Oct. 30, 2012
Press Conference Video
Butch Jones Press Conference 10/30/12
"Just a brief recap on last week's game and the great challenge we had in front of us with the explosive talented momentum Louisville football game. It was a hard fought football game; very disappointing but I was very proud of our players and everyone should see the amount of effort that went into that football game. It was a game filled with numerous momentum swings, both good and bad, but to go through a momentum swing when we went down the road, about a minute to go, score and put in the overtime. Obviously we had to finish and we didn't finish this football game. We always talk to our kids about energy and there are two different kinds of energies; mental energy and physical energy and I thought our kids did both but as our head coach, I sit back and why and try and come up with a reason why we lost; it's the small details, fundamentals. Winning at this elite level is extremely hard and it's important going back, getting back to the basics and fine details. A safety or corner will be in their back petal and a break and drive and they step outside the framework of their body and it's taking care of the football. Our quarterback has to be a game manager who has to manage situations. Everyone always wants a point to the quarterback but the people who really understand what goes into playing quarterback has had to have played that position and known the quick decisions that come along with that position. The quick decisions and processing information immediately and then executing that quick decision are something that we are continuing to work on and progress as the season progresses. What it really comes down to is the small details and if someone would have told me that we'd have the ball at the plus 40 with a little less than 4 minutes to go at the game tie, we'd take it and feel very confident that we would win the football game but we didn't and ultimately we have to learn from those mistakes and experiences and move on.
"That is what we have done, moved on to Syracuse; they are team with great momentum. I said it at Big East media day and I'll say it again and I'll stand behind my words; I think they are one of the best teams in the Big East conference. They have great synergy about themselves, they play are playing great as a football team. Looking back at their game in South Florida last week, being down 23-3, coming back, and basically winning on the final play. They had a big punt block so their special teams are number one in the kick off cover. The identity of a football team in based on special teams and they are extremely physical and remind me of a football team who came in here two years ago, a veteran group who play a lot, senior oriented from the senior position playmakers but just looking at their defense, it all starts with Shamarko Thomas #21, he's a great football player; an NFL caliber football player, very physical and downhill football player. I've known Scott Schaeffer for a very long time and have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a defensive coordinator. They are going to be a safety oriented, blitz oriented football team and we are going to have to make plays. Football comes down to winning one-on-one matchups. I was not particularly pleased with the play of our defensive line last week. We didn't not win the one-on-one match ups that we needed to on the perimeter of our defensive in terms of pass rush and impacting and disrupting the quarterback. We are going to be challenged this week. Offensively, they've switched a little bit to an up-tempo but it's still the same style Syracuse offense, physical, downhill team; but they are throwing the ball more and we have our hands full to say the least but I know our players are looking forward to getting back at work. Everyone says, "How will your team respond?" Well if you're built right from the inside out, they will respond. Three years ago we weren't built right; no leadership, first year entitlement, but this year we are built right. That doesn't mean anything unless we go out there and prove it by playing one of the best teams in the Big East conference and this week is going to be a great challenge."
On Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib:
"Ryan Nassib is uncanny in terms of being as instinctual as Teddy was and has the ability to make plays with his legs, as he's done but he's a pocket passer; extremely accurate and they don't give up sacks and very few sacks is a byproduct of the throw game. They want to push the ball vertically down the field but again, as a senior should, he knows where he is going with the football and has a great, very quick release. It is going to be a challenge for us to really impact him and apply pressure on a considerably consistent basis."
On tackles and LB Greg Blair:
"I have been very encouraged by the play of Greg Blair. He is an individual that, as a coach, I saw him out putting all the work and effort into it and we needed to do it because we obviously there's no seeker right now, there's a void in our program with that position in terms of depth and overall talent and he has really stepped up and has done tremendous job. Week in and week out he continues to gain great confidence. He and Maalik Bomar are working well together almost like peanut butter and jelly. As your Mike and Will have to go hand in hand, they have to be great friends and know what each other is thinking and they are playing off of each other well. I am encouraged by what I see and even more excited knowing that we are going to have him back for another year now, which is going to definitely help out our defense. He is playing sideline to sideline, playing downhill and I am just very encouraged by what I see."
