Coach Dan Mullen Monday Press Conference

Coach Dan Mullen Monday Press Conference

"Obviously a tough week for us, outside of football, with Dak Prescott's mom Peggy passing away early Sunday morning. I know within the program obviously, we're a very tight-knit family program and when someone in our family has to go through something like that it's always a very, very difficult situation. Our prayers are always with him and our prayers are with the whole family."

"I thank everybody out there that has been sharing their prayers with Dak and his family and I know that's much appreciated. I know they thank everybody for respecting their privacy and all the stuff that they're having to going to go through as a family right now."

"But it's a very, very difficult situation for all of us to see. Fortunately both my parents are still alive, but to see one of our young men and someone we care so much have to go through this is very, very difficult. I know all his teammates are there, a lot of them were here yesterday supporting him. And he's been able to get home and spend time with his family. We were able to get him there yesterday."

"The game this week for us, obviously is going to be a tough challenge playing one of the best if not the best offenses in the country. You say that through a consistency standpoint, I think the lowest number of points they've scored in a game is 41. A lot of teams put up huge numbers, statistics can sometimes be deceiving because you want to do it consistently. When 41 is their lowest point total, obviously they're a very, very explosive offense. They've done a great job, they have a lot of talented players. You look, they had several first-round draft picks last year, it looks like they're going to have a bunch more first-round draft picks this year. So, obviously an extremely talented football team that we have to go play. And (we're) playing the defending Heisman Trophy winner. So we go last week from playing the best defensive player in the country, to this week playing probably the best offensive player in the country. So, a great challenge for our guys."

"Injury report, I know you guys love this: (Ferlando) Bohanna's out, Josh Creekmore out, Torrey Dale out, Brandon Hill out, Jay Hughes out, Justin Malone out, Gus Walley out, Jordan Washington out, Tobias Smith out, and Dee Arrington out this week. Everybody else we expect to be available for the game."

What are some of your thoughts of Dak's mother? "Well, obviously a very, very strong mom. The best way I can judge somebody is how she raised her son. And you know, I hope my son turns out like Dak. He's a guy that is a great student, is a great football player. You know, is a great effort guy, a teammate and a leader, does everything the right way and does it as hard as he possibly can. Going through everything she's had to go through, the love that she has not just for Dak but all her sons is pretty amazing in how tight-knit a family they were. And the pride she takes in them. And obviously the fact, I look in to know here through recruiting and all that stuff, how strong was with him and how strong he was in his belief in coming here. He had a lot of different opportunities throughout recruiting, she wanted him here. And the character he's had since he's been here and how they handled all the ups and downs since he's been here. She's been amazing and very, very supportive of him all along, and obviously a great mom."

With Johnny Manziel is it as simple as pick your poison? "Well, it is. I mean there's a little bit of everything. There's obviously his ability to run the football which you have to defend against; his ability to throw the football which you have to defend against. And then the third one is his ability to improvise. And in improvising he can run or throw. That is where the difficult problem comes in. Because if you defend him in the run game--they have unbelievable running backs and a great offensive line—but if you can slow them down, you're sound, somebody has the quarterback, the running back, we're all gap-sound and make plays in the run game; you have to be able to defend their receivers. I know their coach is promoting their receiver for a Heisman Trophy over a guy that already has one! I mean that shows how prolific that is."

"So you can match up that and stop the run and then you stop the pass, it's #3 that comes and gets you. Which is the improvisational skills of him to extend. To take a pass play and extend it into a big pass play. A short throw, he scrambles around and launches it deep on you; a deep throw and he scrambles around and takes off running for a big play. Those are the type of things that make them such a prolific offense."

Looking at film was the turnovers at South Carolina just one of those days? "What we did in the first six games of the season, or seven games of the season, somebody in here jinxed us whoever was doing that last week! Thanks, good job! No, you look at each one of them, a very different reason for each one of them happening. And give South Carolina credit, those guys made plays and were running to the football. Usually when you play hard and run to the ball good thing happen. Some of them were tipped and when some ball is tipped in the right way you could say you get lucky; I'm a big believer that the ball bounces into the guy that goes hard, not the hands of the guys that are lucky. So you give them credit for being in those positions to make some of those plays as well."

Can you assess the job Blaine Clausell did with Jadeveon Clowney? "In looking at it, I mean I was wrong in talking to our team, I thought he was going to make the play, we can't let the big play affect us when he goes out and makes that big play. I don't know, he still had a couple of tackles and a tipped ball. But I think overall throughout the plan, and our guys handled situations well. Whether they were one-on-one on him or whether they were getting help with him."

