Clemson Looks Ahead After Georgia Collapse, Focuses on South Carolina St.

Clemson hung with Georgia in the first half of their opening game, but a second half collapse thanks to Todd Gurley and the Bulldogs defense led to a 45-21 defeat of the Tigers. Gurley ran for 198 yards and three touchdowns, and returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score. He made the most of his limited touches on a sweltering night between the hedges, averaging 17.2 yards every time he got his hands on the ball and breaking Rodney Hampton’s mark of 290 all-purpose yards, set in 1987. Clemson head football coach Dabo Sweeney discussed the Georgia game and the upcoming game against South Carolina St.


COACH SWINNEY: Obviously coming off a disappointing loss from this past weekend. Missed a great opportunity I think to have a chance to steal one on the road and didn’t get it done obviously, but got a lot to improve on. There were a bunch of positives from the game, some things that we can really coach off of.

I’m excited to get back in the Valley. It’s our home opener, and we get seven opportunities a year. We live right here in this stadium. We drive around this campus 365 days a year, and it’s special when you get a chance to see this place come to life. So I’m excited about getting in the Valley and getting to do what we do with the Clemson faithful this weekend.

South Carolina State has got another good team this year. They went on last year and had a really good year and I think they have an excellent team put together this year, really good team. Coach Pough has done a great job with just the consistency in their performance over the years.

Veteran offense. Kind of the roles have changed a little bit last year to this year. Last year they had a real veteran defense. Had some young guys on offense and this year they have got a bunch of veterans on offense. They have got a lot of new faces on defense but offensively, they are confident, first of all. They are 1?0 and scored a ton of points in the opener so they are going to bring in a lot of confidence with that.

Their quarterback is impressive. He was more their wildcat guy last year, but he’s a guy that I think they will definitely involve in trying to create some opportunities for him in the run game. Very capable of making some throws.

Got a bunch of good skill people. Very impressed with their offensive line. They are well?coached up front and they are physical. It’s a good group. They have got some really good players. They have got a couple guys that we recruited.

Defensively, a bunch of new faces. Got a new defensive coordinator that came from Louisville and I think been with Coach Strong for a long time, since maybe all the way back when he was at Florida. They bring a lot of pressure. They are in and out of three down, four down, with their packages, and really do a good job and very impressed with just how hard they play. Obviously we’ve only got one game to watch, but I thought they played extremely hard.
Big thing, though, for us is to really work on Clemson. We have got a lot of improving to do in all areas this week. It is good when you actually have some game film now to coach off of, as opposed to practice, and got a lot of guys that have to learn and correct and stay confident. We’ve got to make sure that the commitment to the overall process of what we do and how we do it is kind of reaffirmed in a few guys.

But my objective is to see us get better as a football team this week. I expect that we will, and again, just everybody learn and correct and be confident. That’s what good teams do. All good teams after a loss, they refocus and they get better.

And as I told the team yesterday, the teams that finish in the top echelon of college football are teams that get better from a loss; that grow; that learn. There’s only one undefeated team last year, so everybody had a loss or two losses or whatever, and if you’re going to be a great team, then you have to grow and learn from those things.
Now, we could all be 1?0 today and having beat East Community College, and we’d probably have had the same mistakes but we probably wouldn’t grow as much those weeks from those mistakes. I obviously wish we had won the game the other night. Thought we were in position, had our chances. But just too many mistakes against a really good football team at their.

Place. Georgia deserved to win and Georgia is going to win a bunch of games, but I think Clemson will, too; if we improve and mature and grow into what I think we’re capable of doing. And this week is a big step toward that, and that’s my challenge to the team this week.

That’s my expectation is to correct a lot of these mistakes that we saw, things that were very, very correctible. So looking forward to getting back out on the field.

Health?wise, we are in good shape?? with Sam Cooper, just the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. He actually thought somebody had hit him with the football. He thought he had been hit by something, but he broke his fibula, which is the non?weight bearing bone. But we are very encouraged by his prognosis and I’m happy for him that we are going to get him back here in the short term.

So it’s good that we’ll play this week, and then we’ll have an open date. We have a couple weeks before we play again. So we expect to get Sam Cooper back, hopefully sooner than later. But other than that, we came through the game pretty good health?wise. Good to get a few of those guys back that weren’t able to play Saturday night. Glad to have those guys back in the fold, as well.

Q. You won pretty handily against SC State last year. Anything you see this time around that could be more difficult or challenging when you take them on?
COACH SWINNEY: No, I think they are a good team. I think last year we had a couple scores on defense. You score on defense, that’s a big factor in the game. I thought we just kind of got on them early and all three phases came together. When you put all three phases together, when you have got a talented group, that’s hard to overcome.
That’s what we did last year and that’s what I want to see this year. I want to see us put all three phases together, all three phases improve, get better in the areas that we need to improve in. As far as the score, I don’t care what the score is. I just want to see us get better, and I want to see us find a way to win, period, bottom line.

But South Carolina State, they will be excited. It’s a great opportunity for them to come. Again a few of those guys that we recruited that are really good players, really good players. No.10 on defense, a freshman, Leonard, that’s Anthony Waters little brother. He was a guy that we probably would have signed four or five years. He’s starting for them as a freshman. He’s a really good player, and they have got a couple linemen that we recruited. They have some guys, and they will come with AGame. But again it’s about us playing and performing to the standard that we have set.

Q. David and Corey were starting last year. How quickly do you give them their jobs back or how quickly do they earn them back?
COACH SWINNEY: Again they have done nothing to not be considered two of our best players. They just were not able to play in that game. But we have prepared and practiced with them all fall camp. We prepared for the season, not just one game.

Those guys, we’ll plug them right back in there and get going. We’ll see how we do today and tomorrow. Today and tomorrow are critical days for us from a practice standpoint and making some decisions how we are going to go into the game.

I loved both of those guys’ effort and energy last night on the field. Corey was ready to go. But again, consequences for your actions. I don’t have any doubt ?? I mean, those guys have been great since the spring, they really have. They have gone above and beyond, and I’m just glad that we can move on and they can get out there and go play.

Q. Any concern with the kicking gameas far as Ammon Lakip with the miss, is that an open competition? Is it that still his job?
COACH SWINNEY: It’s still his job. It’s one miss. I wish he would have made it. He’s 0?for?1. If he’s 0?for for a while, then we’ve got issues. But I’m not going to fire a guy because he’s 0?for?1.

Obviously that’s his job and he’s got to do that but we’re not to that point right now. Hopefully he’ll get better this week and hopefully he’ll grow his confidence a little bit more.

You know, it was a big kick. That was a big one, and that’s one of the things when you are always trying to make that point to your team about how critical special teams is, especially in games like that. Sometimes you can make a lot of mistakes and you’re just that much better than the opponent.

But when you’re playing against a very talented team, equally talented team, especially at their place, special teams is a lot of times, just it’s the difference. It really is four or five plays and if we didn’t change anything in the game, because we had enough mistakes to lose three times on offense and defense, and critical, correctible mistakes.

But if you just change the kick return and to make that field goal, we’re up seven in the fourth quarter. Won’t change anything else.

