Jan. 27, 2006
Hello Tiger Fans,
The last week has been crazy with a trip down to Southern Miss and also the game against Tennessee. The Tennessee game is difficult to describe. In order to understand the atmosphere and intensity of that game you had to be at the Fed-Ex Forum. With that said it was a great win and a hard fought game. I know there were some things said that might have overshadowed the game, but no harm was meant by anything that was said. The game should speak for itself and anything that was said should be overlooked. Both teams played hard the entire game and it was not over until the buzzer sounded after 40 minutes of play.
The trip to Southern Miss was quite interesting for several of the players. The hotel tried to teach part of the team a new game called musical hotel rooms. It is played a lot like musical chairs, just this other version is a lot longer. It lasts about six hours and about 12 hotel rooms. There were several members of the team that changed rooms four or five times a piece. After about six hours, everything got straightened out, and we were able to settle down for the evening. The hotel was booked due to the number of government officials staying at the hotel for the relief efforts from the hurricanes. Unfortunately there were several of us that had to change rooms several times, but the bed situation finally got resolved. The game down there was actually a frustrating game for us. We played really well defensively but Southern Miss played outstanding and made shots with hands in faces. It didn't matter what we did on the defensive end, they just continued to make shot after shot. We were happy to get out of there with a win. We want to win every game, and if we win, we will take it no matter how it looks
I appreciate all of those who asked questions and sent emails. Here are answers to a couple of emails I received.
The first is the intensity on the defensive end compared to earlier in the season, and how defense in the game compares to defense in practice. First, let me say that we have one of the best defensive field goal percentages in the country. With that said, there is still room for improvement. The beauty of the team this year is depth. We have so many guys that can play that if someone has a bad game or is not getting after it, someone else will come in. There is a lot of incentive to play with intensity and to play hard this year, because every player on the team has a back-up that is just as capable of getting the job done. The intensity is about the same now as it was at the beginning of the year, but the difference is at the beginning of the year we were doing a little bit better of maintaining our intensity the entire game. We have had a few lapses for brief periods in the latter part of the year and that is a focus that we have during practice every day.
When the lapses usually come is when we are ahead 12 or 13 points and we are about to put a team away, and we have a break down. It only takes one person to make the whole team look bad. If one person decides to rest on one play, it can overshadow the other four players giving everything they have. The reasons for the breakdowns, I am not exactly sure. It is never the same player doing it over and over. If it is because that person is tired, he should have taken himself out before he got tired, so that we did not have that breakdown. It is difficult to pull yourself out when you are tired on this team, because if you come out and the person that goes in and plays well he is going to stay out on the floor a little longer and the one that came out is giving up time, which is a difficult thing to do. Everyone wants to play and it is difficult to pull yourself out knowing you might not get back in or if you do get back in, you might not play as long as you have on other nights. The focus is to keep the intensity for the entire game and not have the breakdowns we have had at critical points in the game.
The second question is why are we shooting so many threes and why are we having trouble against the zone? The games we have trouble against the zone we do shoot a lot of threes, but that is not the concern. The concern comes when we stop attacking the zone. We want to shoot lay-ups or threes. The only way to get lay-ups it to attack and the threes come once the other team has to back up and not pressure as much because we are getting lay-ups. When we have problems is when we settle for threes, meaning that we are not attacking the defense and we are looking to shoot threes even if someone is running at us with their hands up. The key to playing against the zone is to attack first, and once we have attacked and penetrated the zone, kick it back out for a three if we don't have a lay-up. Sometimes we are going to get 30 wide open threes like we did against East Carolina; the only problem was we were not making many that game. Those things happen, you just have to be ready to pull the trigger next time if you are open, and if you are not open, attack. As long as we attack the zone first and take what the defense gives us, then we will be fine. The moment we stop being aggressive and start forcing shots is when we get in trouble.
If anyone has any questions or comments please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Go Tigers Go,