Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
After last week's performance, would you say the offense is now at peak efficiency...
No, we're not at peak efficiency. We always have room for improvement. We have a lot of young guys out there. At this time if year, you strive to improve on some things. We still need to improve technique, but we're making strides.
You played MSU while at UH. Does that give you a feel for their style of play...
I don;t think so. They are playing a different style of offense under Les Koenning. QB Tyler Russell has made a world of difference in their offense. Their ability to throw downfield with Russell and Bumpus has made an impact. They have the ability to throw the ball downfield that I didn't think they could do a couple of years ago. Defensively, Chris Wilson had just gotten there. He's now doing a good job with his system in place. They are something like No. 15 or 16 in the country. They are extremely in the back end with three seniors and a junior. Their corners are big and fast which allows them to do a lot of things in pressure because they can cover. You can see the steps they've made since Dan (Mullen) has been there. The only thing that helps is we're going to the same hotel we used to stay at.
You brought in a new defensive staff. How impressed have you been with what they've done in a short time...
They've done a great job, especially in creating problems for the opposing team given the limited pieces and lack of depth they have on defense. Our front seven has been good and they've been moving those guys around. The staff has blended together. When we hired Mark, I had him talk to all of the guys I brought in to make sure everybody was on the same page and everybody understood their role within the staff. That has really helped.
Is there a special satisfaction that your offense has been successful in the league when so many people said it wouldn't work...
It's not about that. I wouldn't run the offense if I didn't think it would work. Look, we were the new guys in the league so I don't see that as derogatory. I do think we have something to prove in the best league in the country so we do have something to prove to everybody. That's why there's so much excitement with our fans and with our players. The newness of it all is helping us. Our players are excited to play every one of these games.
Have you crossed paths with Coach Koenning much?
Yes we have. Both he and his dad who was a high school coach in Houston. In fact, he bought my house last time I was here. I bet y'all didn't know that. I guess the moral of that story is don't buy that house. I don't think either of us left here on our own free will.
How important was it to give your starters the half off...
I don't know. It's a reward. This time of year nobody is healthy. WE had some guys banged up after LSU. That game was very taxing both physically and mentally. We had some guys that missed practice and I didn't know if they would play until Saturday. So I guess it helps to rest them. It was good to get those guys off the field, but also get the new guys in there and let them play on ESPN in the SEC.
How important was it to get Trey Williams some quality playing time...
We're good. We're going to need them all. We didn't play Trey in the LSU game because LSU gave us some different looks with the odd front that changed up the running lanes and blocking schemes that we weren't comfortable putting him out there. He understood it. He's learning that playing running back is more than just running the ball. It's about blocking and taking care of your assignments. He's starting to handle it though.
It seems the receivers are more comfortable finding the open space in this offense...
Yes and no. Some of the receivers were open in those first games, but Johnny just took off running. They've learned to never give up on a route and keep working because Johnny will extend plays. The receivers and Johnny are improving in that area, and of course Johnny is improving at going through his progressions and finding the open receiver.
Evaluate the OL....
The whole line has done well. Patrick Lewis is doing a great job getting over the ball. I know that because I'm not yelling at him anymore. The tackles get all of the praise, but our guards are very talented and doing a good job. But it all starts with Patrick. He's the key.
Defensive Coordinator Mark Snyder
On the overall performance of young guys....
It was good to get those guys in there. It helps with practice this week. They will be energized. I wanted them to be better. They didn't match the intensity of the opposing offense when we called their nunber.
The biggest challenge this season....
It was like speaking Chinese first with the staff and then with the players. They have learned it and bought into it. I appreciate what they've done during this challenging time in learning something new.
Have you noticed that Steven Jenkins has improved since the suspension?
No, he was pretty good before the suspension but I will say he's come ready to do his job and take care of business.
On QB Tyler Russell..
He'll be the best QB we've faced this year. We'll have to cover their receivers 1.5 seconds longer than normal because he has such great pocket presence and can extend plays. It will be a challenge.
Offensive Coordinator Kliff Kingsbury
What clicked early....
It was an exciting environment and our players came out ready to play. We excuted well and we didn't turn the ball over.
Is it fun to score so much..
The players love it. We want to score everytime we touch the ball regardless of circumstance. We don't want to run clock or get a couple of first downs. We want to score.
What will be the biggest challenge with the MSU defense...
Definitely their secondary. They have long, rangy corners that make big plays and create turnovers. They lead the nation in turnover margin. It will be a big challenge.
On Trey Williams getting more playing time...
It was good to get him a lot of action last week. He's earned it in practice and he's really come on in every phase of the game. We have three good options at RB.
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