Tommy Tuberville Press Conference Quotes - Nov. 19, 2013

Nov. 19, 2013

Tommy Tuberville Press Conference Quotes
Nov. 19, 2013

Opening Statement:

“Ready for our last game in November. It’s been a pretty good month for us so far. We played probably better than we’ve played all year long. We’re starting to get a few people healthy. The thing that I’ve been most impressed with our players is we’ve kept our focus. Normally this time of year, 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds start to lose their focus after the grind hits them after about three months. But this group’s done well. The seniors have been outstanding. We continue to get a little bit better all the time. And that’s because we have good practices. All of our practices have been what we’ve asked them to do. We started cutting back a little bit in terms of practices and in terms of running, that’s kind of by the wayside now. We pretty much do game planning, do a little bit of technique work, and try to get them focused as much as we possibly can as much as they week goes on. It kind of showed up last week against Rutgers we came out of the shoot on the road and that’s about as good as you can play on the first quarter. I haven’t been around that many teams that way that just built confidences. Every play was we made something happen, whether it’s on offense, defense or kicking gain. We caught them by surprise a little bit of how physical we were. It was a very physical first half and I thought that carried over from the practices we had during the week and guys having fun. As a coach, you need to make it fun this time of year. You want them to enjoy the practices and enjoy the games and have a little fun, have a little kidding aside. We did that deal last week with all the coaches running, just to kind of break the monotony. I think that all carried into that game last week and Rutgers. Not that we did a great job in terms of coaching but I thought our players were more relaxed and having fun.



“Now this week – same scenario, we’re going to play probably one of the better teams that we’ll play, a very athletic team. Houston’s a team that when you watch them on film, you can tell that they get most of their players right there from the city, because I’ve recruited Houston many many years and they’ve got a lot of speed and quickness. The University of Houston’s football team this year is a photo of what football’s like there in that city. A lot of quickness, speed, fast. Tony Levine coached with me back in the early 2000s, and he’s a guy that’s persevered and worked his way up in coaching. He will do a great job there. They will be a top 25 team every year for years to come. The way he’s putting this thing together and recruiting – He’s going to be a team that we’re going to have to get ready and prepare for every year, and it starts this year. It’s a team that we’ll have to adjust to a little bit with their athletic ability, in terms of what we do and what we saw last week. A lot like SMU – they throw the ball a lot, they run the ball a little bit more than what SMU did. The defense coordinator worked with me at Auburn about 8 or 9 years ago. David Gibbs, he went to the NFL after that and hung around the NFL up until last year. Tony hired him. He had been living in Houston and coaching the Texans. David and I go way back. He’s a good football coach and he’s been the best addition to that team. They’re much better defensively, they’re sound. He understands what he wants to do. He did a great job for me at Auburn and I understand what we’re getting into. He’ll throw some wrinkles in there that will give us some problems. The biggest thing about this game is going into it the adjustments that both teams will make as we go through. There will be points scored, there will be a lot of action in the game, a lot of speed on both sides. Our teams mirror each other’s philosophies. I’ve only been here one year and Tony’s been there two years .We have the same philosophy of how we want to build a football team. It’s going to be important that we play well on both sides of the ball. We’re going to have to play good field position. We’re playing on grass for the second time this year, the only other time that we’ll play on grass. It all goes back to preparation during the week. Our guys are really into it. After you win a game like that, you want to get back on the field so we’re looking forward to getting back to really our first practice today and putting a game plan in for three days. It’ll be a little unusual, we have a sixth-year quarterback for us that’s playing that’s going up against a first-year quarterback at Houston. He doesn’t look like a first-year quarterback. He gets the ball out of his hands quick and he knows what he wants to do. He (John O’Korn) comes from a very good high school program, St. Thomas Aquinas down in Florida. He was Mark Barr’s quarterback last year, receiver on our team that was in a bad wreck. I know a little bit about him, I’ve watched him and I’m a little bit surprised that he made this quick of a rise, but I didn’t know what Houston had for a quarterback. They decided to go with him after the first or second game and it’s really paid off for them. It’ll be our biggest test to this point. They’re very good and very sound on both sides of the ball. There’s not a lot of areas that they make a lot of mistakes every week. We’ll have to play our best game to have an opportunity to win.”

