Guy Morriss Monday Presser

Kentucky coach Guy Morriss reflects on Ball State, previews IU...

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Comments from Kentucky coach Guy Morriss during his weekly Monday press conference:

On his emotions after picking up his first victory:

"I was pretty excited, but the thing about it is, you don't have much time to celebrate. If you put it all in perspective, we still have a long way to go yet. If possible, we will celebrate at the end of the season. Right now, it's kind of 'back to business.' Now it's our first road trip. Our kids will have to be ready to go into an unfriendly environment, handle the distractions of the bus ride and all that goes along with travelling."

On how getting several players back on defense --- DTs Dewayne Robertson and Jeremy Caudill, LB Jamal White, OS David Johnson and CB Jeremy Bowie --- will improve the unit's performance:

DT Jeremy Caudill (68)
pursues IU's Antwaan Randle El
in last year's game

"Caudill will be back on the field Tuesday. I think he's going to give it a try. The thing with him is if he can tollerate pain. It's a painful injury he's got."

"Mo Lane will be back. He gives us some quality depth (at linebacker)."

"Jeremy Bowie will be back."

"Jamal (White) is obviously as good an athlete as we've got on the football team. He's going to make plays. He can make things happen over on that side of the football... Anytime you get a big play from the defense, it gives the whole team a lift, and Jamal's certainly capable of making those type of plays. Hopefully he can do that Saturday and give us a spark when we need it."

"David Johnson will be back. I think his hamstring will be OK. Again, he's a veteran guy that makes things happen."

"Dewayne (Robertson) will be back going full speed, practicing."

"Anthony (Wajda) will be fine. He's got a stinger in his neck."

"All of those guys being back will help. We should be at full strength, I hope."

"These are all veteran players and good players. Hopefully we'll be a better defense this Saturday than we were last. These guys will obviously help us be better."

On his perceptions of the 28-20 win over Ball State after reviewing it on film:

"I think after talking to coach (Rick) Smith, he felt like our secondary ended up playing a little better than he had first thought, the gut reaction after watching them play, which is always good. I think offensively it was pretty much the same. We felt good about the running game and the way Shane had operated the offense. The film bore that out."

On what Indiana will show defensively:

"It looks to me like, just from watching some tape of the North Carolina State game (a 35-14 loss for the Hoosiers), that it's very similar to what they did last year. I know coach Bell is in his second year up there now, and I don't anticipate them changing a whole lot now. They seem to be a little bit smaller defensive front than they have been in the past, but they're a lot quicker. Seems like they're playing harder and he's got them running to the football. And it'll be their home opener, so I'm sure they'll be jacked up. I'm sure that they'll be looking for their first win, and I'm sure they feel like they can beat us when we get up there, so we're going to have to have a good week of practice and prepare hard, handle the distractions of the road trip, and come out ready to play."

On the possibility of IU's Antwaan Randle El shifting back to quarterback after one game at receiver:

"I don't know. Coach Cameron's going to do what he feels like is going to give them the best chance to win the football game. The question we have, obviously, is do they put him back at quarterback, or do they continue to rotate the two quarterbacks (Tommy Jones and Randle El)? I know in talking with John (Goodner) earlier today, he's going to work it about 50/50 and prepare for both, but I think in the back of his mind, he's expecting to see Randle El at quarterback."

"The thing that he presents is that, everytime he gets his hands on the football, he can take it to the end zone. He's a tremendous athlete and he's been in that system with coach Cameron for four or five years now. He's just a tremendous football player who makes things happen. You've got to know where he is at all times. You better have somebody dogging him everywhere he goes. If he goes to the bench, you better send somebody over there." [Laughs]

"In the past, they've done some option stuff with him. But they've got a couple of good receivers and a big tight end. I'm sure they'll try to get the ball to him. I just don't know what they're going to do or what they're going to emphasize. You've got to be ready for both."

On his own team's quarterback situation:

"I think that Shane is the quarterback, and we'll see how it goes. We limited what we gave him (in the offensive package) for Ball State. Obviously now we're going to try to give him more, so his responsibilities are going to be increasing. If he can handle it, obviously, he's going to remain the starter. It just depends on how he reacts and how he performs on Saturday. We'll make a decision this time next week as to where we go from there."

On added responsibilities for Boyd:

"We talked to him moreso about his performance Saturday, and (Sunday) was a day off so we haven't talked with him again. The thing about Shane, he has to understand that his role is going to increase, and what he's got to handle and deal with is going to increase. But at the same time, you've got 10 other guys out there to work with, and don't try to do it all by yourself. Just play within yourself and let the system work for you, those type of things. Don't try to single-handedly win the football game."

On Boyd's demeanor:

"It's the same as when we told him he was going to start as it was when we told him he was going to come off the bench. It's really phenomenal. He's really got his head on straight. The good thing about Shane is he just takes everything in stride and handles it well."

On Lorenzen's demeanor:

"Jared's doing fine. He, obviously, was disappointed. But he told me that, 'Coach, I'm a team guy. I'm going to do everything I can to help get Shane ready. I'm going to stay involved, and when the opportunity presents itself, I'm going to be ready to step in and play.'"

