Coach, you talked about wanting to establish a physical identity on offense. How do you feel like y'all did there?
Not close to where I want to be. Not close to where we want to be as an offensive unit. We came out with the intent to run the football. I think we rushed for 197 yards. Our goal is to rush for 200. I would have probably been a little bit more easier to deal with if we had rushed for 198 yards and got that one-more yard right there, and scored on that fourth-down. The one thing that was promising, you did see some, at the point of attack on some occasions. On other occasions we weren't. There was a little inconsistency there. We're going to run the football. That's what we're going to do. I don't want to say we got tired, gassed or drained. That's not what I want to come out here and tell you. At some points in time, we weren't as physical as what we should have been. That's on me. We get about 14 reps a week against good on good competition, with our number ones against the number one defense. I didn't think last week we were very physical during that 14-play time. It was almost like we backed off in game prep and felt like we didn't have to be as physical. It showed, a little bit. I challenged them this morning. We're going to get 14 good reps on whatever it is. I think we're going to get seven minutes a day on it. We're going to get something good out of seven minutes. It may be seven minutes of up-downs. We're going to get something good for seven minutes. When we have to have a yard, we're going to come get that yard. That's going to be something we're going to use to challenge them. Back to your original question, did I think we were as physical as what we want to be? No, absolutely not. Are we taking steps? There are definitely some bright signs there. We've just got to get more consistent.
|"When we have to have a yard, we're going to come get that yard. That's going to be something we're going to use to challenge them...did I think we were as physical as what we want to be? No, absolutely not." |
Too many mental errors. We had way too many mental errors, from a quarterback standpoint, all the way down. One thing I remember, we're sitting there second-and-four. We run the power for two yards. Then, the next play, on third-and-two, Tajh does what he's supposed to do, he pulled the zone and throws the bubble off it. We don't block the corner. That's a mental error. That was when had our back-to-backs of the three-and-outs. Too many mental errors at all positions. [That's] to be expected in the first game, a little bit, with a new offensive coordinator, a new system. You knew you were going to have some mental errors. We've got to cut back on some of those.
Where do you think Tajh is, in regard to comprehension to the offense? You indicated that you had to simplify some things.
In the first half, I thought he had a glazed over look. Kind of hazed over at me. He was kind of starring into outer space a little bit. He was reverting back to backyard football, instead of trusting his reads. That was one of the things that he and I talked about numerous times on the sideline during the course of the first half. You have to trust your coaching, you have to trust your reads. He kept telling me all the right things. 'I am, coach. I'm trying. I am. I am.' I said 'We're going to make it simple for you, but you've got to, at some point, you've got to execute.' I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that it was his first big start. I don't know if he's gotten 64 snaps last year, but he got 64 snaps on Saturday. I think, the way it started, was in the back of my mind, the way I was picturing it. I told them on Wednesday of last week, until we actually get into a live game, I do not know. I know how they respond in practice. I told y'all last Monday. I don't know how they were going to respond. For the first half, it was a little shaky, in that regard. Nobody panicked. I wasn't panicking. I knew we had to fix a few things, but we had to get to the half to fix it, so we could settle everybody down and say we're pressing too hard. It's alright, let's go. The promising thing is what obviously happened after that.
Is that why you didn't take as many shots down field as you probably would like to?
We kept having too many three-and-outs. We had six three-and-outs. Anytime you have a three-and-out, you cost yourself a minimum of three more snaps in a game. We basically cost ourselves 18 more snaps in a game. We snapped the ball in live play 69 times, but, realistically, with two false starts, you snapped it 71 times. We had a time-out, so that was 72 snaps. We're on track to get our 80 snaps. We've got to avoid the three-and-outs. We couldn't get over one bad play in a series, whether it was an incomplete pass, whether it was dropping back and Tajh not hitting a hot and he slips down. Whatever it was, a negative yardage play. We weren't good enough to overcome that early in the game. That is exactly one of the reasons why. We take our shots, but it wasn't as much as I wanted to take. A lot of that had to do with the young guys we had.
Tajh Boyd threw three touchdown passes during his first college start. (Roy Philpott)
No, absolutely not. No, not even close. No, no, not even close. That starts with our quarterback. I think you saw him in the second half. That was one of things. When he picked his pace up and our tempo was going well, we were moving the football. We play well when tempo is going good. You're having to remind these guys on the sidelines, this is what we're doing. Don't forget, you've got to be looking at me on the sidelines. It's almost like they were reverting back. Everybody was telling me. I walked off the field, 468 yards of total offense, scoring 43 points, I was ticked off. I thought we could have had more, against a very good Troy team. They weren't bad. They're a very talented team. I'm hearing we haven't had all this, best opener, as far as yardage. I don't care. That doesn't bother me. This is our standard. We're going to play like this. We're going to play fast and we're going to play physical. I have to remind myself where this offense has been the last several years, not been known for their explosive plays. It's going to take a little time. I try to remind myself that. It didn't get this way over night. It's not going to get fixed over night, but we did make huge strides in the second half.