On Ralph David Abernathy IV:
"We will continue to see his role increase but also it's a long season and it's a durability issue; quite frankly, his size. We are going to be seeing more of him this week and we've challenged him this week in pass protection. He will be seen more as an every down running back this week in terms of pass protection. We have done a great job of being able to play to his talents, get him the ball, create space for him and we are going to challenge him this week to be more of a running back, not just a runner and specialty player. I know he wants that challenge and is extremely competitive and glad he is on our football team. He has been a model of consistency not only on the field but off the field as well. We get into a game and every game is a game within itself, every play is a new story and every game as a new chapter in the book; how it plays out and unfolds so we expect a lot of man to man coverage, a lot of pressure looks so that is why the pass protection becomes critical. You'll see him more on the field along with George Winn as well."
On Winn & Abernathy splitting time, and playing same time
"You'll see both of them but also you'll see Ralph Abernathy, we are going to move him out on the perimeter of our offense, so you'll see him lined up at our X or Z position and that is the great thing when we talk about the intangibles of a great football player is knowledge is power. He knows our entire offense and knows every single position spot, he even knows the tight end position, knows everything from the running back position so we have the luxury now of being able to really move him around from our X position to our Z position to the running back position. He will be seen more in that regard but he'll split carries with George Winn. Over a course of time it has been, RDA has put in his due diligence of putting in the extra time of getting in here and studying; one of the first ones in the office and last one to leave and always has a smile on his face. His dad has turned into a great football coach so I get the numerous text messages from Mr. Abernathy. Jokingly I told him his dad has a lot of titles before his name; Mr., Reverend, Dr and now coach so we have to keep him happy in Atlanta."
On Abernathy complimenting Winn:
"They complement each other in that they have different type running styles. Winn is a north and south, get your shoulders square which RDA can do but RDA is more of a make you miss, front line/straight speed, maybe a little more elusive. What we have come to see is that Winn has a deceptive speed who can finish the runs but I think Winn's body can take the overall pounding in a football game where it's a durability issue and that is what people don't understand is when we play a long season, we only have so many hits in you and those reps take their toll from not only game reps but practice repetitions as well."
On Abernathy taking hits:
"RDA has stayed relatively very healthy and it is because of his running style. Everyone talks about a small running back or a short running back and he is a short running back. He is very strong and has a great body makeup, body composition and has worked extremely hard and can lower his pads and lower his center of gravity so he doesn't take a lot of unnecessary shots and that is what has helped him and given us the confidence to increase his work load as well."
On if Abernathy can be a feature back next year:
"Yes, because of his ability to take care if his body, he is going to have another year in the strength and conditioning room and that is what a lot of people don't realize is unfortunately when we are forced to play true freshman, they don't go through that year of strength and maturation process in the in season strength and conditioning process. Our individuals now that we are redshirting are working out four times a week at 6 AM in the morning; basically going through an offseason strength and conditioning program whereas when a player is a true freshman, they are going through an in season program. Yes, we do challenge our players in that we expect our players to make even strides during our in season program but it's still a different thing so a lot of times when you play as a true freshman of really getting caught up in that maturation process, the weight room takes its toll; but another year in the weight room he will be able to handle that."
On Syracuse against the run:
"Their defensive front is very strong, very physical and very active. Their linebackers are extremely active and corners are talented with how they can play man coverage but when we think of a Syracuse defensive football team, a Scott Schaeffer defensive football team, its safety activated. Their safeties are downhill players; they get them in run support and get the eighth and ninth man in the box, try and out number and are great tacklers. When we look at Syracuse, they are a very good tackling football team and that really shows up in the specialty teams as well."
On Munchie running more:
"You'll see him run the football more; again it's a number of shots how do we protect the quarterback how many shots is he getting out in the game, were going to make a commitment to run him more, so you'll see him run the football a little bit more. Five games left, every game is a playoff, just try to change things up offensively, also some of the things that our opponents do run themselves to the quarterback running the football as well. No even if he hadn't we would be saying the same things, for our offense to really be effective our quarterback has to be more of a running threat at times and I think you saw that a little bit we ran him more than we have in the past last week and I think as he continues to prove he can do that and take care of the football his role will continue to expand in that regards in short run game and we always say it first when we recruit quarterbacks first and for most we want a thrower first, a runner second and being able to throw the football efficiency is a critical element in our offense."
