Weekly Press Conference

Mike Leach, Graham Harrell, and several other Red Raiders weigh in on what exactly happened at Missouri on Saturday and what needs to be corrected before this weekend's matchup against Colorado.

Mike Leach, Head Coach

The Mood of the team against Missouri:
"I think as a team we've improved a lot and the group is very driven to get better. That is apparent to me. Sometimes as you improve, you try to improve more and you get ahead of yourself. I think we went out and pressed much of the game and continued to press. The unfortunate fact was that we never really had momentum. As you face adversity, you have to go take momentum. You can't do it if you're frustrated and you haven't moved on to do the basic elements of your job. Consistency in doing that is the most important. What I think is the cause is everybody is trying to hard and trying to do too much. We just need to settle down and focus on what we do."

Patience in the Texas A&M game compared to patience against Missouri in going for it on fourth down:
"I didn't think that was a great idea. It was short and we had a lot of space. It wasn't a good idea. I should have punted."

If there was anything Missouri did that made it difficult to find tempo:
"Missouri played the same defense that Iowa State and (Texas) A&M did. In all three cases, it requires a level of patience and waiting for things to unfold. What they ran is exactly what they run all year. I hate to dash everyone's hopes, but it's not a case of the other guy got fooled or there was some secret stuff installed at the last second. Missouri executed better than we did. Missouri did its job better than we did and did its job consistently better than we did. Missouri, when they faced adversity, responded to it better and continued to do it better than we did. This was a game where the ball didn't roll our way and we need to persevere and take control of things. We were too busy being frustrated about missed early opportunities. That doesn't serve you at all. It was an unfortunate missed opportunity. I felt like we tried too hard."

How do you nurture that short memory so that players blow it off:
"One thing with this group is that everyone is pulling for the same thing. Everyone wants the same thing. Everybody is highly motivated to do the best they can to get it. If everyone is doing the best they can, you just try to channel it to where its most productive. Against A&M we were very productive, obviously. In this one, we just overextended ourselves and weren't very productive. Everybody understanding that and keeping that perspective is key. We just need to pull together, work hard and keep doing our job."

Does youth or inexperience play any key in thing:
"It would be impossible to say. I'm not really big on that item. That's more for you to analyze. My thing is that it doesn't matter. It's all pretty simple from my perspective, you play the best player. From there, you try to improve every day. Our intensity and motivation to improve is very important and very key."

Can you get a feel from practice of how things are going to go in a game:
"We practiced really well this well this week. I thought when we got out there on the field and as things went on, we just got a little more impatient. The defense played well the first couple series and did a really good job. Offensively, we didn't give them anything to feed off of. Between frustration and everyone wanting to do well, it becomes a series of over-corrections. On my part, too.

What is the mood like this year before Colorado compared to last year:
"I think it is a more focused group. Everybody wants to do well and the work ethic of this group, with how they have hung together, is very impressive. That's what is exciting about them and makes this team one of the most fun to coach that I've ever had."

It was said that last year people didn't know what to do or how to do it in some situations. Not the case this year:
"I don't think so. This is a tighter unit. Last year's group pulled together in a shorter period of time and did some great things. I feel good about our players and their commitment to go out and do well and practice well."

Looking at Colorado, do you feel they are much improved this year:
"I think they are. They've had some ups and downs, but I think they run really well on defense. They have some key players on offense that do some good things."

What was the focus last night in practice? Did you do anything different with the receivers:
"Fundamental drills. The biggest thing I thought we needed to focus on was basic fundamentals, square one stuff. Everybody needs to get better at that. The other thing was to reinforce what your job is and the parameters of it. They don't extend just because something happened to you while doing your job."

"We just did the individual drills. People drop passes for two reasons. One is a lack of concentration, which wasn't our issue, and two is that they are too tight. That was what our deal was."

Talk about what you've seen of Colorado's defense:
"I think they run around good. They're quick, and they are a more excited group. It's funny, because last year we played a little bit different team than what we saw on film. Teams are like that. They have a lot of the same guys and they are a year older."
 



Graham Harrell, Quarterback



On Missouri's defense containing the Texas Tech offense Saturday:
"I don't think it was anything they were doing to us or anything they were tricking us with scheme-wise, I just think we weren't executing. We have to just get back to the fundamentals, get back to what we were doing and what we've done all year and we're fine."

On the blitzed he faced from Missouri's:
"They were trying to blitz and stuff, and when teams try to blitz, that should be to our advantage, because they have less guys trying to guard our receivers. Me and the receivers didn't do our job and didn't make plays as often as we needed to. We were just a little off on a lot of things; we were real close to having a lot of big plays, real close to breaking a lot of things, and just missed on them. That's the way the game is; it's a game of inches they say and I think we were inches away from breaking that game wide open in our favor and we missed on those opportunities."

On how the early interception return for a touchdown affected him:
"I still thought we were fine, I never thought anything bad. That's a play that's going to happen once a year probably and like I said, nothing bounced our way. Most of the time, we're going to make that catch and it's going to be a big play for us, but last week he slipped, it bounced off a guys helmet and it's a big play for them."

On how the team felt going into the second half on Saturday:
"Coming out of halftime, I think everyone felt good about the game. We felt like we were just a touch off in the first half, but we're going to get going this half and be fine. We came out and didn't score on that first drive of the third quarter, and I think if we would have it would have been a totally different game. If we could have had any of the plays that we just barely missed on in that third quarter, I feel like could have turned it around and won."

