Stoops reacts to BYU loss, NAU upcoming

Mike Stoops was obviously not thrilled with the way the Wildcats played Saturday. He discussed the lackluster performance Monday to the collected Tucson media.

Opening thoughts:
"I thought our running game was not very good, pretty ineffective all night. On the road, first game, I thought we played a little conservatively and tried to play to our strengths."

"Obviously not getting points right off the bat. Made a couple tough calls. We probably should have taken some points right away…That is a tough first kick. It is not that I didn't have confidence, I just thought we were going to have to score some points. I am really disappointed we didn't execute that play good enough."

" Our Achilles has been our lack of execution and productivity."

"I thought we protected the quarterback decent. That led to Willie getting antsy and not sitting in there when he does have some time. It is understandable. He will learn a lot and keep getting comfortable and we have to improve our protection and our run game."

"I don't think we played particularly fast. We played timid, a little bit unsure of ourselves. You can't play that way, especially against a big time opponent like we did the other day."

"They were more aggressive. I don't think they played harder, just faster than we did. In this offense we have to play faster than that and we need to get more out of running back position. that is something we will continue to evaluate and work on."

"Chris did not have a lot of running room either." Willie's accuracy was really, really good when he had time."

Stoops was asked about how often wide receivers got open.
"Not a ton. A.J. was open on corner route."

"They dropped eight (defenders) and still get a little pressure and got under our routes that became a problem for us. When you drop eight and can't be able to run the ball that is a problem. That is irritating. That is something we have to correct."

On the play of Louis Holmes:
"I think he played well. I think he knocked the quarterback down four times. I don't know if he got credited for sacks. I thought our ends played decent. We didn't get great pressure from the inside and that really was a problem."

"Lionel has played well and Yaniv has played a lot of football. We just need to get more production."

On the defense as a whole:
"structurally it was solid. They spread the field and get the balls to the backs. The backs caught 19. I thought our corners covered exceptionally well. The tight end and backs, they spaced us well and they got in our zone. The quarterback did a good job of getting it in."

On NAU
They are very athletic. That is what you notice, especially offensively. They have some exceptional players. Their running back, Henderson, is a big time player. Watson and Moore are terrific, good speed and good size. They spread the field. They do a good job. They are not going to sit there and run lead plays. They are going to spread the field and make you defend the quarterback and defend your speed. They present some really tough match-ups. We have to have a great week of preparation."

Defensively they kind of move around and improvise…improvise in a 3-5 to stunt and move around to create confusion. It will be disruptive."

On if he can learn anything from Michigan's loss to a IAA team.
"This team (NAU) has a lot of similar characteristics offensively. They have weapons at skilled position and a quarterback who is very elusive. Hopefully that will get our guys attention and understand this is a well coached team."

"The longer those teams hang around the better chance they have to win. You gain confidence as the game goes on."

On the play of Delashaun Dean:
"(Dean has) terrific hands. Big receiver…"

On the play of Mike Thomas:
"We have to do a better job of getting Mike Thomas he ball and create some plays for him too. He had some catches but never got him really into the game as much as we would have liked. It was hard because ewe didn't' have much tempo and we couldn't get first downs to get anything going."

Stoops was asked if he had much of a hand in play calling:
"Not really…it was too conservative…we never got into a flow of the game. (We) wore our defense down early in the game. We can't do that." "I still don't' think defensively we played anywhere close to our ability. We had some people who didn't play well enough for us to win."

"Those guys they don't get shutdown very often. They are very confident in what they are doing. That is good. I think they are shocked, disappointed and probably somewhat embarrassed, but that is what this game will do to you. It will humble you. They are very competitive people. They will bounce back."

‘There is no excuse for playing the way we played."

On being home the next two weeks:
"It is big and it has to. We have to get better playing in our home environment. Crowd noise won't be a factor. Hopefully we will play more guys offensively."

"We have to get this taste out of our mouth, hopefully our kids will understand the importance of this game and get this thing going against a very good team that can cause you lots of problems. I think our guys will be focused. You can't take anything for granted. we certainly won't. I hope our fans wont. We have to go out and play and our kids have to get comfortable in this system offensively."

On the possibility of playing Nicolas Grigsby:
"He will be a factor before all it is said and done. He brings a dimension of speed and quickness we need at that position. I imagine he will play a substantial amount, possibly Saturday. The running back position is very difficult in this system. If he can grasp it all we will see. I imagine he will get some touches."

On the running back situation as a whole:
"We are going to give all three an opportunity. I imagine you will see all three of them play. I thought Xavier ran the ball well the other night. We just have to create more running room for all of them."

On whether Chris Jennings is still in the mix:
"Yeah, whether he starts I don't know. We will give all three and who ever practices the best all week will start. I would think it would be Xavier or Chris."


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