Head Coach Butch Jones Press Conference Quotes - Nov. 22, 2011

Nov. 22, 2011

HEAD COACH Butch Jones
NOVEMBER 22, 2011

Opening Statement:

“First of all, I’m sure I will see everyone at practice but if I don’t I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, hope you have a great holiday. Obviously we are looking forward to getting back and playing football on Saturday. It’s going to be a great challenge, obviously going into the Carrier Dome and playing a very good Syracuse football team. I have a tremendous amount of respect for their football program and the job that Marrone has done. When you look at them one word comes to mind, physical. They play with a physical style of presence in everything that they do; offense, defense, and special teams. They are very explosive on offense; they can run the football. I think Nassib is doing a great job in terms of running their offense and creating big plays of play action; he is very comfortable. Then, obviously defensively, very similar to a little bit of what we saw last week. A lot of press man coverage, a lot of fire zone, a lot of pressure; it’s a pressure oriented defense. So it’s going to be a great challenge for us and we are going to have to get better in defeating man coverage then we were last week. Being able to protect the quarterback and run the ball effectively. One of the points of emphasis today was third downs; we have to do a great job at getting off the field on third down on defense. So it’s going to be a great challenge but I know we are looking forward to going there and playing as well. I will answer any questions that you have.”

On rallying the guys to get through the rest of the season:

“Well I think you are right; it’s a different team. We have great leadership, we have individuals who are extremely prideful and everyone has to do their job. Doug {Marrone} said it, I think appropriately in his press conference yesterday; you go in and loose a individual in Zach Collaros, who is not only your starting quarterback, he’s one of your leaders not only on the field but off the field, he bring an mentality and all of the sudden he’s not there and he’s not even present at the game. Then all of a sudden you bring in basically a true freshman at quarterback and anyone who just expects him to just show up and play, obviously has not played a game of football, especially at the quarterback position and seeing what he was seeing with all the different pressure looks. But I think everyone around Munchie has to step up. Again, we didn’t do a good job particularly on the offense side of the ball on Saturday, of everyone doing their job, executing their assignment, playing fundamental football and playing winning football at every position. Defensively, it’s all about field position and we did a great job at staying ahead of the sticks at first and second down and then third down. There really were two long drives that we gave up, where they had some critical third down conversions. So I just think the whole mentalities different, I think it’s a little bit different set of circumstances then last year. But you know what our players understand. Also at this time were are 7-3 and we still control our destinies at being BIG EAST Champions. You look at our program goals that we have in our program and just about every goal is obtainable still. So, I think it’s a completely different set of circumstances but like I said I like our players, I like our team, and I like our leadership; they hurt. You know that’s the thing, they have invested so much into this season starting in January. They understand, it’s going to be a great challenge going into the Carrier Dome and I think we all remember last year; Syracuse came in here and they physically dominated us in all three aspects of the game. So, I’m excited to see how far our strength and conditioning program has come, our mentality. It’s going to be challenging, they are fighting for a lot too. But I don’t worry about that, like I said we have great character in our program.”



On how disappointed he was on the offense not helping Munchie as much:

“Well, I think the game was very challenging and I think you have to give you opponent a little bit of credit and Rutgers did a great job; they were able to apply pressure, they were play man to man coverage. We have to be able to win on the edges of our offense, you know that’s what the spread offense is based on; winning your one on one matches. I think we did some things that were uncharacteristic, we had five dropped passes. We haven’t had that in a game to date and then we go have five in critical situations. We pride ourselves on being a balanced offense and everything in today’s football and any age of football, whether it’s now or twenty years ago, everything is about winning first down. First down is the only mystery down in football and you try to be balanced. That is what we have been all year and I believe we were 2out of 17 on efficiency on first down and what that means is our goal as an offense is to get four yards on first down. If we throw the ball, we want four yards. If we run the ball, we want four yards and we were 2 for 17. What that does is it puts you behind the chains and then when you are playing a pressure package defense like Rutgers, you know now you are a little bit behind and out of the five drops, three occurred on first and ten. So I think its understanding why it happened and again the formula to winning football games. Again, defensively we have to answer to sudden change, unfortunately we turned the football over on the second play of the game and we need to hold them to a field goal and we don’t do that. So again it’s all the little things that go into winning football. They all want too, we just didn’t execute.”

On being the same team without Collaros:

