Although football is often characterized by its physicality and aggression, senior cornerback Quandre Diggs often internalizes the psychological factors. It’s not unusual for the emotions of the game to overcome him — especially after Texas loses.
“After [our game against] UCLA, I didn’t talk, text or communicate with people for two days,” Diggs said. “I was a little down.”
Diggs agrees that the Longhorns’ 20-17 loss restored some pride to his team name, showing the country that Texas could battle against top-15 teams. Regardless, he can’t stand feeling like his team put forth anything but its best effort.
“We need to go out and play our best ball,” Diggs said. “We can go a long way once we’re all in, and the seniors are in. We should’ve been getting it from week one.”
Though Texas executed a strong 38-7 win against North Texas by pairing junior quarterback David Ash’s 190 passing yards with four Texas interceptions, it’s since fallen short of opponents 61-24. The team showed glimpses of promise in many areas on the field — for one, sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes has gained confidence behind center while Texas’ defense is upping its accountability.
But entering conference play this week, the Longhorns know it’s time to take their game to the next level. Players’ goals for the season include recording a certain number of tackles or receptions, scoring a baseline number of points and securing an interception each quarter. But Diggs said all he needs is one goal — to win.
“When you win, you take care of it all,” Diggs said. “When we go out and win, that changes everything — it really changes everyone’s whole view of us.”
Diggs doesn’t see winning as unattainable. Acknowledging that the team is still zero-zero in conference play, Diggs hopes for a conference championship ring come December — a luxury Texas hasn’t merited since Diggs and the class of 2011 stepped on campus. Even fifth-year players, such as seniors wide receiver John Harris and linebacker Jordan Hicks, have no sense of the ring’s feel on their fingers. The players do know what it’s like to hope for such bling, though, as they were within 30 minutes of the coveted Big 12 title last December.
Remembering last season's game against Baylor motivates Texas players, Diggs said. The team isn’t that different than the 2013 team, who positioned themselves well through regular season play. Last year, too, Texas opened 1-2 but rebounded with big wins against Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia. In Big 12 play this year, Diggs is ready to achieve those same heights.
“If I have to go out and do more, I’ll do more,” Diggs said. “We need everyone on board to win.”