ULM Coach Discusses Shutout and AU's Defense

Comments from ULM coach Charlie Weatherbie and quarterback Steven Jyles are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Louisiana-Monroe head coach Charlie Weatherbie was pleased with the effort of his players, but disappointed in the execution of the offense and kicking game in a 31-0 opening game loss at Auburn.

"We had three turnovers and they had two," Weatherbie said. "Our defense did a good job of creating the two turnovers. Offensively, we have to take care of the football. That gives us a chance to win. If you don't take care of the football against a good football team, you're going to get your tail kicked.

"Offensively, we struggled to move the football. Auburn's a good football team. We've got to become a better running team. We've got to become a better passing team. Offensively, I feel like we really struggled."

Louisiana-Monroe tailback Kevin Payne lost a fumble on the opening series of the game, and quarterback Steven Jyles had a lost fumble and threw an interception in the second half.

"I didn't concentrate on the snap, and I fumbled the ball," Jyles said of his turnover at the Auburn 24-yard line. "It was one of many chances that we had to score, but we committed too many mental mistakes. Some guys try too hard sometimes. Instead of doing what you have to in order to win, you'll try too hard and miss a play."

Jyles, who didn't play against Auburn last season, finished the day 16 of 22 passing for 96 yards and one interception. He ran for an additional 16 yards on eight carries.

Defensive end Stanley McClover hits Jyles as he throws as pass.

Weatherbie, in his second year as head coach at UL-Monroe and 12th overall, was also displeased with his special teams. "I felt like our kicking game was not good at all--missing two field goals," the coach said. "I thought they were makeable field goals. Regan (Walters) is the most consistent in practice every day. He has been kicking the ball real well and it surprised me that he didn't make either one of them. The first one he just didn't follow through. The second one he just got under too far and didn't kick the meat of the ball.

"We'll continue to improve there," he added. "I feel like Joel (Stelly) didn't punt like he's capable of punting. His timing was off and we've got to continue to work on that. An area that we really have to work hard on is putting them in a live situation and making it happen. I'm surprised (Stelly) didn't punt any better than he punted."

In last year's contest with Auburn, the Indians lost 73-7 and were out-gained 481 to 151 yards. Weatherbie's squad played significantly better Saturday than a year ago, only being out-gained 380 to 239, but the coach hopes for more improvement from his team as the season continues.

"We've got to find a way to pull things together and continue to work together and work hard," he said. "I think a team has its most improvement between the first and second games most times. We've got Arkansas in two weeks. We've got two weeks to prepare for them.

"We need to buckle down and find out what we need to do to improve. I felt like if we were in striking distance in the fourth quarter, we'd have a chance to win the game because I feel like we are in great condition. I didn't see anyone out there who didn't bust their tail."

For the Indians to have a chance against the Razorbacks, the offense will have to limit mistakes. "I don't know if (the shutout indicated) how well their defense played or how poorly we played," Weatherbie said. "It was probably a combination. They did a good job. We didn't run the ball very well, and our weakest spot right now is the offensive line. They manhandled us up front. Steven threw the ball well and we caught the ball well. Auburn's got a good defense. They're a good defensive team."


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