"The first off week was very beneficial. The second, I think was a little bit of a struggle with the guys. On Tuesday and Wednesday it was hot, fought through two pretty tough practices and then we kind of bounced back so finally we're in game week and we'll go 6 or 7 weeks in a row so the fun begins. First one is SMU."
Question: Does it almost feel like it's a second start to the season?
"I don't know if I think of it as a second start, seems like it's been a long time. It didn't really feel that long after the first one because there was so many things to work on. What we tried to do was get ready for SMU plus make our team better and also plan for what we had ahead of us, not just ball game."
Question: You said before these "wounded tiger" kind of games can be scary. (What are your thoughts on this game).
"Bottom line to it is you've got to go play. The biggest thing is, you always worry about when nobody has anything to lose. Plus, it’s always been a crosstown ball game anyway. The biggest thing I have to do is worry about TCU, I can’t worry about SMU. I’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play, it’s an early ball game. So come out and get ready to go. If you’re not ready to play, the biggest thing that can happen to you is injuries, and we don’t need to be going in to the month of October banged up so we’ve got to get ready to play a ball game and I don’t see any reason why we won’t.”
Question: What part of the team got better during those two weeks?
”Well defensively, we’ve improved quite a bit to be honest with you. We were able to teach packages and work on things you don’t see a lot of with offenses, even this week (SMU). Option offense, which we have four or five teams that run it, which there’s only so many things you can do out of 10 personnel so we were able to work on things with ours ends and our linebackers, different things we can work against the option, which makes us more disciplined. They’ve got two big backs that can really run it. Depth chart is kind of like ours a little bit, it has changed.”
Question: Did you develop a rotation at defensive line like you thought you might?
”Yeah, we’re closer. I think we have 5 defensive tackles that we’ll keep rotating and we have 4 ends. I think we’re a lot better now than we were even 2 weeks ago. I think we’re a lot better at those two positions than we were when we started. Now you have to get ready for people throwing it all over the place and running it when they spread you out so we have to get ready for that. They haven’t shown any tight end sets, but they started to show it last week, so you don’t really have anything on film so how do you prepare for one back, tight end sets? We had to go back through last year’s 2013 film to make sure we were ready for anything that they’re doing from last year.”
Question: SMU has only scored 1 TD in 3 games, have you seen anything from their offense that explains why, or is it SMU’s offense just isn’t what it used to be?
”Well, basically you’ve got a new quarterback and you’ve got a lot of new people in front. I watched them move the ball against A&M in the 2nd half, I know it’s the 2’s or whoever was in the ball game, but they ran the football and those guys are hard to tackle and they did things to give themselves a chance to be successful.”
Question: Do you have a handle on where you’re team stands yet?
”No, I think it’s really tough, especially the offense, it’s pretty tough. I think really both sides of the ball, just because I think we’ll now a little bit more this weekend, because you get in to the season play, I think it will help us, especially going to help the offense to play every 7 days. I think we’ll really have an opportunity to really improve more as we get going forward.”
Question: Have you crossed paths with Tom Mason at all?
”Oh, I’ve known him all the way back from Pokey Allen at Portland State. I’ve known him for a while. He’s done a good job, he’s a guy that was a 4-3, coaching a 50 front, now he’s running a 3-4, and they’ve done a really good job with it.”
Question: Did the team show the maturity you were looking for during those bye weeks?
”Well, the first one yeah, Tuesday and Wednesday, no. I felt like we showed a lot of maturity in how we played against Minnesota. They’re a much better team than people give them credit for, they ran for almost 400 yards last week. Doesn’t matter who you play, that’s hard to go do. The thing for us is we had to grow depth and we’re still not where we need to be defensively or offensively but we’re a lot farther along than we would have been. You’re going to find out, going in to October, exactly where we sit with things. ”