Head Coach Butch Jones Press Luncheon Quotes - 9/20/11

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Football |

Sept. 20, 2011

Head Coach Butch Jones
Tuesday Press Conference
September 20, 2011

Opening statement:
“Good afternoon. I’ll start with a recap of the Akron game then onto this Thursday night with NC State. Obviously, we saw a team that was very opportunistic, especially on the defensive side of the football with three touchdowns. What we’re seeing and finding out is takeaways are a byproduct of playing with a hard edge and physicality. I thought we did that. Another thing we did a great job on with defense was that we were able to win our one-on-one matchups. That’s the biggest thing in pass protections and run schemes – at some point in time, someone’s going to be matched up in a one-on-one situation and this past week we were able to win those matchups. That showed on both the interception returns for touchdowns – we were able to disrupt the quarterback. That’s part of playing great pass coverage, disrupting the quarterback. It was another opportunity to play a number of players which proved to be very beneficial for us down the road as we continue to increase with our competition as the season goes on. Our number one goal stills continue to improve day-by-day as a football team. I said it in August and I’ll say it again now – it’s just continuing to get better and focus on the task at hand.

“Obviously we need to take some great strides in playing an NC State football team. We have a lot of things that we have to get cleaned up. Even though we turned the ball over one time late in the game, I still thought that at times we were careless with the football. When you play a team as physical as NC State, if you don’t get those things corrected, it will come back and hurt you. The other thing is that we have to take a vast improvement in special teams. As we all know, we went down there last year to play and they completely dominated the special teams game and played at a whole different speed level than we did. It’s maintaining blocks and space, it’s tackling, it’s having the right reads and getting off blocks, so special teams is going to be a big key on Thursday night. For this football team, it’s focusing on the task at hand, week-by-week. It may sound like ‘coach-speak’ but I don’t know what else you want me to tell you. I’m telling you the truth. We still have a number of young football players playing even though we have a lot of individuals back on defense, we’re still relatively young. The big thing for us is game-speed decisions. You can practice and do it perfect in practice, but now it’s taking your practice to the field and making quick snap decisions. When you’re driving down the road and you forget to make a left turn, there’s not 100,000 people sitting in your car telling you you made the wrong turn. When you play football, there are 100,000 offensive and defensive coordinators knowing that you made a mistake. For us, it’s taking the game speed to the field.


 

 

“NC State, let’s start with (wide receiver TJ) Graham. We talked about special teams. I believe he’s the fifth all-time leading returner in the history of the ACC. He’s extremely dynamic with the ball in his hands either in the return game or in the receiver position. He has the ability to flip field position in a hurry. (Mike) Glennon, the quarterback, is very reminiscent of (Tennessee quarterback) Tyler Bray – 6-6, NFL pedigree with his brother, very strong arm and quick release. He’s really doing a good job of managing the offense and making all the throws in their system. He’s going to challenge us. Defensively, (linebacker) Audie Cole, I’m very familiar with him from our days at Central Michigan. He’s done a great job and I know they’ve asked a lot of him. We’re facing a very physical football team who’s well covered, they do what they do and they excel in all three phases. When you watch a team, the first thing I look at is special teams. They usually dominate that. It’s about everyone understanding their role Thursday night and executing and doing their job.”

On comparing NC State quarterback Mike Glennon with former quarterback Russell Wilson:
“I think they’re two completely different styles. Russell Wilson is more of a get-out-of-the-pocket, scramble and make some plays with his legs, whereas Glennon is a drop-back passer. He’s extremely smooth. He’s athletic now, he can scramble and make some plays, but you’re looking at a 6-6 kid who can seal, rush and is very poised in the pocket and he throws with great rhythm. He has a great sense of the rhythm and timing of their throw game.”

On the impact of a battered NC State defense:
“I don’t think that’ll have much of an impact because they do so many things that challenge you in preparing for them and then with a short week of preparation – all their fires and movement and different blitz schemes and coverages, they’re skilled in the back end. (Dwayne) Maddox, the linebacker, has played a lot of football for them. He’ll be stepping up Thursday night. Even though they have suffered through some injuries, they have quality backups. They’re at the position in their program where they have great depth. I think that’s why they do so well on special teams, because of the amount of depth that they have.”

