Derek Dooley Media Transcript (Sept. 3)

Sept. 3, 2012

Opening Statement
"The thing that I was proud of is that the team that I saw at training camp showed up in the first game and that was my number one thing for those guys, just to make sure that the same team that had been performing out there in practice was reflected on game day, and it was. I was proud of the team for that.

"When you look at the three big factors of winning and losing that I always emphasize are big plays, turnovers and fourth quarter. On the big play front, the appearance is that we won it, but we really netted out zero because we gave up some big plays, too - more than we needed to, and ours were really huge plays."

"It was a net zero on the big plays, turnovers were the huge difference. We had four, but we also had that safety, so we were kind of plus four in the turnover ratio."

"Fourth quarter I was very proud of the team. We had a fourth down stop, we had two turnovers, the offense took the ball with five minutes left and grinded it down to a minute and kicked a field goal, so when you look at those critical factors, we got it done in those areas, so that was a good step for the team."

Herman is the only issue right now, coming out of the game. [Lathers is] probable for this week, it's not anything severe; he's just dinged up a little bit.

This week, looking at Georgia State, there are two real focuses for our football team. One is how much improvement we can make from week 1 to week 2, because this is always a big week of improvement for a team, cleaning up a ton of mistakes from the game and seeing if we can make a big jump. The second thing is trying to define a standard of how we compete every week regardless of the opponent, regardless of the environment, the venue. We need to learn to come out there and perform with the same intangibles, the same level of execution and intensity every week, and that's what good teams do. We have a lot to prove over time and this will be step two in proving we're a good football team."

"I thought it went great, the only hiccups we had were some headset issues. They were more device-driven than human-driven. I thought it worked out well - not a lot of things to iron out. The communication was good, the eyes in the box were good, so I think we worked on it a lot leading up to that game, so I was pleased with it."

(On who will play against Georgia State)
"We're not going to hold guys out thinking this game is not important because they all count. If [Lathers] can go, then he's going to go. If he doesn't practice this week then there's no point in playing him. We'll just take it day to day but we're not looking to hold people out. The only way to make people better is to play. He was dinged up in camp and didn't practice all the practices and it reflected in the game. The guys who play the best are the ones who go out and practice every day and that's how it's always been."

(On the linebacker line up)
"Early in camp, when we decided to put AJ at mike, he's shown a lot of progress in that area and when (Dontavis) Sapp filled in, he's done a really good job. We need and want Herman, but we need him healthy and if we don't then we have to put in the next guy to play."

(On Tyler Bray)
"He's gotten better because of his experience. He has a lot of trust in the players around him. You look at guys like Vincent Dallas and Jacob Carter making a catch, even Ben Bartholemew had a couple of real big catches on third down. Tyler's confidence in the other players shows up and when you feel like you have a quarterback who believes in you, you tend to perform better."

(On Ben Bartholomew)
"It showed up at the game and he became an even bigger piece to the puzzle with our tight end situation getting how it was. We needed him to play well and he did and it helped us. We were managing Mychal (Rivera) a little bit. He missed a lot of camp coming off the knee and we were really worried about him going out there and trying to get him 60 or 70 snaps. We had a plan not to lay Mychal a lot and he didn't like it very much but it was just important that we don't go and give him 70 snaps and then he gets hurt. The combination of Ben and Alex Bullard helped us manage Mychal a little bit.

(On tackling)
"I thought we tackled very well. We had a lot of good space tackles where those guys could have made some plays. There were a couple of missed tackles on the shout across, one on the kickoff but we've seen some significant improvement in our tackling."

(On the maturity of the team)
"We're getting older, more experienced, more mature, we're teaching them differently this year, which we needed to emphasize in practice more the right way this year."

(On Zach Fulton)
"We nominated him because he graded out the highest for us and he got a lot of yards. They have to give it to somebody, but I don't know how you get [SEC offensive lineman of the week]. It's deserving, he's played well and he had success."

(On short-yardage plays)
"It was not a surprise - it was a very big concern of mine heading into this football game. We're going to keep ironing it out; we have to get good at that. The sneak was very disappointing so that was a surprise but we have to do a better job of putting them in good situations and we're going to keep working on it and we have to be able to stick it in there and grind out another yard."

(On Marlin Lane)
"I was proud of him. He struggled a little bit at camp, the other guys played well at camp so it could have been easy for him to say, `I'm getting screwed,' but he's got a real good attitude and that's how it is in sports, you just keep sawing wood and when you get your opportunity, you take advantage of it."

"[Marlin Lane] was hurt this summer so that set him back, with the hand, and he came in and the other guys were more energized, and hungrier. It wasn't so much Marlin, but the other two had a real focus about them. Marlin was the only returner rushing and it's natural to come in and say I'm that guy, but then the other two guys came in with a way about them."

(On Alex Bullard)
"It helped us in the second half when we were hitting those powers in there, he was knocking the ends off of the ball. Obviously the other team isn't going to be fooled by the 88 when you look at him. We're going to have to use it creatively and find ways to where we can do different things, but Alex did a good job."

