Start Fast, Finish Fast

Read on to find out what Randy Shannon means when he says the team has to trust the coaching staff more, how the coaching staff corrects mistakes by players, and what a leader looks like to him, and who some of this year's leaders are...

On the players having to trust the coaches:
If you run the same defense in the first half and the same offense in the first half and come back in the second half and run the exact same things (with much different results), it's gotta to be the trust factor. They gotta believe in what we're calling and that it'll work. If you don't change anything you do, the same calls and everything, and you put up those many points (in the second half) and only give up six points in the second half, there's gotta be something going on. They have to believe in what we're doing, that what we're calling is working. They have to believe. What else could it be?

On hoping anyone in particular trusts them more:
No. I'm not an individual guy. I'm a team guy. Everybody's getting on Kyle Wright about four interceptions. Well, if we don't have a blocked punt and we kick a field goal (that was missed) and the extra point (that was missed), it's a different game. Now we can settle for three points at the end of the game and we can tie it up and win it.

On why some players just aren't getting it:
Kids are kids. I don't understand it. That's what I'm trying to figure out. We're going to work at it. We met on it Sunday and they all understood. They understood what was the problem. Each one of them said we have to bear down and do it, get it done, stop waiting for someone else to pick us up. In practice we run the same plays people run. Everything is great. You get in the game, you see the exact same formation, the exact defenses (and we still have the problems). I don't know what it is.

On whether it's a lack of confidence:
You don't score that many points in the second half (just on) confidence. You're gonna shut it down, you won't fight, you won't come back. It ain't confidence.

On how he's explaining things to the team:
We've done it all. You gotta understand -- this is a new staff, new team, new guys playing. Some games we come in and we look good. Some parts of the game we look real good. Then all of a sudden we'll fall asleep. I think it's more when we say you have to finish the game and start the game fast, I don't think all of them understand. That's the trust factor we're talking about. When we say we need to start a game fast, they don't start fast. When I say we need to finish fast, they may finish, they may not. At Duke, I said we have to start fast, they're gonna come back and I said it that they're a team that never quits. We have to finish the game strong. We started off holding them. In the middle of the game we got a little sloppy, got lazy. All of a sudden, there's five minutes left in the game and they said, 'Coach Shannon is right. Duke is not gonna quit and lie down'. We come back against North Carolina. We said if we start fast, we'll be OK. We can't wait till the second half. Well, we didn't start fast and all of a sudden they say, 'well, coach is right'. Maybe that's what I'm looking for. They don't understand what I'm trying to relay and what coaches are are trying to relay.

On whether he had these same problems as an assistant:
Yeah. You have to keep banging away as a coach, keep telling them the same things. It's like anything, the more they can hear it, they just gotta keep banging away.If we say the game needs to start fast, then start fast. That's all I'm saying.

On dealing with players making mistakes:
We don't get on players for screwing up. Everyone's gonna make mistakes. Everybody's gonna miss an assignment. Someone's gonna bust a coverage. The thing I'm saying is we need to start fast. Don't wait and say it's a tough game, we gotta pick it up. Prime example is the first play of the game (against UNC). Kyle throws the ball on the first play of the game on a hitch route. Lance is open, Kyle throws the ball into the ground. Next play the guard falls down in the whole. Next play, Darnell falls down (on a route). If you wanna start fast, Kyle has to make that throw, the guard can't slip, and Darnell can't slip. When you have three negative plays in a row to start the game, that means their mind wasn't there.

On whether or not he's frustrated right now:
I'm not frustrated. As a coach, you always wanna be stable. You want 11 guys to play on offense, defense, and special teams and that's it. If I didn't make any changes, lets say Kirby started. Every day in the paper it would be 'why don't they give Kyle Wright a shot?'. If I let Sam (Shields) and Ryan (Hill) flop around in practice, they'll flop around in game time. I'm not gonna lose the team. If they practice hard and do the right things off the field, they'll play. I gotta make sure everyone's held accountable. That's the difference between the NFL. There's a money tag there. No fan wants to see a three million dollar player on the bench.

On leadership on this team:
My definition of a leader is getting someone to do something you don't want to do. You gotta get him to match your level. That's what I look for all the time. We don't have an outspoken leader. We have guys inside, (Glenn) Cook's a leader, (Anthony) Reddick does a good job. Kenny Phillips (leads) by performance. Leaders are different, everybody's different.

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