On not holding back on the trick plays:

“We were on a roll. When you’re on a roll, you just keep going. But you know, I told our guys last week, we are going up to win the game, we are going have fun, we are going to come out of the shoot, and we are going to play hard. When we ran all of those that was in the first quarter and the first half, that game wasn’t over, we might have had a lead 21, or 28 points, but I have seen teams come back and win from being that far behind. We were not going to take any chances, if we had an opportunity; we were going to go for the big play. The offense did a nice job, the defense did a nice job of getting the ball back, and remember now, they scored on a 3rd and 12 with a perfect pass from their quarterback and we couldn’t have asked anything more from our cornerback on that play. So that had to be a perfect play for them to score a touchdown in the first half and so other than that, we played almost perfect to that point, other than the fumble. Even that was after a 25 yard gain, and the defensive back did a nice job of stripping the ball out. But we go out and play, and as long as we have excitement on the sidelines, and we’re having fun, we’ll keep doing those things. I always go into the games with a couple of things that we can possibly try, but you have to execute them and our guys did an excellent job of executing. These aren’t things we just thought about running, we’ve been practicing them all year long, and this was just the perfect time and the perfect situation.”

On the fake punt:

“We saw something on film that their guy would leave his feet to try and block the punt. You know, I’ve had that run against me before, I learn from other people too. A good friend of mine ran it against me at Texas Tech and their punter is still running. I have built a list of things I’ve seen other people do, and we are nothing but thieves, coaches are thieves, when you see something that looks good and that works, you write it down. I will also have the other coaches write it down, and I have our punters and kickers go to camps all over the country and ask these other guys what their best fake is, and write it down. Those guys don’t own that play, we can run it, and so it helps your team. You know, you’re not going to do them all the time, it has to be the right situation and the right time of the game, or the right part of the field, or maybe the right hash mark. A lot of times I would like to do something, but we are on the wrong hash mark, and you can’t do it. There is a lot of luck that goes into it and a lot of concentration by the players. The onside kick for instance, if he didn’t kick that exactly right; I mean it’s like chipping the ball in off the green, and he hit that ball exactly where he needed to hit it. We practiced it every day for the last three months, probably five or six times, and every practice he practices it and not very many times has he kicked it in that place. But, when he had to, he got it done, and that’s what makes it fun, when you see something happen that you have worked on for the kid. Max Morrison just caught it, it wasn’t much for him, but for Tony to line up and kick that thing and execute it, it just goes back to his concentration and practice.”

On knowing the guys better and being more confident in pulling the trick plays off:

“It has taken us a while, and we have a lot of things that we will carry over into next year that a lot of guys have been working on in practice, and if we don’t run it, we’ll just carry it over into the next year, a bowl game maybe, or just next year. I’m not going to run it, unless we practice it quite a bit, and so you can’t practice everything, so I pick out things that I think our guys can run and then it has to work against the teams that we are playing and the things that they are doing. So there is a little bit of combination that goes into all of it. I learned a lot of things from Jimmie Johnson when I was at Miami. I was a special teams coach and we had them in all the time, and we really didn’t need to run them but he ran a lot and I would ask him why, and he said “momentum.” You need to change momentum somehow. You can change the momentum with a big play that’s a little different. This can go the wrong way too; it can really back fire on you. But you have to remember that this is a game and you don’t want to be consistent in everything you do; you want to be a little bit odd. You can’t let people get a beat on you all the time.”

On how many coaches would think the same way as him:

“Not very many, probably, because you get set in what you are doing. I don’t call the offensive and defensive plays, so when I call a trick play, I become part of it, I get fired up. I recognize a lot of times, especially for the special teams that they don’t get a lot of recognition. It’s kind of, do your job, do what you’re supposed to, and nobody really recognizes you. So I think that this really stands out with a lot of kids, giving them the opportunity to make a play or make a difference. Or even if it doesn’t work, hey, this idiot’s trying to win the game. We might have to concentrate a little more, or play a little harder. But for instance, if we are kicking an onside kick, I always tell Art; get ready for a sudden change, because it’s like losing a fumble if you don’t get it because they get the ball at the 40-45 yard line and so they’re prepared for what they’re going to call. Players know too now, they know what we are doing, and it’s just one of those things where you want to involve everyone in terms of whether or not it’s going to work. The last two onside kicks that we have got, my biggest thrill is not that it has worked, but the feeling of the players on the sideline because they are just ecstatic. It’s a good motivational tool.”