"The thing I was happiest with was the execution of the plan, of our guys understanding whether we were going to slide a protection to him, chip him with a back coming out of the backfield, put a guy over his head to release off him to kind of slow down his rush, or single- or double-block him on the line, our guys really did a good job understanding where their help was and the guy that was ultimately responsible for him understanding where his help was and being in the right position to get the job done. And a lot of times in the course, especially a player like that even with that he's still going to win. I think because they good job executing the plan that they knew where the help was going to be, and I guess you could say kind of contained his impact on the game."

You've said losses are never as bad as they seem, are you able to see the film think the team was good for all but five to ten plays? "Well, it was. Because you look, defensively 50% of their possessions were three-and-outs which is what you want. Unfortunately we gave them the ball three times deep in our own territory, which that's hard to defend from. And we had a couple on their actual drives, where they drove the ball, we gave up big plays. One where we've got them in 2nd-and-long situation and we blitz and don't get home and they throw a screen. They call a great call into the blitz." "You look at that stuff, there's a lot of positives. I thought we moved the ball. To think we had almost double the number of first downs than they had, we had more yards than they had. And we turned it over five times. If we hadn't turned over the ball, what the execution would have been? So you can see a lot of the things. I mean there's nothing good about a loss. And losses are terrible. Wins are great. Now, how you get to them? That's why I say it's never as bad or never as good as it seems. How you got there is usually pretty close, but the end result is very drastically different and the process of getting there is very close."

You talked last year about how the Alabama loss snowballed, how do you prevent that this season? "It's just such a different whole deal in that deal. You're 7-0 going into that Alabama game and let that one game affect another game. It's very different circumstances this year. But I mean, our guys, I don't know snowball or no snowball, you look at the teams you've played. I think the snowball of those three-straight losses, I mean all of them were top ten teams. So they have something to do with that, too, not just all of us."

"But that's what we have again this year, we have another top-15 team. I think this is our fifth so far team that is currently ranked in the top-15 that we're playing. That's why guys come here, because you want to play in those games. You come to the SEC to want to play in all these big games, and we get another one this weekend."

Will Devon Bell still punt and Evan Sobiesk still kick field goals, or will you look at practice? "Yeah, I like being successful! So I like big, long punts with great hang time. And I like field goals that go through the uprights and kickoffs that go out of the back of the end zone. So if that's the recipe for it, that's what we do. But we always evaluate practice. Just like we do with every week. Usually for the most part practice emulates what is going to happen in the game. What you see in practice is going to happen in the game. Within the kicking game this week that's what you saw, the guys that performed the best in practice played in the game and they performed at a very high level in the game. That's the norm of what happens, and that's why we evaluate practice so much."

Besides Manziel what would you do to contain Mike Evans? "Well, that's your problem. Because you can only put so many guys on so many people. And they have some great, explosive, big-time running backs that they can hand the ball off to. They have a very good receiving corps of not just one guy, of multiple guys. So if say OK, if you put two guys on Manziel and two guys on Evans; the other seven take the nine, we're two short and that could be problems for you."

"You look at all the talent they have, that's what makes them a tough offense. What you have to do is you have to execute at a very, very high level. And executing by being in the right position, by tackling the ball in the open field, by being where we need to be in coverage; you're going to force them to execute at a high level. If Johnny Manziel scrambles around and throws one up and Mike Evans jumps over our guys and catches the ball, there's not a whole lot you can do about that. What you have to avoid is he scrambles around and nobody is near Mike Evans, that's a problem. Or nobody is near another receiver, or all of a sudden they hand the ball off and nobody is in a gap. Those are the big problems, they're guys making plays are not as (big) a problem as you being sound and fundamentally where you're supposed to be. And then we have to go make the play."

Is there any thought Prescott will practice or play? "I haven't thought anything about any of that yet. As it regards to Dak it's about the family. I know they're going to look at their funeral arrangements and all that stuff and he'll have our full support."

Was Tyler Russell close to healthy? "He was. It was great that, you know, we met with the trainers and with Tyler; I guess this sounds bad, guys will get shot-up sometimes to go play games and take something for some of the pain during the game. Well, a lot of times that will hinder you a little bit during the next week of practice. Tyler didn't do any of that on Saturday, which obviously speeds-up where he is this week. He practiced last night fine, I mean he had a boot on most of last week. He practiced last night and was good. So I think the fact he didn't have to play on Saturday certainly is adding to his being 100% healthy this week. If he had had to play Saturday I'm not sure he would be 100% for this game."

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