(On Eric Gordon)
"Well he played about 65-70 snaps. I don't know how much more involved you can get him. I don't know how much more involved you can get him. He played about 70 snaps on defense. He played on punt, rand down on kickoff. He was asking to come out of the game. I don't know what more he could do. Are we not playing him enough? Is that what you're implying? I think three guys on the whole football team played more than him. The guy made a great play on the 7 route. He really did. It was a great play. And an awesome blowup on the punt. He's doing good. I would argue the reason he's playing well is because we're locking him in at that position. Let's go teach him another position so he can screw them all up."

(On moving Maggitt and how challenging it is on him)
"You talking about playing the different positions? Probably is mentally. But I think it gives him a chance to be more of an impact player and we saw it. Him on the edge, just like that safety he made, there's not many guys out there who would've made that play. He whipped the guy, leveraged the quarterback, swallowed him up and knocked the ball out. We're hoping that puts him in a position where he can impact the game."

(On converting red zone TD)
"We couldn't run a quarterback sneak. So there was one of them. The second one was we had two pass plays on total blitz, Bray to Hunter. The first one Justin has to be strong and catch it. The second, Tyler made a poor throw. I know this, if you would've bet me money that you have two plays, two shots, one-on-one with Hunter in the slot, I would've guessed that we would've hit one of them. And so we just have to execute better. We should've been three out of four with some good execution and that's our goal. 75% touchdown."

(On Matt Darr's ability)
"He did good and got in some sky situations and didn't execute as well. First couple punts of the game, he showed what his ability is. I think we netted 55 on that first one. Ended up getting our goal net even with the sky punt, we just need him to do it consistently."

(On Marlin Lane)
"It was a combination of a lot of things. Sometimes it was guys on the inside trying to rip around and doing things that you can't do. Sometimes it's the end not retracing the steps back. It's just a lot of fundamental things in pass rush. You know what happens is you get out there and you want to make a play during the pass mode and then you get out of scheme defense, team defense. There's a little bit of discipline you have to exercise when four guys are working together rushing the passer. We probably got a little loose thinking that he wasn't going to run because that wasn't his deal. We didn't emphasize keeping him (Bray) in the pocket this week so maybe that's a little bit on us coaching. But that was an obvious are we have to get better at it."

(On team's underestimating Zach Rogers speed)
"Probably, he's fast. He's fast. I think that's probably fair. He was just squatting. I don't know if it was a miscommunication on that play or not. Zach has shown that ability and he's done well. His biggest thing is playing with the kind of physicality when they get their hands on him. Making the strong catch and not getting disrupted in the route."

(On the team settling down after first half)
"The first quarter, the tempo was hurting us a little bit. We worked on it all camp. Our offense, we were fast tempo all camp. But you're still never ready for it. I think it helped us but that hurt us on some communication. Getting lined up, not getting the call right. But once we settled in a little bit, we played better. We probably gave up three big plays that were all about us just pre-snap discipline. Before the ball is turned over, we're screwed up."

(On the no huddle)
"We did every snap that way. You mean the no huddle? It's what we do. We've been doing it since January. That's why we don't let you guys watch practice. Even though you all blogged about it across the boards, they knew it was coming. We had a big philosophical change December/January. It was for a lot of reasons. I think it helps Tyler. Certainly helps the run game. You saw that in the second half. We really started knocking them. The challenge in all of it is not compromising the defense. That's the challenge and that's something that we've really worked hard at to structure practice. Because we could be done with practice in an hour on offense. But that's not fair to the defense. Then, also in the game management. You worry. You're out there moving quick and they're out there on the field. We're all together on it as coaches. There's going to be times when we aren't helping the defense, but we think over time the points you can generate is what matters."

(On the team's first down production)
"I'm embarrassed to tell you Jimmy, I couldn't tell you the numbers. I'd say I'm pretty pleased with our first down production. Those count. I love the `well, you take that play out' it counts. I mean, you can't. We didn't have those last year. We took them out before the game."

(On the team's speed on offense and the role it played)
"What happens is the combination of the speed you have but also how it affects the defense. If you can get in a groove where you're getting some first down, the pace really helps you. I'm going to tell you guys, they had a really good defensive line. They caused us problems up front. Probably had we slowed the game down more, we would've struggled even more. A round to recover and think more. You get them out of position and a half count late, and that's why all these teams are doing this stuff."

(On CP's challenge moving forward to be consistent)
"Significant improvement in all of his areas. One is just the route running. All the details of route running, play recognition, coverage recognition. And then, I hope he keeps his level of humility that he's shown. I told him that. I was really impressed. He's not walking around like the big shot. There's going to be, could be this week, where all of a sudden he doesn't get anything. It's recognizing that the game isn't easy. There's a lot of guys that had a big first game, but if he just stays the course on what he's doing, he has a chance to be really good, obviously."

(Seeing game film and improving on the field)
"I think it was good to get out there. More than anything, to show `hey guys what we're doing it works, if we execute the right way.' Because that's probably an issue any time you put a new anything in. It was good on offense too. We made a real philosophical change offensively. I was worried about a lot of offsides and administration and all that stuff. If it doesn't look good, you start doubting. I hope the first game at least validates that we're in the right direction, schematically. We just have to now show an ability to perform every week."





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