“What I meant when we’re still the same team, we still have the same mentality, we still have the same work ethic and we still have the same leadership. Obviously you are exactly right, it changes a little bit obviously with Zach out, but Zach is out; we can’t get him back.  You know it’s moving upward and onward and that’s the only way we can and the only thing we can focus on is the task at hand. Like I always say, praise and blame, it’s all the same. You know, the same people that praise you when your 7-1 are they’re the same individuals who blame you when your 7-3, it’s all the same. That’s why you take everything in stride and you have a level of consistency in everything that you do each and every day. We still have the same goals, same aspirations and the same leadership. Obviously, yeah Zach changes a little bit but you know what we are going to have Munchie ready to go and I think you are going to see a much improved offensive performance then you saw last week. We are going through some growing pains like everyone has to go through. Unfortunately, it’s this late in the season with a lot at stake but we are going through some growing pains that most programs go through when you lose you starting quarterback. But I have tremendous confidence in Munchie as do our players. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in Jordan Luallen and Brendon Kay; we have that so we just need others to step up and make the catches and win the battle at the line of scrimmage. I thought for the most part our special teams were a positive. Rutgers was very talented on special teams and I thought we answered the call a little bit. Even our kickoff return, you go back and look and that’s what makes it a great team sport  is if one individual does his job and we have a touchdown on kickoff return and the guy slides off and makes a tackle. Those are the little things, you talk about beating man to man coverage, you know we have some crossing routes called and we have receivers in the wide open field and they go down on an ankle tackle. You know we have another play where they are on man coverage and all we have to do is run off on the perimeter and Isaiah scores a touchdown and we don’t for some reason and we block and he makes a tackle. Those are the little things that we can’t make those mistakes against any team particularly a really good football team and win. Our players understand that and we will be at hard work at it today and we’ll get those mistakes corrected. But those are the little things we can’t beat ourselves. I thought for the first time all year we beat ourselves in a number of areas, a lot of them were self inflicted wounds from you know unfortunate personal foul penalties on 1st and 17. It’s just a byproduct of trying to play hard. Unfortunately it happened, it wasn’t malicious or anything of that nature just an individual trying to play hard and unfortunately it happens. So you know from the penalties to the first down efficiency to the third downs to playing with just an overall physicality to ourselves and we have two games and a third with the bowl game. This week is going to be critical to our preparation. You look at a team that has had an off week to prepare for us and their also on thanksgiving break, so all they are thinking about is Cincinnati. They don’t have any distractions of going to class and the day to day, the students are gone, so our preparation has to be to fold.”

On Isaiah Pead’s game last week and adjustments for this week:

“Well, I think Isaiah’s performance was a combination of a lot of things. First and foremost, we didn’t win the battle upfront at the line of scrimmage. I’ve said it, it’s a line of scrimmage game and we have to do a great job upfront and hats off to them. But the little things, we run an outside run play and if we run off on the perimeter in turns into a 72 yard touchdown run. All of a sudden that changes the complexion of the game that changes your ability to run the football effectively. We didn’t have any big plays, big plays are critical, big chunk plays, big splash plays, whatever you want to call them because the game of football is so much about momentum and we didn’t have any big momentum plays. What I think happens is your players start to go back all of the sudden to getting four yards first and they forget that and try to get the homerun, so now all of the sudden the play may be blocked you know exactly the way it needs to be blocked and Isaiah wants to get a homerun and he may bounce the ball out to the perimeter when it is supposed to be hit up the A gaps. So I think it was a combination of both and individuals maybe trying a little bit too hard to make the big plays, but I just think it was a combination of a lot of little things and as we know  the little things add up to big things.”

On what Munchie did well during the game:

“I think there were about two series in the game where he really got into a rhythm of throwing the ball. You know the back shoulder throw to Kenbrell {Tompkins} was a perfectly placed ball, executed exceptionally well. You could see him growing accustomed, but again we didn’t have any big plays to spark us and it’s really hard. We have to play perfect football when you don’t have big plays and that’s hard to do. We need to generate big plays on Saturday.”

On Munchies reaction to Saturday:

“Oh obviously he was very disappointed. He has high expectations for our football team, our offense and for himself. Just like I expected he was in here on Sunday, you know not only meet with Coach Jake, but myself, you know going throw it and getting through the thought process. He is kind of slipping through a fire hose right now; we are trying to get as much into him. You can prepare in practice and get the same amount of reps but the game speed reputations. Let’s not forget now, he was going against the no. 1 defense in the BIG EAST conference and they are number one for a reason. The same defense and very similar will be Syracuse that has a little bit of the same philosophy. Scott Shafer does a great job, I have known him forever. So I know, how do you attack a young quarterback, you go after him and he understands that and we will try to simulate that in practice this week.”

On what Munchie has to do this week to maintain a starter:

“It will be opened up. I just want to see a level of consistency, day in and day out coming to work and performing at a high level, a championship level and that’s the thing, it doesn’t matter who our quarterback, it doesn’t matter who our tackle is, who our running back, who our wide receiver is. The standard in this football program is it’s a group identity and we are playing to a standard which is a championship caliber play that we expect no matter if the first string guy is in, second or third, it’s an expectation that we have here. So I think just an overall level of consistency and then so much is about quarterback intangibles. You know being a great leader, showing great leadership, great poise, great confidence and rallying the troops a little bit. That very difficult for a very young quarterback, but also I have seen it so I expect that from our quarterbacks as well.”

On whether or not Munchie knows about the open competition for quarterback:

“No, everything we do in this program is base on communication. We say we are family and the greatest of families communicate and we can’t let communications be a barrier. So, no they always understand where they are at and where they need to go to get better and how they need to improve and what we are thinking because we are all in it together. It’s all constructive criticism and that’s what coaching is. Coaching is creating change and that’s what makes coaching challenging, you are dealing with 18-22 year old individuals. Again he is a competitive young man and the great thing is he holds himself to accountable to a very high standard and he understands what he needs to do and that’s the great thing. As do all of our players.”