Sept. 10, 2013
Tommy Tuberville Press Conference Quotes
Sept. 10, 2013
"We'll make some position changes this week; obviously we won't make them known. But we're still trying to get the pieces of the puzzle in the right spot to make this a better team. Each week we are finding out more and more about players that are starters, backups, or even third string guys. That's the focus, we have two non-conference games left, and we have to get better in both of those. We have to get much better, as we found out last week; we didn't handle success very well in the first week. And we played a better football team this week, and we didn't adjust very well as coaches or as players as the game went on. We knew that we were going to have problems, we just weren't able to work our way out of those on either side of the ball or on special teams. But, it was a very aggressive first two games for us, in terms of new staff and players and filling in a lot of holes. We are fortunate, looking back, winning one game out of the two. We would have loved to win both but we played a better football team Saturday in terms of coaching, and playing, this early in the season. We will go back to work today and practice and make some changes at some positions. Obviously, we have some holes to plug with injuries, but that happens. We have to make sure we are doing the right things on offense and defense and the positions we got injuries at in the direction we head into next month before we hit conference play. Northwestern State, I have coached against them in the past. I know a lot of coaches, players, and people that have gone to school there. I have watched them play over the years and they are a school that have been hit or miss. They have had some very good teams and they have had some teams that have struggled. This is a new coaching staff. We did open up with them last year at Texas Tech. I knew the coaching staff very well. They run a lot of the same stuff now that they ran last year, but they've had a coaching change so we will see a few different things. The thing we have to do is understand that we are going up against a team that is different. They don't do a lot. The offensive coordinator that I had the last three years at Texas Tech, is the offensive coordinator at Northwestern State. They are very fast, very quick, try to get a lot of plays. They run two or three running plays and try to get a lot of formations. They do a lot of screens. They move the ball and move it quickly. If they can make first downs, you have to get back to the huddle very quick. There is not a lot of time between snaps. They throw the ball down the field. They are very quick with the ball out of the quarterback's hands and don't mess around with a lot of protections. They will run the ball if you get people out of the box and try to play zone. We are going to have to be a zone and man team this week. We are going to have to tackle very well in the open field. They have some receivers that will make you miss. They are 2-0 and are off to a very good start. They will come up here relaxed and ready to go and play their butt off. Defensively very similar to what we are. They are aggressive. They are not very big in some places, but they have good team speed. We are going to have to have a good game plan on both sides and execute much better than we did last week. It will be a very good game for us, night game, home field advantage, and we are looking forward to having a good crowd with a lot of people in the stands. Hopefully last week did not set us back any. As I told everybody, this is going to take everybody, not just the people on the field, but the fans and alumni to get this program headed to where we want it to go to. There are a lot of recruits here this coming weekend. As we start our recruiting, as coaches we will start our evaluating players on Friday night by going to football games all in this area."
"Looking back at game film, is there anything that stood out to you as most disappointing?"
"Disregarding the mental mistakes we made, I think we had 5 penalties that we would of liked to have back, we did miss tackles on defense but we had misalignments. We played and coached very poorly on third down on both sides. The first quarter just got us into such a hole. You can't do that on the road. You can't shoot yourself in the foot like that and get behind 21-0 in the first quarter in a half and think we have to stick with what we are doing. That is when we have to change gears as coaches and players have to change gears. We did. We went to up tempo and played fast. It worked; we scored a touchdown right before the half. Then we came out of defense, made some adjustments, blitzed, and got them two 3 and outs, and got the football and went fast, went to the air, made some good throws good catches and scored some points. I am just disappointed in having to kick the field goal and not scoring a touchdown and then not getting a touchdown on the one that was called back. That was a tough situation, but I like the look of the team of how they never panicked. They were still into it and knew they had to fight back. I saw something out of this team that I think we are all going to like going forward in understanding how to play. The light came on, alert time, we're behind, and didn't panic. We went out there like it was business as usual, and then made some sort of comeback. That was a hard one to swallow because I didn't think there was that much difference between the teams. Their quarterback did an excellent job on third downs. We gave up two or three big plays where they ran some trick things that we have not seen. Our secondary did not adjust very well. That was the area that I was a little concerned about because we looked a little in the panic mode for some of the formations they ran at us instead of just relaxing and playing. We gave up two or three big plays that really hurt us other than the third down plays."
