Coordinators' corner: Sept. 21
Sept. 21, 2010
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis
On the difficulty to call plays on a ten-minute drive: This is 38 years for me, and that’s the first time I’ve been involved in a 22-play drive. In fact I didn’t even realize it until the press conference. I knew it was a long drive, but I didn’t realize it had been that long until I was asked about it after the game.
On wanting to pound the ball into the endzone: We ran a tailback wedge with Cody [Johnson] a couple times, and got it down in there tight. Everything was extremely tight. There was a part [of me] that wanted to power the ball in, but I felt like the play we called was there, and the kids did a good job of executing.
On what needs to be done to make the offense more consistent: I wish I knew a short succinct answer to give you. But when you look at the tape, the first quarter is probably as good as we have played in a while. We were on schedule. We had way too many penalties. You have to eliminate some of those. We had three holding penalties in the game, and we were able to overcome two of those. We had some not-missed assignments, but some situations where guys didn’t quite get their heads around. Execution is the thing that leads to consistency. When we showed the film to the offense yesterday, I picked out 22 plays at the start of the meeting. About half of them, you had 11 guys all working together and the result was positive. The other half, you have nine or ten doing the right thing and one guy not holding up his end, and consequently you’re inconsistent. You just have to keep working.
On what is said to the receivers to make them aware of dropped passes: We use terms to make them aware. We don’t show them the broadcast and what they say. I know a lot of guys tape the game and come home and watch it. But we never use the video broadcast. It’s typically concentration - eyes leaving the ball right before it gets there. They’re looking to run before the ball gets there. In many cases, if the ball is not where it is supposed to be the focus goes totally to the ball. But when the ball is perfectly thrown, the focus goes downfield to see where the pursuit is coming. You just have to look the ball in, and the only way to do that is to keep working on it.
On the consequence of one offensive lineman making a mistake: There was a bunch of situations where four of the five guys did a heck of a job. You leave the game frustrated, then you go watch the film and you understand a bit more. It doesn’t remove the frustration that we all have about being inconsistent, but at least you understand it a little more. Then everyone gets a shot. There were three to five situations when four of the five or five of the six with the tight end did a really nice job, and one guy just created a problem.
On if the offensive line mistakes are due to experience: In some cases, it’s guys that are playing extended amount of time, for the first time. That’s part of it. The other part is obviously coaching, and we have to do a better job of putting them in situations that can come up in each play.
On UCLA reinventing its offense under Norm Chow: I think coaching is all about trying to adjust to what you have. Will [Muschamp] came in this morning and asked me a couple questions about what they were doing. I said I thought Norm was there, and he said Norm is there. He’s an outstanding coach, and I’m sure he’s taking what he’s got and doing the best with it.
On James Kirkendoll’s personality: I think James is more reserved by nature. Receivers a lot of times, like defensive backs, are very gregarious and very outgoing. James is a little more professorial and studies the game. He’s not a real loud guy, but he’s very passionate. I had to get after him about one catch when he got up and was a little too passionate. You want him to be close to that line, because they’re excited about playing. But he’s a very quiet guy who goes about his work, and like I said, he had a very good fall camp. Garrett [Gilbert] has a lot of confidence in him, and it was good to see him have a breakout game.
On getting D.J. Monroe more involved in the offense: We are continuing to look at different places to put him and different things. As we said last week, he’s playing where Marquise [Goodwin] is, and Marquise is a guy who can make explosive plays. But we obviously have to continue to evaluate and see if we can get him into the ball game. Obviously, you can’t just put him in and hand it to him, so we started early this morning discussing some things.
On if he has seen a progression on offense: Well, there is obviously things we are not very pleased with right now. But we see flashes of things that we are very pleased with. Anytime you have a couple of new starters, I think you are going to be inconsistent. It doesn’t mean you like it or accept it, but experience tells you its going to happen. We just have to tie it together as we enter this stretch. We have conference opening, then we step away to play UCLA, then we get rolling with the meat of the conference schedule. So we need to pick it up.
