Darnell's BSU Postgame Comments

Following the Broncos 7-17 loss to the Ball State Cardinals Coach Darnell talked with the Media. He talked about Marcus Merriweather, the Broncos quarterback situation, and Daniel Marks among other things.

"I think the obvious statement is we got out coached today. I think Bill Lynch and his staff did a tremendous job and it's very obvious that they have their players matched up for what they can do and I don't think we do with ours. Meaning that, there's an old saying in coaching that you write checks bigger than your players can cash and we're trying to do things that we obviously cannot do. That's management and that's coaching and I think you flip the side you see what Bill, his staff and his players they do what they do. They do it well. So, I'm happy for Bill they're doing well with what they're doing. I'm disappointed that it's taken us this long to figure it out that we're not getting done what we should be doing. We have good players and we got to make sure that we find the things that they can do and find a way for them to do it. We don't have much time left in this season to get that done. How much we can get done, I don't know. I know we at lest got to try make sure that we do the kind of things that keeps us from going out there and every time you look up with a bullet hole in the top of our foot."

Coach Darnell gives his thoughts on how the tone of the game against Ball State was set, with the two interceptions thrown by Chad Munson.

"It's both. I really do believe because both coverages was predictable, both pictures were totally identifiable meaning it's the exact pictures we worked on, but we didn't execute. So, in between there, which he didn't execute then it's the chicken or the egg. Well, even though you got the picture and you know what you're doing and all that, and then it turns into that. Well then we got to be trying to do something maybe we're really not good enough to do or do it a different way. I worked with John Makovic and one of the things we always talked about, whether we had the best players or didn't have the best players, it's your job as a coach, and we use a term "fix it". You got to fix it so you match up what you got and what you can do. It doesn't matter that this might be available to you or this looks good or whatever. But if you can't execute it well then you ought not be doing that and that's what coaching is suppose to get done."

His thoughts on if he thought the team recovered after the two interceptions.

"I will say at halftime, the halftime mood was pretty good because we really dodged a huge bullet right then. They should have got three points out of what they did. So we really felt like that way it was a seven point spread and you thought well okay, we're all right, we can live with that, we're going to have the ball in the third and probably should have the wind in the fourth. So, given all those factors, well you've got to believe you're okay. There was times you felt like you was moving the ball but then we make a huge emphasis on the first five minutes of each half, we go three downs and out the first two times out. So, we're not matched up very well."

He talks about the loss of Phil Reed and the effect it had on the team.

"I think everybody has seen that Phil is a really fine running back. He's actually a difference maker and if he's not out there we miss him, but I don't thing we're without either. I don't think we're destitute when we play with Daniel Marks or even Trovon Riley. I think we have guys who can play and get the things done. So, the biggest thing that hurt us with Phil wasn't his running it was his blocking. We certainly blew just two huge blocking assignments. That's the big thing. It's not necessarily who you are blocking but the speed of what you got to do it and that's what really got us as far as missing Phil."

Coach Darnell comments on the nature of the injury.

"On Phil? Phil is, he's had a shoulder that recurs all the time. So, we have him sometimes and sometimes we don't."

Coach Darnell comments on the injury to Jason Malloy.

"There was actually at halftime some talk that he might be able to play the second half. I watched him get off the field. I don't think there was ever a doubt that he was not going to be playing the second half. I don't know if it was knee or an ankle, it's one of those two."

Coach Darnell talks about whether or not the quarterback situation is now back at square one.

"Yeah, because I think it's been at square one the whole time. Even when Jon was our quarterback, he started off the season; we kind of left Chad kind of hanging over his head a little bit. When Chad's been the quarterback we've left Jon hanging over his head a little bit and to Jon's credit, he stayed right with it and I always try to make a point. Jon is a coach's son and he comes from a coaching fraternity and he understands things have to be worked at those sorts of things. Where we are with our quarterback? Again, it's that management thing. We've got a guy that's fairly new we know that he's a little bit of a gunslinger and he takes the shots down there and sometimes we pay for it. Then as tight as football games have been at the same time he gives you a spark, I'm talking about Chad right now. Chad really has a terrific arm, but at the same time the speed of what the game is where we're playing, who we're playing against I got a little better tapes and studying to maybe where he was before. So he's got to understand you have to follow the system (tapping the table) and he's not to that level yet. But now if he's not following the system, I'm going to throw it out again, whose fault is that? It's not Chad's. Put him in a system that he doesn't have to do that. Take some of that away. That's what coaching is and that's where I'm disappointed with us that we try to make these decision, but we're not doing a good enough job of it."

He gives his thoughts on Merriweather's performance against the Broncos defense.

"No, not Merriweather. I thought Marcus last year, I remember watching him a year ago, I'm thinking I don't know if we will ever slow that guy down. I got all respect, he's that big back that you all look for and he keeps busting it forward because I know there was times out there we would be starting at the line of scrimmage and would be hanging on after that. I've got all the respect in the world for Marcus Merriweather."

