Sept. 25, 2012
Jones Press Conference Video
Butch Jones Press Conference – 9/25/12
“Good afternoon. It’s great to see everyone out here today. I think I speak for everyone in our football program when I say it’s exciting to get back to game week. I think we’ve had an extremely productive work week. We had a number of goals that we set out to achieve during that work week. The first thing is to really go back and correct the deficiencies that we’ve had throughout the course of the first two games.
“As we all are very well aware of, it’s been an unusual football season in terms of scheduling. Two bye weeks already and now we start a journey of ten straight. Go back and improve our deficiencies, but also just improve on the fundamentals, the small details, the inches that we talk about. But also to create some depth and competition. As we embark on this ten game stretch with zero breaks, it’s going to be important that everyone in our football program has a role. We’re going to rely on more and more individuals, to gain some game repetition. I think this week has proved beneficial. Also to get our health back and to look forward to a challenge against a very, very tough, physical Virginia Tech football team. They present so many challenges for you.
“I think it starts with the quarterback [Logan Thomas] 6’6”, 260 pounds. They’re starting to involve him more in their run game. So that’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us, but also he can throw the football. And on the deep ball, the deep ball is going to be at a premium Saturday afternoon. We have to do a great job of rallying to the football. Our [defensive backs] have to do a great job of playing the ball in the air.
“You flip the script and go to defense. I believe they were the 9th ranked defensive line in the country starting the country starting the season. [They] were very deserving of that honor. They play with great pad level, great hands. Linebackers are very active and great corners. And then I think when you think of a Virginia Tech football team year in and year out you think of special teams. They’re going to present some challenges to us on special teams as well. So getting the week started this week is going to be critical.
“Every practice is critical but I know our players are looking forward to going and really participating on the national team. Second nationally televised game in three games. I think that’s where our program is ascending to. To have that opportunity to play in a great NFL venue as FedEx field. I know we’re looking forward to it.”
On Virginia Tech’s Sept. 15 loss to Pittsburgh:
“Well obviously we know a lot about Pittsburgh, they’re a common opponent. But, that’s what I think makes college football special. Everyone wants to look at records or how they did versus other competition. I think we’ve found out that each week is a new season. Each week, each game is a story line in and of itself. Bottom line: Pittsburgh made some plays. They made some plays with some deep balls. They did a good job of not giving up big plays, although they did give up a long punt return. But I think that’s where college football is. It’s a maturity level and a consistency level week in and week out. That’s what we have to understand. Anyone is capable of beating anyone. It was one of those days that everything went right for Pitt. Virginia Tech suffered some adversity. All I know is by film studying the Virginia Tech that we’ve come to know was back this Saturday against Bowling Green. We know that they’re a very, very talented football team to say the least. It’s going to take everything in our program to win this football game. Our players have to bring their A-game. We have to be locked in. we can’t’ make the mistakes we made in the Delaware State game. Because when you start to play the competition level that a Virginia Tech is every mistake you make is magnified. It can be catastrophic. We have to limit our mistakes from turnovers. Right now I’m doing a study; we have had one offensive penalty all year. We have to keep that up. We have to clean some things up on defense. We can’t have self-inflicted wounds. We can’t turn the football over. We have to tackle well. We have to give us an chance and an opportunity for Saturday against Virginia Tech.”
On if he’s considered the impact of Virginia Tech’s loss to Pitt:
“No. I don’t ever look at that. This is a critical game because it’s the next game and that’s not coach speak. You look around the country and the respect factor that Virginia Tech has. They competed in the ACC Championship game a year ago. They have just about everyone back on their football team. They’re as good of a football team as we’re going to face all year. It’s going to be a challenge for us. The thing is that we have to play our best on Saturday in order to win the football game.”
On what he has to prepare for on Virginia Tech’s special teams:
“Everything. First of all, talent. They’re an established program where their best special team’s player jumps between second and third string nickel/SAM. He’s a great player. We have to do a great job of everything we do on special teams. And as we know, a game comes down to usually four to six plays that really affect the outcome of the game. And they have game changers on special teams. You look at their punt return team with all of their wall returns. They’ve done it a number of years. That’s been the staple of Frank Beamer. You look their aggressiveness on their kickoff team, kickoff return. Their punt team does a great job. They run these schemes. But I think it’s the depth of their program and where they are at and the caliber of players they have involved in their special teams.”