On his role in making sure his coaches are doing the right things: I think we all are responsible for various aspects. Mine is the offense as a group. We do have to do a better job. We constantly talk to the players about being accountable for the steps that they take and where they put their hats, and all of that is a reflection of us. So we have to do a better job of getting that done in practice, and typically if we can get it done in practice, it carries over into the ball game.
On the tipped passes: I told Mack immediately after the game in the dressing room that usually there is two or three things that happen on tipped balls. Many times, the defensive line did not get a very good rush and that is the general answer to the question - not specifically here. But in many cases, the offensive line got right in the middle, so they realize that they’re not going to get there and they start watching the quarterback, so they jump. The second thing is that sometimes the quarterback will stare the receivers down. I thought that was one of those situations when the ball was tipped. When you watch it closely, the ball that was tipped and run back, [Garrett] looking right through the middle of the field and at the last second he turns to the right. So it was not staring the receiver down at all. We had an option route where I do think he locked on the option route real quick. But usually on some of those things, when the rush is moving the pocket, you have to slide to find lanes to deliver the ball.
On if the offense has been using more gimmick plays: We went into the ball game thinking that we wanted to have several different change of pace plays. Obviously, [on] the quick sweep with D.J., we came with a quick sweep that we’re looking to throw the ball off of it. You know those plays make SportsCenter when they work, but when they don’t, you’re gimmicky. I understand the broadcasters’ comments about that. But at the same time, it gives you an opportunity to be explosive, and we know how important explosive plays are to help win or lose a ball game.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
On if UCLA's offensive scheme has changed: They really changed what they do compared to our summer scout from last season and what they've been and what he's [Norm Chow] been before. Over 90 percent of their snaps are in the pistol, where the back is behind the quarterback to help get the back more downhill on some of the runs. It can certainly benefit you in some situations. But no, they've really flipped offensively and I think from a blocking scheme standpoint a lot of similarities, but as far as formations, a lot of motions we're going to have to have great eye control and leverage on formations and fitting the runs.
On the team's effort: We just demand effort from our players at all times. If they don't play hard, they don't play. We've got good depth so we've got good guys behind them, so if they don't play hard then we'll jerk them out and get someone else in there that's going to do it. It's not a right to play here, it's a privilege, and it’s a privilege to step out on the field. So you've got to honor that every time you walk out.
On the offense's 22-play drive at Tech: It's a team game and phenomenal to have our offense on the field for 22 plays. We have a hard time scoring when we're not on the field. It's a great compliment to our offense and our offensive line and Greg [Davis] and our entire staff. I don't know if I've ever been around that - you know holding the ball for 22 straight plays - so it's pretty phenomenal. That's a credit [to the offense] and that's what you have to do to beat teams like that, is maintain the ball. Time of possession is critical in those games, not in all games, but in those games it is because they [Texas Tech] are very explosive offensively, and if their offense is not on the field, it gives you a better chance to win the game.
On the defense so far this year: Our job is to play well. This is a pretty humbling profession. Week-to-week you need to do your job, and that's all we need to do is play good defense and our offense is fine. We're moving the ball, we're scoring points, we're maintaining the ball. Time of possession is critical. You know our offense is fine and we just need to play good defense. When you start worrying about what somebody else is doing, you don't do your own job. So just do your job is our message to our players. Our players understand that regardless of sudden change, anything that happens in the game, when we walk on the field our job is to stop them and really it has nothing to do with anything else.
On if he's pleased with where the interior line is at: Well again, versus a spread team yes. But versus a power running team, I feel good about where we are, but I think it will be a great opportunity to see where we are Saturday because they're going to certainly run it, and they run it very successfully in what they've done in three games. We’ve got a big opportunity for our guys inside on Saturday.
On talking to his players about penalties: I think you have different types of penalties. I think you have undisciplined penalties like jumping off sides or celebration, and those are the sort of things you talk to your players constantly about. As far as some of the other penalties that happen, you talk to them, you go over it, but easy for me on the sideline or for someone in the stands to criticize a bang-bang play. It's tough - pass interference - it's a judgment call. If they call it, it’s a penalty. That's the way we look at it, and we just try to coach from the film to our players, but we don't over preach what happened in the situation.