Head Coach Butch Jones Press Luncheon Quotes - 11/8/11

Nov. 8, 2011

Head Coach Butch Jones
Tuesday Press Luncheon
November 8, 2011

Opening Statement

“Good afternoon. Just a brief recap on the Pittsburgh game and then onto a great challenge with an extremely talented West Virginia football team coming here to Cincinnati. I thought our Pittsburgh game was a very hard fought football game; two teams passionately going after it and we found a way to win the football game. I thought we made the plays that we needed to at the end of the game. I thought this was a game where special teams played a major role in the outcome of the game. When you look at our kicker Tony Miliano, to be able to go into Heinz Field with the wind factor and kicking off of grass and going four for four; I thought was a big factor in the game; but also Pat O’Donnell on the ability to continuously flip field position throughout the course of the game.  I thought the second half we were able to disrupt the quarterback a little bit and obviously gain some great momentum with forcing two turnovers both by Walter Stewart. We thought Walter Stewart probably played his best game as a Bearcat and he had a hand in both turnovers. Great play where he stripped the ball from Tino  Sunseri and then recovered it and then deflection of the pass that Cam Cheatham was in the right place at the right time and was able to bring in the interception. I thought it was a great team win but you know all of a sudden we move on to West Virginia and it’s really going to come down to fundamental execution. An extremely talented football team, this team possesses some of the most premier players in the BIG EAST Conference coming in, so it’s going to be a team game. We have to play well in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams and we have to pay attention to the small details. The details are going to be at a premium come Saturday. Also, we are looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great challenge, it’s great to get home in Cincinnati and be able to play. Our players are looking forward to it but it’s going to start obviously with a great week of preparation.”



On the Pittsburgh’s overturned fumble not being ruled intentional grounding:

“Absolutely, that’s what we thought or anticipated was going to happen. There were a couple of scenarios, would the play be upheld and it was a turnover, or if it was an incomplete pass, would it be intentional grounding. Instant replay, when it goes to replay, it cannot create a penalty. So really the standard should have been two things, if the play is upheld and it’s a turnover, we get the ball. If the play is overturned then before it goes to replay it is stated that if it is an incomplete pass then it is intentional grounding. That procedure never occurred, so it’s just an incomplete pass.”

On Cincinnati fans being excited for this game:

“Well, I think they should be very excited and I’ve said this from August, they should be very excited about this football team, by the way we have conducted and managed our business on a day to day basis, from in the classroom, to on the field, to representing this great city. So I think everyone should be excited. We know the more you win, the more that is at stake, we talked about that last week. You know, it’s again having great pride for your hometown institution and to be ranked in the top 25. Again, I’m going to go back, we can’t get ahead of ourselves, there are still four games to go and we have gotten to this point because we have focused on the task at hand, and that’s the next game. You know it’s a one game season and every game is for a championship, week in and week out. Obviously, West Virginia, with a great football team coming into town that possesses so many challenges for you and we are going to need a home field advantage this Saturday at Paul Brown.”

On getting over nervousness with playing Miliano at kicker:

“Well, you are never nervous. You may be a little uneasy but that’s why you practice. Tony has been very, very consistent since the time we hit training camp and Camp Higher Ground but it’s just a consistency. You know, in the back of your mind obviously that’s a lot of pressure on a redshirt freshman and I will tell you what, he has handled it extremely well and we are going to need him down the stretch. We try to create game-like situations throughout the week of practice and I believe it’s amazing. He had the right hash kick, and we probably made him kick in Wednesday’s practice eight times in a row because we always want him to end with two in a row. It’s just trying to create the blood pressure going up as much game time situations as you can and like I said I can’t say enough about him coming through for us in the clutch last Saturday night.”

On Miliano missing kicks preparing for the game:

“We were on him pretty good but I’ll tell you what, he has shown great poise, very, very resilient, and we are very excited that we are going to have him for a number of years in this program. Also exciting is you look at the value of a hometown player staying at home. You look at all the signs, I think it’s ‘Miliano’s Army,’ or something like that that comes now. It’s just the ability for our fans and the Elder fans and the people of Cincinnati to see a person from our hometown helping us to hopefully win a championship I think is really, really important and I think it says a lot.”

On ever considering to not use a kicker in a game based on his performance in that week’s practice:

“Well, I think it is every position in our football program, it’s based on competition. That is why we have a number of other kickers in our program, is to be able to compete on a daily basis and we have that luxury right now. They know they have to perform and you are only as good as your last performance. But, Miliano has provided some stability but again he has been consistent in game time. You take away that one day of practice, he has been extremely consistent all season.”

On thought of ever using kicker Shane Popham:

“No, but I will tell you what, we are very fortunate to have Shane Popham. He is an individual who has come in and has done a great job in being welcomed to this football team and I would have zero reservation to put him in a game. And I think it is great to have the luxury of having a young man who has kicked in the ACC and has made some big kicks in the past. It is great to have the luxury of both kickers.”

On situations the kicker is put in during practice:

“You try to be creative, whether it is conditioning at the end or gathering the whole team around them. But as much for the kicker, a lot of times it goes unnoticed about the snap and the hold. The snap and the hold is every bit as important as the kick. If that hold is off a little bit, the whole routine of the kick is off. From Tom DeTemple, and his diligence that he puts into the long snapping and the short snapping, and Pat O’Donnell, you know that is a true great team effort. And you know, up front as well is being able to protect. We want that ball off in about 1.2 seconds. So we are charting everything and everything so much is about a rhythm and timing as well.”

On confidence in punter Pat O’Donnell:

“We do have great confidence. He has a very strong leg and he is one of our most talented athletes on the football team. On the one when they had an overload 8X2, we actually had a fake called and we just didn’t get into the right check. He is very athletic so to have that weapon back there. He’s a game changer and he can do so many things for us so we are very fortunate to have him here and he is helping us win right now.”

