Paul Boyette is Texas’ Voice of Reason

 

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The magic has run dry. The season is over. The sky is falling.

If you’ve had any of these thoughts the last 36 hours—just admit it, you have—Monday morning’s Texas football press conference was a forum for a rebuttal. And senior defensive lineman Paul Boyette is your voice of reason.

After giving up 50 points to Cal Saturday night, both Boyette and his head coach, Charlie Strong, agree that there’s nothing broken beyond repair with Texas’ defense. In the words of the latter, “these things are fixable.”

Strong also praised his young defensive players—Breckyn Hager, Malcolm Roach, and Brandon Jones specifically—and mentioned that he needed to get them on the field sooner than later.

But what about the other players, the men in the trenches who’ll trudge to practice every day for the next two weeks with a 50-point albatross around their necks? The perspective of the average fan, at least on Twitter as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, was that Texas didn’t prepare for Cal well enough.

“Most of the guys on the team feel we underachieved,” Boyette said Monday morning. “Our preparation was fantastic. We didn’t execute.” The 300-pounder was in on five tackles and broke up a pass against Cal.

Strong did specifically call out one pregame ritual that he thinks affected the mindset of his players. Normally, he makes every player travel in a coat and tie. For the Cal game, he allowed the Longhorns to wear sweats. He says that experiment is over.

“It’s a business trip,” he said. “Every game is an interview.”

Boyette said there was some apprehension from the upperclassmen before traveling to Berkeley.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” he says the seniors asked Strong. “I think it’s about maturity level. It’s not going to happen again.”

Boyette also addressed the calls for defensive coordinator Vance Bedford’s job. Strong demoted offensive coordinators Joe Wickline and Shawn Watson after Texas scored only three points to open the 2015 season. After Strong sidestepped questions about Bedford’s job security, Boyette placed the blame on himself and his teammates.

“Coach Bedford doesn’t play football anymore,” he said. “He shouldn’t take the blame; it’s the defense. It’s on us.”

After acknowledging the sting of losing to an unranked team in such an ugly fashion—”This is going to hurt for a while,” he said—Boyette is feeling optimistic and relishes the opportunity for Texas to grow in the face of adversity.

“It’s a good thing for it to happen early, to knock us off our horse,” he said. “The team has to mold back together. Our season begins in Stillwater.”

Image courtesy Texas Athletics.

 

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