Coordinators' corner: Nov. 23
Nov. 23, 2010
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis
On if there is a weight lifted off Gilbert’s shoulders: I don’t know about [Gilbert] but for mine it is. He played extremely well, and we played extremely well on both sides of the ball [and] special teams. So it was a pretty complete game. The guys have been working so hard, so it was neat to see them in the dressing room.
On what they need to do against A&M: A&M is an entirely different structure. We would like to stay balanced. We had great balance, obviously, in the ball game Saturday and that is something we need to be able to do to help protection to help the play action game. So yes, from that standpoint we would like to stay balanced. Structurally, they line up different so some of the things that we will do to attack will be different.
On trying to involve RB D.J. Monroe more: D.J. is a very explosive athlete, there is no question about it. The game last week set up well for him in what we were trying to do. We were trying to attack the outside tight end, and we had been predominately on the inside of the tight end so we wanted to attack the perimeter more. It really set up well for him. Obviously, Fozzy [Whitaker] didn’t play, so [Monroe] did a heck of a job. He came in and did a heck of a job. We’ll continue to try to get him involved. A lot of it is the game that we’re playing and what we’re seeing and the way we’re going about it. For example in the Nebraska game, everything was inside the tackles, and we felt like that Cody [Johnson] and Whittaker were much better in that area. But I was pleased with the way he played. I think he did a good job and prepared well, and he did a good job. He gave us a spark, and he did a great job on some of the sweeps and along the boundary.
On A&M DE Von Miller: He is an outstanding player. He is a great athlete. He has a great first move. Like all great pass rushers, he can beat you around the edge and when you overstep he’ll take the inside. He is involved in a lot of different ways with them. It is hard to get a beat. Most of the time he’ll play to the boundary, but he will play both sides. But from his 3-4 defense they will move down and all of a sudden he’s in a four down. - he’s standing up. The understanding is a four down front or a three down front, but he is really a good player. I have seen him grow from a guy where you saw spurts, but he is playing well every snap now and he is probably as good of a pass rusher as we’ve seen all year. He has great strength. There was a play in the Nebraska game where the tackle turned out on him, which you would think would be a pretty good match in a run game, and he just discarded him. In fact, we ran it back, ran it back and went, “Wow.” That shows his great strength. He has always been able to run. He has always been a good pass rusher, but he is playing the run and the pass really well now.
On the process of looking at the offense over the course of this season: Well, it will be very similar to the process of a whole after every year. We’ll go back, and we’ll evaluate what we did in the run game, what we did in the pass game [and] protections. It will be a total review as it is every year. Obviously, one thing that sticks out already is when we can play with balance; play with run-pass play action. You get bigger plays, you’re able to challenge the play more downfield off that action and protection is real good. The post route that Garrett threw to James [Kirkendoll], [he] probably held the ball for about four seconds before he released it and that is more than you can probably count on. But because we were running the ball and because of the play action, the [offensive] line was able to hold up and gave James time to really work on the corner. The process will be like it has always been.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp
On A&M DE Von Miller: Well, Von Miller is an outstanding player, and he’s an explosive guy on the edge. He’s a guy that as an offensive coach as you watch the film, you have to make sure you account for him in protection in everything you do because you don’t want to create a bad matchup. He’s an outstanding player. He plays with a great motor, which is something as a coach you appreciate, regardless of what jersey they’re wearing. But he’s an outstanding competitor, and he’s had a great career.
On the biggest difference for A&M being QB Ryan Tannehill not turning the ball over: I think so. I think they are very balanced in what they do. Mike [Sherman] wants to keep a balance in the run game, and in the throwing game the play-action’s off of it [and] the pocket moving and things. I don’t see a schematic change in what they’re doing in their approach. They’ve been very productive in every game. They’ve put up good numbers on everybody, and I think as much as anything the turnovers have been ceased a little bit as far as turning the football over. But again, both quarterbacks are outstanding players. They’re great athletes, obviously, with Tannehill being a receiver and a guy that we had trouble covering last year. They’ve done a nice job of grooming the quarterbacks. You obviously have a lot of respect for a guy like Tannehill, who can play receiver and play quarterback. He’s a phenomenal athlete.