On working with QB on decision making:
"Every snap, every rep is a teaching moment and you have to learn from your mistakes and like I told him you have to learn from your mistakes and can't repeat your mistakes twice, he has ten games as a quarterback and every new game presents something new to him, just like the overtime we practiced overtime as much as anybody in the country but again its third and long instead of throwing the ball up and trying to have Travis make a play throw the ball away let's bring Tony on lets kick a field goal an put the pressure on them. You never really know how individual are going to respond until it's for real and he is a very prideful young man, he is a very accountable young man and he understands and he has an inner drive to get better week in and week out and it's just something unfortunately you go throw, you look at rookie quarterbacks in the NFL that are making millions and millions of dollars and that learning curve they go through and it's just like a first time starter at the collegiate level and some individuals progress faster than others it's just like our own children but you just got to keep rolling your sleeves up and keep working every day."
On Munchie's comments:
"Well him and I meet all the time, he is a very emotional young man but I think those comments were blow out of proportion. So I think that people didn't read the entire context they just took that one and it was thrown up but that's part of being a quarterback, that's part of being in front of the media, that's part of that maturation process and how you handle those situations and him and I meet about that all the time, we spend a ton of time together and we will continue to do that. It is, confidence comes with relationships it comes with times of trial and like I said its how you're built on the inside and nobody knows what goes on a day to day basis, how hard our kids work the amount of effort that they put into it their performance each and every day in practice and on game day. Think about this and this is one of the greatest things that motivates me as a football coach and motivates as a football player you're judged personally and professionally on 36 hours of work and you look at all the hours that goes into preparing yourself through an entire year; a game that means your last three hours. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt, four hours, 48 hours of work is your body work and that is how you are judged and that is the profession that we live in; that is what I told Munchie, that is what you signed up for and that is part of the responsibility of being a quarterback. I believe in our players and I love our player and I think everyone saw the amount of effort that they gave Friday night and that shows what type of character we have in this football program."
On Greg Blair's Additional Year:
"We received a preliminary statement that yes, he will be granted another year of eligibility but all indication is he will be back but I don't fully believe it until I see it entirely. All of the roads lead to him coming back. It's kind of a no brainer; it's pretty much a slam dunk, just some paper work. He was injured and had a year remaining eligibility wise so he had not exhausted his year of eligibility."
Comparing Cuse/Pitt to UC/Pitt:
"No, Pitt is a very good football team, a much improved football team. Each game is different in and of itself week in and week out so I don't ever look at common opponents and how they did and how we did. Looking at Pitt, they are a team that continually is getting better and better week in and week out, a lot of seniors on that football team and so much of the game of football or any sport in momentum driven, its moral and it's amazing what winning can do but a lot of times what winning can do is hide a lot of things. When they are winning and sweep things under the rug, eventually they come back and hurt you. Always have to keep things in perspective and like I told our football team when we are sitting a few week ago at 5-0, how are most people motivated? There motivated when something negative happens. We have to continue to be a football team that are motivated when things aren't going wrong and that's life in general is never taking anything for granted, being humble and working to be the best and if we have an inner drive to be the best each and every day we are going to do that. I use common examples like Derek Wolfe, the article that just came out in the Denver paper, take a look at the adjectives that were used to describe him that is our football program. Looking at Antonio Brown, being called the best route runner in the National Football League; but four, five years ago he couldn't run a route or get out of a breaking points but he had that inner drive to be the best at everything that he does. Armon Binns; we have so many great illustrations of competitive greatness, that inner drive, and that is really what separates teams and separates players, coaches and separates everyone. The overall management of the game, decisions making process, understanding that sometimes the best football play is an incompletion. As a young QB it's hard to understand that punt is a good play, incompletion; everyone wants to look at completion percentage that's why I don't pay attention to completion percentage it's how do you manage a game you're a manager of the game, your decision making process how you take care of the football, you're the caretaker of our football program and the ball is the issue and that's what we really talk to him about and like I said it's a growth process that he is going through but we do everything in practice with it and I almost trust and believe that he will continue to get better at that he has had some setbacks but he will get better and some of the interceptions has been when hasn't set his feet or when he is tried to lob the ball instead of going back. When Munchie