Offensive line coach John Hueber broke down last week's match up against FSU simply by stating - we have to play better.Hueber didn't blame the loss on inexperience, being out played physically or the fact that Florida State was the 11th-ranked team in the nation. Hueber like everyone else was disappointed. Yes, he saw some bright spots that came out of the loss, but he said it best - "You never want to lose."
One factor Hueber refuses to use as an excuse for his players is their lack of experience. Hueber had three players start on the O-line for the first time in their college careers against Florida State. Despite the loss, he felt it was good for those players to get game experience they needed. Those players included redshirt freshman Adam Bisnowaty, redshirt junior T.J. Clemmings and redshirt sophomore Artie Rowell.
"I didn't feel like we were outmatched," said Hueber. "Of course, there is a learning curve. It's the one thing I don't talk to them about. If we're going to worry about what their experience is or what they've seen or what they've done then you're wasting your time. It's my job to push them and they have to trust that I'm giving them stuff that does matter. It's their job to go out and play like they've been around before."
As Hueber and the line prepare for New Mexico, the concern is not about their physical play, but instead about mental toughness. However, Hueber is certain the O-line will play better come Saturday. In fact, his confidence level in these players is no different than it was last season with solid veterans Chris Jacobson and Ryan Turnley
"This line is out there grinding every day," said Hueber. "Yesterday, we were grinding them in the heat for two hours and today they were grinding inside for two hours. They're doing exactly what we ask them to do. Now we have to get their minds ready for Saturday."
Palermo expecting less mistakes on D
Defensive ends and linebackers coach John Palermo's message this week couldn't be any clearer - "If you don't do what you're suppose to do then you have big issues on defense." Palermo agrees with Hueber, regardless of the opponent and the player's experience level, the defense needs to make less mistakes.
One problem the Panthers D will face this Saturday, quarterback Cole Gausche and New Mexico's offense is nothing like what they saw from quarterback Jameis Winston and Florida State. Instead of a pro-style offense, the front seven will need to adapt to the read-option. Palermo admitted he's always concerned heading into any game, but it's not based on the type of offense that will be run.
"It doesn't matter if you go against the number one team in the country or the number 126 team in the country," said Palermo. "Whoever they are, if you don't do your job, you're not disciplined and focused then you can get out played. You see it every week to teams who are so-called favorites in the game, but still lose. It's basically because they don't do their job."