Butch Jones Weekly Press Luncheon Quotes

Sept. 27, 2011

University of Cincinnati Head Coach Butch Jones
Press Luncheon Quotes
September 27, 2011

Opening Statement:“Just to revisit last Thursday night and then moving on to Miami (OH). Obviously I thought it was a great team win and it’s probably the most complete game we have played, when you look at offense, defense and special teams. I thought each unit kind of fed off each other. But when I talk about a team win, I also talk about everyone associated in our football program that continues to  have role in our success, not only our players and our coaches, but our fans, our student body and our game day administration. All those things, what a great environment, national television, it was a great night and I’m very thankful for everyone who came out and supported us.

“Now it’s onto Miami. There are a lot of things that we have to get corrected, some fine details that can be exposed.  It’s all about the fine details. The big thing on offense is that we had too many negative yardage football plays, so we have to get that corrected. Then defensively, I thought we played a pretty good game and then we gave them two touchdowns on big plays – it’s tackling, it’s playing in space and then it’s the scramble drill. We are going to be challenged this week with (quarterback Zac) Dysert, he has the ability to keep plays alive. They do a great job in the scramble drill. They are very talented on the perimeter, so he is going to challenge us with a number of issues including those. We have to be very disciplined and we have to get those details corrected.”

On Miami of Ohio:
“There are a number of things when you look at the level of competition that they’ve played. They opened up on the road, playing a top 25 team in Missouri, then they went on and played at Minnesota on the road again, who has a lot to play for with Coach Kill and then with Bowling Green as well. I think that they are going to put the ball in Zac Dysert’s hands, which I think I would too. I know they want to establish the run, because when you can run it lends itself to play action game and being able to throw the deep ball. So I think they will continue to establish the run, but we expect them to also just put the ball in his hands. Also, they have two talented receivers, (Chris) Givens, he’s big, he’s physical and so he is going to possess some challenges for us. Then (Nick) Harwell, as well. So our defense has to come to play and we have to do a great job of tackling.”



On the defense:
“I think they have continued to make strides. Obviously after Tennessee game we took with that a lot of lessons. We were facing a very good offensive football team in NC State, (Mike) Glennon is a very skilled passer. You look at the weapons they had, they had the ability to score anywhere on the field. When you win and you have success it breeds confidence and the thing we have to do is to continue to build off of that and correct the small details, the fundamentals. The big thing for us is making the offense drive the football. In today’s world of football, it is extremely difficult to make them drive the length of the field. We can’t give up quick strike and quick flash football plays. I see us continuing to get better and better and you take the two big plays out Thursday night they didn’t drive the ball consistently throughout the night.”

On lessons from the Tennessee game:
“A number of things. It’s an overall mentality up-front. It’s being able to win your one-on-one matchups. When they slide and protect and the defensive end is matched up one-on-one with a running back, we need to win those battles. It’s all eleven guys playing together as one, everyone doing their job and trusting the individual next to you. Don’t try to do more than your assignment calls for. Do your job. If you need to be in the B gap, be in the B gap. Don’t try to be in both gaps. That is the overall philosophy of playing great defense. Also more leadership was born. I said our football team will be defined by how we suffer and be able to work through adversity. Obviously there was some adversity in that football game and nobody blinked. Right now we are getting great leadership from our senior class and everyone within our football program.”

On turnovers:
“We have been very, very opportunistic in the turnover department this year. It is just a fundamental philosophy of our football program. It is the fine details. We have taken great strides in that department. We can still get better. We’ve still left some turnovers out there that we could create. But it’s an overall awareness. It’s the fine details of how you strip. It’s a mentality. But we’re doing the same things in practice as we did last year. I just think it’s a year in the system. The players understand more of what we want and that is the thing on defense. On defense you are attacking the football. That is what you play for.  It is a philosophy that on every snap that is what we are playing for. Our players have done a good job to date with that.”

On defensive line depth:
“Big difference in depth. I looked at the sheets, and when you have (senior defensive lineman) Derek Wolfe playing 37 snaps and 38 snaps a game, the same with (junior defensive lineman) Dan Giordano, (junior defensive lineman) Walter Stewart, a number of those guys, (senior defensive lineman) John Hughes, it makes a big difference. It is a cumulative effect throughout the course of a season. Right now (sophomore defensive lineman) Jordan Stepp is an individual who is doing a really good job for us. He is really giving us quality reps. We are continuing to bring along (senior defensive lineman) Monte Taylor. (Junior defensive lineman) Brandon Mills is finally starting to play like the Brandon Mills we expect. We have to continue to bring the young pups along. The Camaron Beards, individuals like that that need to grow and develop because we are going to be facing a long stretch. The physicality will continue to increase, so depth is critical. We are still not there yet at the linebacker position but we are slowly getting there. (Freshman linebacker) Dwight Jackson took some valuable reps Thursday night. (Freshman linebacker) Nick Temple started, there’s a true freshman. So you’re starting to see some young players are really starting to step up. (Sophomore defensive back) Arryn Chenault in the back-end gained some valuable reps and he needs to continue to develop. Developing that depth is going to be an ongoing process.”

On defensive line rotation:
“It’s a combination. It’s by feel, it’s by situation, by down and distance, and it’s also who’s playing well at the time too.”

On going on the road for the second time this season:
“To be a good football team, we have to win on the road. That is the mark of a good football team. Obviously Saturday is another opportunity to play on the road. There is so much more that goes into being able to play on the road. Road focus, going to someone else’s house. I think great experience comes with that but we did not play well the last time on the road so it is a great challenge to us. Like I said, we had 25 individuals making the trip for the first time. We’ll have about 29 making the trip for the first time to Oxford. There is so much more discipline and everything goes to playing on the road and it is going to be a great test for us.”