On backing away from plans for a two-quarterback system:

"I don't know if it's going to be where we go with one guy or not. If one guy can handle it, he'll be the starter and get the majority of the snaps during the course of the game. But I still believe that, even if Shane is our starter from now on, at particular times during the ballgame we've got to give our backup guy some reps. The good thing about Jared (Lorenzen) is he's got 12 games of experience under his belt, so he can pull on that. But he's still got to have some playing time to stay sharp. So we will try to find times to work him into the ballgame, yes."

On using Lorenzen early if Boyd is struggling:

"I think we would be comfortable doing that. That philosophy is going to stay the same."

On the overall offensive performance against Ball State:

"They played pretty well. Once we got everybody settled down and Shane in a rhythm, I thought we played pretty good. The thing that obviously helped Chad (Scott) in our running game was our offensive line was coming off the ball a little bit better. We went a little deeper into the attack. We used the counter, we used the draw, some stuff like that we've been trying to get to. I think now we can build on that. We've got all kinds of wrinkles we can add to the package."

Offensive tackle
Antonio Hall (73)

"We feel like we've got good running backs back there, it's just up to us (the offensive line) to get them some running lanes."

"The technique was a lot better. We had a heck of a lot fewer mental mistakes. Of course, that always helps when you're blocking the right people. We're just going to try to build on that performance again this week. Like I said, we limited a lot of things that Shane was going to do. We wanted to take the pressure off of him from trying to carry the team by himself, and the running game had to step up. We were fortunate that those guys did that."

On what Boyd did or Lorenzen didn't do to keep the quarterback job:

"It was things that Shane did kind of steadily closed the ground. Our thinking was that we wanted to find out what Shane could do from jump street rather than coming in off the bench."

On concerns about how well Ball State ran their offense:

"Well, I think the thing that gave us some problems is we had some guys playing out of position Saturday. We had some guys who haven't played very much on the field Saturday. There were some first-game mistakes, linebackers overrunning ballcarriers, some things like that. The good thing about it was most of the time we lined up correctly. I think it's just a matter of having experienced players back in there that will help us this Saturday."

On how important it would be to take a 2-1 record instead of 1-2:

"I think it has a lot to do with confidence. You can be 2-1, obviously, you're going to feel pretty good about yourself and things are working better than if you were 1-2. I think it's just the overall picture of confidence and things clicking. Maybe you can get things snowballing and get on a little bit of a roll."

On lack of substituting on the offensive line:

"Every week we go in hoping to get enough of a cushion so that we can put those guys in there one way or another. I think we may have to adopt the same kind of philosophy that coach Goodner and his staff's doing. At certain points, we need to take and put two or three of those guys in the ballgame. We won't ever wholesale substitute with our backup linemen, but one at a time.  They've got to start getting some experience."

On the running of Martez Johnson:

"He's a guy who has a good feel for plays to the outside. He's a good stretch runner, a good toss runner, those kind of things. He starts up inside, then sees where he can break it outside or cut back. And he's a pretty good receiver. He catches the ball well and can do some things out in space."

On Derek Abney becoming the 'go-to' guy and the performance of the receivers:

"At this point, yeah, you could probably say that. Our receivers did a better job of getting open and starting to uncover. They've spent a lot of time with coach Jackson learning how to run routes, and I think that's starting to pay off. But I would say Derek Smith and Derek Abney are probably our two go-to guys, if you will."

"In almost any offense, the receiver has to be able to read the coverage. You start with pre-snap read, then as you run the route you've got to know zone or man, what they're doing. All that comes during the week in film study... The technique of actually running the route, those type of things, are a little bit more technical (in this system)."

On the run-pass ratio (28:22) against Ball State:

"We want to be about 60-40 (percent pass), I've said that all along. We didn't get there this Saturday, but the running game was starting to click a little bit, so we just continued to use that portion of the game. Plus, we had limited Shane to what we were asking him to do. I think once we got the lead, it was a case of trying to help our defense, to chew up some clock and keep them on the sideline. But we will strive to throw the ball more. We need to. Again, Shane will dictate to us about how much and how often can we throw the ball. How much can he handle right now? The more experience he gets, the more we'll put on him and the more we'll be able to do."

On how much of the offensive package is being utilized:

"It's all in, but if you're talking about wrinkles, you can always add. Wrinkles are unlimited. It's just how much can he handle at this point. We'll increase his package this week, and if he can handle it and execute it, then we'll continue to do that.

"But, oh yeah, there's a lot more we can use."

On the importance of special teams against IU, who struggled in that area against NC State:

"Special teams are always a vital part of the game, but maybe even moreso this week. We need to make sure we have those kids ready and focused. Those returns can give you a lift or be backbreakers. Coach Nelson has done a good job with those guys."

"We had some guys really play well on special teams. Octavius Bond had a nice game. Patrick Wiggins was a big contributor. Mike Williams had a good game on special teams. And of course Derek (Abney) had the punt return that was called back."


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