On being able to win so many different ways:

“You want to be able to win games in a lot of different ways, you want to be a complete team, and you want to be able to win a game on defense. There is no doubt in my mind that we won the game on defense in the SMU game, I know that they scored some points but they could have scored a lot more. We made them punt the ball on a few occasions, which no one else has been able to do, and we didn’t get any turnovers. So everybody has to feel their need, and it has to feel like a team and everybody pulls their weight, and the first thing I do in this room on Sunday is congratulate everyone on winning and I tell everyone to give the scout team a hand because they don’t get to dress, they don’t get to travel but what they do, playing a week as the other team’s offense or defense, it is invaluable. If you don’t get a good look during the week and you line up on Saturday, and you get a good look of the speed of the game from the other team, you can get so far behind so quickly it will make your head spin. So the scout team is important. That’s why I make a scout team defense and offense player of the week.”

On how far the passing game has come:

“I can remember our first scrimmage in the bubble, in the spring. It didn’t matter what we played, zone or man, we couldn’t complete a pass. It was rough. We are just putting an offense in and I can remember against Miami (OH) we are wondering what in the world we were going to do. We almost didn’t score a touchdown against a team that we probably should have beat by 30-40 points. It just takes time, we were kind of torn between two quarterbacks at the beginning of the season, and we had different offenses for both. Practice time for one offense is very important in college football because of the time limitations. I would still love to have Munchie (Legaux), but I don’t think there is any doubt, focusing on one thing has helped us. The first two games that Brendon played in, we didn’t help him as coaches. We finally found the key to spreading it out and going a little bit faster in the fourth quarter of the South Florida game, and after that, it has been all downhill. We have been on a run and scoring touchdowns and catching balls. It is fun to stand on the sidelines and watch our offense work. He finds the open receiver and we catch the ball, it’s very seldom that we drop a ball. We have to be leading the conference in sacks; I mean we have given up only 8 or 9 all year. That is unheard of with how many times we throw the ball. Everybody is playing a roll, but when we need to run, and we are not as good at running the football as I’d like, but when we have needed to run the ball, it has helped. We have been running back by committee and then you throw in the ace in the hole, which has been Luallen.  Our offense the past two months, it has been unimaginable how much better we have gotten, just because all of the pieces are working.”

On McKay as a deep threat:

“He just astounds me, he doesn’t look like he is going fast but he runs right by defensive backs. He is so long-legged, and he doesn’t drop very many. I remember his first pass he caught against Miami (OH), one-handed across the middle, the ball went behind him and he reached out and caught it, and he has done that several times. It’s really taken the pressure off the inside receivers, because he is such a threat that now people are starting to have to put safeties over the top of him, and that makes them go one-on-one with your little guys inside who continue to catch many, many passes. Everybody has to play their role, Chris Moore has played his role, Max Morrison has made some big catches.”

On how scheduling the Miami Hurricanes came about:

“That’s what I ask my athletic director. I think it’s a great series, it is very difficult, I didn’t have anything to do with it, but it is very difficult to get anybody to play us here. These so-called “big time teams” they tuck their head and run when you call them. They’ll play us at their place, but they don’t want to come here. We talked about it, and we want to play good football teams but we’re not just going to go on the road. Miami said they would, so we will go there next year, and they will come here the year after that. I want to thank them for doing that because they didn’t have to do that, and it will be tough for us down there next year and it will be tough for them when they come here, but that’s college football. We are excited about that, we are excited about the stadium expansion, and this team is going to get better and better. It’s going to be fun to watch, and the scheduling is going to get tougher because that means that your football team is winning. Just look at the games this team has won here in the last six or seven years. It’s pretty easy as another team to look and say “nah, we don’t want to go do that.” I think it is going to be good for the city of Cincinnati, and the University, and our athletic program to have teams like Miami come in here. Because I came in here twice, the first time I came here, we were the number one team in the country, Vinny Testaverde was the quarterback, we won by a fairly good number but we had to fight hard and the stadium was loud and energetic, and with this expansion, it is going to be even better.”