So that’s how important special teams is. We had a couple young guys on there that we’ve got to coach them. It’s unfortunate that you’ve got to?? sometimes you learn the most from some pain, but that’s part of it. Usually the biggest growth opportunities comes from a little pain and suffering and adversity. So we’ll coach from it.
I think Ammon is an excellent kicker. I think Ammon, I really think he’s going to have a great year. Wish we’d had a couple more opportunities the other night but he didn’t make that first one. And we’ll keep on plugging. Again, just one game and one field goal.

Q. How much of a concern was it from a tight end standpoint not getting off the line and not being a factor for you in the passing game?
COACH SWINNEY: I didn’t think our tight ends struggled getting off the line. We just didn’t really involve them quite as much as we’d like to, and a lot of that just got dictated into what we do. First half, we wanted to run the football, and we pretty much had our way the first half. Really did what we wanted to do. Probably played as good a first half as we’ve done in a long time.

Execution was great, with the exception of those drops that we had that killed two drives, but other than that, we were running it. And really liked what we were doing.

Jay Jay got in there and did a nice job, but we aren’t really throwing the ball all over the park. And then second half, we played backed up and we didn’t have the ball. I mean, that’s the offense’s fault. They were just three?and?out when we did get it. I think we only made two first downs.

But the whole time of possession completely flipped from first half to second half and just didn’t do a lot in the passing game. But those guys saying they struggled getting off the line and all that, I don’t think that’s accurate.

Q. Chad talked a little bit about I guess integrating young players, first?year players into a game situation too soon and perhaps maybe?? he implied that perhaps it wasn’t the perfect situation to give more exposure to first?year guys you’re going to count on as playmakers on offense. Was that pivotal in this game? Were you comfortable with the guys you have in those roles? Because it didn’t seem to me that there was anybody on the field you could say, he could make a play??
COACH SWINNEY: You talking about the freshmen? I don’t agree with that. Again, I think just the circumstances of the game in the second half changed drastically. We had all of a sudden just a rash of mental errors. There was one guy, two guys, one guy; we very rarely had 11 guys. And I wouldn’t do anything different, and it just affected a lot of things: Field position, backed up behind the chains, whatever it may be.

But we got playmakers. You’re going against a really, really good team. I think that’s a rush to judgment and a little bit of an overreaction. I think we have got really good players. As far as our young guys, you’re going to see some more of those guys as we go through.

But I think what Chad was saying is, I mean, that was a different stage, and some of these guys, it’s their first time to play and you don’t really know how they are going to respond; how is Wayne Gallman going to respond. Wayne did a nice job for what we asked him to do and he’s a guy you’ll see more of. He kind of catches your breath.
Same thing with Adam Choice. Adam Choice, a week or so ago, we were going to redshirt, and now we are going to get him ready to play. He wasn’t quite ready for everything with the amount of pressures and different looks that they presented. He wasn’t quite ready for that. But those two guys you’ll see continue to become factors in the running game.

And then those three young wide outs. Charone played a little bit on special teams. But I really love the look on Demarre Kitt and Artavis Scott. I thought they were ready and not overwhelmed with the moment. It was great to see Artavis make a great play. But again we had kind of limited opportunities in that second half.

You know, you’re going to play your best guys, and we have got a good lineup. We have got the best guys out there and we’ll keep developing the rest of our roster. But you’ll see a lot of guys mature and develop as we go through this year. You can’t?? one game, you can’t judge a season or a whole football team.

But I really like the young talent that we have. It’s the first time Joe Gore’s played. He’s played and been on the field but it’s been mostly he’s in backup role, he’s hurt all last year. So the year before, we threw him in there for about five snaps against LSU.

So it was good to see him, because he cares. Joe Gore really cares, and he played a really good first half. Didn’t play as well second half, fundamentally, technically and assignment?wise and so forth, but he really, really cares. I think he will drastically improve. He’s a guy that, like I said, up front, just hasn’t played a lot.
Jay Guillermo got some good playing time. He did a solid job and he’s a guy that’s going to get better. Reid Webster was a big, bright spot for us first time he started, and he’s got pretty good experience in his four years. But first time he’s been in that role. He really responded. I was very pleased with him.

So there was a lot of good things from the game that we can?? Jay Jay McCullough was a bright spot for us, kind of in flux right before the game, losing Cooper, big role that Cooper had in that game, and Jay Jay had not had some of those reps and he jumped in there and really showed more physicality than he had last year. I was impressed with him. He’s earned more opportunity.

So again, you’d have liked to have gotten the win to correct all those things because it just feels better because the fun is in the winning but we are going to improve as a football team drastically from what happened Saturday night.

Q. When you have a game like that where there is clearly so much good in one?half and not so much good in the other half, obviously you’re going to break down both halves of film. Which one was easier to teach off of especially for younger guys?
COACH SWINNEY: Both. Both. They are critical. You have got to learn from the success and you’ve got to learn from the failure and why, and you’ve got to be honest. Yesterday was a long, tough day, because, you know, you have honest conversations and everybody needs to know; and my job is to make sure that the offense knows what happened on defense, and that the defense knows what happened on offense and that they both know what happened on special teams and that everybody is on the same page, so that we can correct it.

That’s what getting better is all about. And same thing with coaching mistakes that we made. It’s everybody; it’s accountability, all of us and ultimately it’s a hundred percent on me. But everybody has got to have that accountability and that ownership.

It’s called teaching. That’s what we do. We teach. So you teach from everything. You teach from the good. You teach from the bad. You teach from the in between. And then you go practice and you get better and you get back out there. Everything in competition is about the next game, man, the next game, the next season, whatever, whatever it is. When you’re a competitor, you want to get back out on the field.

All I know is a win makes things just a little bit better. And then another win makes things just a little bit better. But we have got 11 more games, and I don’t have any doubt we’re going to be a really good football team.

Q. Do you look at these FCS games against FCS teams as a really good opportunity to correct mistakes and get people playing time? The last few years, these FCS games have been relatively easy for you.
COACH SWINNEY: That’s probably why a lot of these people schedule these games as the opener. You look around college football, that’s why a lot of people do that so they can play a bunch of people, see some guys that haven’t played. Probably make some first?game mistakes and maybe can overcome it, things like that.

But, you know, that’s just the way it is. At the end of the day, you have to play them all no matter when they are on your schedule. You play them and you live with whatever results you get. But I think it’s good for us to play an in?state school like this. I think it’s good for a lot of reasons.

I think it’s good for us to be able to have a home game here and grow our team. And I think it’s great for them because they get an opportunity to play on a big stage, and it’s great for our state because it keeps the money in the state and it helps them financially.

So I think there’s a lot of positives from that. You know, one of those a year, I think that’s good for football. It’s good for them. It’s good for us. You know, don’t get many of those opportunities.

Q. How much confidence can be gained from this football game to get guys believing and get the win for what’s going to happen when they get to Tallahassee?
COACH SWINNEY: Yeah, it’s very important. I mean, just cleaning up the execution from an assignment standpoint, getting guys consistently on the same page so that we can see what we can do. Because it makes a difference, when you’ve got 11 instead of nine or ten, it makes a big difference, and just correcting some of the mistakes.

At the end of the day, it’s about the little things. The game the other night is about the little things. It’s about the little things. We’ve been talking a lot about that. I mean, it’s stance; it’s footwork; it’s pad level; it’s hand placement; it’s alignment; it’s your eyes; it’s hat?in?hand shedding blockers; it’s catching the football. It’s little things. It’s taking on a wedge. It’s not the big things. It’s just little things.
So you want to see your team improve in a game like this and that’s what we’re looking forward toward.

