"I passed your floor on the way up, and now I'm passing it on the way down, and I don't think I'll be taking this elevator again." - Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
There’s probably some degree of frustration on the team. Can you talk about the number of missed opportunities on the field?
“Yeah. You know, frustration because we lost as a team. Yeah. It’s a frustration that we all have. I have to do a better job coaching this football team. The effort was really – guys were working, guys were fighting, guys were doing things. Did we do them well enough? No. And that goes on me.”
Seven sacks this week. How do you keep Devin’s spirits up?
“His spirits will be up because he’s a competitor. He’s going to be sore, and that’s part of it. Again, I have to do a better job coaching.”
When you talk about coaching, we do have to ask about the play calling from Al Borges. Do you have to look at that much more closely this week?
“I like the play calling. I think we thought we could do some things and we didn’t.”
Did you hear the booing after some of those offensive plays?
“Well, that’s you know, that’s the way things are.”
What’s Thomas Gordon’s situation?
“He had a little bit of an ankle. He played on the punt team. We also thought Courtney [Avery] and Josh [Furman] could give us something. And Jarrod [Wilson].”
What did you think you got from the safeties?
“I think it was okay. I don’t know until I watch it.”
Negative 69 rushing yards over the last two games. How do you explain that?
“Well, it’s hard to explain, isn’t it? I’ve got to do a better job coaching those guys.”
MGoQuestion: What kind of adjustments were you hoping to make over the course of last week as well as during this game?
“Well, you always have a plan that you think is going to work, number one. We change the plan all the time every week. I think there were some things that we did pretty well. But there were a number of things that we have to do a better job coaching the kids on.”
Can you talk about not cashing in on the turnovers?
“Well, we didn’t. We just didn’t execute.”
It looked like Devin really struggled scrambling. Is he banged up?
“His legs and everything are fine. I don’t know if he took a shot over there near their sideline. I think it was the second quarter. I thought he was fine.”
Was there fatigue on defense during the last drive?
“I don’t think so. Because of the number of plays guys are playing? No.”
What do you attribute it to?
“I have to do a better job of coaching.”
You have blocking issues all across the board.
“I don’t know about all across the board, but there’s some blocking issues.”
Why is that not progressing? If anything, it looks like it’s regressing.
“I’ve got to do a better job of coaching, it looks like. We’ve got to do a better job of what we’re doing and look at what we’re doing.”
You said you did some things good and some things not good. What were some of the things that were good?
“That were better as a team? Well defensively after the first quarter they settled in. Did a good job. I think they were 6 of 16 on third down. Most of the third downs – you want them all, but the critical ones, we needed to execute a little better on.”
How much does it hurt to see the home winning streak end?
“Home winning streak, away winning streak, any winning streak, you’re disappointed when it’s not there.”
Taco played today. What did you like about him?
“He’s been fortunate enough that he’s been able to improve over the course of the year without having to take full time snaps in a lot of critical situations. We just like how he’s come along. It’s about the right time for him because of how he’s come along to play.”
Is interior defensive line where he can play more?
“That was all in the nickel packages, sub packages. He’s still an outside end, but he’s got the length and the size and as good of quickness as anybody. He’s pretty good inside when you get in the sub packages.”
You were able to generate some offense with some screens and quick passes. Is that something you have to look at more?
“Last week we had that different screen in that we thought was going to be pretty good, and [Michigan State] sniffed that one out pretty good. This new one today was hitters but not consistent hitters. It’s something we tried to do. We threw the rocket to Gallon the one time, hit the windows route one time in there. Some of that stuff, it helps you a little bit, but at the same time, there’s some of it that’s similar when you look at what they did and what we did.”
At some point, do you have to admit that you can’t run the ball and not beat your head against the wall?
“I agree. And yes, you can do that.”
Is Devin holding the ball too long?
“Well I think any time you have negative plays either way, and let me go back to [the previous question]. The negative plays are what kill you on third down. First down negative plays, we snapped the ball again a little high. That was a 10-yard loss, so now you’re second and 20. I think as you watch the tape, he may have held it too long once or twice. I think you also coverage-wise, you have to give them a little credit also. They did a pretty good job on some of the coverage things that they did with Gallon and Funchess.”
You said you needed to do a better job coaching. In what area specifically?
“Just … everything.”
How did you think the other young guys played on defense?
“Willie started last week and played well. Again, I think you get a chance to look at it and grade it and do all that stuff. I know Willie [Henry] made some plays again, which is a good sign. I think Taco forced the sack that Cam got. Did a nice job on a gain. Also did a nice job on a run play in there. Until you really look at it, it’s hard I think for you to make an evaluation that’s fair.”
You mentioned the negative plays that hurt you on third down. What do you attribute that to?
“Because we had negative plays on first down.”
Those have increased, too. What do you attribute it to?
“I think you attribute it to the opponent did a good job, and I have to do a better job coaching our team.”
Looked like the running backs struggled in pass protection.
“That’s something we’re trying to get fixed to be honest with you. Is it a concern? Yeah. It always is. Not tackling, not blocking, not covering. Not throwing the ball, not running good routes. All that stuff is concerning.”
Are you concerned that you’re running out of practice time because it’s November?
“No, because we have three opportunities left. Two of them on the road, one here. Would we like to have played better? Yes. Would we like to have run the ball better? Yes. Would we like to have done a good job on third downs? Yes. And we’ve just got to go to work and keep working at it.”
Did Nebraska bring more pressure than you thought they would?
“I thought they brought a little more.”
What’s the most important thing you need to do as a coach?
“Right now it’s this team being a team. From a staff standpoint and a team standpoint. I tell you, they practiced their tails off. Tuesday and Wednesday they gave as good an effort as any team I’ve been around. The physicalness with which they attack each other and compete. We have to keep doing that.”