Shannon recaps Thursday's game

After getting a chance to break down film of Thursday night's game, head coach Randy Shannon talked about a number of things from the opening night. You don't want to miss this.

Opening Statement

"I evaluated the tape, offense, defense, special teams. I think we did a lot of good things in our offense. Guys executed, ran the offense the way we were supposed to, but we still have to get better. We had some opportunities, had some blown assignments in the run game here and there, third and one. The running backs made some great runs, also got hit in the backfield. The receivers caught the ball well, the tight ends. The second quarter we got into a lull, in a sleep mentality. We talked about it at halftime, that we don't want to be a team that starts off and is just satisfied. We have to keep the mentality of finishing the game. We came out the third quarter and started off good, and the fourth quarter I thought we ended the game well.

"Defensively I didn't see any busts in the secondary as far as blown assignments. The cornerbacks and safeties played physical in the run game, did great in the passing game. We have to do a little better job of tackling in key situations. We hit them, knocked them back, but they balanced their feet and kept going. The young guys played well, the young defensive linemen. All the young guys played, and those guys did well. They still have a way to go, but for them to get in the game and play was very good. Special teams wise our kickoff coverage was very good. We just have to get our kicker to do a better job of placing the ball. But that's the first game for (Matt Bosher). Punts were good. I thought our punt return team did a phenomenal job of putting pressure on the kicker. And that big return coming out of halftime (by Graig Cooper) was very, very huge for us."

Was Jermaine McKenzie avaible on Thursday?
A: Yes he is healthy. We just choose not to use him. It got late in the game and we were just running the ball.

What is Reggie Youngblood's status?
A: He should be ready for the Florida game.

Will Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey play this week?
A: I am not sure.

All the suspended players are back?
A: They're all back. I don't know if they'll be starting, but they're back.

Is this already a more complete team than you had last year?
A: Yeah, definitely. This is a lot better than the team we had last year as far as guys doing what we wanted. It takes time. You have guys like Sam on special teams. Now, Sam wouldn't play on special teams last year. He brought into what we want to do. You've got Hankerson, Ryan Hill, Shawnbrey on special teams. Everyone's involved now. They understand it takes everybody to win. Like I told them before we kicked off, the kickoff or kickoff return team are the starters, it isn't he offense or defense. They showed they were the starters at that point in time.

What went wrong with the tackling on Thursday night?
A: They weren't wrapping up. If you take Sean Spence, perfect form tackle, drove his feet, grabbed a guy, take him to the ground. Darryl Sharpton had the same type of hit but didn't wrap up. It's repetitions, stressing it in practice, and we'll do that. Guys tend to get that way in the first game. There weren't a lot of missed tackles, maybe four or five. But four or five is too many because one yard makes a difference of a first down or getting closer to the goal line, and we can't have that.

Do you know more about your team today than last week considering Charleston Southern wasn't much competition?
A: Yeah. This team is in great shape. We didn't have anybody go out with any kind of tiredness, muscle strains or cramps, anything like that. We drilled these young guys offensively and defensively with so many reps in practice. They showed last night they can sustain and do those type of things. I don't know one receiver who didn't catch the ball, which was good. It shows we have depth at those positions where we can rotate guys so they're fresh all the time.

Spencer Adkins played defensive end?
A: That's one of the packages we use, third down package. Him, Darryl Sharpton, Futch, Romeo Davis are all involved in that package.

You went for it on fourth and six on the opening drive and Jacory Harris ran in a TD. He showed that poise you want?
A: Yes. He's always been doing that in practice and he's been doing it in high school. People don't realize, go back to Jacory in high school. They had 99 yards to go in states last year and they did that. He throws a bubble screen in the end zone. Guys don't do that, but that's how poised he is because he's going to take what they give you and uses his personnel around him. You have confidence in quarterbacks like that.

You don't worry about guys getting out of rhythm at that position?
A: No. We didn't have to worry about rhythm last night with the receivers. Guys rotate in and out. That's the only way to get depth at those positions. As far as a rhythm, in summer camp Marve would take the first group, Jacory the second. Jacory the first, Marve the second. It didn't affect them. They're still the same quarterbacks that we're seeing. I don't know one position that won't rotate.

The quarterback position isn't different than the receiver position?
A: No, not at all.

What was Marve's role last night?
A: He just was a cheerleader last night. That's all he was doing. That's a little different with this team; everyone's going to cheer everyone on. That gets you excited. When you see Collier catch that corner route, running on the sideline and you see Khalil Jones high-fiving, Jacory bumping chests with him. Those kind of things, that's how you know you're developing a good sense of team.

Did it get loud on the field last night?
A: The only thing I noticed was the two end zones. Because the end zones get up out of their seats, and that's what you want. As far as loud, I had on headsets. I couldn't really tell.

Why does Patrick Nix like being on the field during games?
A: So he can talk face to face to young quarterbacks. You can talk on the phone, young guys you can't communicate like that. It worked out well last night. He was able to talk to them on the sideline, and see what his thought process was, what he likes to do. One thing as a coordinator, you look into a kid's eyes, ask him questions, you can find out real quick if he knows what he wants to do. As he gets older Patrick may want to go back in the box because he'll know Marve and Jacory and it'll be a lot easier.

Does it affect how he calls a game?
A: No. You just get a feel for the game, what teams do down and distance-wise. The thing you have to do is the eyes upstairs have to be great. If you get a negative play, what happened? Don't give you, `Well, I don't know,' because now you don't know how to fix the problem.

How did the young defensive linemen do?
A: They did well. We had one offsides by Gavin Hardin. I thought they chased the ball. They put pressure on the quarterback. If we are able to get Eric and Allen back this week, that adds more depth to your situation. Now they don't have to play 30 and 40 snaps, you're back down at 20. You can get a lot more out of them then.

How did Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa do?
A: They did well, still have more improvement to do.

Is it natural to think your young players might think they're a little more advanced than they really are after piling up points in this win?
A: I would think so, but the thing unique after the game was over with they said `That's over with, let's get to work.' That comes from Jason Fox, Chavez Grant, Khalil Jones, Glenn Cook. And Colin really stepped up, said `That's it, let's move on now.' The young guys, it took effect because they understand that you don't show up and it just happens for you. Like Aldarius found that out real quick in the spring game when he dropped all those balls that it's not going to happen naturally. Ever since that I think that woke him up. So the more you go through things like that it wakes them up all the time.

Derron Thomas played in the third series. Why was that?
A: That's something we decided to do. We know sometimes in games as coaches what guys can do. This was a rhythm change. You play Javarris, then Derron, then we gave Cooper the ball for a while. We have to find out who can help us, and when you have an opportunity to do it you put them in the heat of the battle instead of when the game's kind of out of reach.

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