Evaluate your group after three games.
“Evaluate my group after three games? Getting better, growing, competing, so right there is my three words I would use. Always room for growth, room to get better. Still just trying to solidify the little mistakes, clean the little things up. Just getting better.”
Is it the week of practice that determines who’s getting the carries or the flow of the game or what is it?
“It’s a little bit of both. Week of practice, flow of the game- you never want to go in with concrete [ideas]. Just the week of practice is the overall deciding factor and then the flow of the game. The flow of the game, as the game is going, you kind of make adjustments. You’ve got to be able to make adjustments. Gotta make adjustments.”
Is that what happened on Saturday? I mean, De’Veon was having some trouble and so you said-
“No, De’Veon wasn’t having trouble. It was just the type of defense that they were playing, what they were doing, called for a little different runner.”
“Yeah, style-wise. De’Veon wasn’t having much trouble at all. He was getting the tough yards. You know, he was banging it in there, running tough, running hard, yards after contact- that man gets a lot of yards after contact. He’s doing a great job in that regard. Just needed someone that could slip and slide a little bit and that was it. Just a different style.”
When you talk about cleaning the little things up, what are some of those little things?
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
/smiles (I think)
[After THE JUMP: Things went well]
I would like to know, yeah.
“Uh, just basically like day one things. You’re trying to get me to give the opponent all types of cues, aren’t you? No, just basic little things. Not letting your eyes wander, understanding your track, staying on your track, and just not having wandering eyes. That’s about as far as I’ll go into that one.”
How close is Drake [Johnson] to being ready where you can count on him for a full game?
“I’m not a doctor and I’m not Drake’s knee, so I don’t know. Right now he looks good. He’s doing well. Of all the things we’ve asked him to do to this point he’s passed with flying colors, so up until now I would say he looks good.”
You don’t see any sort of tentativeness from him in practice just from coming back from injury?
“Did you see him in the game? He was jumping over people. There’s no tentative in Drake Johnson. None whatsoever. He’s that guy you had to hold back and just say, ‘Hey, wait a minute.’ In practice he was ready to go and you’d just say, ‘Hey, the doctors have a date for you. Let’s go with that date’ but there’s no tentative in Drake. No.”
Does it startle you at all to see him try and jump over people?
“It’s football. No. I mean, it doesn’t startle me. It’s just good to see him out there running. It’s good to see him without any apprehension or anything holding him back. You know, Drake’s full god. He’s ready to go. In his mind two weeks ago he was ready to go, so he’s ready.”
You seeing strides from Ty [Isaac] in what other areas than the obvious?
“Strides in Ty other than the obvious?”
Like in practice, habits getting better? Things like that?
“What habits would we be talking about?”
Maybe pass blocking and things like that?
“You talking about that one where he got run over? That what you’re talking about?”
“Little bit. Yeah, those type of things. He’s securing those things and getting those things a little bit better. Yeah. Like we talked about, like I said a little bit earlier, being able to trust. Can’t pass pro it’s hard for you to play, so he’s cleaning those things up, yes.”
MGoQuestion: On the run where Ty used a spin move to break off a big chunk of yards, it looked like that was trap blocked across the front. Was that the case?
“Now we’re talking scheme? Wow. Can’t talk about scheme.”
MGoIt’sWorthAShot: Had to ask.
“Man, we can’t talk about scheme. It happened exactly the way we drew it up. Run into the back, spin out of it, and get a long run. Exactly as we drew it up. Nah, I can’t talk scheme.
“One thing about it, what I’m saying is this: different runners, different deal. Ty has the feel. You know, he’s a little slipperier, little elusive, little more patient, so little things like that he’s able to feel and pick up and take it and go regardless of scheme. But that’s what he does well. One of the things Ty does well is he’s a really patient runner. Certain games patience is good. Some games patience is not good. You know, just that game patience was working for us.”
Offensive line talked about having to step it up after Utah. Can you talk about how the running backs have come as a group from maybe game one to this week of practice?
“I wouldn’t put a grade or I guess a measuring- like I said, we still have a long ways to go. It’s just me being a coach. We could probably end the year with 3,000 yards rushing and I’d still say we have a long ways to go, but to go from game one to now, like I said, we’re progressing. We’re progressing in the right direction. We’re going the right direction. You know, each guy’s going the right direction. Each game we’re improving. Each game we’re picking up little things we’re getting better at, so to give it an actual grade is kind of hard to do right now.”
