On the upcoming game with SMU: Saturday's win is behind us. We'll move on to the next game. It's a home game again and another conference game. I think you would prefer not to open with conference games so you have a chance to get some of the kinks worked out, but we're excited about playing SMU at home at Legion Field.
SMU has a four-wideout offense where they throw the ball a good bit. They have a running back (Shawnbrey McNeal) that transferred from Miami who has made them a little more potent, offensively. June (Jones) does a great job. They're always going to be demanding on you, defensively. Our defense is going to have quite a challenge.
Looking at their defense, they've changed gears. They've gone from a four-man front to primarily a three-man front. They're bringing more pressure. The first thing I noticed when I turned on the film was their defense was flying around and swarming to the football.
On Saturday's win over Rice: We're very happy with the win. We're excited for the players, the staff and the University. At the same time, I think there were a lot of things we can learn from. The most disappointing thing to me was the kicking game. Nobody has spent as much time on the kicking game as we have, but I thought we were poor in that area as far as covering kicks and the return game.
We also had four false start penalties, offensively, and two offsides, defensively, which are inexcusable. We had a couple issues defensively getting the right personnel in the game, and offensively at the end of the game, we couldn't get lined up right, had to call a timeout, and then got called for a delay of game penalty.
On defensive stands in the first quarter against Rice: They go down there and knock on the door twice. Bryant Turner blocks a field goal, which was huge, and the next series down there, Chase Daniel intercepts a pass to keep them out of the end zone. Starting off like that defensively gave us a lot of momentum and really got us going.
Just because someone gets in the red zone doesn't mean they have to score. I think it was huge for our defense to stop them from scoring. It felt like a big momentum shift to me when we blocked that field goal. Our first drive offensively, we were three and out, had a bad snap on the punt and a bad punt. But, defensively, we stepped up and answered the bell.
On Joe Webb being named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week: I think it's a great honor for Joe. Obviously, he's a great athlete, a great guy and does a lot for this football team. We ask a lot out of him, and he responds. I'm not only happy and proud of him for the type of football player he is but also for the type of young man he is. He's a first class guy, and we're extremely happy for him. He's very deserving.
On finding more offensive weapons: It was a good start for Joe. He wound up with over 400 yards of total offense. We still have to get better at the running back spot to help him. If we can do that, I think we'll be a hard offense to deal with. But if we continue to rely on Joe Webb for everything, people can do things to shut that down.
On the contributions of newcomers: I'm happy that a lot of them played well. Hiram Atwater at safety made some plays. Darrion Wilson made some plays as did Derek Slaughter and Patrick Bastien. There were a lot guys defensively that contributed. Offensively, Nick Adams had a big play on the long catch, but he had one heck of a block, too, on a run play that was probably the highlight of the game for me. So the new guys contributed well, and hopefully we'll continue to get better and better.
On the confidence level of his team: I certainly think Saturday's win helped. Going back to last year, we kind of did some things late to get on a roll, so hopefully we're continuing on from that. I think the confidence of this football team right now is pretty good, but we better be careful because you're only as good as your last outing. Saturday's game is over, and we have to get ready for the next one.