JJ Press Conference
By Paul Honda
(adds photos, 6 p.m.)
HONOLULU –– The air is so fresh when the home team wins.
The air is much crisper when the home team wins in textbook fashion. June Jones' textbook, of course, is not the usual grade school fodder. In fact, the Run and Shoot manual is locked away in the private room of the Library of Fundamental Football, classified under Weapons To Be Neutralized.
Both media and coach June Jones were in the mood for a press conference Monday, , in the green room at
June Jones: Good morning, guys, ladies.
Robert Kekaula, KITV sports anchor/KKEA radio color man: Were you conscious in the third quarter that you had not flat-out called a running play?
JJ: (laughs) Was I conscious of that? Um, I, actually, uh, I was, um, when I realized at halftime we'd only had that quarterback sneak, uh, I kinda just get in the mindset of what they're doing defensively. I knew that it was working, so we just kept firing it and, uh… but (coughs) the two runs that were (stopped) on the goal line should've been stand-up touchdowns and we screw ‘em both up. I shouldn't have run that, either. (Media follow-up question, undecipherable, JJ laughs.) We'll do what we have to do. Some games are that way.
Kekaula: Sometimes, a play you call, uh, turns out to be the right play. Is that more evident in that shallow pass to (Josh) Galeai?
JJ: Well, I kinda, you know, uh, they had been a big blitz team and they came after us the first five or six or seven plays, and when we hit everything, we're real fast paced, they kind of went and started playing zone. So, I kinda knew they were gonna get frustrated. I guess, in fact, if you remember, I ran the screen the play before. I thought they were gonna blitz right there, and, uh, that's why I called it. I said, they gotta do it this time, and I guessed right and, of course, that made me look good. But, um, the percentages were that they'd blitz quite a bit in that certain area, and they hadn't, so it was an educated guess.
Kekaula: Do you at least giggle on the inside when it's that easy sometimes?
JJ: Uhhmm, not during a game I don't very often very often. When you look at the tape, you know, again, I was very impressed with some of the things in our offensive line, what the running backs did in protection stuff. We have a very good understanding of what we're doing, and physically, we're very good up front. This was a good test ‘cause they do a lot of blitzing, a lot of zone blitzing, and, uh, they're physically probably the best front four, overall, that we've played.
Kekaula: Back to back, high-output offensive weeks...
Kekaula: … for the football team… are you guys that good right now?
JJ: Well (clears throat), you know, you gotta be that good every week, you know, to do whatever you have to do to win. We think that we've got a good up base understanding with everybody throughout the group that's playing, which makes it kind of fun. At the same time, you know, you have to… you're only as good, as, you know, as your next game. And so, we gotta do it again. But I feel very comfortable, uh, with where we are offensively. Um, I think we've run the ball pretty well this year. I think third or fourth in the country in yards per carry, which is the only stat that matters to me. Uh, and we've been over 100 yards pretty much every time except last week, so…
JJ: Uh, it's about the same. I ask exactly the same thing of the college kids that I asked of pro players when I was coaching the pros.
Dave Reardon, center, and Kalani Simpson, right
Reardon: Was there any difference? Was there any skepticism from the pros?
JJ: Umm, not really. I don't think so. Once guys are in it, it's hard for them to go back. I know this for a fact: once they play in it, it's hard for them to go do anything else. They always call and say, you know… they say how much easier it was before we make it hard, you know, those type things. I think that happens with coaches, too. Like, all the coaches on my staff will have a hard time going to coach another offense after this because they know how it can be.
JJ: Dan Robinson did, too.
Tsai: Does it take that many games?
JJ: Different strokes for different folks. Jim Kelly didn't get it until week five or six. Rolo didn't get it until a year-and-a-half. There's different guys and different ways. Timmy had it right away. First practice, I saw it.
John Veneri, KHON reporter: You've talked about this offense making career (statistical) leaders? Are you happy with what Timmy's done?
JJ: Um, you know, I'm happy for him. You know, the bottom line is we want to be good as a team. Uh, in what we do, the quarterback has to be productive or we'll have trouble being as good as we can be as a team. Um, so from that standpoint, with all quarterbacks, you know, you evaluate at the end of your career, how you were. Not year by year. Not game by game.
Veneri: Just the way the offense is, you bring a quarterback in, he starts, you're gonna see his name somewhere in the…
JJ: It's the same thing with receivers, you know. Um, historically, that's… I've made quite a few receivers multi-millionaires in the National Football League once free agency came, that didn't go on and play other places. I think, uhh, Bert Emmanuel, Michael Haynes, Andre Rison signed the three largest contracts in free agency at that time. I don't think you ever heard from them again.
Kekaula: They fell off the map.
Tsai: Relatively speaking, did Chang pick it up as quickly as Kelly?
JJ: Um, Kelly took five or six games. I said, Timmy, the first day, the first practice he had a good understanding of what we're doing, but he'd been running it for four years.
Kekaula: You still have some concerns, uh, defensively?
