

On his interception, Williams said, "It's just another play that a DB is supposed to make. I saw the ball in the air, and I figured I needed to high point and go get it."

Williams said his knee is fine.

"I'll be all right for next week," Williams said.

Williams said he thought they might come back to him after the slant because he was in man-to-man coverage. But he said he didn't take it personally.

"I hope they throw balls to me. I pray that quarterbacks throw balls my way, it just means I have a chance to make big plays on defense," Williams said.

Boom.


OTHER NOTES:

--Mack Brown said he challenged a call in the first quarter because the defensive coaches believed Baylor WR Willie Jefferson went out of bounds without being touched, then came back in bounds to make an 11-yard reception to the Texas 5.

Upon further review, the play stood as called - a catch. But the challenge ended up being a good time out for the defense, which got chance to gather itself. Three plays later, Aaron Williams intercepted Nick Florence in the end zone.

--Texas has won 10 games for a ninth straight season. The players had the slogan this week, "All in for 10 wins."

--Over the last four games, Colt McCoy has completed 98-of-128 passes (76.6 percent) for 1,091 yards and eight TDs with two INTs for a passer rating of 165.7.

--McCoy extended his own school record with a TD pass in 27 straight games (the longest active streak in the nation).

--Jordan Shipley (six catches for 46 yards and two TDs, including yet another double move on a 7-yard TD pass from Colt) moved into second on UT's all-time receptions list with 213, passing Quan Cosby (212, 2005-08) and trailing only Roy Williams (241, 2000-03).

--Shipley now has 1,096 receiving yards for the season, just shy of Kwame Cavil's school-record, 1,188 yards during the 1999 season.

--Shipley also has 81 catches for the season, 20 shy of breaking Kwame Cavil's record of 100 in 1999.

--The attendance was 44,372 and 60 percent of it was burnt orange.

--UT is now 12-0 vs. Baylor under Mack Brown. UT has scored 40 or more against Baylor in 10 of the last 11 meetings, while holding BU to 14 or less in nine of the last 11.

--The first-team defense, which only played one drive into the second half, allowed just 41 yards on 37 (1.1 ypp) plays (minus-27 yards rushing and 68 yards passing).

--UT has held its opponents to 14 points or less in eight of 10 games this season, including seven straight. Muschamp wasn't real happy with the way the LOB finished the game.

"I think we're playing well, lot of confidence," Muschamp said. "The first series we were a little out of sorts with the screens. Didn't cover down as well. Didn't leverage the ball as well. And it seems like we've had that issue in a couple games. It's something we need to address.

"And I wish we would have finished the game better. We played really well, really dominant defense and then to let them score two times at the end of the game was not a good service for our first group."


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