Monday press conference: Bo Ryan

Men's basketball coach discussed his team's season opener and its game Tuesday with UC-Santa Barbara

I know you don't like to give scouting reports, but what sort of style does Santa Barbara play, generally speaking?

"Well, just the main thing is when you think about them and you think about their coach, he's just very sound. I knew him when he was at UC Davis and how well his teams played, how structured, and, you know, just smart. And here he's got a little better athletes from the standpoint of shooters, speed, length. So it's still all the same good stuff, good cuts, good reads. They don't beat themselves defensively. They play some zone. They play some man. It's sound. The best way to describe them is sound."

A lot of people have been talking about the depth of your squad this year, but you've been quoted as saying otherwise. Could you elaborate on that, please?

"I never contradicted anything somebody said about depth. It was experience. The only thing that I said was that they're not as experienced. Depth means numbers. Everybody can count, so people have counted the number of players that we have in a game. And if they count 12, 13, 14 people play, whatever it is on a particular night, then that's called depth. So I've never contradicted that. There's numbers. We got guys that are going to play. There'll be a lot of substituting again throughout the season, so that's okay by me. In more years as a head coach I've had that with numbers than not had it."

So far in Brian Butch's development, would you say he's more comfortable down on the block or outside? Can you tell, or do you think it's fairly equal?

"Well, he can play both. As far as being comfortable, I think he's had experience at both, so we'll see how the rest of the games play out. But I don't in practice say, 'get comfortable.' In practice I, we talk about getting a feel and using what the defense, taking advantage of what the defense doesn't do, and trying to exploit any weaknesses that we can find. So if you get comfortable with one thing then the next team might play you differently, so then you have to find comfort again. I'd rather not refer to it as that."

Bo, we talked about your team pressing before, but just can you talk a little bit about, now that you had a regular-season game, a Division I opponent to test that out against, what your thoughts were about your defense, in particular the press, Saturday?

"Well, it was, it made some things happen. We've seen Penn pressed on film from last year and the year before, and seen them handle it rather easily, especially against certain teams. And maybe you only saw two, three, four forced turnovers off of it, but, still, the idea of extending the defense, getting them to do some different things, using some shot clock, trying to get them to run players to different spots on the floor before they begin their offense on the half-court level isn't all bad.

"There's some teams that are so good that if they can run the floor and get right down into their spots that they want to start the offense with, they're better, and maybe Penn got out of that a little bit, and maybe that was part of the reason that we got them out of the rhythm. You never know. You never want to draw all the conclusions and think like you've determined the meaning of life on the basketball court by one game, but the press did what we are looking for it to do, and that is get people out of their familiarity with spots and what they normally do."

You talked about, briefly on Saturday night about how Morley, Wilkinson, some of your seniors kind of slowed down, they didn't rush things. Can you talk about how again with a team learning on the run, as your team has a lot of inexperienced guys, how hard it is to slow down, let the game come to them right now and just, and not rush things?

"Well, I don't think it's hard. I think it's mind over matter, and just in our drills, when we pressure with the scout team or do pressure situations in practice. You have to do it in practice and then get an idea that you feel that you can handle anything that appears in a game, because what we try to do in our practices is make it even tougher than games. So we continue to do that. You know, it's November, but we haven't stopped teaching. Still every day we go over those types of things. So I think, you know, room for improvement exists, and now what we do with it time will tell."

When you look at your turnovers in the second half, how much of it was just rushing, how much of it just forcing things that got out of character of what you're supposed to be doing?

"Well, one of them wasn't a turnover. You know, I said this before. After the laser surgery I haven't missed too many calls. But there wasn't any possession on that one where they stopped the game and said put 35 seconds on the shot clock. (Alando) Tucker never had that, wasn't even close to ever controlling that ball. So it was 15 officially. And a couple others on decisions on passes just, those can change, and those will change, because guys, I think, will be able to read situations better.

"Also, you have to always keep in mind that when there is a game that's more than five to eight possessions, the other team seems to always get the ability to hit the arms and be more aggressive and do more things that I think caught a couple of our guys off guard at times inside. And that's, you've got to just be strong with the ball. But actually, that's good training because, you know, when you go on the road a lot of those things that happen on the arms and everything else, they're not going to be called. So hopefully we'll get tougher from that."

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