On the maturation of freshman kicker Tony Miliano and junior punter Pat O’Donnell:
“If you look at the course of the season, Tony has actually been very consistent for us. And that is the biggest thing. If you look back at our comments in August, it’s being very consistent at the kicking positions, whether it be the punter or the kicker. Tony has been very consistent. Where we need to take big steps is our kickoff team – ball placement, hang time. Usually on a kickoff, you have about 6.2 seconds to get down there and cover. Time is of the essence and it helps by having hang time and kick placement. Tony has been very consistent to date and Pat has to get better with his kick placements on punts. But make no mistake about it – that punt that he had last Thursday night really set the tone. It changed the momentum. It changed field position and in the kicking game so much is hidden yardage and field position.”

On the tempo of the offense and the substitution of players:
“It’s performance in practice. We talk about competing on a day-to-day basis in our football program. Everyone has to earn their spot. It will open competition between (freshman offensive lineman) Eric Lefeld and (sophomore offensive lineman) Andre Cureton this week and whoever has the better practice will start and our players understand that. I am excited about Eric Lefeld, I think he has done a great job. I am very excited about the future. He is an individual that made the transition from defensive line to offensive line. I think he has a chance to be a special player. We will just continue, whoever who competes and practices the hardest, and it is all about production in practice, will start Saturday.”

On defensive schemes that lead to sacks:
“It is just a byproduct of winning your one-on-one matchups. Across the board, in max protection you’re going to get gap schemes, but usually across the board in protection there is always one or two individuals that have one-on-one matchups. It comes down to the individual winning the one-on-one matchup. In the last couple of weeks we have been able to do that. When you look at the sacks, we break sacks down into opportunity sacks, wins, and second and third effort sacks. There has been a number of times where we had second or third effort sacks or maybe the right defensive end does a great job of keeping his points on the quarterback and pressures him and forces him to push the pocket. You have the left defensive end who makes a second or third effort, and because the right end did his job, he gets the sack because he is running to the football. There is so much that goes into sacks. Our defensive line has done a great job and I think also we have been able to apply pressure from the perimeter. From the second levels of our defense, they might be able to get home, but they are eating up one or two blockers to be able to force the one-on-one matchups. When you say the lessons learned in the Tennessee game, that’s when I get back to doing your job. Every assignment has a job description that each individual has to do and he has to carry out that job description on each and every play.”

On the impact of a win against a BCS team:
“Well you just said it, hard work – when you put all the effort and hard work into preparing for a game. Winning as we know it is very, very hard. And like we talked about, half the teams in our industry lose each week. We live and die on game days. We talked about being a tough, physical football team, and we have really stressed that. All the things that we stress in our program, you start to see coming out – team chemistry. The way we do different things. I thought that was a great illustration, when we do the things we stress, we can be a pretty good football team. But as we know, each week is a new season. That win meant everything because it was win number three and we know we are going to be greatly challenged Saturday. You learn good and bad and you move it on and put it to rest. All our focus is on Miami (OH) right now.”

On playing a 1-1 non-BCS conference team:
“This is the 116th game of a great rivalry. This game means a lot to people at both institutions. It has been embedded in our fabric. It is the oldest non-conference rivalry in the country which is something to be proud of. I can only control what I can control and our players can only control what we can control and that it is getting ready to play our best football game Saturday.”

On the positives of a rivalry game:
“When you’re 4-8, every game should be a motivating factor. We have a lot of individuals who have a lot of pride. Our coaching staff has a lot of pride. So I think the motivation is in and of itself. Does it help because you’re playing in a rivalry game? Yes, but every game counts. That is what separates college football from every other sport. We don’t have a tournament. Every game is a championship and every game means something. Everyone is racing to get to six wins to be bowl eligible, then you get to seven and eight and nine and 10 then trying to get to a BCS level. You can never be ahead of the game. All of your ultimate focus is at the task at hand which is one game at a time and people don’t want to hear it and say it’s coach speak, but I am truthful. Our team needs to stay focused on the task at hand. We are not good enough to look down the road. We still have a lot of holes in our program but you can overcome that by having great chemistry, by playing with great physical and mental toughness and executing. Our players are doing that and doing a great job right now but like I said we are going to be challenged again Saturday.”

On the outlook of BIG EAST Conference this season:
“I think our conference is very competitive this year and I think it might be the most competitive that it has been in a number of years. And that is a great thing about the BIG EAST Conference in that anyone and everyone has a chance to be the BIG EAST Conference champion. Every team has an edge to themselves in one way, shape, or form. Special teams, whether it is on offense, on defense, a dynamic player. It is usually the team that stays focused at the task at hand, be able to withstand adversity, and who can remain the healthiest is usually the team that comes out in the end. We can only control what we can control and keep our head down and keep working and if we do that, we will like our body of work by the end of the year.”

On the pride the team displays for the Miami of Ohio game:
“The game is a pride. It is embedded in our fabric and at Miami as well. When you have a trophy, that is very symbolic of a lot of things. It is placing that date on the white side or the black side. There is a lot that goes into it. There is a lot of pride, a lot of hard work that is usually associated with rivalry games. At UC, it is a great challenge because we have three rivalry games. I don’t think there is another school in the country that may have three rivalry games, maybe one or two, but there are not very many. That it is a challenge to your players with the mentality that it takes to play in these type of football games.”