On where the offense is in terms of its identity:
“We’re still in the phase of developing our identity. We’ve played one full game then we’ve played a couple quarters. So much on offense is continuity and getting into a rhythm. Our players have great confidence in what we’re doing. One thing is very evident and that’s (senior running back) Isaiah Pead is a very good player. He’s one of our weapons. DJ Woods continues to get better and better the more reps that (junior wide receiver) Kembrall Thompkins gains. It has been a fine line. So much is repetition. We’re going to be challenged with the speed of the game and all the movement up front and different looks. They try to come in with their defense and dictate the tempo of the game. We have to be assignment sound and everyone has to execute game. This will be an execution game on offense.”

On whether the focus has changed from being a passing team to a running team because of Pead:
“We’ve had great balance in the first three games. We have a confidence that we can run the football and we’ve invested a lot of time, effort and energy into our run game. Obviously we want to get the ball into the hands of No. 23 as much as possible and I think our offensive line continues to progress. We’re not there yet, but you continue to see them progress. We’ll be challenged, but in today’s age of football, you have to be able to establish the run. You have to be able to run the football. When you’re able to run the football, that lends itself to playing good defense in keeping them off the field. We’ll continue to make the running game a point of emphasis for us.”

On his concern about the future of the BIG EAST and how it will affect recruiting:
“If you do your research, it won’t affect recruiting one bit. We expect to attract the best caliber of student-athletes here that fits our recruiting profile. If you do your research, you’ll see that. That’s backed up by last year’s recruiting class and what’s going on right now in the present. I’m excited. I think there’s a bright future ahead and I know there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes. Right now, we can’t comment on it, but I’ll just say that I know we have an unbelievable product when you look at our reputation and the success, where we’re located, our facilities – I know President Williams and our administration is being proactive. We’re sitting in a good position and we’ll see that. We’re an attractive place. We have a great coaching staff that recruits every day. As we know, coaching makes a difference, but also great players make good coaches. We’ll continue that. What’s going to happen in the future is going to benefit us at UC – I really believe that.”

On whether UC will be better off in the future than it is now:
“We’re sitting in a good position right now. Like I said, we’ve done our research and our due diligence and we’re going to be fine. That’s part of the thing – everything is about developing a culture from not worrying who our opponent is to show up to games. Ohio State just lost last weekend, but I guarantee when they play their next home game, it’ll be sold out. That’s the culture that we’re trying to develop here. We have a great product here. We have a great institution. It’s about affinity for your school. We’re the only school in the area that represents Cincinnati, that says “Cincinnati” across our chests – it’s the state of Cincinnati. People need to realize that. We have a good thing here. We’re going to be fine. Recruiting on a national stage brings out the light. We can go across the country and people understand what we have here. We’re continuing to work on that here in our area with recruiting. The perception of what we have here is very positive and we’re going to be fine.”

On where he feels like the team is with kickoffs and field goals:
“Kickoff is concerning right now. Everything is about kick placement. To be a good kick-cover team, the ball placement has to be very consistent. We’ve been very inconsistent in terms of kick placement, so we have to take great strides there. We’ve worked extremely hard and we’ll continue to do that. The other thing is getting off blocks and understanding the scheme. We’ve worked extremely hard. We lead the BIG EAST last year in kickoff coverage, that was due to Jake Rodgers and his kick placement. We’re going to be challenged. Graham is a great kickoff returner. We’re going to be challenged Thursday night. In terms of the field goals, it’s operation time. It’s getting the ball up. We’ve worked extremely hard at that. I think (freshman kicker) Tony (Miliano) has done a really good job. The field goal he had in the (Akron) game, that’s a difficult kick. He’s playing with great confidence right now. I’m very encouraged by the amount of progress that he’s shown throughout three games.”

On whether he expects more aggression from senior quarterback Zach Collaros in the vertical passing game:
“No. I don’t want interceptions. I want him to make the right choices. Our game is based off a vertical throw game and he’s made all the right decisions, that’s part of the maturation process. They’re double covered? Get the ball in the check down and let’s get eight or nine yards. Let’s not force things, let things come to us. So far, this year he’s done a great job of taking what the defense gives you. We’ve done a great job of protecting the football, but now week in and week out, we’re going to be challenged.”

On if the biggest difference in Collaros’ game between last year and this year is taking what the defense gives him:
“I believe so. It’s the maturation process of really understanding the importance of field position. All that in terms of his growth and development as a quarterback is a big part of it.”

On the running backs:
“Isaiah Pead is very big to us, but I can’t say enough about George Winn. George Winn is one of those role players who is very consistent. He plays on our all our special teams and is a great change-up to Isaiah. We will continue to nurture the young kids back there as well.”

