Nov. 5, 2012
"Just to sum up the game, obviously there were a lot of good things that happened. We won and the offense just did an incredible job. It put up numbers that are hard to imagine in a game. I was really proud of the special teams play, how we are fielding the kicks back there and changing field position, that was big."
(On the way the Troy game played out)
When you look at the game, the first third of the game we up 28-10, then we go through a period there in the middle where get beat 6-30, and then we finish it 21-8.Of all the things that were good, and I'm on the good first, is what happened with three minutes to go in the game when we were down seven. We had eight different unit changes during that time. The kickoff return unit gets out there and we do a drive start on the 40. The offense scores and we have a not very smart penalty, but the kickoff coverage unit goes out there and we blow one down there and knock them inside the 30 after the penalty. The defense goes three-and-out and the punt return unit goes in and we do a great job of fielding it and getting a first down on the return. The offense goes out and scores and the kickoff unit goes out and we splatter them inside the 10. Then the defense goes out and wins the game. That is the kind of grit a team has to have down the stretch to win a football game and we haven't had that against anybody recently so that was encouraging to see."
(On the defense)
"Obviously there are a lot of issues on defense, a lot of issues. The two fair questions are what is the problem and how do you fix it. I think early on in the season, of course, we had a lot of problems with lining up right and getting the assignments so we really tried to simplify it and we've done that. Now we find ourselves with the same result but we're probably getting there a different way. Philosophically we are a lot of a matchup-oriented team. Whether we are playing zone, whether we are playing man, whether we are bringing pressure, there a lot of different matchups that we play, which, as time goes on during a down, it really puts a lot of stress on some of our players. Whether it is out at the corner position, whether it is at the nickel spot, whether it is at the front on the draw plays, we struggle with a lot of matchups. We have to figure out how to fix it and there are some significant things we are going to do this week that I hope will help. First of all, and maybe I should have done this a little earlier, but I am coming out of the offensive room and putting all of my attention on defense, trying to help create solutions. We are going to do some different things schematically to help take some of the pressure off some of our players and give them a better chance and also to reduce some of the of space that gets created. Certainly as we game plan, there is a lot more input from everybody on what we need to do, where the stress points are and making a decision on what we are not going to do. And we'll do some different things on game day with how we implement and call it and where and all that stuff. We are going to make a lot of changes, but there are no easy answers when you are playing the way we are playing. Of course, the easy solution is to just get rid of people and the only thing I can tell you is that everything that I am doing going forward is for one reason and that is to do what we can to give our players the best chance to beat Missouri. That is all I am really focused on."
(On team chemistry)
"What I am proud of is the team has been so together. I told the team that we won that game because of the chemistry that we have. Not one guy was pointing fingers or getting frustrated and the staff continues to stay together and throw the egos out the window to work together. That is all we are going to keep doing. Our goal this week is to be 1-0, same as last week, and that is what it is about."
(On not forcing turnovers in recent games)
"We need to get those turnovers. You look at some of the turnovers that we had and I think a lot of it was we had some where we were one-on-one, we had good cover position and we went up and made the play and the other guy didn't. We had some where we played some zone, the quarterback got confused, we got a little pressure on him and he served it up. We haven't been getting much pressure on the quarterback and that has caused a lot of problems as the down gets stretched out and we haven't been winning a lot of those one-on-one matchups with the teams we have been playing. Our biggest thing is we need to get more eyes to the football and less eyes on our guys, if that makes sense, so when the ball does come out there are more hats around the ball so we don't just have these gutted plays."
(On why the team is so close this year)
"The team, all the way back to last January, just made a commitment that we are going to be a team and we are going to be together. That kind of commitment can't be only when things are good. You don't turn on your family when they do bad things or they do something that might upset you. You might be hurt and disappointed, you might get angry, but you don't turn on them."
(On the confusion on defense)
"It is not the confusion, it is within the system. We have it in the system. There really hasn't been a lot of confusion lately. It is just not playing it well. Then we say, `how can we help them play better?' Maybe we are putting a little too much stress. What is happening to is, it is a lot of plays. I told the players this, you play it well on two plays and the coach says, `see - he can do it.' Well, over and over again is where you start getting stress points. They have good players to and they are rolling new receivers in and they are juicing it down the field. So it is just taking some of the pressure off, don't throw the fast ball all the time."