What makes him such a good runner?

"Big and he's got a good forward lean. There's all different ways to be a good back. Really I've been around the very, very finest there's ever been in the history football and the men are all different, but it's in the cement whether it's Joe Washington or Billy Sims or whomever those people are. Along the ways of Marcus, Marcus to me seems to me his size and his body lean and enough speed that he can run past you. If you stick an arm out there you're getting ready to get your should ripped off."

He gives his thoughts on whether or not the weather conditions were a factor or not.

"We talked about that before the game and having spent a lot of years at Kansas State in similar situations, I know the wind is a real factor. But, it was blowing for both of us. It was blowing as much for them as it was for us. The only thing is that we depend on pass a little more than they do, but at the same time we have guys who catch a lot more passes than they do. So it should be a wash we ought to be able to catch some. I think our first three passes were dropped today. So, we're not working good enough."

He talks about the play of the special teams including the performance of Matt Steffen.

"Now there was a lot of variables in the kicking game because of the wind as it goes back and forth. The guy to me that did a sensational job was their punter. Because he nailed us down two or three times, three times. Matt shot the rocket off there a couple of times. It would have been a little nicer if we worked to pin it down. To me, I love the kicking game and I think there's so much football involved in a punt. That's a game in itself and I think we kicked it well, I don't think we kicked it smart. I think Ball State kicked smart. That guy did a great job today."

Talking to just the media from Kalamazoo now.

He talks about the no names on the back of the jerseys.

"That actually, I've seen it throughout the league. It never dawned on me. It made sense made a huge amount of sense. Because what happens, these stadiums are so, I want to use the word intimate that you're so close to them and they start calling people out by name. The student thing, we don't have a rule in our league that makes us stay on the press box side. So most of the schools put you in front of the students and it becomes fairly brutal. I had noticed it and several other schools have done that. Take the names off the back and at least they're just hollering numbers. It made some sense to me, so we did it."

He talks about the gold pants that were used.

"That was a whole other thing. It had nothing to do with anything. It had very much to do with if we were going to have to wear it because it was suppose to be a really cold day we were going to have to wear a certain type of leggings and we don't have the leggings to match the black pants. So the only thing we had was to wear the gold pants. The type of socks it was all about the infamous NCAA style rules that they have."

Coach Darnell gives his thoughts on the rushing yards they gave up to the Cardinals.

"It wasn't offensive lines. It's when Marcus Merriweather cuts back the thing that they do with their offense it makes your corners and safeties play like a linebacker because the zone play that they run when they work it back. Now when those guys come up, they have to be able to stone the play. Well the corner backs and safeties aren't really conditioned to do that. But that's what happens when you take and the gaps open up, when he makes his cut back, it's usually some safety or some corner now they're dragging him down instead of linebackers blasting him up. That's where the big mush comes from is when he's doing it. Then you get the linebackers running sideways because now they start playing soft to try to play both the cut back and they get soft, so it's not just the fact that he can do it or their offensive line. It's part of their scheme, its part of their play calling, set up to do it that way and it does. Eventually it makes you soft because you try to play the front side and the back side and you don't do that against a big back like Marcus."

Coach Darnell talks about the performance of Daniel Marks and his playing time.

"His playing time is going to be dictated on Phil Reed. As long as Phil Reed is healthy, Phil is going to play. But, Daniel rushed for a hundred and something about 110 yards in the spring game, Daniel Marks is a good back. He's from Florida, from Miami Northwest and he's really a good back, he just got to have his timing. His place is in the thing that you saw that became obvious was that he blew a couple pretty significant blocking schemes as far as passing. It's not his running ability, Daniel Marks is really an outstanding back."

He talks about the game against Eastern Michigan after coming off another tough loss.

"Yeah, but there's enough young, there's enough youth and I think there's enough of the older guys that would like to because we do play two out of our next three at home. One of them is TV; there's some things to set up there that you can at least find some kind of a comfort. Look if I play and I can find a way to win these last three games at least I can know that I fought it to the very end and go from there."

He talks about the seniors on the team and their chance to do something special in the last game of the year.

"But if we had been 11-0 going into that one it would have been that way also. So, nothings changed as far as its concerned. I'm sure Central's record is going to be a little better than ours probably it may be a chance to even up records but it doesn't matter. What Central and Western is all about is playing and whoever wins that year. That goes a long ways in these people's memory banks."

Coach Darnell talks about getting the Broncos back on the winning track against Eastern.

"Against Eastern, it doesn't make any difference who we are playing. The Broncos have to execute. We got to find something that we can do that we believe in and then do it. That's, to me, the whole just of everything we are trying to do, is just do what we say we are going to do. Quit talking about it, go out there and put together a nice game plan and all that sort of stuff but do what we said we was going to do."

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