Oct. 18, 2010
Q: How do you address the problem of penalties in short yardage situations, particularly with the offensive line?
I think this past Saturday was a reflection of this season. We just can't seem to get anything going, and when we do, we find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot. When you look at the injuries, the youth, the inconsistencies, we just don't have a lot of margin for error. It concerns me in terms of how we're playing simply because we're not playing a good brand of football. At one point, you could see the improvement in this team. Early in the season, I mean you could see it--us growing as a team. Lately, we've kind of reversed the cycle in terms of growth and not putting ourselves in a position to play well. This open week has come at a great time in terms of being able to really and truly step back, catch our breath and put this team in a position to play a better brand of football.
A: At that time, I believe it was in the second quarter when you're talking about. The first one was Chris Schuetz
, a freshman. The second one was Justin Henderson
who's a freshman. And then, Tommy Walker
had one as well. But in that same half, you have Jerrell (Rhodes) and Ryan (Williams), who are both freshmen, who committed turnovers. But, those are two guys that have played most of the season--basically in every game. And so, the "Tiger tour" is over. Freshmen orientation is over. It's time for them to step up and be held accountable for those mistakes.
Q: How do you address those mistakes?
A: In terms of the penalties basically with the O-line, you're talking about offsides and instead of us being in a third and short, now we're in third and seven. They want to press your young quarterback and force him to get rid of the ball and ultimately make a bad decision. From a cadence perspective, we have to settle in on a center is what we have to do and get the mechanics worked out between the quarterback and the center. We've had multiple guys at both positions, so there are some inconsistencies in terms of snap counts and things like that. So, we have to hone in those things, and we will very much do so.
Q: Do you still stand by your decision to kick the field goal on fourth-and-one instead of going for it?
A: I like that decision. We were getting stuffed in third-and-one, third-and-two situations early in that game and actually even the play before that. So, when I was presented with the fourth down call in terms of a run, I decided to go ahead and kick the ball simply because our team needed a morale booster. So, I couldn't put them in a position to where we didn't get it and now be in a position where we're definitely out there playing with no confidence.
Q: Do you worry about the fan reaction to that play call?
A: It's also about putting this team in a position to where you can lift their spirits and give them a vote of confidence in terms of having some success right there. Right now, confidence is a factor.
Q: Talk about the play of Jamon Hughes, who was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week for his 21-tackle performance.
A: That's really the spirit and level of play we need throughout our team. Again, this process for him didn't just start when the season got here. He's taken a leadership role and been very, very demanding of his teammates and has worked extremely hard since the beginning of summer, and that carried over to fall camp. And now, this is just really and truly a compliment of all the hard work he's put in up to this point.