JJ: Yes, I am. I think that (clears throat) this past game, we did a lot of good things. Um, we're gonna need to just play solid football this week ‘cause this, this, Pat Hill, I think will choose to run the ball, you know, try to run the ball against us to keep us off the field. They still throw the ball; don't get me wrong. But I think his gameplan will be a little more run-oriented and we gotta prove that we can hold up consistently against the run. That'll be a test this week.
Kekaula: The run defense of the Warriors, is it still guys just filling the right gaps?
JJ: It's gap control and, uh, mainly gap control, and then, I think at certain times earlier in the season, uhh, scheme-wise we needed to make some adjustments to get extra people down there. So it's a combination of both. I tell ya, the last four, five weeks it's been more gap control.
Kekaula: Saturday night, Isaac (Sopoaga) in the first half…
Kekaula: … just dominated on D.
JJ: Yeah, he's starting to be the guy that he can be. The thing I like about him is he's a great kid and, on top of it, I can tell by the look in his eyes, he wants to get better. So, he's only gonna go up.
Tsai: Is there anything else that worries you about the trip (to
JJ: Just being able to control the crowd and the atmosphere, so on and so forth, from that whole deal. You know, we gotta be able to prove that we can do that –- uh, hold on one second. (Pulls out his cell phone.) I've been waiting for a call.
‘Hello? Hey, I'm right in the middle of this press conference. Let me call you right back. Okay.'
That was Mark Rolfing. I've been trying to reach him. Umm… what was the question now?
Lois Manin, UH Media Relations: Going into the game…
JJ: Oh, going into, controlling the game. I think more than anything, it's just controlling the atmosphere and not getting too intimidated. You know, with the atmosphere, it's gonna be similar to
Kekaula: If you're not the head coach, some of this stuff is funny, isn't it?
JJ: Um, even if you are the head coach, some of it is funny (laughs). They say stuff about me. They say stuff about everybody. You just hope it's not, like, real accurate (media laughs).
Reardon: Chris Brown says they get it from the media guide.
JJ: I don't know. Uh, I don't know where they get it.
Jim Leahey, K5 the Home Team, play-by-play broadcaster: Coach, let me ask you a question.
JJ: Uh huh.
Leahey: Since you've been here at the
JJ: Umm, I wouldn't know how to answer that. (pause) I wouldn't know how to answer. I think the only one who could probably tell you would be somebody that, you know… I guess I would say yeah. Yeah. In some phase of the game, you were outcoached, yeah. It's an accumulation of players, coaches, everything. If your players aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing, then you're getting outcoached, so yes, I guess I have been.
Leahey: Could you be more specific? Let me give you an example:
JJ: Uh huh.
Leahey: And in looking at that game and analyzing the statistics, I was saying, is the
JJ: Um, I would say that game, um, I would not say that happened. I would say, I thought that game, the two plays in the first quarter kinda changed the momentum of that game. Um, you know, I did not feel that way in that game. I turned on a couple of tapes that we played in 2000, like for example, Tulsa two years ago when they beat us here, when I was looking at that tape getting ready to play Tulsa, I was going, wow, we should've been doing this. We should've done that. So, from that instance, I would say that particular game.
Leahey: So then when you turn it over, there have to be games where you actually walked off the field and could say, I outcoached him, or we outcoached them.
JJ: (clears throat) Again, I don't know how to answer that other than I feel it's execution, you know. So, when I get my guys to do what they're supposed to do correctly, it doesn't really necessarily matter what I call. You know, I mean, I had an educated guess on the screen I was asked about, so from that standpoint, that was me. But they still had to execute the screen, you know, and if the fullback hadn't done what he's supposed to do, we wouldn't have got it. So it's my job to get him to do it correctly. So, it's a combination. I mean, I don't know if that answers your question, but… I can dodge ‘em pretty good sometimes. (Media laughs.)
Reardon: Could you talk about a
JJ: Um, I'd rather play tough out-of-conference opponents at home. (pause) I think
Reardon: But you wouldn't mind one or two, though?
JJ: Oh, we are scheduling one or two. Yeah. I don't want eight of ‘em.
Reardon: But on the road?
JJ: Well, I mean, we have to. They won't come here any more.
Kekaula: What's your status at running back?
JJ: Um, Thero (Mitchell) is still a little, shoulder's a little banged up. I think John West will be okay. Josh will be okay. Mike Bass, we're going to have him rechecked today or tomorrow. Uhh…
Kekaula: (Michael) Brewster?
JJ: Brewster, I think, will be available.
Veneri: Hyrum (Peter's) stinger?
JJ: Hyrum's stinger is kind of game to game. He'll probably play, and then get one, suck it up and go, do what you gotta do. It's kind of scary because it's a nerve deal, you know. So it's a little more scary.
Veneri: Houston (
JJ: I think
Veneri: This is the time of season when injuries start piling up.
JJ: Yeah, all of them are starting to come. We got a bye before we play Rice, so we got a little chance to recoup there. I always like the byes late in the season for that reason.
Tsai: The stinger's, like, a recurring thing?
Manin: Anyone else? All right. Thank you.