D'Onofrio not happy with the pass rush

With the Kansas State game around the corner, UM's defense has a couple chinks in their armor that they need to get fixed. Coach Mark D'Onofrio sits down with the us and gets into depth about his defense and the areas that need improvement.

Q: They had a lot of pass completion in the backfield during Boston College's game. Was that something the team wasn't ready for or was it blown assignments?
A: It was blown assignments. Probably the three big plays, when a man was open, was when somebody cut their guy loose. Generally, they're not that wide open if you got zone coverage. Again, we got to learn from it. Some of those guys were going into their first game; I'm not going to get into who they were. We have to clean that stuff and accentuate on what we did well. We took the ball away. We played well in the redzone. We played well in short yardage, and we stopped the run.

Q: Are most of the things that went wrong easy stuff to fix?
A: I think we should have a big improvement between week one and week two. The first series of the game, the coordinator we played against made a decision to go well away from anything he's ever done. We've played him five times, when we were at Temple. He put in a whole new package in that he probably hasn't done before, based on the familiarity that we had with him. That took a couple of series to soar through. In the first few series, they got us and did a couple of things on us and scored.

Q: Is the pass rush where you want it to be?
A: I was not happy about the pass rush at all. When you're not getting it in forty, you try bringing in five and six. When we did that, that's when we were in man, and we cut some guys loose. So, our inability to rush four probably made me a little impatient at times. That's when I committed more to rushing five and six and playing man.

Q: Collin Klein had a really good game against you last year. How hard will it be to contain him in this upcoming game?
A: He had a good game against everybody. (Laughs) He's a great player and obviously a great challenge. He's a great opportunity for us. He scored twenty seven touchdowns last year. He's an accurate passer. He's got good touch on the deep ball. They run the ball so well and not only with him. They're a tough physical team, and they try to get you to over commit with the run and then they have the ability to strike with the big play over the top.

Q: What do you like about Eddie Johnson?
A: I think Eddie displayed one of the things that we knew he had. He's got really good speed, and he's strong. He's a four hundred pound bench presser, and he can probably run in a high 4.5 or 4.6. He displayed both of those things when you see him rip the ball out of somebody's hands. There were a couple of other snaps when he made tackles in the open field, and you can see him stripping the ball, even if he didn't get it out. He showed the ability to blitz and make a tackle. I think his assets showed up.

Q: Last week you were talking about some adjustments you were making on plays. Can you talk about how you think your players responded to that?
A: I think they responded well. We got through those two series, and we started giving them one or two calls each series and we started adding to that process. We got to half time, and we were in good shape. They felt accomplished in what we were able to do in those two series. After eight, nine minutes in the game, they really performed well. They got a passing situation and a two minute situation. Our inability to get there before produced some problems in the stretch. Again, they responded first and goal from the five and got a fourth down stop, so I think that tells a lot about these kids.

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