On trying to stop A&M RB Cyrus Gray: I think you have to take your shots and stop the run. I mean, they are averaging 160 yards rushing a game. You can’t let them control the sticks and stay ahead of the down and distance. You have to be able to try and create some negative plays for yourself. They’ve got some good matchups outside. Jeff Fuller is an outstanding player. Ryan Swope’s had a great year. They’ve got some guys that certainly can stretch you vertically and make plays in space. They do a nice job in their tempo and getting on the line of scrimmage and declaring a look and making you declare what you’re doing. So again, we have to do a nice job of mixing things up in the game and covering when we’re called on to cover and get pressure when we need to get there and stay gap sound in what we’re doing.
On being prepared for Tannehill and QB Jerrod Johnson: Well again, I think they are very similar quarterbacks. They both have good arms. They both can make the field out with the different throws you see on tape. They are both good athletes. Both of them can run. So I don’t know where there’s a whole lot of difference, maybe arm strength a little bit with Johnson, but other than that they’re both outstanding players, and they’ve been very productive and they’re winning.
On DE Sam Acho’s impact on this program: Well, Sam has had an impact on everybody in the program, starting with the coaching staff and the players. He’s a great leader. He’s an outstanding player. I think sometimes his off the field overshadows his on the field. He’s a really good football player. He’s got great change of direction [and] explosive power. He converts speed to power in the rush. He can drop in coverage when he needs to. He can rush inside. He can really do a lot of things for you. But he’s a great person. He’s fun to be around. He learns well - takes to coaching. He’s very coachable for an outstanding player, which is something you don’t see everyday. We’re going to miss him as a young man, first of all, but he’s an outstanding player as well. He’s a guy that if your sons grow up to be like him, you can see yourself as a good father. That’s the type of young man he is.
On the emotion of the defense: I think,again, that this is a game with a lot of familiarity between the two teams and the players, so you are obviously going to have some of that when you play your buddies in your backyard. You want to win a little more. I know this is certainly important to The University of Texas and our university to beat A&M. Our players understand that, and they understand the importance of this game.
On the short turnaround being an advantage or disadvantage: Well, we are both doing the same deal, so I don’t look at it as an advantage or disadvantage in any regard. I think in today’s age of football, whether it’s four days or seven days, offenses are a little ahead of the defense right now. What I mean by that is we face a different animal each week. There’s not a whole lot of carry over from Florida Atlantic to Texas A&M. There wasn’t a whole lot of carry over from Oklahoma State to Florida Atlantic. So week to week, we’re learning a new offense of what somebody does from a player standpoint, and your system has to be multiple enough to handle the different things that you’re going to see, whereas offenses run the same offense every week. Now they may have to adjust to a 3-down or a 4-down, but they just tweak their offense whereas defensively it’s wholesale based on schematically who you face. That’s why I think it’s hard defensively because of the week-to-week variety of what you play.
On the preparation for the game: I think we made a couple too many adjustments [last year] and coaches are right in that. I think that that was a mistake that I made, going and trying to tweak some things too much. When you have a short week you have to look at reps. You have to look at being able to cover and make sure your players understand that they have to play fast. We started the game down there on a third down on a busted assignment. So those are things you can’t have happen against a good offensive football team and especially in a game like this. You have to make sure your guys are playing fast and physical and strong at the point of attack, understanding what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and giving them enough curveballs to keep them off balance as well. But don’t do so much that your guys don’t play well. That’s what happened, and that was on me.
On A&M WR Ryan Swope: Well, he does a lot of things. He’s an outstanding slot receiver. They’ll reload motion, put him in the backfield and let him run the ball. The thing I like about him is that he’s a competitor who likes to play the game. You turn on the tape and watch him, even when he was back at Westlake High School, you can tell that he’s a competitive guy that plays hard. He plays gutty and is not afraid to get hit catching the ball across the field. He’s a guy that’s playing really well and leading them in receptions right now.
On learning from Nebraska’s defense vs. A&M: Well, there is some similarities with what we do, but every week is different. It’s hard to compare what one team does against another. Everybody matches up a little different. Defensively, there are some similarities with how we play. But again you have to look at the break down for the entire season, and that’s what we’ve been looking at the past few days. We’ll take some things, but you don’t want to change and tweak so much to where you’re not playing fast because you’re really about 48 hours short of where you normally are from a preparation standpoint.