June Jones press conference
By Paul Honda
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002
HONOLULU -- Tough weekend on the road, morning press conference after a long flight back, and those big, ol' TV cameras staring him down -- it makes no difference for June Jones.
The former NFL coach fielded questions from the media -- KFVE's Jim Leahey, KGMB's Liz Chun, KHNL's Russell Yamanoha, KHON's John Veneri, among others -- in his usual low-key, forthright manner.
In the end, the same conclusion: The Warriors will bounce back from the big loss at Boise State whether anyone expects them to or not.
JJ: All right, a couple of things. Nate Ilaoa, I think, he'll probably miss this week for sure. I think we'll get Abraham (Eliminian) back and, uh, we got some guys with just, uh, tender shoulders. Thero Mitchell popped his out. So did Lance Samuseva, got a shoulder. I think they'll be ready to go.
Press Conference Host: There's another announcement to make.
JJ: Oh yeah, umm, I think (UH Athletic Director) Herman (Frazier) just notified me that we've scheduled Alabama for next year on Nov. 29, so we'll play two years in a row.
Media: At home?
Media: Would you talk about the game?
JJ: We just got our asses beat, and it was just one of those games. We didn't play well. It's the first time, I think, since I've been here special-teams wise, (Boise State) played with more intensity. The blocked punt was, uh, a huge play, and uh, they beat us. Special teams beat us and defense. I thought offensively, we moved the ball. We only punted twice and, um, we had some chances to make some throws, and we dropped some balls and screwed it up ourselves, but I thought the offensive line played good. But that was the only phase of the game, I think, that we played decently.
Media: Could you talk about having to come back from being down 21-3 so early?
JJ: Um, yeah, I've been in those type games before. I thought we answered it pretty good. We drove it the length of the field and should've put it in. Fourth down, they didn't give us the catch. (Ed's note: Chad Owens' play was ruled incomplete.) And it was a catch. That's the way it is on the road. They don't give you the calls.
Media: The University of Hawaii gave up 400 yards in total offense, and defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa was quoted in the paper as saying, "It's all correctible." What needs to be corrected?
JJ: Uh, we didn't play the assignments. The confidence in playing the gap, gap control. We've got to do other things, you know, to get an extra guy down there, uh, faster, to play some of the cutback holes. You know, all in all, um, they scored 48 points on everybody, I think, except Arkansas. They did on us; I was surprised they did it on us, but they were well-coached and they had a good gameplan and they executed—and we didn't.
Media: So what must be corrected?
JJ: Play your gaps.
Media: That's on special teams, or—
JJ: No, no, play your gaps on defense. The guys not playing their responsibility. You know, if every gap is covered and one guy doesn't play his gap and jumps over the top, or a defensive lineman decides he's gonna work across, then there's a gaping hole. We didn't play our gap assignments very well.
Media: What would cause that?
JJ: They're coaching over there, too, and their running backs did a great job of vision. They have great vision. They make it look like they're going one way and they cut back the other way, so …
Media: It's like you said before you went up—they're the best team you've faced so far.
JJ: They definitely were up front. The two running backs, I'm gonna tell you, the two running backs can play. They'll play at the next level, too. I thought their quarterback did what he had to do, you know. They had a good gameplan of what they wanted to attack and he made some good throws for them. We're still the No. 1 defense in the WAC and we're still the No. 1 offense in the WAC, and it was one game.
Media: Are there going to be changes on punt protection? Are there weaknesses that were exposed that need to be fixed?
JJ: No. We have that look all the time. All through camp, we put 22 guys on defense and blocked. When you don't do what you're supposed to do. They made one shift, and even if we don't get the change in the call in the shift, three guys have to do the wrong thing for it to be blocked, and we did all three things wrong. And we've blocked (the defense) many times.
Media: You changed the routine on this particular road trip. You went up a day later.