Q. What’s the evaluation of the linebackers as far as gap control?
COACH SWINNEY: For three quarters, did a great job, we really did. The thing we have to do defensively is create the mentality that it don’t matter where the ball is or what the offense is doing.
We won the National Championship in 1992, and you know, we had a bunch of three and outs. We had a bunch of them. They were just fired up to go play defense again. They couldn’t get out there fast enough, and that’s a mentality that I think that I want to see us establish defensively.

I think defensively we got a little bit pouty the other night because they worried about what the offense is doing. Don’t matter what the offense is doing. Go play. Ball is on the five?yard line or minus?five, it don’t matter. Our job is to get stops.

And offensively we had probably our best offensive play of the game the other night, 60?yard punt. That’s an offensive play, 60 yards. We were backed up the whole entire third quarter and we finally, finally flipped the field. Instead of going out there and get a stop and winning the game on defense, you know, we give up an 82?yard drive, most of it on two plays.

I think a lot of that was mentality, attitude. We kind of faded a little bit in that regard from I think frustration of the moment, whatever it may be. And so that’s where we’ve got to grow, because we’re going to be in those situations again. And I think we have got ?? I think we have really good people on defense. I think we’ve got great talent, and I think that we have got good people that care on our defense. So I expect us to drastically improve and learn from what happened the other night.

As far as the backers, I think Tony Steward, he played a heck of a ballgame. He had a couple of times where he missed a steal and he was very disappointed in that, but we got a guy?? he also led our team in tackles on special teams. He had four tackles on special teams and was the first one down and played a ton of snaps on defense. There’s a guy that greatly appreciates his opportunity and is trying to make the most of it. He played a good game. Stephone didn’t play his best game. He cares. I expect him to bounce back and play better. I thought B.J. Goodson did a solid job. His particular job wasn’t necessarily set up to make a lot of plays, but he did his job and I thought played well.

Q. Do you think it’s easier to avoid distraction because Florida State is two weeks away after this week, you have the bye week in between. So the guys don’t really have to overlook or think about what’s ahead because they have to have the bye week for preparation and they can just dial into the task at hand and not worry about such a big game looming?
COACH SWINNEY: They had better get dialed in or they will get beat this week. Ain’t nobody right here talking about Florida State. Y’all might be but we’re not. They don’t get dialed in, [|]they’ll lose this week. We don’t correct some of the mistakes, we’ll get beat this week.

This is a team that ?? they are not going to come in here because they are playing Clemson and say, all right, give me a check, head on home. It don’t work that way. You got to earn it. You have to deserve it. I want to see our football team earn and deserve to win, I don’t care who we play.

So every game is huge. It always cracks me up when we try to create the mentality that one game is bigger than the other. They are all big. They are all big. If you don’t believe that, just come stand behind this podium and lose one of them. You realize just how quick, how big they all are. They are all big and we all want to win.

So that’s not even remotely in our mind. We’ve got to focus 100 percent on South Carolina State, that’s what we’re going to do, and we’ll move on to the next one. If the next one is Florida State, then that’s who it is. When that one is over, we’ll move on to the next one, and we’ll see where we are at the end of the year. But we have got to have the right mentality. The season starts today for this football team.

Q. I don’t know if you had a chance to follow what happened with the NFL over the weekend but a couple of Clemson that got named to 53?man rosters on Saturday and were cut on Sunday, and not without a chance to get picked up. Tajh was hoping he would get picked up by a practice squad. Seems like structurally that that’s a tough deal because there’s no place for those to go. Other sports, you slide down to the next level and you play and you get ready. Do you have any thoughts on that?
COACH SWINNEY: It’s hard. It’s hard. Listen, that’s why I tell our guys all the time, don’t buy the lie, man. Only 6.5 percent of high school players play college football, 6.5 percent. And only 1.67 percent of college players play in the NFL, 1.67 percent. It’s hard.

And not only?? there’s a bunch of them, all these guys that were cut this weekend, they were All?Pros. They are All?Pro players. If they were in our camp, they are a pro player. They are good enough to be pro players. But you know, there’s a lot of different reasons. Guys can play till they’re 40 if they want, if they are good enough. Finances, business, okay.

You don’t think Chris Clemons is good enough to play? They are going to give him $2.8 million dollars to play for the Texans. He played five years for the Dolphins. We’ll pay you $2.8 million; give you 500,000 guaranteed to come play. Well, all of a sudden, maybe?? I don’t know, maybe they make a business decision of, hey, let’s just write him that 400,00 or 500,000 and let’s take this rookie for 500,000, and we’ve saved 1.8 million dollars. That’s a business decision that gets made based on production and performance and all that kind of stuff. It’s a whole different deal.

That’s what I love about college football, I’m going to get five guys for four and five years, and you get to develop relationships and grow them, for life. That’s what I love about college football.

Pro football is different. It’s truly a business. You’ve got guys that made it on the 53 on Saturday and then all of a sudden them guys sitting around the table, they go, oh, well, such?and?such got cut. He’s been through all camp, he’s made the team and this guy got cut from some team over here, let’s bring that guy in. That’s just part of it. That’s why guys better get that education, because that education is ultimately what they all have to fall back on.

Play as long as you can. We have several guys that are in flux right now that are going to be on teams that I think will end up eventually being good players and getting opportunity. But it’s hard. It’s very, very, very difficult; timing, health, roster, who is on the roster already. There’s a lot of circumstances that go into it, and got to get a little lucky, too.

Q. A couple preseason All?Americans and some experience on the defensive line. What type of challenge do you think they might present to you?
COACH SWINNEY: They are. They have got three starters back in the defensive line and one of the starters got beat out but that No. 97 is a big ‘ole man now. He’s a full?grown man. That the quarterback from Benedict, he took some shots last week. He’s got my respect, I promise you that.

We’ve got to do a good job, and the biggest thing is getting them identified. They have got a nice package. Like I said, getting into their three down and four down stuff and the pressures that they mix with it; whether you’re in a three?by?one or two?by?two, or where your back is, whatever. They do a nice job. They do a good job disguising things, bringing safeties, bringing corners.

So we have to really be dialed in and have everybody on the same page. So it’s a good challenge for us. Nothing that we haven’t seen or practiced against, but it’s not easy. If you don’t have everybody dialed in, you’re getting hit with the amount of movement and the amount of people that they will mix?and?match in the pressures.

Texas Tech Football: Kingsbury Talks Central Arkansas, Texas El Paso

Texas Tech and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury had a surprisingly tough go of it against Central Arkansas this past weekend, squeaking by the Bears 42-35. Kingsbury answered questions from the media and previewed the Red Raiders’ week two matchup on Saturday against UTEP in El Paso at Sun Bowl Stadium in a press conference today.

Q. After you watched the film was there anything you saw different than what you witnessed on Saturday night?
COACH KINGSBURY: No, pretty much what I had said Saturday night, just not good enough, didn’t approach it the right way, and you have to give Central Arkansas credit. They came out and got right after us.

Q. What was it like with the team yesterday during workouts and practice and film?
COACH KINGSBURY: It was embarrassed, I’d say, after the game. We’ll meet with them today, but after the game, embarrassed.

Q. Did you look at the film? Is it an execution thing, an effort thing?
COACH KINGSBURY: It’s all fixable. I thought the effort at times was good. I think a lot of our younger new players that we’re counting on had the deer in the headlights look, which is disappointing, but it’s all fixable. It’s fixable and we’ll attack it this week.

