Morris: I wish that I could come in front of you and tell you, after watching film they were doing some exotic blitzes, a lot of exotic slanting and a defense we haven't seen before. But that's the furthest from the case. They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. They played their defense. They didn't do anything different. They might have spun coverage here and there, at times, a little different on certain downs. Overall, they didn't do anything that we didn't anticipate them doing. We didn't execute the base offense. Bottom line.
I've sat here in front of you for the last couple of weeks and we've talked about turnovers. We've talked about the inability to secure the ball. Again, it's definitely evident. You turn the football over and give a team a short field to work off of, your chances are limited. Every fumble you give back is going to cut your reps from 8-10 a game, from an offensive standpoint. That's what we've done. That's what we did last week. We played very poorly.
Whatever day that I got here, the base offense that we started putting in, we didn't execute it. You've got guys that are not operating within the system and within the framework of our base offense right now. I don't think they're purposely thinking that they can free-lance, do some things on our own. When you can't line up and execute the short-yardage game that we've got to execute to keep the chains moving, that and turnovers are not a good mixture.
|"Everybody may think we're in a panic mode. We're not in a panic mode at all. The furthest thing from panicking."|
That's what we've got to a pen on. Four weeks ago, you were playing at this high level. What's happened between now and then? Looking at things, obviously turnovers are a big part of it.
Does it start with the line?
Morris: It's really hard to say that we had anybody play exceptionally well the other day. David Smith played well on the o-line. I thought he played one of his better games. Nuke Hopkins obviously made some unbelievable catches that at least kept us moving the football. It's hard to say that anybody played above their head, outside of a couple of guys that were battling. It's unacceptable. There's no getting around it. It was unacceptable the way we came out, the way we performed. The base offense is the biggest concern.
After the Oklahoma State loss, one would think that would be an incentive...
Morris: We talked about the Oklahoma State game in our pre-game meeting at the hotel before we loaded the bus. We talked about the energy level of Iowa State, compared to Oklahoma State. In the end, they just couldn't match the energy level. We talked about that. We talked about it over and over and over.
Solving the short-yardage issues...
Morris: What you do as a coach is you try to look and figure out ways to pick up the short-yardage. What can we do differently? Whether it be a new formation, a new grouping of personnel, what can we do different to pick that up? It's not that we add new plays. It boils down to blocking and being able to execute a double-team block, come off a double-team to a back-side backer, kick out to a defensive end. In the end, you still have to block. That has been a glaring concern...definitely has been a glaring concern over the last two weeks. What you like to do on those short-yardage -- that's an offensive down. That's an offensive coordinator's, offensive coaches want short-yardage like that. That's been something that's been a challenge for us.
At what point do the young players quite being young players?
Morris: Coming into last week, you snap the ball 777 times, not counting last game. All of last year, they played 13 games last year and they snapped it 779 times, or close to. In 10 games, they've essentially played a whole season, compared to last year. At that point, you want your leadership to step up. I think we're all probably sitting here thinking the same thing. Some of the mistakes that we're making right now, you would have thought would have been made weeks one, two and three. It wasn't.
Where do things stand at left tackle?
Morris: If Phillip [Price] is able to go this week, which we hope he is, he'll be back in there. If not, you'll probably have Brandon [Thomas] at left tackle and David [Smith] at left guard. We've also worked David at left tackle, as you saw the other night. And David played well.
Chad Morris expects Sammy Watkins to be back on the field this weekend.
Morris: Yes. I expect him to be back. He should be back and ready to go this week practice-wise.
What do you know about the Carolina defense?
Morris: They're extremely talented. Best defense we've seen to this point in time this year. I think they're the fifth-ranked defense in the country. They're extremely fast. They're very physical up front. They're very well coached. They've created a lot of turnovers. They've scored four or five defensive touchdowns this year. We better be ready. We better be ready, because this is a talented bunch.
What positions really worry you?
Morris: Every one of them. All of the defensive positions. Those four up front are as good as we've seen. The defensive ends are talented. They run well in the secondary. The great thing about it is, our guys are going to be ready. They'll be ready to play. When they watch film, they know, we better bring our game. We better be on it. They are a very talented bunch.
If Phillip comes back this week, is there any thought to starting David at left guard?
Morris: David will get to play. I don't know that this early in the week. It's hard to say, because I don't know where Phillip's going to be.
To read more from Monday's interview with Morris, visit the CUTigers.com premium message board The Valley: