Tresey on Third Downs, More

Defensive Coordinator Joe Tresey talked about the main defensive issue for UCLA at this point -- third downs...

Q: So what are your reactions to looking at the tape for Wazzu?

A: Well, from a positive standpoint, our tackling is improved, we're playing with more urgency, we're playing faster and our problem is really third down. We can't get off the field on third down and we've given too many third-and-short opportunities. So the biggest disappointment was third down.

Q: What's the biggest thing you guys need to do differently and better to avoid those situations?

A: We've got to do a better job of getting them into second-and-longs, so we can get them into third-and-longs. And we did get them into second-and-longs last week, but then we'd give them back 4 or 5 and now they've got it back to 3rd and 3, 3rd and 4. So we've got to get them into 3rd and plus 6 to 7. We're operating at a good level at that point. We're not operating a good level at 3rd and less than five.

Q: On third down, do you think a lot of your issues stem from not getting as much pressure as you'd like from your front four?

A: You know, when you're struggling on third down the way we are, it's an across the board issue. If it was only one group, we could fix it. I've got to do a better job of game planning third-and-short and third-and-medium because we're obviously in it a lot more than I thought we'd be.

Q: It looked like the cornerbacks did a fairly nice job when they were pressing at the line, especially Aaron Hester on the boundary. Is that something you're going to look to do more of?

A: You know, it's a feel thing and it's a call thing. We needed to (press Hester) more against them last week because they were a big boundary team coming into the game. We didn't expect them to run the ball 40 times. So, he did a really good job. We're just going to keep mixing that in.

Q: The pressing, is that something that comes more from the defensive call or from a feel thing on the field itself?

A: It's both. We give him some leeway with that based on down and distance and making a smart decision.

Q: On that first drive for Wazzu, it looked like you guys blitzed on three or four straight downs but didn't have much success. Is there something you'll have to do differently to get more success out of blitzing?

A: One of the blitzes, we had a miscommunication, so only four really came. The other one, we just didn't do a good job of keeping the ball inside the defense and the quarterback was able to maneuver and move in the pocket and it gave him an opportunity to create something. So, two of those three we just really didn't do a good job of squeezing the pocket or communicating.

Q: Obviously you haven't gotten too much into the game plan for Arizona, but is it a different look that you're expecting to see?

A: It's going to be interesting, because really, from Washington State, if you'd have told me they were going to run the ball 40 times, I would have said you're nuts. So they came in and ran the ball. It seems like everybody we play has come in and done something a little bit different with the exception of probably Stanford. We expected Stanford to be what they were going to be. Arizona is throwing for 380 a game, (their quarterback) is 70%, I would think offensively they've got a good thing going. Their problems have been getting off the field on defense, etc. I don't know, but that's my guess.

Q: So Wazzu running the ball so much caught you a little by surprise?

A: It was just pretty obvious they didn't want to put our offense on the field a lot. That's one of the reasons they ran the ball a lot.

Q: In terms of generating positive plays on defense, how focused are you on getting turnovers and actually generating some points on the defensive end?

A: Right now, our biggest concern is that we've got to get off the field on third down and give up less explosive plays. The other stuff will happen once you start putting pressure on the other team to make plays in third and long, second and long. When you start doing things like that, it'll happen.

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