It's good to be 3-0 and great to get a road win, especially with the way that we played. It all starts on the line of scrimmage, and I really felt like both sides of the ball dominated the line of scrimmage, running the football the way we did. 53 carries, 315 yards and basically six yards of carry versus the other side they had 27 carries for seven yards, a 2.6 yard average.
We had 14 explosive plays on our offense; what we call explosive plays are runs over 10 or passes over 20. We had 14; they only had five. We made 10 plays in their backfield and they had three in ours and one of them Jacoby should have thrown the ball away on the sprint out.
That was the only sack of the game when he ran out of bounds on a sprint out pass. We were 6-6 in the red zone, and they were down there once on defense and we held them to to a field goal.
First down offense continues to be an asset, we're averaging five yards on the season. We were 5.2 on the first down of that game and on the third down both sides of the ball were effective. We were 70 percent on offense and 63 percent on defense.
We played a ton of guys; a lot of guys got valuable playing time in that game. Clay Nichols got his first carries. Ben Grazen, a guy that works so hard for us on the scout teams, was able to get in.
Everybody played that was on the trip for the most part. It was fun and now we get to come back home for our last nonconference game of the season.
We're having a big deal with the media this week for our parents and families. It's pride week for us; our leadership council picked that word for us as a football team. I think that's a great word to have for our last non-conference game leading up to a conference opener against such a good opponent.
This is a great week for us to focus on ourselves, and things we need to get better at. We've talked all off-season, summer, and fall camp about closing the gap between our competition we need to beat, be relevant, and where we were in the beginning of the season. This is one of those weeks where you can do that. It's not a week where you look forward; it's a week you look inside.
We're playing a team that's 2-1. They won two in a row, beating a good Furman team last week. Presbyterian, they are a 4-3 team and play a lot of guys near the line of scrimmage. They are a quarters defense, and they pack it in. They put everyone up there and the safeties are down in the box and they'll see if they can cover you.
They're a spread option team on offense. They have a big receiver that's averaging 14 yards a catch... not the same as Georgia Southern but more like Clemson offensively with jet motions. They utilize a lot of jet motion and misdirection in their offense.
They have very good returners. That's an area we need to improve, our coverage units.
I think the big focus for us is on our individual improvement and within the team. I told them in the locker room you can't get ready to play the conference schedule we have and ever think that any week isn't the biggest week on your schedule. It's an internal look at ourselves; trying to close gaps and trying to chase people that beat us last year and get in a position where we can beat them and be a relevant team.
This is a big week for us internally.
On playbook this year versus last year... able to be more balanced:
We're able to be balanced, which we weren't always able to do. I don't think people respected our passing game, and I understand why we went to it. It's hard running the football with people packing it in (the quarterback) and last year we couldn't capitalize on those looks and we're able to do that now.
You have to honor Jacoby, and he's so accurate right now and hopefully stays that way. You have to honor where we put receivers because he'll just throw it and the guys will catch it and run and that's as good as a run for us. Guys have to honor where the alignments are and it opens up the run game and then we have our jets and our misdirections and the ability to play action off of those things.
We just couldn't throw the football last year, and it was very hard. We tried to create as many different ways as we could but, we weren't able to do it whether it was a protection issue, a quarterback issue or a line change because of injuries up front. There were a lot of reasons, it wasn't just the quarterback.
We're able to be balanced because we can throw the ball around and our receivers are playing a lot better.
On consistency of offensive line:
It helps a lot when those five guys get to play together and really we are playing six now because Tony (Adams) is rotating in there. They get to know each other, they play with each other, and they know what that guy is going to do and how he would play off of his block. It's a really tight unit and it helps when you see guys getting better.
Last year in game three, Joe Thuney had played three different positions by now. We had our third different tackle plan and we were on our second quarterback and it was just different. I do think being able to throw the football does help our offensive line... it takes some of the pressure off of them.
The way Coach Canada is doing it with the run game there's a lot of different things for the defense to have to worry about so you can't just run up and blitz. There are a lot of things going on.
It helps having the balance for the offensive line so people can't just pinpoint what's happening.
On rotation of running backs... will you continue to keep the same rotation?
It's not broke right now.
All three of them are running hard, and they all have big roles in the game. I think Coach Kitchings has a good feel for what his guys do well, and he uses them.
It's a long year, and we don't have a bye until game nine, which is different than a lot of teams in the league that have already had a bye week. We have to make sure we use the depth to get us to where we want to be over the course of the season.
On punt returner change after a couple of muffed punts:
It's disappointing when Bra'Lon has been so good for us and we're going to talk as a staff about whether to make a change or not. Obviously he was back-pedaling to catch balls behind him instead of running, getting square and getting underneath it, which is the basic fundamental of catching a punt.
We now have to get back into practice and see if we get back to normal and if not Bo Hines will be our returner. Bo is very capable, so it will be one of those two guys.
On improvement in red zone:
We have an accurate quarterback, and we can run the football.
On going back to facing a spread option offense:
There's a lot of carry over from game one and game two. It's kind of a blend of those two systems. They (Presbyterian) have a different quarterback than those two teams have but similar types of run plays and schemes where you have a jet coming out on one end and a different play going out the other end.
They do a nice job of pulling your defense in two directions, so you have to be sound and make sure you have good edges so the ball can't get outside your leverage and then we have to tackle like we did last week. We have to be really good with our pursuit of tackle, and if we miss a tackle turning it back to the pursuit and the pursuit making a difference.
We did that last week and have to continue to build on that.
We're going to see that every week moving forward. I don't think we play a similar offense in back-to-back weeks for the rest of the year. That's just the way it is.