Q. What were some of the young guys you saw encouraging things from?
COACH KINGSBURY: Justin Stockton would be one. I thought he ran the ball well, he stuck his nose in there, did good on protections, so other than that, a lot of those guys, first time starting it looked like it was the deer in the headlights look.

Q. Coach, it looked like you guys replacing Jace with Bradley, talk about his performance yesterday? You have to be excited about that?
COACH KINGSBURY: Very proud of him. Like everybody knows, he stuck around this summer and was voted team captain. Without him, we wouldn’t have won that game. He stepped up. Lot of guys were floundering around, and he stepped up and made plays. So just excited that he’s found that role and will continue to excel at it.

Q. What did you think of the offensive line and how they played as a whole?
COACH KINGSBURY: Not bad. I thought protection was pretty good. They were only rushing three guys most of the night, so it should have been. In the run game I thought we were soft at times. We have to continue to get better. Our running backs did a good job making people miss, but we have to get more movement up front.

Q. How do you fix the undisciplined penalties? What steps can you take to make sure that doesn’t happen?
COACH KINGSBURY: That’s a good question. We’ll work on it this week. Yeah, we’ll have some more punishments and see where it goes. But that’s just embarrassing to watch your team go out and do those things. As a coaching staff and head coach I have to get it right this week.

Q. Do you have an update on Rika?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, Rika’s day?to?day. It wasn’t as bad as initially thought, which is good. So we’ll brace him up and see how he’s feeling, but he’s day?to?day right now.

Q. I know you talked about Davis trying to do too much too often maybe. I think that was something he did last year. What is similar, when he gets in those situations, what happens for him mentally to get there?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, just early on just wanted to make every play. He throws the one in the end zone on first down, and throws one coming out on first down that basically goes for a pick six. Just got to go through your reads and get the ball to the play makers. He doesn’t have to do it all with the group he has around him. So did a lot of nice things, lot of throws, lot of completions, but once again, a couple crucial errors that he’s got to cut out of his game.

Q. The game’s going to start at 10 o’clock Saturday night. How do you get your team to play well and prepare for not an optimal time?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think after last week’s performance it shouldn’t be hard to get them motivated. It will be a tough week of practice. But we’ll push the schedule back, let them stay up a little later and sleep in a little longer, so their normal day seems as if it’s a normal Saturday kickoff.

Q. Do you have any experiences with players and coaches in the Sun Bowl?
COACH KINGSBURY: I do. When I was at the University of Houston, we played there twice. It was a tough place to play. One time we were number 12 in the country with Case, and went in there and got beaten by about 20. Then when we were top 10 in the country again, went in in 2011 and won by a touchdown. It will be a tough atmosphere. It will be rowdy that late kickoff, so we’ll have our hands fool.

Q. Do you think this is a team that can be galvanized by the road environment?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think so. I thought at times they handled it well last year. So I’m excited to watch them respond and more than anything respond to how poorly they played last week.

Q. What concerns you about UTEP?
COACH KINGSBURY: I think they do such a good job running the football. Jameel is a kid I coached with at Texas A&M, very talented athletically. He can hurt you with his arms and his legs, very accurate passer. Just watching the film from last week, they really pounded the rock against NewMexico, so obviously with what we put on film, they’ll be expecting to run the ball against us.

Q. What was the biggest message to the team of going up against UTEP?
COACH KINGSBURY: Just we’ll get their best shot. They’ll be fired up and they should be. I know after watching our film, they’ll expect to win the game, so we better be prepared.

Q. Have you talked with Case about what happened and reached out to him?
COACH KINGSBURY: Not yet, not yet. I was going to talk to him this week, but haven’t really heard all the dynamics.

Q. Does it kind of help having coached Jameel in that setting with him, coaching him at Texas A&M? Does it help you prepare this week knowing what you’re going up against?
COACH KINGSBURY: I don’t think so. I just think the offenses are so different. I know he’s a great young man, he’s a great leader, and he’ll do everything he can to help that team win, so we’ll have our hands full.

Q. Kliff, kind of off the subject, but student attendance across the country is down, what are you guys doing effectively to head the other direction here?
COACH KINGSBURY: That’s more of a marketing team deal I think. But that was incredible seeing all those kids. I heard there were a bunch that couldn’t get in, which is awesome for our team to have their peers in the stands cheering for them. There is nothing better than that. I know it means a lot to our coaches and our players.

Q. Which of those to you are okay based on effort versus just bad judgment?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think holdings, pass interference, those are plays guys are trying to make. But when you’re getting un?sportsmanlike conducts and substitution penalties which is on our coaching staff, false starts, offsides, things like that are just unacceptable.

Q. What was the demeanor of your leaders team?wise? Marquez and Webb, how did they carry themselves the last 48 hours?
COACH KINGSBURY: They’re mad, I think. They’re embarrassed just like we all are, and those are guys that showed up. I think some of our leaders played well and did their roles, but it takes everybody. We’ve got to get everybody on the same page.

Q. You guys were able to rack up 636 yards, but do you feel as an offense you left some things out there on Saturday night?
COACH KINGSBURY: Definitely. Having one that went for a pick six, and another one thrown in the end zone and then a safety, that’s essentially three turnovers right there. Then their offense converts six out of six on fourth down, 15 penalties. The whole deal just wasn’t good across the board, so we’ll get that straightened out this week.

Q. Does it drive you crazy the defense called three timeouts?
COACH KINGSBURY: No, I think that’s part of having some new bodies. We were trying to rotate some of the new junior college kids in. It’s their first time in that spotlight, and everybody reacts differently, but we’ve got to get them calmed down and get that under control.

Q. What would you attribute what they say is always a huge jump between game one and Game 2? Why is that typical?
COACH KINGSBURY: For us, I think, and the teams I’ve been around, just the young guys getting in, getting a taste of it, and being out in the bright lights, how fast it goes, the tempo of the game and things of that nature.

Q. Coach, you touched on it a little bit, but I know in a late game like that, talk about the focus that you’re going to have to deal with with this team?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, we’ll change our schedule a little bit, but like I said, we’re going to do some things to try to keep the time period during the day the same as it always is. I don’t think they’ll have a hard time focusing after this week.

Q. What do you feel is the strength of the Miners defense?
COACH KINGSBURY: Their secondary. Coach Stoker, I coached against him at A&M when he was at San Diego State. Does a really good job defensively. They play a lot of manned coverage, bring some pressures and they have a veteran secondary that will challenge our receivers.

Q. On Davis’s two interceptions, when you’re going over the film, where should he have gone with the ball? What should he have done?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, the first one was a bad play call, and nothing was there and he should have just thrown it out of the back of the end zone, his first down on the 10?yard line. The second one, he made a bad read, just missed it, tried to go for the home run instead of taking his check down. Only his 7th start. That’s what you have to remember about him. That is his 7th start. He was fired up, and revved up, and trying to do much at times.

Q. Are you going to alter any reps in practice for Patrick Mahomes since he didn’t have an opportunity?
COACH KINGSBURY: No, Patrick’s getting a ton of reps in practice. We made sure he got a ton of reps. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to play, but hopefully we’ll find some games we can get him in.