JJ: For a time zone difference, no, we don't. For this time zone (Ed's note: Pacific Daylight Time), when we go past, it's different. Actually, we were better prepared for this game and the time zone was not a factor. To me, historically looking at it, when I've been in the NFL and we had to go to California from Atlanta or whatever, when jet lag or anything was a factor, you had a lot of offside penalties, a lot of freakin' stupid penalties, a lot of those type of errors. (Against Boise State) we were less penalized than them, I think. In fact, one of the penalties they called on us was on them. They called us for illegal movement in the line, and their defensive lineman jumped and then we moved. I don't think (travel) was a factor, and I bet you the guys would say it wasn't.
Media: How will the team respond to this loss going into the Nevada game despite the frustration of losing?
JJ: You know, when you look at the tape, you realize, it stays with you longer. You kind of forget about a win, you know, and get to the next one real fast, but this one you gotta prepare and you're still pissed off, like you say, about what you did until probably Thursday or Friday, and then you kinda get focused again. That's just the kind of thing with any loss, not just this type of loss.
Media: Would you say Boise is that good, or you guys kind of beat yourselves.
JJ: Boise's a really good football team, but I think we made them look a lot better. But they're gonna do that to a lot of teams, trust me. And they already have, not just us.
Media: Let me ask you a question about recruiting.
Media: And that is, your faith in this system, and it's been that way ever since you learned the Run and Shoot, in a system like this, where is the 6-5, 220-pound quarterback? You have an undersized 6-foot quarterback as a backup. You have a fifth-year senior as a backup, and the rest are inexperienced and you're redshirting some. But where are the pristine quarterbacks that this system should allure?—is it because, you're saying that Timmy Chang is your guy for years to come that they're staying away?
JJ: Good question.
Media: Thank you.
Media: But is that why right now you're not getting the—
Media: Will you recruit personally more quarterbacks in the years to come?
JJ: We recruit quarterbacks every year. It's probably one of the only positions we really recruit—quarterback and offensive line on offense. I think that we're in pretty good shape right now, and we will not say no to anybody that can play, although I had to turn down a couple everybody else thought was good and I didn't they were as good. But that doesn't affect my decisions. We had a kid turn us down last year that was transferring and went to Cal. But if anyone coming here is afraid of the competition, I don't want him anyway. He ain't good enough anyway. He told me that before he would come. Rolo, if you remember, we signed Jared Flint and he came anyway. He said, I don't care about the competition. And that's how the great ones are; they don't care.
Press Conference Host: Can you talk about Nevada?
JJ: Yeah! Nevada is like us, really, they throw the ball. They, uh, play really hard on defense. Their front four is really a good group of guys. They throw it a ton. Last year, they beat us both throwing and passing, I thought, and this year the quarterback's better than the guy they had last year. It's gonna be, I think, one of those BYU kind of games—last year's BYU—kind of games. It's gonna be a lot of passing and whoever makes the most plays on defense is probably gonna win because both teams are gonna move the ball. I think they're rated the same as we are nationally, or real close to us, offensively, so that tells you they can move the ball. We're gonna have to play good on defense.
Media: What do you think of their offense since they lost Chance (Kretschmer) to injury (against BYU)?
JJ: Chance who?
Media: Chance Kretschmer.
JJ: Um, you know, (Nevada coach) Chris Tormey has always been a real pass-oriented guy, and uh, I think they throw it a little more than they did than last year, but that's because the quarterback's better. I think they probably would be pretty much the same as they are today even if the running back was there. That made them maybe even better because they have to defend the pass so much more. They're very explosive offensively and they can, uh, move defensively. They have athleticism.
Media: This week is homecoming week. Any message for the alums?
JJ: Right off the top of my head, no. (laughter) Give me a week and I'll think of something. I just found out when you mentioned it.
Press Conference Host: How about Alabama? What does that mean to you?
JJ: Uh, Alabama to me is kind of like the armed forces. It brings fans to the game and it gets us national recognition. They'll bring a lot of people to the state, too, not just to watch the game, but buy hotel rooms and Warrior shirts.
Media: You've had your issues with the Alabama coach (Dennis Franchione).
JJ: I don't really know exactly who he is. (laughter by media)
Media: He seems to like you.
JJ: He's a nice guy.