is at his best is when he drops back gets into a rhythm believes in his eyes believes in what he sees and attacks things, and is aggressive when he becomes passive or doesn't want to make a mistake that's when he usually makes mistakes but when you step up there and you believe in what you are doing and in attack mode that's when you will be at your best. Well I see it at practice and I see it at games but I don't see it at a consistent level yet, I think he will be the first to tell you but I think he has all the quarterback intangibles, every week he leads the meeting rooms he has a book full of notes he has functional intelligence he knows the offense he knows the purpose of the play caller we always talk about what is the intentions of the play caller if we call this play what's the play design if it's a five yard completion play or if it's a shot he understands the offense I think he has great physical skills great physical tools and I think it's an experience it's something that he is going through but also I think too much issue centered around him and I keep using the term Cinergy how do you win football games, what's our recipe of winning football games here its team football. I thought our Special teams were outstanding Friday night but when you look at the film and Ralph keeps the ball on the outside instead of getting the ball at forty its touchdown and the next kickoff return we have one individual not block his guy and it's another touchdown and we had a phenomenal day we may set the record for kickoff returns in one game but it's one out of eleven, its every guy doing his job so it starts with special teams. Then its starts with playing great defense and I don't think we played great defense Friday night, again you can't let a great quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater has six or seven seconds to throw the football you can have Deion Sanders back that there, we have to impact the quarterback and then offensively taking care of the football running the ball consistently and catching the football and running routes. A lot of times people see the incompletion but it may be a receiver not having a great breaking point not winning in transition not getting off press coverage so to the naked eye everyone wants to point to the quarterback but I think its everyone else around him playing as one unit that will make him play better as well."
On if he's thought about replacing Munchie:
"No and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brendan Kay and he is one snap away but I haven't flinched and not person on our football has flinched and I'm not going to and I believe in him and that's what are family is our family believe in each other and were sitting at 5-2 playing meaningful games in November and I want to say we only been in this spot 12 or 13 years in the history of our football program, so we have a lot to play for."
On Pressure from fans/outside world:
"I'm oblivious to the outside world. My car is on autopilot between Terrace Park and Clifton."
On Walter Stewart:
"He has had a second opinion, I know Tim's article surfaced last night that was kind of unexpected I just spoke with Walter about getting another opinion so I know he is a prideful individual and I know football means the world to him and my deal with him is I'm going to be there for him as long as he allows me to be there for him and I told him we'll be together for a long time and he can be on my coaching staff he can start the process, the maturation process of being a coach if that's what he chooses do the same path the Brandon Miles who played for me at West Virginia has taken the same path that Zach Collaros will take and I just think he is a powerful force, all of our players in their day to day struggle still go to Walter Stewart and I think that speaks volume and not to go back on Friday night but we really missed we missed his production we missed is presence but it is what it is and he is not going to be there and we have to have some individuals step up in his spot."
On how is Stewart holding up:
"Again it's how your built from within and he has a strong foundation of any individual his age I've ever been a part of he's taking it exceptional well he is realistic, he just kind of decide what he wants to do with his life if football playing is not there and obviously I'm trying to convince him to give coaching a try because I think he can impact lives on a day to day basis I think that's his passion and I think he needs to be around the game, and I think he can be an asset to our profession, when he speaks the kids listen and he has credibility behind him, I fully anticipate him doing that, if playing football is out of the ram I think you will see him on the sideline with us. You got to understand this is a young man and a family that's gone through gamete of emotions, you play an entire football game and you come in on Monday and you go through a week of testing and they say football maybe taken from you for the rest of your life and really all his life all he has known is playing football and he has worked exceptional hard, you look at the amount of weight he has put on, and the strength and conditioning. So I think it's been traumatic for everyone but the resilience the poise that he has shown, the inner drive to still push to be there for his teammates, if you ask him what his biggest regret is right now or the biggest thing he is struggling is in very Walt Stewart fashion he feels he is not there enough for his teammates and he is but that's just him and it puts everything in perspective about life and our football program we have what's called the one second rule and in one second your life can change drinking and driving making a bad choice doing something you're not suppose to or just wrong place wrong time and I think that's an illustration of that and I'm just blessed to have been able to coach him for almost three years."