Q. Coach, are you comfortable with your secondary play this past game?
COACH KINGSBURY: Not bad. Those young guys, like I said, it’s going to be baptism by fire, and Central Arkansas went after them which they should. I thought they competed well. Went up and attacked some footballs in the air, but just continue to grow with them and they’ll get better.

Q. How did you feel the receiving corps did other than Marquez’s heroics?
COACH KINGSBURY: Not very good. Jakeem had some cramps where he was kind of in and out, and he did some good things. But our outside guys pretty nonexistent. Young guys that haven’t played a lot and didn’t do what they’ve done in practice. So we’re going to get them worked on this week. They’ll play better this week.

Q. What about your running back? You talked about playing well, but as a whole, how do you feel they played?
COACH KINGSBURY: I thought they ran tough. I didn’t think we had the movement we should get up front. I thought Q White stepped in and had some good catches, and Justin Stockton ran fearless, and DeAndre picked up where he left off this spring. I think he’s full speed again and has a lot of confidence right now.

Q. How nice is it to see a guy like Justin in his first career start? He took some hits but kept running tough.
COACH KINGSBURY: He’s a tough kid, heck of a player, heck of a talent. So, yeah, that will be a big piece of our offense moving forward.

Wisconsin Football: Coach Gary Anderson Discusses Heartbreaking Loss to LSU

The Wisconsin Badgers will have to rebound quickly after a heartbreaking 28-24 loss to LSU on Saturday, but do get the benefit of facing a Western Illinois team rebounding under second year coach Bob Nielson. Wisconsin is now 0-1 for the first time since 1997. Head Coach Gary Anderson talks about the game against LSU and the upcoming games.

COACH ANDERSEN: First of all, this was a tough game, what I think are two very good teams played against each other. We’ll continue to see how the season goes. Obviously we didn’t come out on the winning end.
When you break it down, you go back and watch it, there’s a bunch of plays you can go back and could have, would have, should have. Overall, I’m proud of the effort. I thought they handled a road game, basically. Anybody that was there would understand that.

It was definitely a loud crowd. It was in a dome. We handled that well, especially on offense. I was glad to see that the administrative penalties and ability to play in a loud situation, it was a big positive. It will pay dividends as we move throughout the seasons.

Proud of the kids. I think they played very hard. If we break it down, the issues came for us. We want to hit the negative, and then I’ll move on to some positives.

We lost the fourth quarter, obviously. We did not run the ball well in the fourth quarter. When we had to throw the ball in the fourth quarter, we didn’t throw the ball well in the fourth quarter. I believe it was 1 for 7 or whatever it may have been.

So that came with a lot of different scenarios from bad balls to drops, to protection issues, so on and so forth. So we’ve got to be able to execute in that area. From a defensive standpoint, we’ve been excellent on third downs all day long. They were 3 for 4, 4 for 5 in those situations. On third down, they converted third downs when they had to, and they ran the ball well. They did not run the ball well overall in the football game. You can look at the stats and say that.

But in the fourth quarter they really ran the ball 16 times. There was two kneel?downs. I don’t count those. Averaged five yards a carry. And that’s not going to get it done in the fourth quarter. So those are the issues that I believe that we had in the fourth quarter. And one of the plans to win is to absolutely win the fourth quarter. We didn’t get that done.

So on the positive sides, Michael Caputo had an outstanding game. 20 tackles is what we have him for. Ten unassisted and ten assisted, PBU, fumble recovery. Unbelievable game out of that young man. Melvin had a nice game also. I thought he carried the ball well. A couple times made something much out of nothing. When there was not a lot done, he found a way to get it done. A lot’s been asked about the situation with Melvin. Same thing I kind of said at halftime: The scenario was real simple at halftime. Melvin had a little bit of a hip flexor. Anybody that knows Melvin could see that on the long run, that he broke out in the second half there. It was very obvious that he had pulled up there at the end of that run.

We were trying to be smart with him as the rest of the game went on and trying to make educated decisions to keep us moving in the right direction with Melvin for that game, for the future. And it was tough sledding for any running back that was in there at that point.

So we didn’t run the ball a lot in the second half. Didn’t have a lot of opportunities when it was 3 and out most of the time. But again a lot could be taken from that game. Quality opponent. I thought they handled the travel well. And it’s a tough loss. It’s a game where we’re not going to sit back and say I’ll just move on to the next one.

We have a lot to learn. We’ll study that tape. We’ll study it hard. Put it in the back of our mind. But as I always say you’re never going to forget it because we have to learn from that game. There’s a recipe for success to get into these games against those big?time opponents and find a way to win. And we have to be able to tweak our recipe to get to that point. And that goes years back. And we’ve got to find a way to get over that hump. And it’s coaches, players, everybody involved.

Q. Do you have an update on Zagzebski and Herring injuries?
COACH ANDERSEN: Zagz, he came back with us, which was great, on the plane. And he’ll be out there moving around and should be ready to go. If not this week, for sure after the bye week.
So everything looks to be good for him. Warren will be a day?to?day situation with what he had with the little bit of the knee scenario. But he should be back shortly.

Q. When you say “back shortly,” do you have any idea how long that will be? Did you suspect at first when he went down it was going to be something serious that he could be done for the year?
COACH ANDERSEN: It’s always troublesome when you see both those kids down in those situations. And there’s never an excuse in football. But I was worried for Warren in that situation. He’s a tough kid. I was glad to hear the report when it came back what we thought it was.
Zagz extremely troubling. It’s another situation you can look at. I thought the team handled it very well. Zagz handled it very well with the team, when he went off the field. It’s hard now when you lose two senior defensive tackles and you’re already light in the freshman area.
Those kids stood up, did some great things. But I’m always concerned when one of my guys goes down, it bothers me a lot. But I’ll be glad they’ll be back with us for their senior years as we move forward.

Q. Since you haven’t had an opportunity to at least tell us why your decision going with Tanner, what was your rationale in making him your starter and continuing to go with him as your starter?
COACH ANDERSEN: I think the biggest thing is where are we at at the quarterback position with Joel and with Tanner. I still think there’s opportunities for both guys to play.
And as we go through time, and we went through last week’s practice, it was obvious that it was a situation that Tanner needed to be involved. And Joel’s going to be involved. It’s just the right time, the right situation, of making sure everything is where it needs to be, for him to be able to be part of the offense and be involved in the offense.
And we need two quarterbacks. Sooner or later you’ll have to have them both. Tanner is the starter today, but Joel’s going to fight like crazy to get some reps. There’s opportunity to present itself for Tanner to be able?? excuse me, for Joel to come in and play, so be it.
You can look at the numbers, if you want to break down just the numbers of the football game, whatever you say, whatever you want to say about the quarterback play, you can say whatever you want to say about the receiver play, the protection. It was the whole offense was the passing game. Tanner did some things, he made some plays, just like a quarterback has to, that we asked him to make, with his feet at times.
And walking into that game, felt like it was the best situation. And continually moving forward. I’m not saying it’s an open competition, but both quarterbacks have an opportunity. And we’ll need them both to be able to play. This team can handle that and both those kids can handle that without any problem.