On where Cincinnati is on special teams:
“We still have a long way to go. I’ve not been pleased with it. Again that’s been a source of emphasis, which it’s been every week, but especially this week. I think it’s just a level of consistency in all phases. We’re looking for that level of consistency. We’re looking for more players to step up. You look at George Winn. George Winn right now would be our best special teams’ player but he’s not on every special teams because of the amount of reps he’s taking on offense. We need some other individuals. They’ve been challenged all week. And I know they understand the importance and the magnitude that each and every snap of special teams brings to the outcome of the game.”
On matching Logan Thomas’ size:
“It’s a great challenge. We have to wrap up and get 11 hats to the football. I think that’s the challenge he’s a north and south runner. There are a number of clips where he’s the aggressor when he runs the football. From the lift drill on the sidelines, the way he runs in the contact zone, the contact phase of the run. He’ll lower his padding. He plays like a 260 pound player, but he’s also extremely athletic. Then you add the other dynamic of being able to throw the football. I know that they’re starting to involve him. As the season progresses, you see him becoming more and more involved in their offensive scheme week in and week out. So he possesses many challenges for us.”
On the amount of running yard Virginia Tech’s given up:
“A lot of those yards came when the game was in control in the second game of the season. To start the season out, they play a team who runs the ball 75-80 percent of their offensive downs in Georgia Tech. And, I believe, they lead the country in rush offense. I think it’s basically the opponent they’ve played and their philosophy and what they try to do to run the football.”
On Virginia Tech’s turnovers against Pitt:
“I think there were a number of things. Some were forced. Some were unforced. Football is a game of momentum. Again, Pittsburgh made some great plays with some deep balls where their receivers made a great play on the ball in the air. Tino Sunseri put the ball where only they could catch it. They made plays. I think again it comes down to plays. Again as coaches, we always say, ‘Plays don’t make players. Players make plays.’ We have to have some players step up and make some big time plays. You look for us in the Delaware State game, we didn’t really have anybody step up and make big plays. I talked about it in the last press conference: instead of a 12-yard run, we need a 22-yard run. Being able to turn a 5-yard hitch into a 15-yard gain as opposed to five yards and getting tackled. I think that’s going to be the story of our offense, the ability to create big plays.”
On the difference between the BIG EAST and the ACC:
“You know I don’t think there is much difference at all, I think most of it is made in the media and the perception. But I think both are great conferences, you know we have some great games between the BIG EAST and the ACC, not just this year but over a course of time. They are two very good football conferences, two very proud football conferences. Again we are playing a team that went to the ACC championship last year that’s been a perennial top ten top twenty-five football program year in and year out so It’s going to be a great challenge. And then coupled with playing at a neutral site, but really it’s a home game for them and we are approaching this week as it’s a road game. That’s the other factor that goes into this is half of our travel roster will be making a road trip for the first time. So again it goes back to those details that you can’t assume anything, from the way we conduct ourselves it’s a business trip not allowing the clutter and distractions of going on the road to affect you. That’s why I have said it’s been an unusual year we have only played two games and this football team is still learning the little nuances of what it takes to compete at a high level week in and week out.”
On National Perception Of This Game:
“I think they are all big, I just think that at the end of the day you look at wins and losses, you look at bowl games you look at contending for conference championships, that’s the big thing. It’s the most important game because it’s the next game, and I know you don’t like to hear that but as a coach and as a player you can’t put all of your effort and energy into one game because then what happens the next week and then the following week. So you just have to focus and conduct your business week in and week out. But our players understand Sunday when they put the film on, they understand the caliber of team that they are playing. You put them on film and you see the talent that they, over a course of time you look at the high ranked recruiting classes that they have. So they have our attention and they understand that are going to have to play a very good football game in order to win the football game, they understand that.”