"Kay hasn't looked healthy since camp, is there any apprehension going forward with the quarterback situation?"
"No, he worked real hard. He could have played more in the first two games. It was just that Munchie had played pretty well and he was going to have to earn his position back. He was probably 95 percent last week and 100 percent this week. He through all routes and stayed after practice on Sunday and threw more routes. He is ready to go. He is excited and understands the situation. The great thing about this is last year he came in later in the year and played pretty well. It is not like we have an inexperienced guy out there running the offense. Our players respect Brandon and they know what he can do."
While finding places to fit players into certain position, has there been as much competition as you anticipated?"
"No, we have had a lot of competition. In football you are always lining people up depending on what the other team lines up. We are trying to make sure we get a lot of these kids in the right spots because a lot of them haven't played. Offense is the same way because Chism has been out. We need to get him back. Now we need to find out what Mekale McKay can do and how he can play. He is getting in better shape and what is our situation, do we need to go tight end more? Do we need to four wide receivers or do we need to go three receivers with no tight end? We are finding more out about what we can handle with this team and who can handle a bigger load and help us get better. That is what coaching is about. It really isn't about the x's and the o's. It is about getting the right guys on the field and getting the right guys on the field in the right situation. You don't really know until you get into the heat of the battle so now we have had two games. We have had some good things and some bad things. Even after this week, we will continue to make changes in certain situations, moving guys around. You will see Saturday, there will be a glaring difference on who's on the field, where they are at, and what they are doing. It is like putting that puzzle together. You just have to get all the right ones in there at the right time to give yourself a chance to win games."
"Not only are you coming off a tough loss but also with those injuries on everyone's minds, how do you gauge mentally how the team is dealing with this?
I talked to the seniors. I turn it over to the seniors a lot because most of the things that happen within your team, such as injuries, are in the locker room. You have to have guys who express their opinion. We have seniors that like to have meetings with the players, offense, defense, and the entire team together. I think that is how you handle it. I talk a little bit about it, but I think it comes more from the seniors, and guys really pointing their finger at someone and saying it's your turn, we need your help instead of a coach sitting there saying you are going to get 40 plays a game instead of 15 plays a game. I am not talking about quarterback, but I am talking about all positions. That is just part of it of getting guys ready to go. That is the reason we have been working three teams. Like on Sunday, we went out and had a 30 play scrimmage with our 3's. We don't have to coach anybody, don't have to tell them where to line up. Executing is different, but most the time when you go to run your plays with 3's, you have to tell them where to line up. This has been great because we have had enough depth and youth to be able to do stuff like that. Every Sunday we have a scrimmage with guys who didn't play over 20 plays in the game. Guys who don't get over 20 plays, to me, didn't get enough reps so we have the guys that had 20 plays or less and the guys that are redshirting and didn't travel go against each other and have a good old fashion practice on Sunday."
"You had trouble scoring near the goal line within the jumbo package. Did Tion even make the trip? And would you like to see a bigger back in on those situations?"
