Franchione press conference

Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione held his weekly football media luncheon Tuesday in the Bright Football Complex. Excerpts from the press conference follow.

Do you like having separate punter, separate kickoff guy and a separate kicker? Is it good for guys mentally only to have that one thing to focus on?

Dennis Franchione: "There are probably some pluses to that. I haven't really given that a great deal of thought. But we are pretty diverse in the way we're handling it right now with Layne (Neumann) kicking the deep field goals, Richie (Bean) kicking off, and Layne will handle certain types of kickoffs, and Richie could have punted the other night, too. It has been very competitive. The great thing about those guys is they all have been very supportive of each other which I really admire. They've certainly been team-spirited and team-oriented guys."

Carl [Torbush] talked about the lack of tackling at the point of attack. Evaluate the play.

"I think we were all a little disappointed with giving up as many rushing yards as we did. But I think first off, before we talk about that, Clemson played very well. To play in a first game and to not have a turnover and not have any penalties that mattered really and put them behind the chains, and to be able to remain patient was really a credit to them. Now, I thought our inside people can play better and will play better. I thought our ends played very solid. They had a pretty good game. But they were determined to run the ball and they stayed patient and they did a pretty good job. You know, you still got to remember anything that you say about the defense, that we did not give up a defensive touchdown Saturday night. Most of the time when that happens you'll have a good chance to win the game. To their credit they made every stop they needed to in the red zone. That kicker made every kick imaginable including one blown dead, and that last snap they did a great job of getting that one down. But we did keep them out of the end zone and that was really great to see. Now obviously we've got to continue to work and get better at some other things."

How do you feel about this team? You know, you hate to go back to Utah every time. Do you feel a lot better about this time compared to this time last year? Both are losses but they seem so different how they came about.

"You know, we went to a tough place to play. We played a team that played very well. I think Clemson is a much-improved ball club. I do not think we will play more than a couple of teams with more speed on defense than they had. When I watched the film again Monday morning I was really impressed with their ends and their linebackers' speed. They have good team speed across their defensive front. They can get out of position and recover. That's what speed does for you."

"You know, we went to a much more hostile and difficult place to play. It's hard to compare Utah and Clemson. Utah went all the way to go on to the Fiesta Bowl. They don't play in the ACC, so-we'll see how Clemson does the rest of the year but they played a good football game."

"When you analyze our football team across the board I think we're better in a lot of areas. We do have marked areas that we know we can improve. I think sometimes as a coach you like to say you can improve at something but you probably know that it's going to take two or three years to improve at this and not two or three games. We have a lot of areas that in two or three games we can improve. You play a tough game as an opener and you're still learning about your team on the road. We haven't had what I would think the best way to start a season scheduling wise so far, and you know, that's the hand we were dealt. We've got to make it work."

"I do feel good coming out of the game in a lot of regards in where we're going. Last year when we came out of Utah game we had a lot of questions when we got on the plane. One was open the door and jump. (This time) We certainly didn't come home feeling at all like that. We did come home disappointed that we came up a little short but we didn't come up you know with all the questions that still remained in place like we did last year."

Jason Carter did a lot of things, throwing, running and catching. Do you plan on using him as versatile as that?

"We do. I think the great thing for Jason is that we had had this hope two years ago maybe to do that with him but he wasn't ready for all that. That was through our fault that we probably wanted to do a lot of that. He is ready for it now. His role is bigger. He returned kicks, threw passes, ran with the ball from the line of scrimmage, caught passes. Jason's a play maker and we're going to continue to try to utilize him in a number of ways and because he is so versatile we can do that. He's kind of a hybrid between a receiver and a running back. Of course he's got that former quarterback though in him, too, and we keep doing those kind of things."
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