Barnett Postgame

Colorado is the only team in the Big 12 North that will head into conference play without a blemish on its record. Still, as head coach Gary Barnett pointed out in his postgame press conference after the Buffs beat <!--Default NodeId For North Texas is 620,2004--><A HREF=http://northtexas.TheInsiders.com>North Texas</A> Saturday, there is much for CU to work on in the next two weeks as it prepares to open Big 12 play.

GARY BARNETT
Opening Comments
First thing I want to do is to keep everything in perspective and to send our condolences to the family of the CU student (Lynn Gordon Baily, Jr.) who passed away the other night. That puts everything in perspective. This is just a game. I just feel very badly for those parents.

This game, it was what it was. Our offense got on track. We could do just about whatever we wanted to do out there.

Defensively, I just don't think we had (our players') attention with their offense. Players knew that their third-string tailback was coming in here. Their first stringer was out. I don't think that they took this game that they should have. I think they'll probably tell you that. We just weren't sharp on defense — as sharp as we'll need to be as the season moves on. That's all I'm really going to say about that because I want to spend some time talking about all the good things we did today.

Mason Crosby kicked extremely well. Joel Klatt was on. I think we used maybe 10 or 12 receivers in the game. We were able to get the tight ends back involved, and Lawrence Vickers back involved in the game.

So I felt really good about what we were able to do with our offense. Our players came out and attacked.

I want to give credit to North Texas. They came in here with a good plan. Their kids played really hard.

That tailback (Jamario Thomas) had a heck of a night. We had trouble wrapping him up. We'd been a pretty good tackling team up until tonight. That's an area that we're certainly going to fix.

But kudos to those guys. They did a good job setting us on our heels early on and then we just didn't make a lot of plays. We've just got to get better on defense going into conference play. But it was nice to get our offense going in the right direction.

The punt block, that was a return and the players checked it to a block. We didn't intend to block that punt at that point in time. And I wasn't going to kick a field goal at the end. We ran the ball down there, just because enough is enough. It's just the right thing to do.

Q: Did you keep your game plan as simple as you intended to?
GB:
Yeah we did. We kept it simple. We didn't have a lot of checks; pretty basic stuff. The big thing that helped us is we were able to get protected and get the pass thrown and caught. And we made some nice plays.

Q: Was Joel sharper because of the simplified plan?
GB:
I don't know. I think it was just hard work and taking some of the pressure off. I don't know that you ever know the answer to those kind of questions. He just was.

Q: What does it do for this team getting through preseason 3 and 0.
GB:
Going into conference play, it gives you a lot of confidence. The team we're going to play next was picked to win our division. Just knowing that you've got three wins under your belt, it just helps you prepare; removes some doubt. Especially with a bye week. We've got two weeks to smile. It gives you a quicker step at practice, you have everybody's attention.

And the conference games, there's no question, mean a great deal to this program. They always have. But once you get to conference, everything steps up and everybody knows that. We have a lot of young guys, and I don't know if they understand that, but that's where we're going to devote our attention.

Q: What can you say about the status of injured players Bobby Purify, Brandon Dabdoub and Bernard Jackson?
GB:
Jackson's probably is going to keep him out for a while (three to six weeks). But the others, I don't think they're serious. They'll be ready to play for the conference.

Q: Can you talk about the play of Lawrence Vickers?
GB:
You know, we got Lawrence involved. I think he only played 12 or 14 snaps last week. Lawrence is really a good player and he's very versatile. There's a lot of things we can do with him. We got him back involved in the offense tonight. I thought he had a terrific game.

Q: Was it the flow of the game last week that kept him out?
GB:
No, I think we were being conservative.

Q: Could you talk about the play that Lorenzo Sims made when he caused the fumble?
GB:
That was a big play, causing that ball to come loose and then to get on it. We hadn't stopped them yet. And what was just as big was the 95-yard drive afterwards. That was huge, I thought.

Q: What does Joel's performance mean for you?
GB:
I'm happy for Joel. It gets him some confidence. I think he was pressing a little bit, and everybody that plays needs confidence and needs to good about the fact that they can do what we ask them to do. No one ever doubted Joel. He didn't doubt himself, but it just kind of takes some pressure off.

Q: Did you expect that kind of play out of Jamario Thomas, their running back?
GB:
No, I didn't wake up this morning thinking, ‘Gee, I hope he gets 200 yards.' But, no, they've struggled at running the ball, and we've been very good at stopping the run. They had a few different schemes for us, but it doesn't make up for our poor tackling, our poor execution on defense.

Q: What area of the defense do you need to work on in the next two weeks?
GB:
Every area of the defense needs work. And every area of offense. And we'll have their attention.

Q: You had a lot of second stringers come in at the end. Can you comment on their play?
GB:
We'll have to watch the film, but I thought James Cox made some nice plays in there. The offensive line, we must have done a nice job. It's always nice to get those young guys in. We haven't had a chance to do that.

Q: Is your offensive line gelling like you'd hope it would?
GB:
I think so. I mean, it is what it is. We've only got 10 players so we can't afford to lose one. And getting some of those young guys some experience early is good. Edwin Harrison got experience in the first quarter, I believe. There's nothing like playing in a game. Nothing. Practice isn't even close to playing in a game. So to get in a game and feel the speed and the tension, everybody that got to play today will learn from it.

Q: Do you like where your offensive line starters are though?
GB:
Yeah, I think so. I'm a coach, so I have a tendency to see all the things we've got to go work on. But there's no question, you come out and put 52 points on the board — and we probably could've put more on the board if we'd wanted to — I feel really good about where our offense was tonight. And we're 3 and 0, and there are few of us out there that are in this position. Now we've got to find a way to go win another one.

Q: How many days off will you give your players?
GB:
The players will come back and watch the film on Wednesday and practice a little bit, then go hard Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They'll get a little time off, get some guys healed up, deal with some school issues and run a little bit.

Q: Is this a good time for the bye week, or would you rather build on the momentum and play Saturday?
GB:
Considering the guys that we've got banged up a little bit, the bye week feels good right now.

Q: Can you talk about being 3 and 0 for the first time in a while?
GB:
I think I've only been 3 and 0 once, and that was in '89 under Coach Mac. I don't know; it's different territory. I just smile a lot more probably. I'm just thankful that we are.

Q: What did you say to your team after they scored 14 points on you in the first quarter?
GB:
I didn't say anything to our team. They didn't need anything said to them. You can't just respond and react constantly back and forth. You've got to let them fix the mistakes and let your position coaches fix what's broken.

Q: How do you feel about your special teams through three games?
GB:
Well, we've blocked three punts now. Other than getting a really good punt return, we've been pretty good on special teams. And having two good kickers like Mason and John Torp really gives our whole team a lot of confidence any time they go on the field.


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