From Memphis Sports Information Release:
Memphis, Tenn. - Opening Remarks
For the first time, I really liked the preparation. I liked the mental way our football team prepared for the game. I liked the energy they played with. I liked the way they competed in the game. I thought that was the first time really since the second half at East Carolina that I liked our approach to the game. We looked more like us at times. The negative is there are still four or five plays in the game, really in all three phases, that are killing us right now and keeping us from being what we are. We play extremely hard. It's a shame that you play with that type of intensity and at that level--I thought it was pretty obvious just watching the game that we looked like a better team--but then the four or five plays take us out of the game. So we've got to get those taken out of it.
I had challenged our running backs (Joseph Doss) and I felt like they did break some tackles and they did make the first guy miss at times. I thought we played a little bit better at running back. I thought our quarterback (Martin Hankins) protected the ball pretty good. His mechanics were better.
We are a big play style of offense. That's what we are. We're not going to make a living with 10-16 play drives. That's not us. We took 10 shots in the game with deep balls and we hit one of them. We can't survive that way. Because that's what we do, we've got to bat a pretty good average with our shots. If you throw it 10 times and get one, then you're not going to score a lot of points. That was a negative offensively.
On the Defense
Defensively the problem was third down. I thought we played probably better than anybody had played their offense on first and second down because we got them into 3rd-and-7, 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-9s. We could not convert on third down. We're getting better at running our base defense. We will try to move this week into some third down stuff so we can play better on third down. But I thought they played better on first and second down. We cut a couple people loose and gave up three big plays that we shouldn't have given up, but that's been our history right now. All three of them came on something new that we had put in last week and we're trying to do still.
On the Kicking Game
Our kicking game has got to get better. Our kicking game is hurting us right now. Field position is bad because our kickoff cover team is not getting the job done very well. Our punt team unbelievably was a negative in the game. That's the first time this year that happened. We can't give them the ball at the 35-40 yard line. They're too good of a team.
On Improving the Defense
I was starting to get a little discouraged too. But I thought the other night I saw a semblance of what this defense can be. I can't accept year after year of being average, and I think that's what we've been. If we've got to be bad for a little while to get where I want us to be, then I'm going to live with that because we're going to get where we want to get. I think that was a good offensive football team. That's a senior offensive line that's probably as good a line as there is in our league or at least one of them. Their quarterback has played two years about as good as anybody's. To get them to 3rd-7, 8 and 9 every time, we played them pretty dang good. We just couldn't convert third down.
Edited by Woody Woodrum