October 9, 2007

40 Acres Report: Charles in charge?

Jamaal Charles is still the starting running back for the Texas Longhorns, but the Texas coaches sent a message on Monday afternoon that putting an end to the junior's fumbling problems will be one of the key points of emphasis this week in practice.

"We cannot drop the ball regardless of what happens," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "We cannot lose the football."

Brown called Charles' recent fumbling problems an in-house matter and declined to go into detail about the matter, but when he was asked if the issue had reached a boiling point and if it might be time to start splitting up the carries at the running back position, he didn't give a strong vote of confidence.

"I don't know," Brown replied when asked if Charles; workload would decrease in light of the fumbles. "That's something we'll have to talk about this week. He's really playing hard and he's making good plays. It's just that he had two tough plays on Saturday."

When asked about his level of concern over the matter, Brown replied, "Those are things we discuss inside."

While Brown declined to go into much detail, Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis echoed Brown's comments.

"He's done a lot of good things, but obviously we've got to do a better job of ball protection," Davis said.

When asked if he would have to consider changing the distribution of the carries in the running game if the problems remain, Davis admitted that it's something he'll be forced to consider.

"Yes, I would think it would have to be. I think it would have to be a situation (we look at) if it continued on," Davis said.

Time to start forcing turnovers
If there was a theme on the 40 Acres on Monday, it focused on the team's needs to improve in the turnover department.

As Brown stated numerous times, the offense has to stop turning it over and the defense must find a way to create a few.

In the first two Big 12 games of the season the Longhorns have committed six turnovers and they've yet to force any. If you're looking for a reason why the Longhorns are two games back in the Big 12 standings, look no further.

"We've got to improve the turnover ratio," Brown said. "I think it's the biggest factor right now in our problems both ways. We're giving up too many big plays. We're having some turnovers and we're not forcing any turnovers."

Brown added that the play of the defense in general has been solid in recent weeks, but they are having a tough time in taking the next step in their evolution as a defense.

"I think if you look on defense, we're playing good, but not great," Brown said. "That's our problem. We're playing good defense, we're in the right places, we're trying, we're being sound, we're hitting people, but we're still giving up the big plays and we're not forcing turnovers. A defense that is not forcing turnovers is not winning games. That's what we've got to do."

Here comes a familiar foe

One of the big storylines this week will center on the Longhorns facing ex-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik for the first time since he left Austin at the end of last season.

According to Brown, the Longhorn coaching staff has to make sure that they don't outthink themselves this week.

"I've coached against my brother three times and the tendency was to think about what he thought we would do and try to change everything, so he wouldn't know what we were doing," Brown said. "If you're not careful, you'll screw it up. I think we can put too much into familiarity because the team that plays the best that day is going to win and you don't know what play he's going to call."

Brown added that the real concern that the staff has with Chizik's familiarity with the program has nothing to do with the players.

"I don't think (knowing) personnel is that big of a deal because you can see that on film," Brown added. The thing that is big is snap counts and checks. Those are the big things that are in-house that people don't have. Signals (are another). All of those things are different this week. We'll change all of those things this week. Those are the things that matter."

Quote of the Day (Part I)

"We're a long way from doing anything except trying to get back on track and win against Iowa State. That's the only goal that is important to us right now."

Mack Brown on his team

Quote of the Day (Part II)

"I think we disguise them better than we ever have."
Brown on his team's blitz packages

Quote of the Day (Part III)

"It's coaching. It's on me."

Brown on what has to happen to ensure that the team plays the rest of the season with the same focus and intensity that it showed in losing to Oklahoma.

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