On expectations for Walter Stewart to have a great game:

“I think you can, day in and day out, see the progress that he is making. Again I can’t say enough about his workman-like mentality stemming this offseason, him putting the needed weight on his frame and getting bigger and stronger and faster. He keeps working. He comes to work every day and has the level of consistency we talk about each and every day.”

On differences between Geno Smith and Zach Collaros:

“Well I think they are both extremely competitive individuals. Both Geno and Zach are very talented. Obviously, when you look at Geno, first of all you look at his stature and his physical makeup and he is an NFL quarterback. He is a great player. He is a pocket passer and he means so much and he is going to present a number of challenges. The deceiving thing about Geno, is he can weave in and out of trouble and he can also run with the football, he can be a dual-threat. So those are the things that really, really concern you but I think both young men help their teams win and are great leaders. Both are poised and they are extremely confident. Zach is going to look to run a little bit more but like I said, you look at some of their games through the course of the season, as much as Geno has made big plays with his arm, he has also made big plays with his legs as well.”

On whether Zach Collaros in an NFL quarterback:

“I think Zach will be the first to tell you is that you focus on your senior year, and the more you win, the more attention you receive. I know he has all the intangibles and now it comes down to the so-called ‘experts’ with his size and his height and there is one thing you can’t measure which is the person’s heart and his heart is very big.”

On difference in fourth quarter this year with greater defensive depth:

“Well I think you are seeing that especially in the fourth quarter, to be able to rotate players in. You look at Jordan Stepp and the progression he has made from last year to this year and the amount of quality reps. It is one thing to be able to rotate individuals in but it is all about the quality. When you replace someone, are they going to come in and give you a championship rep and you can have no drop-offs. We are still not where we need to be in the program at a number of spots but the individuals that are giving us needed snaps are really performing up to a very, very high standard. When we talk about playing up to a standard, it doesn’t matter if you are one, two, or three on the depth chart, when you come into the game you are going to play up to the standards of our football program.”

On amount of points WVU has been giving up this season:

“I think each game is different. College football, and even the NFL, is a game about match ups and that is what it all comes down to. Some teams match up better against other teams and it is personnel base and all of that. All I know is what I see on film which is a typical West Virginia defense. Big, physical, run to the football, Jeff Casteel does a great job and the other thing where they challenge you is the great schemes. It is the first time we have really faced a true odd-stack football team and the different blitz looks and the different coverages. When the odd-stack was first born, it was always single high and it was either cover three or man three. Now, they have so many different coverage variations that it’s going to challenge our wide outs, it is going to challenge our quarterbacks as well.”

On anticipating a shoot-out Saturday vs. WVU:

“We have to do whatever it takes to win. If that means score 60 points, if that means score three points. Every game is a story. Every game is different than the next. So the big thing is just understanding what you need to do and that is why it’s going to be critical that we play well on special teams and that all three phases complement each other. We don’t want to get in a shoot-out with them, whatever it takes to win a football game. Like I said, when I put the film on they are extremely, extremely talented. Dana (Holgorsen) does a great job schematically, they challenge you offensively. They do a great job of creating space and getting the ball into the hands of their play makers and making you play disciplined and making you tackle one on one. Defensively, they are going to create one on one matchups with Bruce Irvin, who is one of the premier rushers in our conference. They do a great job. This is a great football team.”

On overcoming adversity with slow starts in games:

“I think what it has shown in the last couple weeks, it has shown the character of our football team. When we talk about a thing called ‘championship character’ and our kids just play. We are playing with great confidence right now but you’re right, we can’t continually put ourselves in holes and get off to slow starts. I am going to go back to what I said last week, is that we are also playing some pretty darn good football teams. I think sometimes people think you just roll the balls out and you have success. They’re on scholarship too. Their coaches get paid and they’re good football teams so they are going to have some success. So I think we have played some very good football teams that have had a hand in that and the thing we just have to continue to do is we can’t be a team that turns the football over and for the most part we have been able to overcome our adversities. So far to this point in time, we haven’t been a team that hurt ourselves with untimely penalties and being a disciplined football team is critical and it is going to be extremely critical down the stretch here.”

On impact football success of UC and Cincinnati Bengals has on city:

“I think it is extremely healthy. I think it is great for the city of Cincinnati and we pride ourselves on being a football community. To have the Bearcats doing well and the Bengals doing well. That is the great thing, both organizations have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. Both are pulling for each other and to me that is what separates our city and makes our city unique, that makes our city special, and our fans can’t take that for granted. I know Marvin (Lewis) has put a lot of hard work into what is going on over there just like our players and coaches have here and you can never take winning for granted. I think also it is a great source of pride, it puts us on the map football wise so I think it is extremely healthy and you won’t find a bigger Bengals fan than me standing here. I’m very excited about the job Marvin is doing and will continue to do and they’re a young football team and the same thing here. So I think it is very exciting for the entire city.”

On parallels for preseason expectations for both UC and the Bengals:

“I think Marvin touched on it a couple weeks ago, we need to be positive around here. There are a lot of great things going on and sometimes we just think people just want to hear negative things. There is a lot of hard work that has gone into these seasons and they are far from being over with. Right now, I believe at this time, we were 3-5 last year and there has been a lot of hard work. That can’t be lost in the storylines. With all the storylines of conference realignment and all of the different things I think that is put on the back burner.  Just where our football team has come from, from a leadership, and our peer intervention, everything I think has come a long way. Like I said, we live week to week, it is a one game season each and every week and that is why this game is critical but next week that game becomes the most critical and you stay humbled and you stay grounded and you put all your focus on that week. But, I think it is something everyone should take great pride in.”