Q. You said after the game you didn’t know why Melvin’s playing time, what it was in the second half. Were you unaware of his injury at halftime, the hip flexor? How does that mesh with Melvin after the game where he said he was fine?
COACH ANDERSEN: That’s the problem. Melvin is going to say he’s absolutely fine. This is where I get into a real problem. It’s like everybody wants to get into the kid’s personal business. It’s hard for me to be able to deal with.
If I’m off base, I’m off base. But all I can do is go by what a trainer tells me. And he’s the professional. So if I put a kid in harm’s way because I don’t listen to a trainer, then I’ve got a major issue on my hands, I don’t think I’m the person who I say I am.
I’m going to listen to people, do what they ask me. He gave me the information. He gave Coach Brown the information. And I don’t quite frankly think it’s anybody’s business to pass that on to somebody after the game. But apparently it is because that’s what I was told to do.

Q. Depending on how long Warren and Konrad are out, are you in a position to accelerate a guy like Patterson to get some playing time to help out on the inside, or is he still not close to being able to contribute at this point?
COACH ANDERSEN: Conor is ahead of Jeremy right now. Conor traveled with us. There was some thoughts and discussions on the sidelines, if we go down that road in that game, we did not. And Conor Sheehy is developing. Jeremy is developing. I’m proud of both kids, the way they’re working.
Today, I would say Conor would travel if we were going to go on the road. He’ll obviously suit up at home. But is he still going to play? Don’t know. And Jeremy would be behind Conor.

Q. You’ve talked about the things you look for from your quarterback, layups, big plays, manage the game. Did you see much of that out of Tanner in this game?
COACH ANDERSEN: I saw some opportunities that were?? there was a whole bunch of layups in this game, that’s for sure. We had a couple of?? we had a couple of chances in the throw game.
And comes to mind, Alex running down the sidelines. And that was a contested ball, dove out for it, didn’t get it. We had the misqueue on the wide receiver running an outbreaking route with the middle open. Throws the ball down the middle of the field where we would like the ball to be thrown but looks like Tanner made a poor decision and threw the ball in the wrong spot, which in turn he didn’t.
He obviously missed some throws he’d like to have back. We have a couple of balls in the air that are contested balls that we would like to see go our way. The one pick. It’s a contested ball. Can we go up and get that? We didn’t. And they did, and they picked it off and made a tremendous play in that area.
So do we need better play? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s?? no one’s going to sit here debate that, that we need better play out of the quarterback and better play in the throw game period. And there’s some bright spots and we’ll continue to go through that with both of our quarterbacks.

Q. Drew Meyer looked like he was struggling on a couple of punts, and I think he went to the locker room but came back, hit the other one. Is he okay? Was he banged up going into the game? Did he pull something during it?
COACH ANDERSEN: He wasn’t?? the word I got is that he just had some cramping issues in I guess his calf or foot wherever it was. And it’s concerning to cramp up in that situation.
But he’s fine. And we expect him to obviously punt the ball better than he expects himself to punt the ball better.

Q. You talked about Caputo’s great game and obviously Herring was a big factor before the injury and things went south after that. What about the linebacker play? How did they grade out after what you saw on film?
COACH ANDERSEN: Well, Marcus and Derek played very, very well. Michael was a little bit limited. He had enough reps to grade out on what a winning performance was. But I thought Marcus and Derek played very, very well. Organized the front, got guys moving in the right direction. We had some breakdowns when we got to the freshmen late in the game.
You know, that’s a big part of what we’ve got to fix as far as late in the game, losing the fourth quarter. There’s a lot of things that go into that. And we’ve got to fix it. But overall those two managed the game well. They were productive in tackles. They were productive in running to the football and managing the defense.

Q. You joined Twitter since the last season. Did you manage to stay off of it? Do you condition yourself not to look at it after the game?
COACH ANDERSEN: I dumped my Twitter. When I started Twitter, I thought Brian and I have talked about it. And I just think it’s the best. For recruiting, I tried it for period of time. The assistant coaches definitely need it. But it just really becomes one more distraction that I don’t need to be able to deal with.
I don’t think it helps myself as a head coach in recruiting. It’s a definite help for the assistants for recruiting people. But it’s just?? there’s no pleasing the world in Twitter, I guess, when I go back to it.
And coaching a position and being in the spots that I am right now as the head coach it’s just one more thing on my plate that I could eliminate. So I guess I’m out of the Twitter world.

Q. Because there’s such a long buildup to this opening game and what it all meant, how do you and the coaching staff and do you want the players to deal with avoiding a let?down, if you will?
COACH ANDERSEN: First thing is we’ve got to come back and study the tape. And it has to hurt. I recover when I see the kids, me personally. And I’m probably worse than they are.
But once I see them today and they’ll bring a smile back on my face and get me back where I need to be and get us refocused. We’ll walk out of here today feeling a lot better than we do today or we do at this time of the day.
But we’ve got a great challenge. If you throw in the tape a year ago, watch the team play against Minnesota, that’s our rival. We know how good our rival is. They’re a very good football team.
That game went back and forth deep into the third quarter, basically, and then Minnesota was able to score a couple times. I watched that tape twice this morning on both sides of the ball.
So it’s a very respectable team. Look at what they did in the first game. They scored a lot of points. It’s a spread team. It’s a major departure from what we practice against and what we prepared against for LSU. So we’ve got to get ready for that.
And on defense, there are a bunch of kids that play hard. So we have a bunch of transfers on their team, a bunch of junior college kids that are very good athletes. They’ll expect to walk in here, play well.
They’ve been to UNLV, and went to Minnesota last year. So the venue is going to be a big venue for them. I’m sure they’re excited about it.

Q. When you look at how well your defense played against the run Saturday, with Warren in and then the dramatic change afterwards, is it too much to just put it right on that moment that that’s where your defensive effort changed when Warren went down?
COACH ANDERSEN: I wouldn’t specifically say that. But I think I’d put Zagz right in there, too. When those two kids were both out, the amount of reps?? Goldberg had to take every rep. He ended up taking 50 plus reps. The plan was to keep him around 25.
And that’s difficult. Again, it’s football. But were we different without those two young men in there? Absolutely. There’s no question we’ll have to continually fight to overcome that until hopefully we get them back.
But they’re proven players. They played in big?time moments. They’ve got a lot of reps underneath them and they’re good.
When you lose that and replace it with a young man that hasn’t played, all those kids playing were on scout team last year and most were true freshmen. So it’s difficult. But again, we just have to keep on going. No excuses.

Q. Given the speed of that game, did you notice, when you look at the tape, did you notice anything that Tanner might have done either mechanically or in his reads that he’s worked hard to overcome and might have reverted back to because difference doing it in practice or scrimmage and LSU on the road, did he revert to anything he’s put the effort in to correct?
COACH ANDERSEN: I’m sure there’s many things that Coach Ludwig will go back and critique his own position. I’m far from being a quarterback guru. Talking to the offense a little bit, there’s some things, I think, we can do to from a protection standpoint to clean up the pocket even when it’s blocked cleanly and it has to do with the quarterback, what is his depth, where are his depths.
I don’t know the ins and outs of exactly what our offense is. I’m not?? there’s other coaches that that’s their job to get that done and get him in the spots. But we’ll definitely continue to work on it as an offense as a whole and I’m sure Tanner has many things he can work on. And we’ll keep on moving forward.

Q. No offense, but over the years I’ve learned not to trust depth charts. Are you sticking with Tanner as your starting quarterback?
COACH ANDERSEN: Yeah, Tanner will start the game this week. Yep.

