Nov. 1, 2011
Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Manny Diaz
On if he is still excited about Saturday’s shutout of Kansas: No. That moment is gone. It was exciting when it happened, and it was fun to watch on film yesterday, but it is gone in the rear view. I always say, those games it's like taking a picture of yourself, and that's all when they're good or they're bad. That's all they are, and it goes in the scrapbook and you turn the page to the next day.
On Texas Tech QB Seth Doege: Well, I've seen enough to know that I don't like him [laughs]. The first thing that jumps out - he can make all the throws in their offense. He can throw the ball to the wide side the field. They probably throw the ball deep more than anybody we've gone against this year, and his completion percentage and balls that are thrown more than 20 yards down the field is really high compared to what you see week in and week out. So the first thing you know is that they can stretch you vertically down the field, and of course they'll have you spread out so they can stretch you horizontally, as well. The beauty of this offense is that they've got sort of a group of pass concepts that are just tried and tested and true, and they just run them over and over and over again. And they run them very fast. Tempo is an issue, and he can master those concepts so there's nothing really that you can throw at him defensively that he hasn't already seen because he's seen it and then he knows where to go with the football. Again, it's quite a challenge.
On the difficulty in preparing for a team that has been up and down in the last two weeks: I don't know that it really does anything differently for us because we’ll watch the cutups, and I'm just watching all the times that they run a certain pass play or a run play. You study the games, but we always say this: There's results and there's performances, and sometimes results and performances match. Sometimes the results and performances don't match. A team can run the identical plays and have the same guy against the same coverage and one week it's a great catch and the next week the ball gets dropped or it gets batted away or the left guard false starts when they had it set up. The difference between winning and losing is such a fine line, and I know that's so cliché, but really, that's what you see week in and week out when you start to study. When you take the end away and just watch the middle, usually you don't see a whole lot of difference.
On DE Jackson Jeffcoat’s performance against Kansas: I was really happy for Jackson and Alex [Okafor]. They were both on top of their game. But I was especially happy because it showed that they just they kept the faith. When everybody was asking, “What's wrong? What's going on?” And we kept telling him again, it gets back to the same thing, don't focus on the results, focus on your performance, focus on your technique. We all want sacks. We all want to make big plays. But if you just wish it, it's not going to come. So just keep improving, keep getting better at your craft, and when you do, generally it comes. Great example. But like we said, on Jackson's sack when we showed the defense yesterday, the coverage was outstanding. Jackson has a great pass rush going, but they've got a deep threeman pass route going to the wide side of the field and we've got six guys covering those three perfectly, which makes the quarterback hold that ball just that half a second to get the sack for Jackson. So we always talk about how we all work and live for each other, and the credit goes to Jackson on the play. He did everything right on the pass rush. But the coverage is what got him the sack. So if it hadn't been for those guys . . .But what I'm happy for is the defense, that we keep pushing and understanding the concept of great team defense.
On Jeffcoat needing a breakout game: Well, I think that's what it does. And it always goes back to what I say because on defense, we usually equate stats with playing well, and these guys don't live in cocoons. hey hear it every day. “Why aren't you doing this and why aren't you doing that?” That's why as a coach you're happy for them that they get the plays, but what you have to refocus them on is that doesn't mean that we've arrived. There's all kinds of stuff yesterday when we popped the film on that we have to fix. Continue to focus on win, lose, get sacks, don't get sacks, just get better.
On how Jeffcoat has improved: What he's gotten better at is just his pad level. His getoff on the ball, and sometimes - and it sounds so crazy - but it's just going. And again, he's still a young guy. It's a new scheme, so whatever he learned in year one he had to relearn in year two. And I just equate it to at some point you stop counting dance steps and you just go and you just dance the dance. It’s why we do it as a football team. We continue to get better, and if we stop now then we're in trouble. We have to continue to try and push and improve in all aspects.
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bryan Harsin
On if there is a disadvantage using two quarterbacks: I don't think so. Not where we're at right now. We're developing two guys, and if you have four or five quarterbacks on your roster, it's probably a little bit different. But where we are right now, both those guys are practicing well, deserve to play, and we're developing both of them.
On if that hurts their confidence: Not the way we're preparing. You know, what happens in practice and what happens in the game, those guys understand the situation. We talk about that. We discuss it, so we have those things figured out in our room. And they know what's going to happen come game time and how we're going to work both those guys in, so I don't think that's a problem at all.
On how to get the vertical passing game going: You've got to hit a few of them down there, number one. There were some opportunities in there. We've got to hit those. You're going to get some oneonone matchups outside with the way we run the football. They're going to have to bring some guys down there. So it's just a matter of those guys connecting on some of those plays. And also us setting them up schematically in order to do that. It's not just one or two guys. It's scheme and making sure we're helping those guys out with who we've got in. It's repetition and getting those guys on the same page. But that's something that is part of what we do. We've got to continue to keep working on it, and eventually that's going to come.
On QB David Ash’s performance: I thought he managed the game well. The negative was the interception down there in the red zone, and I think that was disappointing but a great learning experience, a teachable moment from that standpoint. And he got us out of some bad plays in the run game and into a pass situation and vice versa in that game, so I feel like he's getting more comfortable with what we're doing. He's getting more comfortable communicating the plays, seeing what the defense is giving him, and that's part of being out there and having more experience, and I think the more he plays, the better he's going to get.