On the fact that this is a big game from the national attention standpoint:
“Well I do think anytime you play on national attention it’s an opportunity to sell your football program. We have obviously benefited here as much as anyone of playing on national television and taking advantage of that four hour commercial for your institution, university for your football program. Last time I checked our admissions are at an all time high. You know our recruiting has really skyrocketed and our fan base is really growing each and every day and I think that is all bi-products of playing on national television. You know not just a perspective student-athlete but a perspective student is sitting at home watching Cincinnati and they are watching Nippert Stadium and they are saying hey I’m a high school senior and you know what college football is part of the curriculum at most institutions and I want to be a part of that. And so I think that just that four hour commercial on top of it the recruiting aspect is big, but again I think you know me I never get ahead of myself but to me every game is of critical importance because where we want to elevate and grow in this football program, every opportunity is critical.”
On Frey and Chisum:
“Drew Frey and Alex Chisum are one hundred percent, they practiced on Sunday and it’s great to have them back and obviously we are going to need big games from them on Saturday.”
On where Damon Julian stands now that Chisum is 100%:
“Great question and you know everything is on competition, so on the depth chart right now it’s Alex Chisum/Damon Julian,and whoever has the best week of practice will be the individual who starts.”
Based on Julian’s one game he is on the depth chart?
“Yep, you remember Wally Pipp right? Alex Chisum knows all too well about the Wally Pipp story and that’s what the thing is when you have competition and that’s what we are building in our program is one person sitting out is another individual’s opportunity and Damon made the most of his opportunity. Everything is production, your role in our football team is based on your productivity, so it’s great because we will go in this week and let those two compete it out.”
“You know he is an individual who has very quietly worked hard each and every day and we could see it. It was great to see, we see glimpses of it in practice but to see him do it in a live game situation and to make some plays was great to see.”
On Munchie Legaux and turnovers affecting him:
“Well we stress ball security each and every day and we call it “cat security”. That’s something we hang our hats on and you know everything is a learning opportunity. In five years of this coaching staff four out of the five years we have been top 15 in the country in not turning the ball over. We have talked about that and we coach it on every snap, we do periods in practice. Some of them were just things where he has to throw the football away, some were an exchange issue, and some of them were just protecting the quarterback. That’s what we call a blind tackle you know he is in the pocket and he’s getting ready to throw the football and we miss a block on the perimeter and bam! They do a great job of separating him from the football, so I think everything is a learning opportunity and it’s inexcusable in our football program. But I’ve seen him more determined than ever, and again I said it when the season began you are going to see every week is going to be a growth process for Munchie. Every opportunity that he takes at the quarterback position is an opportunity for him to improve whether it’s in practice or in a game, but he is going through the maturation process of a quarterback. I’ve liked his determination, I’ve liked his focus. He walks into our staff room yesterday pulls up a chair, sits down and I’m looking out of the corner of my eye and he has his notepad open and he has staff meeting dated and he is taking notes. That is something that we have really tried to teach him of being a student of the game and he is taking coaching and he is doing everything that we ask of him.”
On if he’s ever faced a quarterback like Thomas who is bigger than some of defensive lineman ?
“Boy you are testing my memory, probably not as big as him in terms of height and weight so the whole stature thing. Again he is a load, and we have to get eleven hats to the football and we have to be able to wrap him up and possess so many challenges and the thing is it’s really hard to simulate it in practice.”
On this being the biggest non-conference game of the season for UC?
“Well I think it’s imbedded in our culture here that you respect every opponent and you prepare the same for every opponent. Because again let’s go back to college football, that’s what the regular season means in college football. Every game is for a championship. Every game has championship implications and bowl implications and national championship implications so every game is critical, every game is important. It’s great to play in these games and I’m excited because we are going to play against the best. I will know a little bit more of where we are at as a football team after this game. It’s a young season again, two games into it, a very young football team so I’m looking forward to this game as a great measuring stick of exactly where we are at in our football team, our football program and where we need to go from there.”
On preparing for their use of many running backs:
“Absolutely, you know running back by committee. Their skill set of each individual really complements each other so it’s very hard to prepare for from a quickness aspect, to a slasher aspect, to more of a powerback aspect. So again it’s just another challenge of preparing for them.”