Sophomore receiver Terrence Austin takes responsibility for the three alleged dropped passes he had against Washington State, talks about stepping up with others hurt, returning punts, and more...
We talked to wide receiver Terrence Austin this week.
What did the coaches tell you after the drops against Washington State?
“Nothing much, just telling me suck it up and be ready to play. So this week going against Arizona, they told me they need me this week so I’m going to forget about last week.”
How many of those passes do you think were actually drops?
“Probably all three of them were drops.”
Taking responsibility for all of them, then?
“Yeah, I mean, the last one was kind of high, but I could have caught it.”
How much were you itching for that one in the endzone that the d-back looked like he tipped?
“I was pushing hard for that. It would have been my first touchdown, and it would have helped the team out a lot because we were in a serious situation. I was trying to make a play.”
How did it feel toward the end of the game after Brandon Breazell went down and you were basically the go-to guy?
“Yeah, everybody wants to play. I wasn’t really thinking about that. I was just thinking about the team. In that situation, we needed to get points so I just felt like my number was called and I needed to make a play.”
What was your reaction to the hit Brandon took?
“I mean, I didn’t get to see it out there, the initial contact. When I saw him on the ground, I just thought we don’t need to be losing a lot of our playmakers. I just think I gotta fill in for him now.”
Is that your worst fear as a smaller receiver, going over the middle and having to reach high for a ball with a safety bearing down on you?
“Naw, I’ve been doing it all my life, especially in high school, I was a high jumper. The quarterback’s trusting me to go up and get the big time ball over the middle. I just sucked it up and did it. So I’m pretty much used to it now, and I’m just trying to focus on catching the rock and that’s it.”
After a few days, what’s your reaction after watching film of that Wazzu game?
“We just got to capitalize when it’s time to make a big play. That’s it. Right now we’re practicing all week for this game against Arizona, and we know we’re going to be put in positions where we need to make big plays. So that’s where we’ve been focusing all week. So when it’s a third down, then we need to convert. When it’s a touchdown, we need to score a touchdown.”
How do you think you’ve progressed at punt returning over the season?
“I think I’ve been doing pretty good. The past couple of games I really haven’t gotten a chance to return anything, because we’ve had rugby punters and some of the punters aren’t that good in terms of their average, so when they’re kicking the ball 25 to 30 yards it’s pretty hard to get a return on a short kick. It’s a thin line, you want to get a nice seam on a return but you can’t get it on a short kick. But I think I’ve done pretty good for the most part when I’ve had a chance to return. I mean, I just want to get the rock and be able to return it.”
It seemed like sometimes earlier in the year you’d have pretty good spacing in front of you but you would still call for a fair catch. Was that the coaches telling you to fair catch it before the play?
“Yeah, yeah, there’s been times. We have a formula set up, if we’re back up in our own territory, we kind of want to focus on getting field position so they’ll tell me to fair catch it in that situation.”
How are you doing instinctually back there when you have options?
“Last year I was just a rookie doing it, but this year I’ve practiced every day doing it. when the ball’s going to come short, whether I call it off or whether I fair catch it or whether I just let the ball go ahead and roll, so I’ve been able to get that technique from coach (Dino) Babers and coach (Karl) Dorrell and I think I’ve got it down now.”
Talk about Brandon. What do you think when you see a guy like that getting his teeth knocked out, getting rib contustions?
“Man, right there, that goes to show you someone who has a love for the game. It’s hard to tell what any other regular person would probably do out there on the field, you know. I think most people would probably quit after they get their teeth knocked out. Brandon’s a tough kid, and I really look up to him. I did before I got here when I’ve seen him, but now after I got to know him as a person you really see how he is and how much love he has for the game. I really look up to him.”