Monday Presser Transcript (Week 2)

(TRANSCRIPT) Rich Rodriguez met with the media today to review his team's 25-23 loss to Utah and look ahead to Saturday's contest with Miami of Ohio. He gave his thoughts on the QB race, the struggles in the running game, injuries, and more.

On what he saw on film:

"I thought that there was obviously a lack of execution on both sides of the ball, more so in the first half than the second half. Guys made a few plays as well. I didn't think we played very physical. I thought we played very tentative at times and were thinking a little too much. I don't whether or not that was because of inexperience or uncertainty on certain plays. We addressed that quite a bit yesterday with the team about playing more physical and not thinking as much. I explained to them that our game plan, particularly offensively, is probably as simple as it has ever been. We have to do things to expand the offense, but at the same time, we have to be able to execute better. We tried to get some things cleared up and talked about playing a little faster, and hopefully we'll do that this weekend."

On if it's natural for the players to think to much early on:

I think a little bit, but there also comes a point in time where it's that guy and me, and the collision is about to happen and you're either going to be the hammer or the nail."

On his grade for the offensive line:

"Below average. I think those guys tried hard but they reverted to some bad habits and techniques. They just didn't play championship football."

On if the quarterback situation changed after the game:

"It changed. As coaches, it starts with us to keep impressing on the techniques and the fundamentals to get them coached up to play at a certain level. It starts with the coaches. I think the players are very conscientious. We have a bunch of guys who are conscientious enough to understand what we need to get better at, the quarterback position in particular. Nick and Steve both knew the mistakes I think they made as soon as they made them, and that is the first part, and then it is simply not repeating them when we play the next game."

On why the offense struggled running the ball:

"It was everything. The line, backs, quarterbacks and (Utah) had something to do with it, too. They have some pretty good football players and people are not going to give us anything. You have to earn it. We probably -- Calvin (Magee) and I talked about it -- got away from the run game a little bit because we put ourselves into some long-yardage situations. Those negative yardage plays will kill you, because now you're second-and-16. With the kind of team that we have on offense, we need to have more second-and-six, sevens and eights as opposed to 16s. That had a part to with why we didn't run it as much probably."

On if Nick Sheridan start Saturday:

"I don't know. Right now, Steve (Threet) probably had a little more positive things. They both did some good things and both did some bad things, and Steve probably came out of that game grading a little bit higher and took the edge a little bit there, and we'll see how they execute this week in practice. It's much the same thing where Nick had a little bit of an edge coming in the last game, and this game, based on the way they played, Steve kind of equalled those things out. We'll see how they compete tomorrow. Tomorrow is a big practice day for them and Wednesday a little bit, as well."

On which QB mistakes bothered him the most:

"Yeah, I don't want to go ahead and talk about it. Everybody is going to break down the quarterback position and every other position from a negative standpoint. There were plays we would take back and some plays they did okay. They both, at times, played like first-time players, and that's to be expected, and other times, they made some good decisions in the game. There is a lot on our quarterbacks' plate. In this offense, these quarterbacks make a lot of decisions, not just in the passing game, so there are some negatives we need to work on. The disappointing part is that some of the things we thought we corrected in practice, they reverted back to in the game, and you should expect that at some point. But if we are coaching them the right way, they become creatures of habit, and the good habits override the bad habits."

On the difference between the first and second halfs on defense:

" We had a few more three-and-outs and didn't get the long drives where we got a little bit winded. The defensive staff made some good adjustments and we tackled better and got to the ball. It was an awful first half. They controlled the game with their offense, but the second half was a little bit better. Our guys had some emotional intensity, but if you want to play championship football, you come and compete to win every snap, not just when things are going well and you get a few breaks your way. I told you before that we are not good enough to play bad and win. I don't care who it is that we play. If we play bad, we are not going to win. That is where we are at right now. We are what you see. It's pretty simple as coaches. Right now, we are a program that has to play well and execute well to win a game. It is as simple as that. We can't go out there and mess around as coaches and athletes. I had a feeling that is where we're at, and that's where we are at. If it looks like a rose and tastes like a rose, it's probably a rose. If it's just the opposite, then you know what I mean."

On if Carlos Brown will play Saturday?

"I'm not sure, but I think he'll be available. He banged up his shoulder a little bit in the game with limited action. We hope that he's healthy to deal with the plays well. Greg Matthews is day-to-day, and Ryan Van Bergen is day-to-day. Those are the two new guys (who are questionable). The rest of the guys should be okay."