On whether NC State linebacker Audie Cole ever committed to Central Michigan when he was there:
“No. Obviously, recruiting that area and knowing about him – he’s really worked hard in developed himself into a great football player. I know he means a lot to their defense. He’s very active. They ask a lot of him and he definitely has our attention in that respect.”

On if conference realignment will affect recruiting:
“No, I don’t think so because recruiting is still based on relationships. That’s what it’s all about. We’re very entrenched in those areas with relationships. You have to have people you can trust. It stems from the high school coaches and your foundation where if someone calls you and recommends a young man to you, if they’re recommending them and putting their name on them, you know there is credence behind that. Whatever happens, it’s going to be great for us. Like I said, we have a great thing to sell people and our coaches do a tremendous job and our current players do a good job of selling what we have to offer. As the recruiting process continues to move on, you’ll see us being able to attract some very high caliber players to be able to come here. We see that this year and in this freshman class as well.”

On whether the conference the school is affiliated with plays a big role in recruiting:
“I think it’s about the institution. It stems from relationships and trust. Trust is earned over time, but it’s all about people and where they feel they fit in. That’s why I say every time we have a home game, our fans our critical. The catwalk is critical. They’re coming in and they have a list that they’re looking for. They want to see how the fans interact with our team during the game. They want to feel the passion and excitement and pageantry of the game. It’s all about, do they have a connection with the coach? It’s also about academics. We have a great academic reputation. The biggest thing is when we have an individual on campus, they are shocked and blown out of the water by our campus. Our campus is tremendous. A young man comes and you look at our two home games. I believe the first or second time in the history of our program where we’ve sold out the student section before classes have even started. I’m very grateful for our student section. They feed off that and they feed off the excitement that surrounds our program. There are a number of things that go into recruitment. At the end of the day, it’s about people and relationships and trust.”

On whether playing  a Thursday night ESPN game adds more excitement than a Saturday afternoon game:
“Just knowing that you’re playing on primetime national television, let alone at home, adds a little bit more excitement. That’s another illustration when we talk about the passion towards our football program or conference realignment – here at the University fo Cincinnati is ESPN primetime with their a-game announcers and the national championship bus being here. It doesn’t’ get any better than that. Our kids see that and feel that, but you can’t get caught up in the emotion. It’s all about preparation and we understand it’s all about NC State and the challenges they present. If you’re not excited, then you better check your pulse because this is what you dream of as a young man going away to college and playing at this type of venue on this stage.”

On whether he can tell a difference in the way the team is preparing for this game versus a Saturday game:
“I think they’re very excited. I think they want to prove themselves from last year, but we’re playing a great opponent. I’ve said it and I’ll continue to say it, our kids have prepared  the same way each week and that’s why I like this football team. We’re getting great leadership and they have a little bit of an edge about themselves. Whatever we ask of them, they’ve done more. They want to please. We have some shortcomings, but I think your shortcomings can be overcome by attitude, mentality, toughness  and a team that possesses great team chemistry and that’s what I see right now with this football team.”

On if the team feels like it has to prove they are a national-caliber team:
“To each other and to everyone here. Our goal is to be the best football program that we can possibly be and to be on a national stage each and every week. That’s a process. A lot of people don’t like the word foundation or building a foundation for our culture, but it is what it is. I understand we’re an instant-gratification society, but there’s a lot of work that goes into building something like that that’s consistent. Our players feel that and they’re very prideful, so I know they’re excited to play Thursday night as are our coaches and our fans. I believe it’s going to be an electric atmosphere, it’s going to be a blackout. It’s great for our university and our entire community.”

On how preparation for a Thursday game is different than a Saturday game:
“That’s the thing, everything is accelerated playing a Thursday night game – your physicality. We get done playing a game on Saturday and when we get done as coaches, we don’t even enjoy it. We shower and are here till about 1:30 in the morning getting ready for NC State. Everything is accelerated so Sunday action becomes Tuesday in the football calendar. We’ve gone shells for a day, but our physicality and what they’re doing in their run game, it concerns me a little bit. The special teams, the physicality of it. That’s why we make training camp as physical as we possibly can to prepare our kids so when we have a short turnaround like this, they’re ready for it.”

On whether he used any time during the Akron game to prepare for NC State:
“No, you don’t take anything for granted. Where you prepare is during spring football. The personality of your team changes week to week with injuries. Some player might come on that you didn’t expect and then, we had also prepared for it prior to training camp in the months of June and July. We’ve prepared for it, but when you actually go into a week of preparation, for instance with the Akron game, our sole focus was on Akron.”

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