(On the pressure of the defense to perform)
"Exactly the things that I am talking about. Just putting a little too much pressure on whether it is the front, whether it is the corners. Some of those third downs were really good calls, really good coverage, we may have a breakdown just technique wise. I have said it from day one, when you have the numbers we have it is just not one thing. It is a little bit of everything."
(On the 3-4 defense)
"We get really caught up in the 3-4. I think a lot of it is philosophically how you defend. Whether it is how you match patterns versus playing good old fashion zone, drop to an area. That is probably the biggest philosophical difference and also philosophically how you are playing upfront. It is not necessarily the 3-4 as it is what do you believe in in playing good defense. I don't have any questions about what we are doing whether it is good or not but that is not really the role of the coach, the role of the coach is you have to take what you know is good and see what your players can do and figure out how to put them in a better position to play the best they can. That is probably where we have broken down."
(On the defensive struggles)
"You are what your bubblegum card is, that is the old line. Where are we on the bubblegum card? There is no point in me saying how we measure up. The stats are what we are right now. Do I think we are better? I course I do. I know we are but we aren't playing it, so we are not."
(On the possibility of moving Prentiss Waggner to safety)
"There has been some discussion on stuff. We put Daniel Gray in. Before we did that we said, `let's see how we can do with moving another corner in there.' Dan competed hard but he gave up a lot of plays. We still need Prentiss at corner.'
(On moving into the defensive meeting room being reactionary)
"It probably would have been reactionary if I had done it four weeks ago. But then you look back and maybe I should have. I am not there saying I am the guru. I am not. I am just there watching and listening and resolving any conflict. If I think we shouldn't do something, I am saying we aren't doing that. Just getting a little more involved and a little more dialogue with the individual players on more specific things. It is just another eye and another set of ears another voice. It will give me a little more comfort in saying, `I don't want that.'
(On changes to coaching on gameday)
"That is something we are working through as a staff. How we call it. Where are our eyes, who is where. We are going to probably make some gameday changes to help."
(On the possibility of moving Sunseri to the booth)
(On trying to do too much on the defense)
"Well, I thought like the biggest issue was we were doing too much. All I wanted to see was shrinking the plan to make the kids play faster and we did that. But there was more to it than that."
(On allowing more voices in the defense meeting room)
"I think early on, especially with a new staff, I used to say this saying as an assistant. `Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.' Every assistant wants to come in and say, `We need to be doing this, we need to be doing that.' But you always have to go learn what systematically we are doing, what the coordinator is doing, how do we want it done. Before you say, `I can't do that.' The input comes within a framework of the system. I think early on, we have some very good and together coaches who say, `tell me the system.' They are learning it and not questioning everything you say and then go coach it. Now it is a little more, we aren't having the success with doing this so everybody has the responsibility at their position to say, `This is where our stress point is.' This is where, whether it is LaDarrell McNeil, Justin Coleman, Dan Gray, AJ Johnson. Here are the stress points and we put it all together and say, `Not do this, not do this.' Should we have done that early on? It is hard to know what the stress points are until you go do it. You don't want to give up on it in two weeks. You put it in and go."
(On the changes to the staff responsibilities on defense)
"Just more responsibility and input in game plan and gameday."
(On Jaron Toney)
"Jaron helped us. He did a good job. The reality is, the more spread out it is, the harder it is on us, in dime. Sometimes AJ and Herman get out there and they force you to get out there in space and it gets tough on them. We have been struggling the last month or so in dime, matching up. You guys have seen it. They hit a lot of underneath stuff in empty. So we just put Jaron in there to be a little more DB guy, who has played the star behind Eric Gordon. It helped us, he did a good job on some things."
(On the possibility of switching others over)
"We started out with Brent Brewer, then we stuck with Herman, then we went to Sapp, and now we are with Jaron."
(On the excitement of watching CP and Justin Hunter play)
"I thought Tyler was awesome. The O-line did another great job. There are just a lot of great things going on on offense right now. They have a little MOJO going on. Tyler, for the second week in a row, has really earned it on the practice field. He has performed well for four quarters. And he did something he had never done. He gets a notch now for bringing a team back in the fourth quarter and winning the game. That is a big monkey off a quarterback back, just performing you can do it. Those guys are fun to watch. CP looks like a video game guy. He makes a lot of cuts."