On if Brandon Minor is behind the other two running backs on the depth chart:

"No, I don't what to tell you because I don't know yet how they are going to rotate. I don't really consider that there's a whole lot of separation between Minor, Shaw and McGuffie. All three are going to play. I think they probably played about equal reps (against Utah), but maybe they did not have equal carries. It's really that those three kind of are in a different rotation with the first group, and all three of them will take reps with the first group during practice this week."

On if Junior Hemingway is healthy enough to play Saturday:

"I think he will be okay. Junior got nicked a little bit, but I'm sure we will just be precautionary. If a guy can't play by Wednesday, they won't play in the game."

On Jonas Mouton:

"Jonas played some plays. He got out there and ran around a little bit. At times, the linebacker play was very good and at times it wasn't very good. When Jonas got in there, he had a little spark and made some plays. He's an athletic guy in space, and that's kind of what we need a little bit. Jonas is going to continue to get more reps, and Coach Hobson is moving some guys around to try to find the best combination of guys to put out there."

On Ryan Van Bergen's injury:

"He's got an ankle (injury)."

On Obi Ezeh:

"Yeah, he made quite a few tackles. He played, and we didn't have a lot of players in the game. We had two for us: Will Johnson and Obi. Those two were probably the most productive and played the best for us on defense. Obi is pretty solid, and that's what we've seen in practice every day out of him and Will. They seem to be pretty consistent in practice, and they held that through for the game."

On if he was surprised by the poor execution in the first half:

"Somewhat. I think you always feel a little more optimistic that you'll be able to execute a few things. Some of the assignments we blew were things that we probably repped the most and didn't quite execute. Again, there are some young guys out there, so in some respects, you ought to be patient, but we are not very patient folks."

On why Carson Butler didn't get the ball when he it appeared he was open:

"Well, I don't know. Who told you that, Carson? They covered him pretty good. Carson's been working pretty hard. He's had some pretty good practices. There were a few times we had some guys open and had a few misreads. As I said at quarterback, there were a few times that some of those things (we made mistakes on), we were hitting every day in practice. It's different at game speed and at times our inexperience showed at that position. That's the toughest position, quarterback, to see the whole field and recognize everything. Obviously we have to do a better job of getting them prepared, but I think they will correct and fix what they need to get fixed."

On if Justin Feagin an option at quarterback:

"No, he's going to be redshirted. He's not ready."

On Zoltan Mesko:

"He kicked pretty well in practice. He didn't have his best day Saturday. He's bought into what we are doing. He's got to, that's what we are going to do, depending on how people are going to play us. We do some unconventional punting things. He's punted the ball really outstanding in camp, and he had a solid day, but here were a couple times (where there were mistakes). He had the one bad punt, and then he had the one time where he waited to late to kick it and almost got it blocked, but other than that, he was okay."

On Brandon Harrison will be healthy enough to play Saturday:

"He should be fine, yeah."

On which players will redshirt:

"I don't know. The other ones are all kind of still up in the air. Most of them are freshmen. I think some of the true freshmen that possibly didn't play but probably could still play are Roy Roundtree and Kevin Koger. Those are two true freshmen that are still in the mix to play. I think the rest of them that I had mentioned before all played a little bit."

On if Kevin Grady is still suspended?

"No, he's practicing with the team again this week."

On which mistakes from last week are the easiest to correct by Saturday:

"Playing faster and playing more physical. It couldn't be any simpler than that. If they won't play faster and won't play more physical, then they won't be playing."

On when the quarterbacks will know who is starting:

"They will know earlier than (Thursday). I may tell them tonight, but I won't see them tonight. I may tell them tomorrow. Whenever I feel froggy (laughing). They will rotate. As opposed to last week when Nick was taking most of the reps with ones and twos. When we practice offensively, our ones and twos get equal reps. We run four plays with the ones and four plays with the twos, and they run the same plays. Since they get the same amount of reps... and we have always done that... it will be good for them, because we will play a lot of people to get the second group just as ready as the first group. Last week, Nick took most of the reps with the ones. This week, it will be at least equal, and that will be the one difference in practice. Steve will take as many reps with the ones as Nick, but we'll see how it goes. They both did some pretty good things and both have to play better."

On Miami of Ohio:

"We just started watching film a little bit yesterday. Yesterday was a big day on self scouting and correcting mistakes, but we did watch some film last night. We know they have nine returning stars back on defense, and watching a little bit of the film against Vanderbilt, the quarterback, he's a pretty good athlete and got a lot of good runs and that was the difference in the ballgame. I'll have more of an impression of them. They are going to play hard. They were picked to repeat for the championship in the MAC, so where we are at, we have got to get better ourselves if we want to win any games. But there's probably a lot of teams saying that, too. Our guys, at least in the fourth quarter, we had a chance, as poorly as we played, we still had a chance to win the game. But that's a positive, but we didn't win, so that's the negative."

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