"That is exactly the question I have been talking about in terms of finding guys like what can we do? In the Purdue game, Ralph scored on the goal line. There are going to be things that we can do with Ralph, but if you get two tights, and two backs, one hand can bring him down so we need a bigger back. Can Hosey do it so we put him in the game. At times he looks good, at times he doesn't. Tion broke his nose last week. We all knew that. He had an operation to set it. He practiced and went full speed in practice, but he didn't know the game plan well enough. Now he is back so we will get an opportunity to look at him. We need a big back. You can't play with guys out there that are going to be jitter bugs. Sooner or later when they pack it down and you pack it down, somebody is going to have to be their own blocker and run over somebody. I didn't think we did a very good job offensively coaching to help our guys on the goal line. Sometimes you think going big down there is the key. Well as we sit and talked, sometimes with smaller backs, that's not the key. Keep them spread out. Do the things you do out in the field that make it tough. All it does is cut down on the passing distance. It doesn't affect your running other than you might have one more guy in the box. We have to make decisions, as I talked about earlier, on certain parts of the field, who needs to be in the game, and what we are better at. Is it a big package or is it a more tight ends or more receivers package? We are still learning a little bit about what we can and can't do. We have struggled. We struggled against Purdue doing that. I think we scored on a third and four with Ralph and he had to spin off to score the Touchdown. That Redzone has been a concern on both sides, but especially offensively with getting the ball in the end zone. It is something that we are making changes on."
"Has there been any discussion about maybe a red shirt for Munchie Legaux?"
"No. I have spoken with Munchie a couple of times. He is ready to get it going to where he can get rehab going and see what he can do. We would love to have him back. He's got a chance, but you just don't know until all said and done and he sits down with the doctors. We got a lot of good news out of it the last few days. His spirits are good, which is excellent, and he has got his family here so he is excited about that."
"What have you seen from Max Morrison in the preseason in regards to his starting spot and what you saw this weekend?"
"Max was our leading receiver in our first game and dropped as many passes he caught in the second game and it hurt us. Receivers know that. Everybody can see the mistake that you made when you are a receiver. He understands he has got to catch the ball. He did in the spring, he did in most of two-a-days, had a very good first game, and then he had some drops. We have to catch those, but he's not the only one. We have other guys who have to catch the ball. Starters have to be held accountable at receiver. You have to know how to play third down as receivers. Look at their receivers, they had 3rd and 10, 3rd and 12, and 3rd and 19. They caught the ball and moved the chains. That is just a progression of guys building confidence and they have to understand that you have get some many opportunities. Max is one of them, he has taken every opportunity in practice to make himself better, but practice and games are different. It only shows up more in games. I have a lot of confidence in Max. When I first saw him in the spring, I am thinking man this guy must have been a good player, but heck he never played. He will get better and better, they just have to learn to focus. The first play on offense, a receiver moves on the five yard line and we get a penalty. Those are the little things that we have to get better at."
Is [Max Morrison] one of the guys you might make a change in?
"He could be, but the thing about receivers is that they all play about the same amount. Sometimes we want certain receivers in the game because of certain routes. It is obvious, like anything else, that some people are better at certain things than others. If there is a guy that we wanted to throw to going into that game, I don't think there is anyone in here, coaching staff or players, hey throw it to Max. He'll catch it. He is not going to outrun many people in terms of taken it distance all the time. He has been our bread and butter and he will be. Sometimes you have to go through things like that to make yourself better."
Practice has been closed off to filming. Any comment as to why?
"The biggest thing is that there is going to be so much interest as to what we are going to do at quarterback and those things. It is one thing that we probably need to keep to ourselves here for awhile just to kind of give our kids an opportunity to relax and understand that the whole world is not watching. You have to remember how young these guys are."
How much does Benny Coney's practice reps increase as a result of the injury?
"Almost 100 percent. Benny, out of 15 plays, would get 3 snaps in a regular practice going against guys that are competing real hard. Benny probably made the most improvements out of anybody in camp just because he worked on his footwork. He can throw it, but he had a bad week of practice at the end of camp for some reason. His arm got sore. We threw and threw and threw so they all had sore arms. That was the first time he has ever had that so he had a tough time adjusting. He is ready to go. I have confidence in him. He will go in the game on Saturday no matter how we are doing. We have to get him into the game. We can't put him into a tough situation when the first time he goes in he looks around and hasn't taken a snap. So no matter what happens, these next two weeks I plan on giving him some playing time."