What are some of your goals for the backs this weekend? I know last week BYU had trouble stopping the run against UCLA. What are some of the goals you build off of for this weekend?
“The same goals: have BYU have trouble stopping the run. No, basically it’s…each week is pretty much the same thing for us in the backfield: a) reduce- pretty much reduce, have no negative yards rushing, b) try not to leave any yards out there, meaning let’s hit the right tracks, hit the right marks, right cuts, let’s not leave any yards out there, and c) I would just say pass protection. Protect the quarterback. Let’s not try and give up any hits, any forced passes, you know, those things. That would be the keys and goals every week, and then on top of that let them do what they do. You know, why are they here? Why were they brought here? To perform and to compete and show us their skill.”
Harbaugh mentioned or praised the fact that the running backs haven’t fumbled this year. What do you-
/Leaves scrum, goes and knocks on wooden display case
“Alright, here we go. Back to the deal.”
What do you-
“If it happens…”
Yeah, it’s my fault.
What are you doing in practice, too, to keep them- they do look like they’re focused on that during games.
“Well, I make this joke every year and every time a back carries the ball. There’s two ways to really get put on the bench: a) get the quarterback hit, b) put the ball on the ground. And you can’t gain yards while you’re on the ground so a back who always is tripping and stumbling on the ground can’t gain yards you won’t play, and a guy who—you’ve never seen a running back run the ball without it, so you can’t fumble.
“Really just stress it in that way. All the guys want to play, so you’ve just got to put one stigma in their mind about sitting on the bench and then it kind of hits home. And then of course there’s little drills.”
How many times did you fumble during your career here?
“Uh…a few. Quite a few.”
And you got benched?
“Benched, yelled at, screamed, you know, some words. Some choice words. But, you know, fumbles happen in different areas and for different reasons. My fumbles came off of trying to do too much; trying to get extra yards in piles and situations where I should have just went down. There’s also carelessness and not focusing, there’s going down to the ground—I mean, there’s different ways you fumble, but you just have to address those things in each guy.”
You mentioned the running backs getting a feel for the game. Are you getting a feel for them and when to insert De’Veon or Ty or Drake now?
“Well, yeah. And like I said, the game also dictates that as well, the flow of the game. Yeah, I have a pretty good feel of who needs to go in and when and where.”
But De’Veon’s still the lead guy?
“I would say as of now, yeah. Yes. He’s the guy who’s [inaudible], so to speak. He’d be that guy.”
How close do you think Drake is to being- I mean, he may be cleared medically, but how close do you think he is to being completely ready to be an every-down back?
“An every-down back? I mean, that’s kind of hard because you have to understand the conditioning of the body. He missed the spring. He’s missed a year. These guys have had a spring of spring ball running and they’ve been hit in season, those type of deals. I’m not saying that his body can’t hold up but that’s a little different than being able to come in and withstand a lot of the pressure being an every-down back. I think you want to- as a term I use with him, you know, he’s been sick for a little bit so he’s not on solid foods yet. He’s on a liquid diet, so we’ll kind of introduce solid foods as we go.”
Where do things stand with [Derrick] Green at this point?
“What do you mean where do they stand?”
From the first games he had a decent amount of carries and that’s kind of tapered off a little bit the last couple games.
“Once again, it’s the flow of the game. Things stand really good with Green. There’s nothing that he’s not doing or he has- it’s just the flow of the game, and…I mean, if the game was great and we had a four-hour game all the guys would play. I wish I could get all the guys carries, but at this time just the flow of the game and how the game is being played and where we need to go and who I need to go with, that’s what dictates it. So, where I stand with Green: he’s not in the doghouse, he’s not in trouble, none of that. Like I said, just the flow of the game.”
De’Veon had the bulk of the carries in the first two games, and then the beginning of this last game. How did he deal with the fact that other people got more carries later in the game. Is that something that just mature-wise he kind of bounces back and is back at it? You know, some guys take that differently.
“This is called the ultimate team sport, and De’Veon is probably one of the ultimate teammates. He’s very, very, very caring of his running backs. He’s very supportive. I don’t know if you saw Ty’s run, I don’t know if you saw the side[line] but he almost ran me over and about six other people chasing Ty down the sidelines. So, very congratulatory towards Ty, very supportive. I mean, he understands this is team. Our ultimate goal is a Big Ten championship, national title, those type of things, so speaking of yourself doesn’t quite help that goal. No, but he’s great. He’s been great.”