(On the possibility of slowing down the offense to give the defense more time to rest)
"It's a great point, believe me and I thought about it during that game. The reality is if we were playing our offense the way we played last year, these guys wouldn't have 700 yards. (Troy) would have had 75 plays instead of 100. But then I am thinking to myself, what I don't want to do is screw up something that's really good. And our offense is really good right now. I was prepared when we went to this (up-tempo offense) that we weren't going to be as good on defense. But, we have to be better than what we are. I don't have an answer to that, other than when you make a commitment to go up-tempo you go up-tempo."
(On the hiring of Sal Sunseri)
"When you are in this position you are going to get criticized when you don't get results. It doesn't have anything to do with what's fair or right, it's just the way it is. Like Bruce Hornsby and the Range: it's just the way it is.
(On third-and-long struggles)
"There were a couple of third-and-longs, I will just go through them. The first one was a really big one, it's 28-10 (UT), it's third-and-12 and we have chance to get off the field and go up 35-10 and who knows what would happen. And we are playing zone, a good call, and we just don't know what happened. We don;t play it the way we need to play it. So they catch a ball, a little short pass and we are really not in position and he runs around us. That all is just technique. It's not something we haven't worked on, it's not something we were ready for. We just didn't play it well. Then we had the draw plays, the draw plays were a problem. This is what I talk about when you play a lot of man-match, when our eyes turn back they are all on matching the patterns, but to do that it's five-on-five up front. We are running some games to stop the draw, but if we don't execute it right up front, and they split, now you are in trouble. So, we can't do that anymore. It's putting too much stress on those front guys to stop it and we obviously are showing we can't do that. Then there are some where we are pressed up man and they just throw it one-on-one over our heads. We need to back them off. Each of those third downs were different scenarios but we have to have better solutions to help our players. That's the way it is."
(On the style of defense)
"Bleeding to death looks pretty good right now. That's what I am getting to. I'd love to bleed. We are just getting (slashing motion). That's what I am getting at. We needed to bleed a little bit, that's what I am getting at. But we also didn't have an offense scoring what we were scoring last year. So we needed to create. We had an offense that we were talking about what we are talking about on defense right now. What are you going to do on offense, you need to create more on defense. Right now, it wouldn't be bad to bleed a little bit. Get a little cut."
"They haven't had the success they that they probably anticipated. But the quarterback (James Franklin), he didn't play Vandy, he didn't play the Kentucky game (came on late), he didn't play two other games. He's obviously the real key to them. He will be there Saturday, so we have to go defend him. They are playing great defense, they really are. Bigtime defense. Look at them rankings-wise. Look what they did to Florida. They are a top 20 defense and so we are going to see if our offense can go perform, which we have to this point. But we need to go put some points on the board."
(On Missouri's defense)
"Their front is where it starts. They have a special game-wrecker up front, which most good defense have. They play incredibly sound and fly to the ball. They are similar in a lot of ways to how South Carolina plays up front. Aggressive, tenacious penetrating. They have a lot of good players. They are doing a good job."
(On Dan McCullers' progress)
"We are trying to get him to play a little better. He gets tired out there. He can be a little more disruptive in some of the sub (packages) stuff. His biggest thing is pad level and motor. When he makes a choice to do it, he's really hard to stop."
(On the pace of the offense)
"I'm not going to slow down. There's nothing that I haven't thought about. If I felt like that was our best chance to win, I would. You have all these thoughts in your head and then you just have to say 'what's our best chance to win?' Even in the SEC games, we've had two chances to win at the end on offense. So we are there, we just haven't done it enough."
(On Deion Bonner)
"There's no change in his status as of now. The only thing I have is the stuff that has been presented to me by him and anything else is a no issue. Unless, I get anything else."
(On getting Patterson the ball more often)
"We have had a concerted effort every week. I really believe, CP, we got on him a lot with his practice habits. Getting that timing with Tyler and he made a really conscious decision to practice better last week and I told him on Thursday, 'you practiced great this week and it's going to pay off in the game.' I had not doubts and paid off, hopefully he will do it again."
(On Patterson's talent and his unassuming way about himself)
"He knows, he's being a good sport about it and I told him to be that way. He knows how good he is."
"Tiny (Richardson) is a little dinged. Rajion (Neal), he wasn't 100 percent, but you see it in his (head). He's just not there. He was in a groove and we have to get him back to the groove. Zach (Fulton) wasn't quite there, he didn't play as well, but he's okay. They are dinged up. (Trevarris) Saulsberry has an MCL, a little sprain on his knee, so he's doubtful for the game. Devrin (Young) is back. He had a concussion."