Howland's Friday Teleconference

Ben Howland talks about the bad defense against Oregon State, how Josh Smith needs to improve on the defensive end of the floor, and what he thinks of job Dana Altman has done at Oregon...

Q: Did you get a chance to review the tape from last night?

A: Yeah, watched it and it was basically what we talked about after the game. Our defense was really really poor. We did not do a good job of staying in our stance. Just our level of intensity on defense really hurt us. We scored enough points to win. We just did not get stops, and did a poor job defensively in a lot of different areas. In the post, staying in front of the ball, so we've got to do a much better job defensively.

Q: Did that catch you off guard at all, the poor defense?

A: "I'm just disappointed, because when you watch it on film it's really, our stance off the ball, our help, just our level of sense or ugency and intensity wasn't where it needs to be.

Q: I assume that's on the practice plan today?

A: Yeah, you know, we're not going to do, because it's such a quick turnaround. We thought about it. We'd like to do a practice, but I just think we have a number of guys who played major minutes. We watched the film today for about an hour, and edits of the game, so hopefully we'll learn with that. We'll obviously just be going through a lot of Oregon stuff. It's a quick turnaround. These second games that start in the afternoon on a Saturday are tough because you don't have a lot of rest time or preparation time.

Q: Is having a game with so many defensive lapses kind of particularly galling for you?

A: We felt like what you said earlier, that we've been getting better defensively. Maybe it was someone else who said it, but especially the last three games, we've done a bett job defensively. So to turn around and not have the kind of defensive showing that we've had in the last two weeks is disappointing. But hopefully we can rectify that. But the main thing is just giving the all out great effort that we need to get.

Q: What concerns you with Oregon?

A: They're really good, number one. I'm just really impressed with them, from watching them on tape. I just watched their game from yesterday against USC, and I watched the Arizona game that they won down in Arizona. They're a much improved team, adding (Devoe Joseph) to the lineup from last year, (Ola Ashaolu) who was immediately available, Tony Woods. They added some really good players who have experience. One's a fifth year senior, two of them are fifth year seniors and one of them is a fourth year junior. And I think E.J. Singler and Garrett Sim are playing really well for them. So they've got a really nice team. They're a very good offensive team. They execute very well. They're an outstanding offensive rebounding team. And they're a team that plays pretty hard defensively. They play a lot of zone, will play some man, will press. But they're good, so there are a lot of things that impress me about them.

Q: Are you thinking at all about playing Anthony Stover more?

A: Stove did a good job when he was in there last night. He's played minutes in each of our last games. I thought he did a good job for us last night, and he gave us a good defensive presence when he was in there, so yeah, that's definitely something I may need to look at.

Q: Did you think this game was anomaly last night, in terms of defense?

A: I think that we'll play defense. I think that when we watched the tape with the players today they saw that our intensity level just has to be ratcheted up. We've got to control the tempo of the game. The one key juncture we talked about after the game, that I talked about with you guys, is we had three turnovers in a row that all led to baskets at the end. And that really hurt us. We were up 47-44, they came down, got a second shot, and then we came down a missed and they got another shot. And then they went up 51-54 when we went zone. It was 51 all, we had tied it up, and then they hit a shot against our zone, Jared Cunningham wide open in the corner. Then we hurried down, turned it over, and they came back again and scored. And then we came down again and turned it over, so we had three turnovers in a row that led to baskets, that gave them a 58-51 lead, and that was really the key juncture in the game. We had 13 turnovers, but it seemed like all the turnovers we had led to baskets for the other team, so we've got to do a better job at that aspect as well.

Q: Anything that you're seeing early in the games that's causing the early holes?

A: Not in particular. Yesterday, we missed a couple of open shots. We had a layup the second possession of the game that we missed. We missed a wide open jump shot on our first possession. But we fought back and took the lead. We were up 10-9, 11-10. A number of times we had the lead in the first half but couldn't capitalize and build on it.

Q: How much of the defensive issues were matchup issues?

A: It was a matchup problem to have Jerime Anderson guard Eric Moreland. But the guy that really hurt us last night was Devon Collier. Collier had twenty points. He hit a jumpshot to start the game. The first play of the game, the first possession of the game, was they got a second shot. We didn't block out aggressively enough. We just were not aggressive enough, the way we need to be. They got a second shot on a missed shot because we didn't do a good enough job of blocking out weak side and they scored. We've got to really tighten up our defense. To win on the road, is very difficult and you've got to do it by playing great defense and taking care of the basketball. And playing smart.

Q: What happened the last time you played Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament, when they beat you by 17?

A: We played them three times last season, and the last time they really handled us there in the Pac-10 tournament. I haven't watched that game yet, Jon, but what I remember from that game is we came off the long road trip at Washington and came back and really played like we were tired in that game. It was an afternoon game, and we just didn't play well. But I don't remember the specifics of that game off the top of my head yet. I haven't gotten to that game yet.

Q: What do you think of the job Dana Altman has done the last couple of years?

A: I think he's done a great job. I think the guys that he's picked up, Woods and this kid Ashaolu and this kid Devoe Joseph, a transfer, all those kids, those are three of their top five leading scores. They've really stepped in and helped them.

Q: Josh was starting, now he's not starting again. Is the plan to bring him off the bench the rest of the season?

I can't speak for the rest of the season, but right now, yeah. Josh has got to help us more than he's doing defensively. I just looked at his stats, he has 0 blocked shots in the conference thus far. He's got to be more of a presence for us on the defensive side of the floor. We know that when he's in there we're trying to get him the ball offensively, but we need him to step and play better defense for us.

Q: How much of that do you think might be him being a little apprehensive and not wanting to get in foul trouble?

A: I think less that, and more just him focusing on it, getting his knees bent, and playing in his stance.

Q: How much of it do you think is fitness?

A: A big part.

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