Photo By Steven Chapman

Q&A with Assistant Coach Darrin Chiaverini

RaiderPower.com reporter Alyssa Chrisope caught up with Texas Tech assistant coach Darrin Chiaverini for his input on why the outside receivers have struggled recently.

RP: This offense is almost unstoppable when it plays clean games, but that really hasn't been the case these past couple weeks. Why are those things creeping back up?

Chiaverini: It has been kind of a Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing where we do well at times and other times we shoot ourselves in the foot. At the end of the day you have to get first downs, you got to make plays when you get the opportunity to make plays and we've been kind of inconsistent when we have had the opportunities the last couple of weeks. Some of these guys are pressing a little bit and I just tell them relax, you gotta get back to your fundamentals and technique and work the process. If they work the process the results will come. At the end of the day this offense throws the ball, so we better be out there making plays and if we are not making plays we're in trouble and that's what has happened. Haven't been making plays when given the opportunity, we have to get back to doing that.

RP: How do you hold these players accountable to playing at that level the rest of the season?

Chiaverini: The main thing is if they aren't making plays then you put someone else in. What we control as coaches is if you are not playing well the best thing we have going for them is to put them on the bench. The bottom line is when guys get an opportunity they have to make plays and that happens any place in the country. Those guys have to step up. The veterans got to get back on and step up. We are expecting a lot out of Lauderdale and Reg Davis and it's not fair when those guys have to go in there and play a lot of snaps, because they are not ready for that yet. So the veterans have to step up and take ownership of it and at the end of the day I tell them all the time 'Coaches coach, but players play, so you better go out there make plays when you get the opportunity to make plays.' 

RP: As for the outside receivers, the production hasn't been up there this season. What is that a result of?

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Chiaverini: Well I think it goes down to No. 11 is our No. 1 receiver. Jakeem Grant (pictured above) is a very very good player and he's flat out our No. 1 receiver, so sometimes the game plan dictates who is going get the ball. The outside guys have been up and down, they've been inconsistent, but they are playing hard. Like I told them 'The ball is going to find you in this offense and when it does, you have to make plays.' Reg, has been up and down. He's had some opportunities and has 7 touchdown catches, and he needs more. We need more from him. Devin Lauderdale, we need more from him. They are up for the challenge. 

RP: Is there anything in practice you are seeing that is not transitioning to game day?

Chiaverini: Well the funny thing is, they haven't been dropping those balls in practice. Give it to them in the game and they drop it. It's just a matter of staying focused and being confident and not regressing in the game. I watch them in practice and those guys make those catches, and then in the game they drop it. At the end of the day we are going to coach them hard and they have to make plays. This is a receiver driven offense. 

RP: Dropped passes, what is behind that? Doing too much? Mental blocks?

Chiaverini: It's just lack of execution. Trying to do to much, pressing, getting tight, not being confident in your abilities. I told them they have to look themselves in the mirror and know this is what they do as football players. They are receivers, the ball is going to be thrown to you and you have to execute it and they do it in practice. We'll keep coaching them. They are works in progress. Three of those young guys out there, Jonathan Giles, Keke Coutee and Tony Brown are all true freshman playing in a high power offense that expects a lot from them.

RP: What is up with Devin Lauderdale? Is there something you're seeing in practice? 

Chiaverini: Nah, he's practicing well. He's pressing and trying to do to much. He knows he's got to make those plays. Everyone in the country can look and say you gotta make those plays, and he knows that. We sat down and talked about it, he knows he's pressing a little bit. The great thing is that he comes out here today and works hard. If you keep doing that you will get through the fire and things will go your way. 

RP: Do you think he is approaching it with the right mindset?

Chiaverini: He's focused, he's working hard. I've seen it before with other players at different levels. He's just pressing. He has to get back to being confident and just relax, play hard and good things will turn his way. 

RP: Tony Brown (pictured below) and KeKe Coutee as you said had to step up Saturday. How do you think they've played, and just handled that through the season?

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Chiaverini: I mean I'm proud of them. In this offense, for them to be true freshman and playing the amount of snaps that they are playing. We have asked a lot from them, but they've handled it. They have gone through their ups and downs. I though Tony played fast on Saturday, he didn't get as many opportunities but he played fast. He's got to do a better job in the run game at finishing blocks. KeKe made a couple mistakes in the game, you have to have that play on third down, but the main thing I see from them is that to come back and work hard. If you do that, I've watched a lot of football, and guys drop balls. How do you come back, how do you handle adversity? Do you hang your head or do you come back fighting? You come back fighting and they are. 

RP: What's your plan against Kansas State's defense?

Chiavernini: They are going to play hard. They're going to be well coached. They're going to be in the right positions. Coach Snyder's teams are well coached, they are going to play their butts off and we better be ready. It's going to be a great game. 

RP: Coach Morris said early that K-State executes well and almost waits for you to make a mistake. After all the mistakes this offense has been making, how are you going to avoid that?

Chiaverini: You have to play clean, but you can't play tight. If you over emphasize playing clean or not making mistakes, your going to make a mistake. You gotta be confident in the game plan, know what the game plan expects from you and go out and execute it. That's what we're going to do. 


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