Coordinators' corner: Oct. 12
Oct. 12, 2010
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis
On the Nebraska defense: Their defense is very similar to last year. Both corners are back. They do a great job. They aren’t afraid to play man-to-man. They aren’t a huge blitz team because they feel like they can pressure with four, and it allows them to play a bunch of different combination coverages in the secondary, whether or not it’s man with help or whether or not it’s match where they’re matching route schemes and things like that. You don’t see many people running free in their secondary. They play very well. But the biggest thing is that you have to try to stay on schedule and then when you do get your one-on-one shots - which will happen in the ball game - you have to take advantage of them.
On making Garrett Gilbert more comfortable: I do think we need to tailor some things toward him that he’s doing extremely well, and I think that’s part of the second half - first half [issue]. We’ve kind of come out a little bit with the idea of “let’s get the flow of the game” and to some degree we’ve turned him loose more in the second half, and he’s been much more productive and in turn we’ve been more productive. I think as we head down to this point in the season we need to let him go earlier in the ball game.
On trusting Garrett earlier: I don’t know if that’s the right word in this case because I’ve been very comfortable with his preparation and the way he studied. But at the same time, we’ve kind of tried to get into the ballgame and see what’s happening and go from there, and I do think we have to come out with a little faster tempo and let him do the things that he’s done in the second half earlier. I think Oklahoma was a good example. I think he was 10/15 for 60 yards in the first half and he threw for over 200 in the second half.
On changing the focus of the offense to attacking earlier: I think so. I think that is a good way. We have to be a little bit more attacking and aggressive in the way we come out. At the same time, depending on what people are doing, that has a certain bearing on the way you play the ball game, too.
On getting inspiration from other teams: You do to a certain degree; I mean we’re all fans. All of us that do this are fans of the game of football. You see certain things that people are doing that are effective. What you have to evaluate is does it fit your personnel? Does it fit your scheme? Is it similar to something you’re doing, but you can just tweak a little bit to make it work? But yea, you’re always looking whether or not it’s college games, pro games, or even high school games. Every time you watch a game. I think we’re all fans of the sport and we’re all looking for things that fit what we do.
On the current scheme fitting Garrett properly: He’s been very accurate throwing the ball. He’s done a good job taking care of the ball. He’s throwing the ball down the field in the second half much better. I think earlier in the ballgame we’ve worked underneath. We need to challenge a little bit more which will help work out underneath, and we’re constantly talking to Garrett about making plays with his feet because I think he can make more plays with his feet than he has in the first part of the season.
On the plans for RB D.J. Monroe: We’re constantly looking at some ways to get him involved a little bit more. Obviously, he’s one of the explosive guys that can make big plays and now he has been a back for a month, so he’s more comfortable doing more things now than he was earlier. At the same time we have to make sure to not ask him to do a bunch of things that physically he cannot do.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
On the biggest challenge defending Taylor Martinez: He’s fast. That’s the first thing that jumps out to you. He’s got one-step quickness - when he has one step he takes off and [is] running full speed. You cannot stop your feet to tackle this guy. You have to bring your feet with you. You stop [and] you will not tackle him. And in the zone-read we have to have two or three on him to make sure that if the first guy may miss and they have a block on the second guy, you’ve got to have good overlap and good eyes in the zone to be able to leverage the zone. They do a nice job with the zone read. They really run it in four ways based on where they want to carry the ball. Whether they want the back or him to carry it. So they can dictate that a little in the game. So we’ve got to be able to take some of that away.
On if he would put a spy on the quarterback: There are things that you tweek schematically to have people on him. But to say that we’re just going to have one guy on him the whole game is not necessarily what I think of in terms of that. I think more than anything, it’s just gap-wise and scheme-wise within the defense how you’re playing - plays you have people on him.
On if shutting down Martinez guarantees a win: No, they’re multiple enough. They do a nice job still running the power game. They’ve totally transformed their offense. It’s completely different than what we saw a year ago. It has gone more to a zone-read, gun-run option. I would liken it to Oregon, possibly. They do enough within their scheme that you have to be sound across the board with what you’re doing.
On Nebraska choosing Martinez as their quarterback: Well, they made a good decision. It’s good coaching. He can really run. And their offense is intact from last year. They have everybody back. I think Zac Lee was hurt in the spring, and one man’s misfortune creates an opportunity for someone else. And Bo [Pelini] is a defensive coach and probably looked at this and said that’s going to give someone problems, and it probably gave them problems at practice. Facing something like that is probably why they changed who they are offensively as far as scheme is concerned.
On adjustments made during the OU game: I think more than anything, in the first half, drives kept alive by penalties hurt us, obviously. The tempo was something we practiced and we prepared for. It certainly didn’t look like it or feel like it, but if you repped it 100 times, you have to rep it 200. That all goes back to coaching and that is on me. But that is something we prepared for - we had not issue with it the year before. We’ve played other up tempo teams, [and] we’ve never had an issue with it other than against Oklahoma State my first year. And it’s just disappointing that we did not seem prepared for that when I felt like we were going into the game. It wasn’t as much adjustments as it was settling down and not letting the tempo affect your play. And that’s really it. That’s really how you look at it, and unfortunately, in the second half, we had some penalties on third down that really hurt us. We just can’t keep drives alive against good offensive football teams, and they’re a good offensive football team. They’re going to move the ball against a lot of people. And you can’t afford to keep them on the field when you have them off the field four times. And that’s really what hurt us in the game and the tempo at the start of the game. We were striking well upfront. We were playing blocks well upfront, but it’s unfortunate that a couple of snaps hurt you there in the first half.
On if the hardest part of coaching is teaching your team to settle down before playing Nebraska: I don’t know that. It’s a great opportunity to play a top five team. This is a challenge you want as a competitor. You want to play against a good offensive football team, which they [are]. Unfortunately, you have to wait a week. You would have liked to go out and play the next day, but that’s part of it. It’s our game. We’re looking forward to playing in Lincoln.
On looking at the stretch of the last four games: They’re all mutually exclusive. I think if you look across college football right now, no one week affects a football team. I think it’s pretty evident Saturday, seeing some scores, you wonder why that happened. And that’s where week-to-week it’s a weekly game. You have to prepare well. You have to practice well. You have to coach well. You have to play well on that Saturday, and on that Saturday the best team wins that plays the best.
On if the bye week was surprisingly physical: We just need to keep improving. That’s the way I look at. We worked hard on tackling like we always do. We were able to get some extra days work on Nebraska which is obviously a very different offense from what we’ve faced so far this season. By design we’re a little more physical to get a little more ahead on for the next game, but also to improve fundamentally where we are and what we need to do to be successful.
On how the defense has responded: I’ve seen them respond very well. They have a lot of pride, and they hurt right now. We do as coaches as well. We pull together and you forge forward with where you’re going. Our guys are smart guys, and they understand that we need to play better and that we need to coach better. We need to make more plays in situations where we had opportunities and we didn’t. So again, whether it’s a win or loss, you have to be technical and see what we did and didn’t do well.
On the similarities between UCLA and Nebraska: They [Nebraska] really run the zone-read differently based on how they read the inside. They run an outside stretch-read where the quarterback will read a number of things. So it’s very different from what we’ve seen. They also run an inside track zone which is pretty different. Concept-wise, it is the same look as far as reading a defensive player. But how they’re doing it is very different.