Is this a good football team?
White: I would say after watching that performance today offensively I can't say that we're a good football team. We did find a way to win the game. We have good kids that have tremendous character, but you can't play like football like that today on offense and expect to win a whole bunch of games. It's pretty easy to understand that. I think everybody that was at that football game today knows that we got totally out-played, out-hit, and quite honestly they deserved to win the football game. But we won it, we're not embarrassed by it, we're not ashamed to win in any football game we play and we have a lot of work to do to get better.
Is there a sense of compassion for Brooks, having to take as many shots as he did?
White: You never want to see your quarterback get hit as many times as he did today. We need to get better in those areas, whether it be the running back's protection, the offensive line, or Brooks getting the ball out of his hand. He can't get hit that many times.
The running game has struggled three weeks in a row now. Are you a little bit concerned about that?
White: I'm concerned about a lot of things, quite honestly. We'll have to take a look at the film and really start to identify honestly what the problems are and correct them, and maybe limit the menu a little bit and give our players a better chance to succeed. Because obviously today we as coaches didn't give them a great plan. We have to take responsibility too.
What did NIU do defensively that perhaps you weren't prepared for?
White: They didn't do anything that we weren't prepared for. They outplayed us. They played with tremendous tempo and they are very well-coached. They played with better fundamentals. Schematically, they didn't do one thing that we did not expect. Not one that we did not prepare for. So consequently, when you evaluate things, we got outplayed. The one thing that gave us a chance to win the game was the fact that we only had one turnover, which was basically like a punt from where we did it, and they had four or five. And you can poo poo any of those statistics that you want, but as long as I've been coaching, turnovers are going to determine the outcome of the majority of football games. If you have a positive turnover margin, you are going to win 80 percent of your games. It just goes to show you how important that statistic is, that allowed us any semblance of a chance to win the game today.
Do you have a problem with Brooks holding onto the ball the way he did and take a sack than try to make something happen and turn the ball over?
White: Not really. Do I have a problem with it? Yeah. I'd like to see him get the ball out of his hands and throw it away a little more instead of taking some of those sacks. That was the first time this year that we had it look like that. We have a lot of work to do.
What were some of the problems that led to those 10 sacks?
White: We had running backs that missed some protections, the quarterback held the ball a few times where he needs to get rid of it, then we were on the edge of a whole bunch of things. All of a sudden you get defensive linemen, you are on the edge and they're in your face and you are scrambling out of there and they are playing good fundamental football, you are going to have problems and we had them today.
Do you think the running game will get sorted out? Because teams are throwing a lot of guys in the box and throwing different looks at you to stop it, but that certainly isn't anything new.
White: It will get straightened out because we have the best offensive line coach in the country. He's proven it year in and year out, and we have good kids. Football is important to them. Let's not forget we are 4-0. We're not happy with the way we played today, but we have four wins that we are going to build on and we're going to get better and find a way to win the fifth one. We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We have to do whatever we need to do as an offensive football team to beat Arizona this week. That's it.
This is the first stretch that Anthony Davis has gone through like this. Do you sense any frustration on his part?
White: Well you probably have to ask him, but I think he's frustrated. I can see he's certainly not accustomed to what's unfolded the last few weeks. The last two weeks a lot of it was, we're resting him a little bit. He's only getting 20 carries or so. But this week, we just got out-hit.
Is it hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem has been in the running game?
White: Well when you don't play well, you can distribute the blame in a variety of fashions. You can distribute it to coaches, players, offensive line, running backs, it doesn't matter. You can throw the dart up against the board and place the blame. The most important thing is we found a way to win the football game. We need to get a lot better.
Does it concern you that some of these things haven't been ironed out four games into the season?
White: Absolutely. Concerned? Yes. We need to rip things apart and get talkative on things that will give our players a chance to have some success. And that's what our job as coaches is to do. We're going to have to limit the menu a little bit and really tighten up the package.
Postgame Conversation: Brian White
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