Q. What’s your sense of the concept of playing FCS teams? Big Ten wants to wean itself off those games. I believe this is the last one you’ll play. Is that a good thing or bad thing?
COACH ANDERSEN: I think the stance of the Big Ten is to get out of that business. So my stance is to support our conference and that’s the direction we want to head.
I think you go into more conference games. We have the game like we just played against LSU. There’s a couple of other games you’d like to get this year. We happened to get Bowling Green in those situations, UCF in those scenarios.
Games are closing in. And the ability to play them, if I’m there and I’m at Idaho State right now and we’re at Northern Arizona, boy, this is a big hit not to have a chance to play those games.
But I’m here, so it’s a good situation for us to move forward and get one of those big?time games earlier in the year like we just played. Didn’t win it, but it’s still a great situation for us. We know a lot more about ourselves than we would have a year ago right now, I would say.

Q. In your assessment of your offense you talked about a lot of 50/50 balls that were contested that your guys didn’t come down with. That seemed to be a strength of the freshmen that you brought in at wideout? Has your process changed at all as you go forward with that depth chart?
COACH ANDERSEN: No, we’ll get Robert back this week. We had a heck of a time getting off of press coverage, and if you get pressed up on the line of scrimmage, obviously you’ll have a contested ball, if the corner does a good job and stays with you, that throws off the timing of the offense.
But we want the young receivers to progress. We’re asking them to progress. But you also want to be careful of the situation you put them in.
In talking to Corey Raymond who I have great respect for, the DB coach there at LSU, in his opinion he thinks this is?? and Steve Kragthorpe is also there, who I have a great relationship with. He thinks this is the best secondary LSU has had in a long time. And that was after the game that they passed that on to me. So I guess they’re pretty talented kids. They sure look like it on film against us.
So it was a great challenge. We didn’t do good enough, but we’ve got to get the young guys in the mix, yes.

Q. You mentioned Wheelwright coming back, you mean coming back physically from injury? And also was Jordan Fredrick still limited? I know he missed time in camp and he wasn’t on the field as much as maybe some people might have expected in that game?
COACH ANDERSEN: Robert Wheelwright should be back this week. It’s my understanding he will be back, ready to practice full speed today. He’ll have his opportunity to get into the mix. And that will be good to see where Robert sits. Hopefully that takes place.
Jordan has been limited throughout camp. We’re going to be a little bit careful with him again with the situation where he is. It’s going to be?? he’s got to?? we’ve got to pick our reps and pick our spots. Him being the spot that he’s in, we just gotta be as smart as we can to keep him moving throughout the season.
I’m not saying to protect him, because he’s definitely ready to go out there and play, but we want to kind of pick our spots of success with him, if that makes any sense to you.

Q. Speaking of your secondaries, how would you assess the way yours played, specifically Lubern’s debut?
COACH ANDERSEN: We left some balls over our head. And that’s as much of a swing in the football game as the fourth quarter. That’s the facts. If you take away the fourth quarter, what you’ve already talked, and we talk about the defense stopping the run, which is great, we had balls over our heads. It’s a broken play.
You can break that play down. I’ll see it for the rest of my life. Did we contain the way we were supposed to at the defensive end spot? No.
Did we lose our eyes with Sojourn and did we lose our eyes with Lubern? Yes. The ball comes out of there. Did they make a great play? Yes, they made a very good play.
The other one got over the top of us. The other touchdown, it’s third and 21. They throw a 10?yard or 11?yard, whatever it was, outcurl relationship and we can’t tackle a guy. So I would say in the back end we were very, very average, because we let big plays affect the game in a very negative way.

Q. Going back to the run defense, the touchdown that Hilliard scored to give LSU the lead, I believe they were in a three?receiver set. You guys countered with your base. Is that a Catch?22, because obviously that’s not your best run defense unit?
COACH ANDERSEN: We also had a mental error on that rep that caused us some issues.
We have an opportunity to potentially make a tackle, but as you watched the game, smart coaches now, the I back run game was not real successful at all for them. So they went away from it.
Started to do some more zone read and some stretch and different things from the shotgun scenario.
And the young man saw a hole. He hit a hole. Made a nice play. But switching from our base to our nickel. Our base defense is really structured to be able to handle any defense. By preference, we could be in base or nickel there.
I couldn’t even off the top of my head I could not tell what you the defensive call was right there. I don’t know. But I know we didn’t execute it the right way.

Q. Getting back to the freshman wide receivers, as well as some played in camp, was there quiet concern going in that they might struggle against press coverage because simply they’re going up against guys who are bigger and more seasoned?
COACH ANDERSEN: It’s always a concern when you have youth and when you don’t have guys that have spent their offseason or their camp or whatever the youth that get off that press coverage is very, very difficult.
That’s why you run press coverage is to throw the timing off the quarterback and the wide receivers. In a nutshell, that’s what you try to do.
And, yes, it was a concern. You need to counter that a little bit with the offense and we will as we continue to move forward. The anticipation of press was in this game. I felt like we got off and our number two receivers had some opportunities. We missed those opportunities. That’s what’s so tough to deal with is that we had a couple of shots that we got what we wanted and we weren’t able to again by protection wrong route, bad throw, we weren’t able to get that done. And in turn our throw game is not good.

Q. You seemed to be the more aggressive team in the first half. In the second, not so much. Was that the perception you took your foot off the gas pedal, does that enter into the analysis at all, is that a fair assessment?
COACH ANDERSEN: No, I don’t feel that way at all. I think, shift of the game plan a little bit for them, like I said on offense. We stayed just aggressive. Maybe more so aggressive by call in the second half on defense.
Offensively, we just never kept up with the chains, ever, in the second half. We got the one time when Corey came in, Corey ran it three times in a row, got a first down, I think it was 1st and 10 and, 2nd and 7, and 2nd and 5, and then he got a first down on three consecutive runs. That was about the only time in the second half that I can remember right now that we did it the way we were supposed to do it and try to keep the thing moving down the field.
The sustainable drives were just not there in the second half. Again, credit goes to them. They did a nice job. They controlled the football game and that is really hard for me as a head football coach to look at the team and you guys and everybody else and say we couldn’t get it done in the fourth quarter. That’s hard for me to swallow.

Urban Meyer Press Conference

Fresh of a surprisingly tough battle from Navy, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer discusses his team.

Urban Meyer: Just a couple of comments about our opponent Naval Academy. I’ve coached against Navy many times, against Air Force several times. Army I think once or twice. And tremendous respect as most people do for the discipline and the way they play. This was probably the most talented of all the service academies that we’ve coached against. I remember one year, Army, I think Ed Warinner was there when I was at Notre Dame, they won 10 or 11 games.

They were a top 20, top 15 team. I remember leaving that field thinking they were extremely talented. I thought this way about this group. Very talented, very experienced. And it was exactly what we expected. And J.T. did okay. He was 12 of 15, he had a drop, a pick, an interception, an interception, a drop and a throw away, those are three incomplete passes. We shouldn’t drop a ball, very ill advised pass on the red zone. And then a throw a way where we got beat quickly up front got rid of the ball which was a good job.

Interesting thoughts I shared with our team yesterday. Review that with you. Offensively that was very poor the first half, very poor. We had a punt, a field goal, a punt, our first three drives, you can’t do that in that game. And I knew that going into the game and that’s why get pretty uptight because every possession, Navy can score at any time, plus sometimes you only get three or four possessions a half. But once again punt, the good thing is when we did punt we dropped it on the minus 1?yard line. We did hit a field goal. We had a punt again, I believe that was 3 and out. And then we threw an interception and we closed with a field goal. And that was, that kind of a first half usually if your defense isn’t hanging in there, you have a problem.

