Mickey Andrews Q&A

Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews sat down with the media Monday afternoon to discuss the 35-14 loss to Clemson this past weekend. The following is a transcript of that conversation.

Opening statement: "Of course, the worst thing was we lost the football game. We didn't do the things you got to win on defense - we gave up too many points, too many yards. Probably the most disappointing thing was of two of the scores – one came (from) 72 yards and one from 71 yards as 12-play and a five-play series. We had them on third and long on the second one and they run something we've never seen before – a screen and a lateral. I've seen a hook and ladder but never a screen run off of it. The odd thing about it, they did it with the split backs where the far-side back is the guy that came around for the pitch. I've never seen that play before. It was a very sharp play. We ran the right defense; we just didn't get it contained. We broke down on our containment, our corner came up and missed contain, our safety came inside and then the back-side safety came underneath a blocker. It went 44 yards and the thing that has been discouraging is the number of long plays we've given up this year. We had one touchdown pass of 33 yards off of a screen play. We ran a blitz, it wasn't the best call you could be in on that kind of play…you had to play it perfect to stop it.

"You don't see it many times at Florida State that you get out-fought. You got a back or receiver that wants to get into the endzone more than we want to make the play and lineup and play defense again. It's just not Florida State defense, for sure. The first quarter and third quarter was the quarters that did us in. We gave up 14 points in the first quarter and 21 in the third quarter. One of them…they took possession from the 11-yard line. You fight your guts out to end up holding them to a field goal but they still end up getting a touchdown. They threw a fade route that I don't care who you are, you can't defend that pass. It was a perfectly thrown ball to a 6-5 receiver. That's very difficult to defend. We go into the second quarter and give up two yards the whole quarter. We got to the fourth quarter and give up 13 yards the whole quarter. Half the game we gave up 15 yards and no points. The other two quarters just did us in. We didn't make enough plays in those two quarters to win the football game.

"We did a lot of good things; we forced 10 takeaways – eight punts, one turnover, one fourth-down stop. We had eight three-and-outs. We had a blocked kick that scored a touchdown. In the situation battle we stopped them third and long 80-percent of the time, 50-percent of the time on short yardage, which is what we try to do. We got killed on third and medium. We always take a lot of pride in our goal line defense around here but we didn't get it done – we let them score from the 1-yard line on a run and from the 4-yard line on a pass. You never blame anybody or anything when we don't win but the thing that's just really hurt us this year is not having all our starters in the game and not being able to prepare out there like you need to with guys in blue shirts that can't practice.

"A lot of things you look at and say, 'How in the world did you get beat by that many points?' When it just comes down to it, we are our own worst enemy too much."

Q: Is this the most challenging situation that you can remember with not being able to practice like you like to?

A: "The bottom line is that you've got to go out there and perform on Saturday. We haven't done that the last two weeks – not good enough to win the football game. I just pointed out the injuries and that's what one of the reasons is but it don't take you that long to look on tape and see other reasons – you get out of your gap or you miss a tackle or miss a coverage. I make a bad call and put them in a bind sometimes or it's just a combination of things. Right now, we are going to find out what kind of people we really are. It's up to us. That's what we've got to do it with."

Q: Looking at the injuries, it seems as if there is not one single healthy defensive end. What can you do at that position?

A: "Well, we played a linebacker at defensive end on Saturday (Lawrence Timmons). The other folks that ain't hurt are going to have to play harder, play better. That may not be the answer but it will help it out. We are going to try to get 11 out there every time. It's just got to be 11 that are determined and play with a passion that we are going to win that play. We will be a much better football team if we do that."

Q: Any chance of having Kamerion Wimbley back for the Florida game?

A: "I don't know. He was on crutches when we left (for Clemson). Yeah, there is a chance. I mean, it's going to be hard for me to keep him off the field. Sometimes you can heal yourself quicker if you to bad enough. He's that kind of person. I'd be surprised if he don't get out there. He won't be 100-percent probably but if you are 100-percent in your heart; it makes up for some other areas too."

Q: And it looks like you have lost Gerard Ross for the season?

A: "You are going to have to talk to Randy (Oravetz) about that. He started for all but one game. He said his knee hurts. If Randy says he can't play, he can't play."

Q: Is it more frustrating to see that you can have success like you did in the second and fourth quarters but not throughout the entire game?

A: "The whole thing is about getting off the field. We told our kids that the best defense we play is when we are on the bench – we don't give up any yards. You put yourself in position to do it and then all of a sudden boom, they out-execute you on a play. And I thought their quarterback was the difference in the ballgame Saturday. He was unbelievable, really. He wasn't like that here last year and they weren't nearly as good. The last two years we have gone up there, they played a lot better than we had seen them play the entire year. They played obsessed."

Q: You've always stressed that competition makes you better but how can you get your guys better now when there are so many of them that can't practice?

A: "Playing tag is the way you do it. We haven't been in full pads on a Tuesday since way back in the middle of the year. The thing we have always been able to do out here is get better as the year goes on and we haven't been able to do that. We are not a better football team now than we were earlier in the year. The only way we are going to better is going out there and working on it. We have to get better at tackling but they can't tackle at practice – they can't even go through our tackling drills."

Q: And that seems to be what's happening on both sides of the ball right now…

A: "Oh yeah. I don't see what goes on over there on that side very much but I am sure they are facing some of the same things. You are not a better football team when Wimbley don't even make the trip. You got some other people that made the trip but they are over there cheering instead of playing. We are a better football team when (Leon Washington) is dressed out and playing. You tell your backups you got to play like a starter; you can't have a drop off. It's hard to tell a kid, 'Alright he's not here, you be a Wimbley.' We've got three very great opportunities ahead of us. It's three of the toughest challenges we've had all year long but it's a great opportunity for us to check and see what's inside."

Q: What do you focus on this week since you will only be practicing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?

A: "We aren't as good right now because our fundamentals as good because they aren't practicing. I don't care how tough you try to be…Kyler Hall is about as tough a guy as we got - both mentally and physically - and he bummed his shoulder. I don't think he's been through a week that he didn't have a blue shirt on. He plays too many plays and he was playing out there and Randy was telling me today that he's still got some numbness. He didn't tell me that. I didn't know he was hurt. I saw (Anthony) Houllis take his place one time after a tackle but next time I turn around he's back in there. But it's tough. I have been there too. Your shoulder is hurting and every time you go over there and make a lick with it, you got that stinger that runs out the tip of your finger and you know that every time you stick your head in there it's going to happen. But that's football. You can't play football and now get banged up some. This week, we've just got to find a way to get some folks well. Then hopefully they can practice some next week and get ready to hopefully win a football game."


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