Texas heads to Iowa State for next Big 12 Championship eliminator

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Longhorns moved back into the good graces of the polls after a win against Kansas State Saturday.

No. 22 Texas is in must-win mode for the remainder of the regular season needing several scenarios to fall into place to reach the Big 12 Championship game.

Iowa State (5-4, 3-3) will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak and rebound from a difficult loss against Oklahoma.

Texas head coach Tom Herman met with the media to discuss the road game at Iowa State.

Opening Statement:

“Excited about the win. Much-needed. I thought our guys responded really well to the early adversity in that game. Part of being on the ropes you don’t get off of them with just one game, one win. Us, rushing for 214 yards and getting the ball back with 6:45 on the clock and getting the win with double-zeroes. That being said, we’ve got to move on. Very good, well-coached Iowa State team. They probably feel like their backs are against the wall.”

Injury Report

Junior Angilau- MCL sprain (week-to-week)
Collin Johnson- hamstring tweak (day-to-day)
Chris Brown- cleared last Friday (will be ready this week)
Jeffrey McCulloch- progressing better
DeMarvion Overshown- cleared, but dealing with shoulder pain
Jordan Whittington- dealing with soreness

On if Herman thinks offense is starting slow:

“It’s not something we’ve talked about. I haven’t thought about it. I know we’ve won four of those conference games. It’s not something we’ve actively talked about.”

On defense showing sign of improvement:

“Huge, the confidence aspect of it certainly…especially with what Kansas State had been doing the last few weeks. We settled down and we played much better on first and second down. We executed. You go into a game plan and you say here’s the three or four first and second down calls without a blitz and here’s the three or so blitz calls. You don’t go and start drawing stuff in the dirt. Things weren’t looking real good, to have those guys be as confident to their teammates as they were. At the end of the day, we stopped the run and kept them in second and long and third and long.”

On defensive scheme and fighting through struggles:

“There’s no other choice. If you don’t, you’re doomed to fail. You don’t change anything in the middle of the season. We’ve got to coach it better and you guys have to buy-in.”

Malcolm Epps playing more sets with TE Cade Brewer out:

“More of that going forward with Cade Brewer out. Reese graded out as a champion, but is not quite the guy out there in space. If we wanted to get out in space with detached formations, we figured it was best to jog another receiver out there. It affords us a chance to get Collin Johnson in the slot, too. It’s a way for us to get Johnson some snaps in the slot in the pass game, but also have some better athletes out there on the perimeter with blocking.”

On postgame message about outside noise and if it is affecting the team:

“Trying to educate our fans really on what to believe and what not to believe. I pay no mind to it. If you want proof of how this team’s doing, watch the game. You saw a team Saturday that was completely united, love each other, and play really hard for one another. Hopefully, our fans can be cautious with what they choose to believe.”

On Keaontay Ingram’s steady improvement:

“Strength, the dude is pushing 230 pounds right now. He’s squatting more than he ever has in his life and when you do that…you’re going to see an added burst. If there’s a running back in the country that’s healthy, you’re going to have to show him to me. The nagging part of the knee deal has subsided where he feels pretty fresh.

On Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy:

“This is life in the Big 12…you go from great quarterback to great quarterback. I think last year when he burst on the scene…you could tell he had a lot of moxie. He’s the sixth leading passer in the country in terms of yards per game.”

On third year at Texas and expectations:

“The expectations from our fans, from the media…they’re never going to be as high as what’s inside our building. We have tremendously high expectations. I don’t think it’s any different. I think it could be if you let the outside noise affect you both when it’s really good and really bad because it can be a bit louder here. I think we have done a really good job as a program of tuning that out and turning up the messages that are in the program.”

On preparing for cold in Ames:

“No, I don’t know what you do. Thankfully, it’s going to be pretty chilly tomorrow so our guys will practice outside tomorrow. Temperature is way down the list of weather phenomenon. You don’t ever alter or think of the impact of temperature…20 mile an hour wind that will affect what you do. Cold doesn’t really affect your game plan.”

Significance of Chris Brown returning:

“The guy flies around. He’s physical as all get out. We’ll see with a giant cast on his hand…we’ll see if he can catch a pass or wrap up. His energy is contagious. Before he got injured, we don’t have captains on special teams, he was the leader of the special forces unit. (Early) we knew we were going to have a hard time keeping this guy off the field.”

On Iowa State physical passing attack and Kolar:

“Difficult. They’re just so physical in the pass game. Even so much so that we didn’t have pads on and we’re talking to B.J. and Caden…these guys will flipper you and shove you and body you up…we’ve got to stand out ground on option routes. They do a heckuva job in terms of play design and in the run game it’s just as significant.”

On difficulty of winning on the road and altering playing style:

“I think playing complimentary football the way that we did. To be able to beat Kansas State the way that we did, I think is exciting. Obviously, we have to replicate that in the coming weeks. It’s harder to win on the road…that’s why it’s called a homefield advantage…especially if you allow the climate to be a distraction. Fan support (there) is pretty phenomenal. We have proven…we feel West Virginia’s atmosphere is pretty dang good. We didn’t play real good in Fort Worth. It’s harder to win on the road but it’s not something we lower are expectations.”

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