Jeff Bowden: Talking Offense

With two-a-day practices in the rearview mirror and Iowa State in front, offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden talks about his unit's performance, who has played well and not-so-well, and what's in store. "I think we got accomplished what we wanted to get accomplished and that was not to hold back on our offense. We are pretty diverse. We are pretty much doing a lot of the stuff that we've done in the past, maybe in a different way or in a different formation or whatever," Bowden said.

Here are Jeff Bowden's comments on his unit's spring performance.

"I saw some good things (Friday scrimmage). Chris (Rix) he threw one up (interception) and I wish he hadn't but to say that's never going to happen is foolish. He saw the guy and he was open and he just laid one over the middle, down the field, if he had more on it it would have been a touchdown. But other than that he really made some nice throws and I thought he ran the offense and he looked a lot more in charge. I thought the offense looked a lot better, a lot better than a year ago today."

Your depth has obviously been tested this preseason due to injuries.

"Yes, you have Anquan (Boldin), you have Robert (Morgan) and Craphonso Thopre is out. I thought Talman (Gardner) played well, like he has all two-a-days. P.K. Sam (pictured) I did not think he played well. He's got to step up a little more than he has. We need him to be more involved and make more plays for us. So, that's my only concern right now."

Were you pleased wth your offensive line's performance in the scrimmage?

"The line I thought. ... he (Rix) had plenty of time to throw the football. They might have got two sacks, which shouldn't happen. But we will just look at the film to see what we did wrong. If it was just a guy beating us, poor steps or what. It shouldn't happen with a three-man rush.

It seems liked every scrimmage you had a running back who made a nice play.

"Yes, they did. Greg Jones got limited reps, so we were looking at the young guys. These guys can run. I mean, these guys can run. They are good football players. Now, they are freshmen. I don't know how many mistakes we will be willing to live with. But you see what I see. I see backs making a few more big plays than receivers right now, and that's encouraging because you have to make a decision – are you going to go one-on-one out wide or double-out wide and give us a chance to run. It's a good problem to have."

Are you worried about injuries a week before the opener?

"There is nothing I can do about it. Worrying is not going to help us get better. There's nothing I can do about it. I think Anquan will be okay to go. Robert Morgan, I think he's okay. Talman is fine. I think Cro (Craphonso Thorpe) will be fine come game time. He's just missing practice. It keeps him from getting better. That's the only thing with his injury (toe)."

What were some of the key things that you accomplished and the things, if any, that you did not accomplish that you were hoping to do?

"I think we got accomplished what we wanted to get accomplished and that was not to hold back on our offense. We are pretty diverse. We are pretty much doing a lot of the stuff that we've done in the past, maybe in a different way or in a different formation or whatever. But as far as the responsibility of the quarterback, we are putting it on them and they seem to be handling it right now. They haven't been thrown curveballs. Most of it has been against our defense and they are pretty multiple in their looks. For the most part, I think they've done well. The main thing is to not beat ourselves with turnovers. We only had one (Friday) and I am encouraged by that. I think we are going to be better. I feel like we are going to be better."

You mentioned that it has been much different than a year ago. Has it been because of experience?

"Yes. I can signal something. This is where it is (different). I can signal something and not get that glassy look, and that's before the play has even gotten to the players. The procedure part is down. He (Rix) understands his coverages now. He understands his hot, when he's protected and when he's not. He's seeing blitzes. He missed some last year and he would get blindsided. Now he's seeing them and he's reacting. That's step one. Now it's protecting that ball and making good decisions all the time. That's going to come. All the time, that comes with more playing time."

Coach Bowden had said you wanted to throw throw the football in the red zone (Friday scrimmage) and you came away with just three field goals.

"My fault on one. I wanted to see a play run. I could have let Daryl (Dickey) put them in a formation that would have scored a touchdown. But I said no, let's run this play. They ran a stunt into it and knocked it for a two- or three-yard loss. That's just me wanting to run a play as opposed of letting them score another touchdown and everybody say, ‘Oh, they got a lot of points.' I didn't care at that point. That didn't bother me. We could have run two more plays and got it in the end zone. I wanted to see a draw play run and I should have just let Daryl call what he had called. That's not something that you gamble on during a game."

Chris missed a wide open receiver on his interception throw (Friday). Those are the kind of mistakes that he made last year. Is that a concern?

"No, I kind of think that's something every quarterback has to work on. They want to throw down field. I think Chris is a little bit like that. He's having to learn to take those short guys. When they understand that five-yard gains are a good thing – they are completions, they are confidence builders. And we have guys who can run with the football after the catch. These backs we have, those are good passes to complete. That's just something he has to learn. And he has done a lot better at it. He's dropped the ball off a lot better than he did last year. If he doesn't pick it up (offense), he doesn't play here. You have to be able to learn it. If you can't learn it then we got a problem with who we are playing. He's progressing like he should, and like we expect him to."

Offensively, are there some positions that you had some concerns about entering the preseasn?

"Fullback and tight ends were a concern. I am getting less concerned. Not so much tight ends as blockers. We think the tight ends can block well. As soon as we have to throw the football and people start double-covering receivers, which they will do, we are going to end up with tight ends and backs in single coverage. No. 1, they have to get open. And No. 2, they have to catch the ball. They've done a better job with that. We have B.J. Dean and Selvidio (at fullback). Torrance (Washington) is the one who is really been looking like the true fullback with the size to block. The previous scrimmage he had 10 decleaters. And just did a great job. He got all over them and I thought he did a good job getting after the defense when he was asked to block. He started off pretty good (Friday) but he got hurt. That bothers me a little because he looks like he might be the future. B.J. as a blocker and a goal-line runner, he's okay. Selvidio, he's okay. They are getting better. They are not Edgar Bennetts. Torrance Washington might could be a great Florida State fullback again."

How do you shake your receivers out?

‘By default, Talman, Anquan and Robert Morgan will be your top three. Craphonso and P.K., who have as much ability to be their equals, but Craphonso is hurt and P.K. hasn't done it yet, as far as I am concerned. He hasn't done it. He's got it, he can, he just hasn't done it. We just have to keep coaching him hard. Chauncey (Stovall) is like a true freshman He got in here late and didn't get any of the work when the freshmen came in because he had to wait for his grades. He's behind and you can see him really thinking. The wheels are turning in his head. He's not able to play like he's capable of playing yet. But he will good down the road. He needs to be (produce). I didn't bring him here to redshirt. Not a junior-college (player). He will play as much he shows me I get him out there and he can do the right thing."

Nole Digest Top Stories