Mickey Andrews Q&A Part 2

Meeting with the media earlier Monday, defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews discussed Saturday's loss to Virginia. Here is the final part of that conversation.

Q: Do you distinguish between the penalties that are by-products of aggressive play and the ones that are just inexcusable?

A: "You can prevent penalties – just don't do anything. We could go out there today and I promise you play 60 minutes and never get a penalty. But we aren't going to be any good on defense either. We don't concern ourselves with playing mistakes. There is a play on the sideline where we got hit for hitting late. We'll take those. There wasn't anyway he could have pulled off. The people on TV could tell what it was because they've got instant replay. They can run it back two or three times and they might could tell that. A guy makes a call and in his judgment we hit out of bounds. You just have to live with that. But silly things like lining up offsides or occasionally you'll jump offsides. If you are not coming off the ball, if you are not ready to explode off that football you are not going to penetrate the line of scrimmage. But at the same time, you've got to move when the ball moves instead of voice cadence. Part of it is just being disciplined. We aren't going to get on to a guy for a playing mistake where it's a pure judgment call. Sometimes the guy with the flags sees it differently than we do. I am sure that happens to everybody but we are not going to take away their aggressiveness – we are just asking them to play with a little better discipline when it needs to be."

Q: How do you teach or practice not making those silly ones?

A: "A kid might have an opportunity to do some up-downs while somebody takes his place to kind of give you the impression that it's not acceptable. Playing hard and playing dumb is two different things."

Q: Is the right defensive end position a concern at this point? Because it seems that it's only Kamerion (Wimbley) that's playing well and Hagans was able to be flushed by him but there was nobody else on the other side?

A: "It wasn't all the defensive end. There was times where we had the end on an inside stunt with somebody replacing him. If you do that, it wasn't his fault because he helped push him out there. Or it might be somebody involved in a blitz with somebody going inside that wasn't maintained. There was some times when it was other people…it's just important to maintain your contain on a blitz as it is on a base defense. We had some breakdowns in more than one position."

Q: Coach Bowden has talked all season that because of the youth it's all ahead for this team...

A: "I hope so. It should be. You always get your appetite wetted up a little bit and you build it up a little bit when you are having success and doing good. Sometimes it may be a case of a few players playing better than expected. It's hard to maintain – especially for a young guy – that level week in and week out and yet you still push to get better. Like with the corners, one of the receivers was 6-4 and one was 6-3. We can't grow a guy past 5-9 if that's what he is. He's just got to play within that and he was trying to play hard and make up some differences. We had a couple of busted coverages that it looked like the corner got beat but really it was the safety's job to cover up for him. So what appears to be a situation not always is."

Q: Do you relate to the recent success against your defense to the fact that for two games in a row, teams have used a completely different game plan?

A: "Usually what happens is a two-fold thing: you are not playing as good as you can and you give credit to the team that is scheming you and executing their offense a little better than you do. ( Virginia) ended up with 326 (yards) and that's above our goal. Our goal is to hold a team below 300 yards. Like I said, in the second half we were very affective. I don't we forced but one punt the first half but they got the one touchdown where we had the busted coverage and the two penalties. Then they had two or three field goals and then they get possession of the ball with 1:08 to go. You've got to finish. You've got to keep them from getting into the endzone…that's an area that concerns you because you've got to finish better than that. That gave them the momentum coming out in the second half plus they had the ball. There's a lot of areas there that we can learn from that we've got learn from. But we don't have to coach our guys any different…we didn't have as many missed tackles as I though we had during the game. We keep trying to bring our young guys along, we keep growing them. We are midway now and we've just got to keep going."

Q: What is more important for a defense to have, ability or mentality?

A: "I would say there has never been a great defense that didn't have great ability. Yet, coach Gladden used to say this and we all agreed with him but we had a chuckle when he would say it," The best ability is dependability." You can be minus a few great players but if your guys are playing near to perfection, playing better than they can – the mental part of it will carry you a long way. Whether it be tackling, whether it be rushing to the football or whether it be defending, we've got to get back to the focus point that we had when we were preparing for Miami. We have somehow and another gotten distracted and seem to be a little bit different focus in terms of preparation and performance. That's something that we as coaches have got to help our team regain and it's our mission this week."

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