On if he thinks Tech's remaining opponents will try to imitate the defense used by Missouri:
"I think Missouri had success with what they did so I'm sure we'll see some of it. I think it's very similar to last week's defense, so we're just going to have to attack it and make some plays, it's not like there weren't any guys open or we weren't having our chances last week, we just weren't converting on our chances. I think it's going to be very similar, we just need to convert on the opportunities we get and make plays this week."

On how players being frustrated affected their play Saturday:
"I think a little frustration got into us and then it snowballed like everything did, everyone got frustrated. That's something we can't have; we have to stay excited to play and keep playing hard and just keep moving the ball. In this offense, things can turn around in a hurry and I think if we would've just stayed excited, kept executing, kept making routine plays, I think we could've turned things around last week. The frustration got to us and that's one thing Coach [Leach] talked about, is don't let it get to you, because we can come back and win from any deficit."

On the difference between Colorado's team between last season and this season:
"Last year I think it was their coach's first year and coming in with a new coach it's always tough to get things going, especially that first year because it's kind of a transition year. Now he's been there for a year and is settled in, he has the players more comfortable him, more comfortable with the system and playing good football. They've won some really big games and even the games they've been beaten, they've played close in those games. They're a tough team and we're going to have to get ready to play because they're going to come in here excited trying to get a win."

On how the morale of the team is at this point in the season:
"We're fine. The attitude in the locker room is good and nobody feels like there's anything wrong. We got beat last week, but that's just part of the game and I think everyone knows there's nothing wrong. We just have to go out and make plays and we didn't that last week. It's not because we need another player at any position or a different scheme, we just need to go out and make some of the plays we didn't make last week."

On how last week's loss to Missouri compares to last season's loss at Colorado:
"Last year at Colorado I don't think we were in position to make plays, we just went out flat, didn't play excited, and just didn't show up. This week at Missouri it didn't have anything to do with effort or excitement or being ready to play, we just let some internal frustrations get to us and they just kind of snowballed against us. Last year against Colorado it was a completely different story; we went out flat, had a bad week of practice, we weren't excited, and we just got dominated in all parts of the game."

On Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins playing under his father, head coach Dan Hawkins:
"I loved playing for my dad; it's exciting and it's a chance not a lot kids get the opportunity to experience. I'm sure he's enjoying every second of it, and he's young so he's going to get to do it for a long time. It's a once in a lifetime experience really and not many kids get to experience it, so I think he's probably enjoying it and his dad's probably enjoying it."
 



Shawn Byrnes, Center

On whether or not the offensive line was prepared for the blitzes they saw Saturday at Missouri:
"That's exactly what we expected. Coach [Matt] Moore had us face the exact same blitzes that they brought all week in practice so it wasn't anything special, they just ran it really well."

On how anxious the team is to get back on the field after the loss:
"If we could play today, that would be great. We weren't clicking at all as an offense and like Graham said, we just weren't there and didn't have the chemistry as a unit. We just want to get back out there, we can't wait for tomorrow to get back to practice and get back to work." 
 



Chris Parker, Cornerback

On how big of a challenge it will be to prepare this week after losing another game:
"You're always going to have some adversity, it's just how you overcome it and play the next play. It's going to be a challenge to come back this week and see what can do to bounce back from it."

On how the defense feels coming off of another loss:
"Last night we got back into practice and I think everybody's got their head up. We're trying to put that game behind us as quickly as possible and get back on the field to get ready for the next game."

On how he felt the team was prepared for Saturday's game:
"I felt like we were ready and going into a game like that, you always want to feel ready. It wasn't anything we expected; you don't expect to out there and play bad. I think we just got onto the field and it was a stunner; how we were playing and how they were scoring, because it's something that you don't expect."

On what interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill told the group about Saturday's performance:
"He said that wasn't us; he said we didn't look as fast as we had been and that we needed to get back to the basics and start moving faster like we did the last three games and put that game behind us."

On the defense's struggles at Missouri:
"I don't think we were consistent; we came out in the first quarter and we had that mentality but I don't think we stayed with that throughout the game and that's something we need to work on."

On whether Mike Leach's fourth down decisions on offense show any lack of confidence in the defense:
"I think he just has confidence in our offense. If you've watched the whole season, our offense can get that at any time. We believe in our offense so when he goes for it on fourth down, we believe that our offense can get that anytime, anyplace, no matter where we're at on the field. It's not that he doesn't have confidence in the defense, it's that he has confidence in the offense."

On the difference between Colorado this year and last year:
"It's a much improved team. I think last year we didn't go in there with the right mentality, because they hadn't won a game and I think a lot of people read into that. This year I think we're going to be focused and ready to play."
 



Brian Duncan, Linebacker

On how frustrating Saturday's game was:
"It's very frustrating; especially when all sides of the ball are not contributing at the same time. It's very important that all sides contribute at the same time and if that doesn't happen, then you have a burden more on one side of the ball than the other."

On the difference in the defense Saturday against Missouri versus the three previous games:
"The emotion wasn't there in Saturday's game that we had the last three games and it's visible on tape. As far as us running to the ball, finishing plays, making the plays, it just wasn't the defense that we had. We've just got to move on, learn from it, and continue to play."

On whether or not the defense was on the field too much against Missouri:
"It's our job and it's a thing called ‘sudden change'. We have to be the defense that's in shaped to handle sudden change, and be able to go on the field as much as we did last game, we have to be able to deal with that."

On if he was surprised by the offense's drop in production on Saturday:
"It wasn't the same offense that I've seen or that we've played with in the previous games. It's the same thing [as the defense], they've just got to move on from that, overcome adversity, it wasn't a good game for the offense, but it also wasn't a good game for the team. We've just got to overcome that, continue to play and overcome that."


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