On if Ash has the freedom to audible: He does. We have certain plays we go into the game with that we're going to have checks and things like that based off what they give us. And it's not a tremendous amount, but it's just enough where a guy has got to be sharp on what he's seeing out there and has got to prepare that way. And he saw everything we needed to see from that standpoint and got us out of those plays.
On RB Joe Bergeron’s performance: I wouldn't take that away from Joe, and I'd say this because Joe practiced like that. After that game I remember talking to Joe and just saying, you looked like that in practice, in those two weeks preparing for that game. I thought he practiced really hard, and I thought it showed up in the game. Exactly what he was doing out there was what he did in practice, so to me that just gave him more confidence in how he prepares and how we all prepare. You can see that he was doing that in practice. It showed up in the game, and I think that's just a great sign of what we need to do in our preparation to go out there and play like that.
On having many competent running backs: There's a lot of ways now in this run game that we can attack people. You've got guys in there, Fozzy [Whittaker] has got his role. Malcolm [Brown} has got his role. Joe [Bergeron] has got his role. They can all in come in there, be a little bit different, provide a little bit different dimension to what we're doing. Then you've got your perimeter run game with D.J. [Monroe] and [WR] Marquise [Goodwin] out there. So now we've got ways to kind of distribute the ball and get it inside and outside and guys that have produced doing all those things.
On if he has been trying to get WR Marquise Goodwin involved more: Yes, just 'Quise is a guy we want to get the ball to, and we've tried to get the ball down the field. We've tried to do some things to get the ball in his hands, and that was one way to guarantee we get that done, and it didn't disappoint. He did a nice job getting around the edge there. I think [with] his abilities, there's going to be more opportunities like that where he's going to pull through some of those tackles, and it's going to be a home run when he gets out there and gets free.
On Texas Tech’s defense: I know this: I know they're very well coached. I know that their front seven just watching them, I really like their interior guys. Their Dends and their Dline. I think those guys play very hard. They're big guys, and those guys pose problems. The ends are real tall on the edges there, so they can get their hands up and get in your face in a hurry. The linebackers play very well, and they do enough in their secondary, just disguising coverages, and mix it up a little bit that the quarterbacks have to be dialed in because they'll drop a guy into a lane that you may not see. So you just have to be sharp on what you're seeing secondary wise. Overall scheme, it's a good scheme. It poses problems. We've got to be smart with what we've doing and try to eliminate getting confused out there in the secondary.
On the staff finding it easier to mesh together as the season goes on: Well, I think it's just a matter of when you get into different scenarios and what's going to happen. There at the end of the game we're going to go for the field goal there and spike it. We're going to run a play and try not to give them any time left and spike it. We haven't been in that scenario there, so as we're calling it we're kind of figuring out next time we get there this is what will happen. It's just a matter of us having to go through the scenarios, too. Everybody has had different experiences on this staff, and everybody has been burned by one thing or another. So everybody is like, “I've done this. I've done that.” Well, we have to do that all together and just get comfortable from the standpoint of what we're calling, when we call it, how we call it [and] who we want in personnel wise. And I think over the course of time that's gotten better and better and we're more on the same page from that standpoint of getting people in and knowing what we're doing to do in certain situations.
On if this makes the staff more conservative: No, that doesn't mean you're conservative, that just means people have been in different situations and as you go through it you talk about it the next day, “We did this. We did that. We had a good answer for this.” And you look back at it and go, “Next time we did the right thing, or next time we need to do this.” And when that does happen, let's remind each other and get in that type of situation.
On the team’s development: I think after this last game, and I think what we've done in the last two games, I think we've run the ball well. I think the Oline is doing a good job of blocking the schemes that we have, getting more comfortable with the schemes we have, communicating out there. I think [offensive line] Coach [Stacy] Searels has done a good job with those guys. The running backs are working off the Oline. It's a combination of that along with the tight ends. So I feel like run-game-wise we're making strides from that standpoint. We, again, need to be more consistent in the pass game. And that doesn't always mean just taking shots and getting the big chunks, but just being consistent and moving the ball down the field. Being able to throw the ball as well, and some ball control, and then have an opportunity to get some deep throws and hit a home run in there. That's the area that we've got to continue to keep working on in practice and just get more comfortable with it with the quarterbacks and wide outs. If we bring that part of our game along and the run game continues to grow, then we have a balance we want.
On his former player, Boise St. QB Kellen Moore, breaking former Longhorn QB Colt McCoy’s all-time wins record: That's going to be a huge accomplishment because that's a great deal to have an opportunity to do that. And I think Kellen is the type of guy that, like Colt, deserves it because I hear about Colt and his type of preparation habits, how he was in practice, the type of leader he was. Kellen is really all those same qualities. It's not just Kellen. As you know, it's the entire team at Boise State, the coaching staff and all of that, those guys have all done a great job, and I think Kellen is just a product of that. From what Coach [Chris] Petersen has done there, and then you have Kellen in there that really just kind of has at that same mentality as Coach Petersen and continues each week to try to get better and better. And that's always been his mission. I think that's going to be a huge accomplishment for him. But I also know this: I know that that team and Kellen is not going to worry about that until the season is over. He's going to keep moving on. They're onto the next game. They respect their opponents. They're going to prepare their best and try to win this thing out.
On if he takes personal pride in Moore’s accomplishments: I'm proud of it. I'm proud of being a part of having a chance to coach him. And he's one of those type of players that are very special just to coach, and not just from what he's accomplished on the field but off the field. The relationship you have with him. When you're in those meetings and things like that. The way you work together is a special connection, and I'm real happy that he's in that position now.