AUSTIN, Texas -- Last week Kenny Vaccaro donned Fozzy Whittaker’s number.
This week it will be wide receiver Marquise Goodwin wearing the No. 2.
“What a tribute to their fallen senior player that they wanted to send that message not only to him, but to our team and everybody else,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.
Whittaker was lost for the season at Missouri with a knee injury in the first quarter. After that injury, several of the players stepped up and said they were playing the rest of the season for him.
No one wore his jersey number against Kansas State because it was senior day and Whittaker was part of the ceremony. But Vaccaro and Goodwin were the first two to ask to wear it, so Brown and Whittaker went along with it.
“Fozzy is really excited about it, and we thought it was neat that one defensive player and one offensive player, both juniors, decided that they would honor the senior,” Brown said. “And I think it's a fitting way for Fozzy to go to Waco for his last game.”
Going for Distance
Justin Tucker looked past all the high fives and pats on the back. And when he did, the kicker realized, aside from the game-winning 40-yard field goal to beat Texas A&M, there were some flaws in his game.
Tucker averaged just 34.5 yards per punt with a long of 41 against the Aggies.
Tucker said he was simply hitting the ball too high allowing the wind to slow its progress.
“Going into this week, I'm really trying to just focus on getting more distance out of my punts,” he said. “It sounds like it's pretty simple because it is.
“A lot of guys who are specialists, kickers or punters or sometimes even quarterbacks, they'll be a head case and say, well, I need to change this about what I'm doing, and then it leads to inconsistencies. So what I'm trying to do is just keep it simple.”
That’s always been Tucker’s ways, at least ever since he got a piece of advice from an old linebacker.
“My grandfather, when I was a junior in high school, gave me the best advice,” Tucker said. “He wasn't a kicker, he was a linebacker back in the day, but he told me, just kick the ball. It's pretty simple. Just kick it as hard as you can, and the rest will take care of itself. As far as going through this week, punting, I'm just going to try to kick it farther.”
Stating their Case
Case McCoy stepped up when he had too.
Now his teammates are stepping up and stumping for the sophomore.
“I didn't really realize how he managed the game until after I got to watch it that night,” lineman Mason Walters said. “I think he did a great job as a group leader of a corps of guys. Not enough can be said about it. He did a great job managing the game, the situation. He kept everybody calm in the huddle and was able to pull off the win.”
“Through last week, that was a really tough game, and seeing him come through at the very end for us and to be poised and to make the plays, it's just amazing,” guard David Snow said. “I've blocked for both brothers now, and to see him just take off on the run and get us into field goal position, it's something words can't describe.”
“He is resilient and he is a fighter,” linebacker Emmanuel Acho said. “He has a will to win that surpasses all his other talents. That's what he showed right there at the end of the game. I told him before the game, ‘Never be frightened. Never be shaken. We have your back at all times.’ Seeing him on that last drive to just lead us to victory was awesome.”