Coach O: We had a fantastic day of practice. We used the day out of classes to our advantage with a good meeting this morning making our corrections and watching film with the players. We made a lot of big plays, especially on defense, but there were a lot more we could have made. I thought Memphis had a good scheme on their onside kick late, but Jason Cook knew what to do and handled the situation well. We made a lot of first-game mistakes, some of which were inexcusable, like fumbling one of their kickoffs. We should have fair caught that one. We are not pleased with our kicking game, overall, at all. We have some work to do there. Overall, the guys were in a good mood today ready to correct those things and ready to go.
Q: What major areas were there that you can see needs improving?
Coach O: Obviously, the run game, no doubt. It was nowhere near what I was expected - I was really surprised. I do give Memphis credit some there, but we helped them by making some mistakes up front. When they blitzed, we should have picked it up, but at times we didn't.
Q: Talk about Seth Adams' day.
Coach O: I thought he had a good day. I liked his demeanor and control out there. He threw some good balls and made a lot of good decisions when his first choice wasn't open. He had patience and found the open guy. The third-down pass he threw to Mike Wallace when we were backed up was an excellent throw. I know he was disappointed when he misfired on the fourth-and-1 we tried, but overall I thought he did a good job.
Q: Did you leave the game thinking everything was correctable?
Coach O: No doubt. We made first-game mistakes we won't make later. I also left the game thinking we had some guys play at a bigtime level - Greg Hardy, Marcus Tillman, Dustin Mouzon and some more. We forced six turnovers and hit their QB 18 times. It was just a change in the temperament of our defense. I thought we threw the ball very well. I was disappointed in a couple of drops and fumbles, but I also thought we threw the ball to the tight end well. There were a lot of good things I saw.
Q: What about Jamarca Sanford?
Coach O: He played ezcellent and did not go unnoticed. He blocked a punt and made a key block on Mouzon's return right when Dustin caught the ball. He's a team captain for us and we don't take him for granted. He's all over the place.
Q: How did Justin Sparks do punting?
Coach O: OK. He had a big one at the end of the game but our net punting was not what we wanted, something like 36 yards a kick. We need to place the ball better. He did OK, but we still have work to do there.
Q: What about kickoff coverage?
Coach O: It was not what we want. The kicking was not what we wanted, the coverage was not what we wanted. We had some guys miss their assignments and we had kicks with not enough distance and hang time. It was a combination of things.
Q: Now that you have gotten a live look at the 30-yard line kickoffs, what are your feelings?
Coach O: It is different. You are going to get a lot of different kinds of kicks - squibs, sky kicks, etc. The kicks get there a lot faster than your coverage now. We are going to have to make some adjustments to what we are doing. I think we will have to be ready for squib kicks, sky kicks, directional kicks and we will be trying some of that ourselves.
Q: How is Josh Shene? Did you talk to him about his game?
Coach O: He's fine. Yes, we had a nice discussion. (smiled)
Q: Does playing a spread against Memphis help you against Missouri?
Coach O: Of course. We didn't do a good job on defense in the third and fourth quarters, especially on the screens. We will have to come up with some stuff so we can spread out our defense some.
Q: You ended up having to go with some of the depth you have been talking about. How did some of those guys perform?
Coach O: I thought they all did well. Daverin Geralds, Brandon Jenkins, Antonio Turner, Tony Fein, a lot fo guys played and, for the most part, a lot of guys did well.
Q: How did Ashlee Palmer grade in his first start?
Coach O: Excellent. You can see his speed and athleticism. He had 12 tackles and he's a good blitzer. I wish I had another one like him. He's quick and has a little mean streak to him. It was important he was here in spring and in the offseason. You can tell a major difference in him and the guys who got here in August. They are not quite ready yet. Ashlee can play faster because he's been here longer and understands what we are doing on defense.
Q: How did FS Kendrick Lewis perform?
Coach O: He did fantastic. He had a good game. He's a good blitzer and he was very disciplined in the post in pass coverage. That was one of the things we were worried about because he is so aggressive, but he carried out his assignments. He's a good tackler and he did a good job on special teams. We had some guys play 95-105 plays and he was one of them.
Q: How did Chris Strong do?
Coach O: About what we expected. He did OK. He still needs to keep learning so he can play fast like we want him to. He's still a little overweight but he's a big talent. He made some good plays and he made some mistakes, as we expected. We also moved him down a few plays and did OK. We are going to leave him at linebacker now though.
Q: Did you come out of the game OK injury-wise?
Coach O: We are fine.
Q: Is there anything you will say about Dexter McCluster?
Coach O: I think he will be out anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
Practice report, Monday
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