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November 6, 2012--There's no question LB Steve Edmond is making big strides as Texas' middle linebacker the last two games, including an 8-tackle performance (with a big, third-down pass breakup) against Texas Tech.
But on Tuesday, Edmond said he feels like he was a big part of the reason Texas lost to West Virginia and Oklahoma.
"I felt like the OU and West Virginia games were on me, because I'm the middle linebacker and I'm supposed to be the leader of the defense," Edmond said.
Edmond was very candid in talking about how comfortable he was with Jordan Hicks on the field because "Jordan would tell me what to do. Then he was gone, and the pressure was on me."
Edmond said the up-tempo offenses of West Virginia and Oklahoma were very difficult to make calls against and his confidence took a beating in those contests. He said he also felt pressure to live up to the expectations of his teammates.
"At first, I didn't know what I was doing, then I started knocking people back," Edmond said.
As Edmond and the rest of the linebackers, such as Kendall Thompson, got better, the run defense and the ability to limit big plays began to improve.
"It was all gap cancellation," senior safety Kenny Vaccaro said Tuesday. "If guys aren't doing their assignment, it leads to big holes. We started to correct it against Kansas, and Steve did a great job canceling the gaps."
Edmond told a funny story about when he was the placekicker at Daingerfield and how he missed "five or six extra points in a row" during a district game. He said Daingerfield's public address announcer said after the next touchdown when Edmond trotted on the field to attempt the extra point, "Daingerfield is going to attempt another extra point."
Edmond said he was so upset by the PA announcer, he made the next two extra points, "And that announcer was fired the next day," he said, laughing.
Edmond said he was upset he didn't make the interception on a pass deflection he made on a critical third down in the fourth quarter against Texas Tech.
"Every day after practice I work on catching passes with one hand," he said. "I should have had that."
--Johnathan Gray said RB Malcolm Brown looks like he's over the ankle injury that caused him to miss five games.
"Malcolm's looking good," Gray said. "Each back is getting reps, and we'll see what the coaches have in store for the game plan against Iowa State."
--Kenny Vaccaro said Tuesday's practice was good and physical "just like the last two weeks."
"The practices are getting better," Vaccaro said. "If we keep practicing hard, we'll get better. When you're playing good football, you're building confidence. After the OU loss, we got back to being more violent and wreckless in practice, and I think it's paying off."
When I asked Vaccaro if Mack Brown's presence in more of the defensive meetings lately had made an impact, Vaccaro said, "Probably for the younger guys. They were probably more on their Ps and Qs."
--WR Jaxon Shipley said QB David Ash has reasserted himself as the leader of the offense.
"Last week, you could just see David displaying leadership and really commanding the huddle," Shipley said. "I feel like he's a junior or senior with the way he's running things, and he's only a sophomore."
--The Big 12 and SEC Tuesday announced their postseason bowl game beginning New Year's Night 2015 will be known as the Sugar Bowl and will be played in New Orleans for 12 years and be televised by ESPN.
Clearly, Mike Slive flexed his muscles and took Jerry Jones to the ground on this one. The 75-year history between the SEC and New Orleans outweighed the 16-year history of the Big 12 with the Cotton Bowl.