Kragthorpe Speaks

Steve Kragthorpe spoke with the media Sunday evening about his team's loss to Syracuse, Harry Douglas' status, what his team needs to do to get back on the right track, how he handles adversity and his reassurances from Tom Jurich. InsideTheVille.com has a complete transcript from the conference call. AUDIO INCLUDED.

What jumps out after watching the Syracuse game tape? "It was the same thing I said in the press conference yesterday in terms of the deep balls getting thrown over our head. We're in four-deep zone coverage and we're settling our feet at safety and (not) trusting our eyes and getting back in position to make the plays.

Harry Douglas: "He'll be ready to go this week."

How do you handle adversity: "Anytime you lose a ballgame you take it extremely hard. And when you don't play as well as you're capable of playing it makes it doubly tough. I don't think there's any question that even when you play well and you lose a ball game there's a sting to it."

Brian Brohm and senior leadership: "All players and coaches have to step up. It doesn't matter if you're a first year player or a fifth year player, you're in a situation right now where we have adversity in our face. All of us have adversity in our face and we have to respond in a positive manner. We've got to go back to the practice field and become a better football team starting tomorrow. Brian's a good leader for us and he's got to be a guy that steps up in this situation, no question."

Mistakes and penalties: "I don't want to take away from Syracuse's effort, but there were a lot of instances on offense where we felt we shot ourselves in the foot and where we did not get it done. Where we turned the football over, where we had chances to get drives into the endzone or penalties that put us in long down and distance situations or some runs where we don't get the blocks at the point of attack – we have blocking assignment errors."


Kragthorpe says Harry Douglas will be
ready to go against NC State.
"It's all about winning games. The bottom line is that we've got to win games. We win games as a team and we lose games as a team. Offense, defense and special teams. We all have to play well together for us to win football games and we didn't do that yesterday."

How does he start correcting things? "Starting on offense we can't turn the football over. We've got to maintain possession of the football…and on the defensive side of the ball we can't give up big plays. The biggest way we can fix it right now is to get back on the practice field tomorrow and continue to go over the fundamentals and techniques that we want to employ and maybe do some different things coverage-wise. But heck, we're in a four-deep zone, you can't put 11 deep back there."

Personnel changes: "We're certainly going to look at that and we made some this week. We started Brandon Heath and we're certainly looking at different options. We played Bobby Buchanan a little at free safety so that's an option. Right now we're not playing very well at the safety position. ..We can not get the ball thrown over our head."

Inexperience on defense underestimated? "I think in the secondary and particularly when we lose LT we get that much more inexperienced. We lost Brandon, we lost Will, we lost Gavin and Rod's really our only guy that had a whole lot of experience. Jon had some experience but he wasn't able to play yesterday. So we have some relatively inexperienced guys back there. But the bottom line is we cannot get beat deep. We're preaching to them don't get beat deep, and we're getting beat deep."

Confidence of the secondary: "Right now we're going to do whatever it takes to get it done. If we rattle somebody's chain, we rattle somebody's chain. If they get their feelings hurt, they get their feelings hurt. We've got to get out there and get this thing fixed."

Reassurance from Tom Jurich? "Absolutely. There's no question that Tom is very, very knowledgable in terms of football. I have a lot of confidence in Tom and I know that he has confidence in me. I've been around long enough to know what I was getting myself into. What I didn't know was our relative lack of depth and inexperience on the defensive side of the ball and how that might play a factor early in the year."

How does he handle tough times: "You continue to work hard and obviously I'm as upset as anybody because I'm responsible for this operation. I'll continue to work hard and try to improve our team fundamentally and technically and hopefully put us in a position where we can be successful the next time we walk out there and just find a way to get it done."

"I've been tough along. I think our guys understand what we're supposed to do. We've put them in tough situations in practice. I'm a guy that believes in communication and coaching guys and instructing guys. But I think you could talk to guys on our practice field and if they are not doing things the way they are supposed to it's well known that I make sure that they understand it."

How do you eliminate the penalties? "We want to be aggressive, but there's a fine line between being aggressive and not playing smart football. And if guys aren't going to play smart football we're trying to get them in a situation on the sideline where we can get them coached. We ran into some situations yesterday where we had to put guys in the game because we don't have any guys left."


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