Did you think Marquise Williams should have stepped up in the pocket on the first play of the game?
“He probably should have. He didn’t expect what happened to happen, I can assure you. He probably should have slid up into the pocket a little bit more. It was unfortunate, we had a guy running wide open down the sideline, and we thought it would be there and it was there, and we didn’t get the ball out quick enough.”
Did Ryan Switzer’s hand injury hurt his ability to field the punt late in the game?
“I don’t think so because the ball never got to his hands. The ball hit him in the chest. I think he misjudged the ball, and did a poor job of that is what happened, and the ball bounced off of his shoulder pads.”
On the time of possession disparity:
“They were out there for 41 minutes, and the offense was out there for 19 minutes. Common sense will tell you if they’re out there for 41 minutes, it’s going to be really tough on [the defense], and we don’t have that kind of depth to be able to do that. If we don’t move the chains and go more than 3-and-out on offense, you’re always going to put a strain on your defense. So it was very difficult for them the other day, yes.”
Do you have an idea of what the identity of your team is?
“I really wish I did at this time. You would love to have that, but I don’t have that yet. I still think that we have not established an identity yet. We’ve had one phase play decent and another phase play bad. Special teams, I think, we’re doing a really good job in our coverage units, but our return teams haven’t really done anything special. That’s to be determined.”
You talked about in your first year here you could always hang your hat on the inside zone play. Do you still have that play that you feel really comfortable about?
“I wouldn’t say that, because we haven’t done enough to really try and establish the run, actually. We’ve gotten into some games and put ourselves behind the eight ball very early on, and haven’t been able to really consistently run the ball like you need to do it to be successful. We talked about that today as a staff. You can’t turn the ball over on the first play of the game and go down seven and think that you’re going to continue to do the things that you need to do.”
When you aren’t getting the results you want on the field, how do you handle that in recruiting?
“It makes it tougher, there is no doubt about it. You can always spin it in a way that is positive. For these kids it means that there is an opportunity for them. They see how many young guys we’re playing, they see we are not afraid to play young guys. You come in and prove that the team is better when you’re on the field and you’re going to play, and I think guys are attracted to that.”
What does Elijah Hood need to do to be more involved?
“We need to put the ball in his hands. It’s not difficult, but again, we have to be more consistent and be more aggressive running the football, and to do that we need to put the ball in his hands more, because when he does have the ball he’s doing a great job with it.”
What are some of your recruiting priorities?
“We want to bring in about four offensive linemen. We’d like to bring in a couple of D-linemen – a D-end, D-tackle. We’d like to bring in a bandit. We really need somebody at each position. It’s not like we have a position that we feel good about right now that we don’t need guys, so we need to bring in some depth. We need to bring in some guys that can compete for jobs and that’s at every position. We may only take one receiver at this time. We’re not losing any of our receivers. We’ve got them all back, so we may only take one this year. But other than that, we have needs at every position… Until we get back to a full complement of 85 scholarships, we’re going to struggle with that depth.”
Do you have a particular process for challenging a call?
“I wanted to challenge the very first snap. I thought his arm was moving forward, and I thought the replay showed that, also. The process is that you’re talking to the official before the snap of the next ball. You say, ‘Hey Mike, are they looking at it?’ And he says they’re looking at it, they’re looking at it, they’ll buzz us if it is close. So you say, ‘Okay, do I use this on the first snap of the game, or do I hang on to it?’ He assured me they were looking at it, and when they tell you that they’re looking at it, they probably aren’t going to reverse anything that was called because there was not conclusive evidence – that’s the word I think they use - and unfortunately it didn’t go our way. They don’t overrule many of them.”
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