Don't mind me I'm just here in the back corner minding my own business
You stress turnovers so much. Was this a good game to remind your team what can happen if you lose the turnover battle?
“Well, I think it is in a lot of ways. Number one, give Akron a lot of credit. Their kids came in here like most Mid-American Conference schools, they come in here to win the football game and played to win the football game. They coached it that way, they played it that way. You know, they did a nice job. I told Terry [Bowden] that, and I told Chuck Motta that. They did some things defensively that were a little different, but things that we should be able to overcome to a certain extent, but we didn’t. What was your question?”
Was this a good reminder for what could happen --
“Oh, turnovers? The upset is always in the mind of the favorites. Any time you don’t take care of the football, and I don’t care if we’re playing Saline High School. Or you know, the Super Bowl champions, whoever that was, you can’t turn the ball over. That is number one. Turnover margins will kill you as a football team. The other thing? Penalties. Fitz [Toussaint] got 50 yards of rushing wiped out because we fundamentally didn’t block properly and we held guys. That can’t happen because, you know, that’s 50 yards of rushing. That’s the rhythm of the game. That and then we had a couple balls thrown over our head. I think two of them were defended decently well, and you have to give people credit. It was a good ball, it’s where it needed to be, it was a good catch, but still there’s still too many of those that hit the post and two-deep, and we should have been in better shape but we weren’t. From the coaches first, and me first, we have to do a better job. I mean, you can’t win championships with those mistakes.”
Taylor Lewan mentioned that something was wrong with preparation this week. Did you notice anything?
“I think it’s like anything else. You take finals, tests, and everything in college. You have to study and how much you study usually affects how you’re going to do. Maybe the effort wasn’t there totally. I thought Tuesday, I think I told you Wednesday, I didn’t like practice as much, but I did like Wednesday and Thursday.”
What changes next week?
“Well you know, the one thing that’s interesting is I’m not going to play a down, but we’re going to coach our butts off during the week. Not that we didn’t coach our butts off last week, but obviously we need to do some things a little better.”
Devin was able to shake off his mistake last week, but it took him longer this week. What was different?
“You know what, I don’t know. It’s a really good question, one that I’ll be thinking about all night. Why he made a couple of the decisions that he made. I know he’s beat up a little bit. Was coming in -- ”
“Yeah just a little. Nothing terrible. It’s football. We’ve got to get to the bottom of playing more consistently and how we do that.”
A lot of run for Jourdan Lewis today. Was that by design?
“Yeah, we’ve liked how he’s progressed. We think him, [Channing] Stribling, and Delonte [Hollowell], really those three, all get about the same amount of reps. We like how Jourdan’s responded.”
This is the second game in a row the opponent has converted more than half of their third downs. How much of a concern is that, and what’s the problem?
“The problem is not tight enough in coverage, not fitting the run well enough, and no pass rush. That’d be it.”
About the pass rush, what can you do to improve?
“Well, you know, I think the way we’ve worked at it, it’s kind of surprising it hasn’t been as good to a certain degree. I think what hurt us today and if you go back and watch it, is how many times we let him out of the pocket. When we had good push in the middle from whoever it might have been, how many times on the outside -- and that’s one thing going into the game, [we said] whatever we’re going to do, we’re going to do in the cavity up the middle. Push them to the guys on the outside. Well there’s a couple times in there, four times that I remember, he got out, extended plays, made some good throws. But you have to cup better than that.”
Do you believe in wakeup calls?
“I get one sometimes in a hotel. But no, I think number one, we have five goals we have as a team and we go over them on Sundays. Number one is to win, so it’s good to win. It’s a heck of a lot better to win. But time of possession, we were horrific. You’re horrific when you turn the ball over four times. Turnovers. Did they have one? One pick? Two. They had two. So they won that battle. Kicking game … I thought our coverage was really good on kickoff. I thought those guys did a nice job. Obviously our punt game needs to go under the microscope in a lot of areas. That’s one thing we want to pride ourselves on. Was it embarrassing? I think there’s a lot of embarrassing things that happened when you don’t do what you’re supposed to do. I say that from [the perspective] of everybody has a job, from the equipment people, the trainers, the doctors, the coaches, the players. We all have to perform every week, every test at our highest level, and obviously we didn’t do that.”
Can you talk about those last two plays?
“The ones at the end of the game? Well I could have told you before what the last call was going to be, because I know Greg Mattison. It was “cable zero train,” and it was executed very well.”
Aside from the win, what good can you see from this game?
“I think we’ll learn a lot I think we’ll learn a lot about our team. I think you always do. We’ll learn a lot as coaches, we’ll learn a lot as players, and then we’ll go back and correct those things and respond to them.”
What’s your level of concern with the offensive line?
“There were some good holes in there at times. Fitz made a couple good cuts out of it. Is it consistent enough? No. I think watching it like we will, there’s going to be a lot of learning, and there will be a lot of teaching going on.”
Taylor Lewan said the leadership failed. Did you feel that way?
“You know what, I think those guys have taken a lot of pride, and they’ve worked very hard in that part of it. As a coach sometimes you put a little pressure on your leadership and maybe that’s what he’s responding to.”