Second half was much better. Had turnover on downs and three straight touchdowns. Our defense scored for us. They gave us the ball at the minus 43 and the plus 41 twice, obviously. We’re down 14 to 13 and we went for it on fourth and two and we came right back and we held them to five yards. That was on a Curtis Grant. That was that series of plays. That was the difference in the game. We spent a lot of time talking to our team about that. Chemistry on our team is very good. There’s a tendency to, when you go for a blocked punt you run into the punter, when you go for it on fourth down why did we do this, why do we do this, I think we make it very clear we’re probably going to go next week for it.

So let’s get ready. When they say defense your job is to stop people. And Coach Fickell and Coach Ash made the comment to me it’s the best they’ve seen in the last couple of maybe three years even as far as just when it’s sudden change situation or a fourth down you don’t get it. You just go do your job. And then just that once again the series of events on we’re down 14?13. We went for it at midfield. You’re midway through the third quarter. If things don’t work out, they score, we’re down by 8, and you maybe get two possessions left in that game. And that was what was going through my stomach after we didn’t get it on fourth down. But we get the ball back and they punt the ball at the end zone, 80?yard touchdown, you take control of the game a little bit. Very important series in the game, that’s why I made such a big deal about I thought the defense?? gave up far too many yards. One series was disturbing. They ran a little counterplay, first time they ran it, and a four?play drive for 80?some?yard touchdown.

Other than that I thought our defense hung in there very well. Champions for the game. Doran Grant and Tyvis Powell. Two first?time starters there with Darron Lee, Tyvis Powell. Doran Grant graded out 100percent. Didn’t throw the ball but eight for eight making plays. On offense, your champions once again are guys that play with championship level effort in execution, Devin Smith graded out 88percent, two touches for 94 yards. Evan Spencer played very well, blocking downfield. He’s one of the top two or three blockers we’ve ever had at wide receiver. Dontre Wilson graded out at champion, five for five making plays. He did have a drop, I should say five of six. Eight touches for 90 yards. Our two tight ends played pretty good Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett. And then offensive line Taylor Decker and Darryl Baldwin. Ezekiel Elliott was Player of the Game. Those are our champions. Night game, Ohio State?style, which was very unique. Our players are excited. Our fans are excited about it. We got a very good opponent, coach I’ve known for a long time. First time I’ve ever played against him. But they are what they are after not really studying?? we studied a little bit in the summer and offseason. And one of the top five defenses in America. Really good defensive coach. Offensively last year they struggled but this year they have a quarterback that’s a transfer that’s thrown the ball very well in the one game. So I’ll answer any questions for you.

Q. I don’t think Marcus Baugh made the trip. Can you give a stat uses update on Marcus Baugh?
COACH MEYER: He’s suspended for two games. He’s not going to play this game either.

Q. You talked some about the offensive line after the game. Getting another look at it, what did you think overall the line play and what can you expect making a jump from week one to week two?
COACH MEYER: We were very disappointed early in the game. We had some pressure?? we wanted to throw the ball earlier and it wasn’t because of J.T. or the wideouts because I thought our guys had made plays and I have a lot of confidence in J.T. we couldn’t have minus yardage plays and it didn’t start off very well.
So I think they settled down much better, played much better in the second half. And we just, there’s a couple of guys never really played at this, played major college football. Billy Price, Jacoby Boren, Darryl Baldwin really hasn’t played. Half line has and Taylor Decker. Three of the five, that’s the first time in that environment. I thought the second half they played pretty well.

Q. And you talked so much this offseason about pass defense and everything you overhauled. You play the first week??
COACH MEYER: I think we’re ranked pretty high in pass defense.

Q. Are you just curious to see against a team that’s more traditionally offense?
COACH MEYER: Real curious. We have to shift gears. Excuse me. Shift gears. We have to shift gears. That’s a tough?? I trust our scheduler. That’s our AD. He’s great.
But that’s getting ready for that game is tough enough. It’s just now you have to go back to pass defense that’s brand new. So we actually started in earnest yesterday on the field. When usually we don’t do much on Sunday. Yesterday we did. Get back to see if we improved our pass defense.

Q. So many questions with J.T. going into the game, at least on the outside. Anything you learned about him that you didn’t know about him before the game, and is this a guy you believe you can still obtain the same goals you did with Miller?
COACH MEYER: I believe so. I believe anytime you lose a great player, we’re not a group?? I’m just sharing with you what I tell our players too, Braxton Miller Big Ten Player of the Year twice back to back.
To say we’ll be fine?? we have to have someone pick that up. We need 100 plus yards of offense. We didn’t have it Saturday. We need some of those skilled athletes in space. When they get in space, you saw a couple of those guys that got tackled. You’d like to pull through some of those tackles.

So I was not surprised at all by J.T. I thought he handled himself very well for his first start.
You take away the interception, and I think he did very well. And I’m trying to think what misfires he had, very cognitive quarterback. Very smart quarterback that gets us in the right plays and makes the right decisions.

Q. Unique opponent, unique offense in the opener, a lot of history and tradition. And intangibles there. Is this more the type of game these kids came here to play, night game, TV, well known?? will the jitters be any different? I guess not because it’s a home??
COACH MEYER: Someone told me all the excuses were there last week. You didn’t hear us bring it up very often. Nine new starters on offense. The good thing they’re not nine new starters. They’re veteran players now. Enough with the excuses and get going.

I just think of our D?linemen. Joey Bosa didn’t come to Ohio State to squeeze down blocks and keep people off his ankles. That’s what he had to do last week. He came to rush a quarterback and penetrate. So there’s big smiles across our defensive line right now to let them go play.

Mike Bennett, how did you play Mike? And I don’t know if he graded champion or not. He said I got double teamed every snap and one guy was trying to take my knees out. That’s all legal. It’s really good football, to be honest with you. But it’s not what?? to answer your question they certainly didn’t come to play in that kind of game, the defensive line.

However, I will say this, you come to Ohio State play that?? that was a great atmosphere. Pro stadium. And against a very good opponent.

Q. Building on Bill’s question, you said after the game, a lot of work to do. But how much can you really take from that? How good do you feel about the community going in, what can you take from that game?
COACH MEYER: Concern number one is offensive line. We’re facing could be, trying to think the rest of our opponents. This will be one of the top 2, 1 or 2 defensive lines we’ll face every year. Our offensive line did not play like an Ohio State offensive line. The standard was set many, many years ago.
I think Coach Warinner, the last two years really added to the reputation of Ohio State offensive line. We did not play like that.

The second half we played pretty good. But pretty good is not what we expect. You play pretty good this week you won’t win that game. So we have to get much better fast in the offensive line.
On defense, you don’t take much from that. Because I didn’t see a lot of missed tackles. I saw a couple of execution errors on a new play they put in, first game of the season those things happen.
I’m not concerned about that. I’m looking forward to watching how our pass defense has improved.

Q. Question about Darron Lee. Obviously huge point. This overall, can you kind of talk about his development?
COACH MEYER: He did grade at champion. Eight tackles. He’s a guy that is a product of offseason program met drills of all the different ways we try to develop some toughness around here. He’s a quarterback from local, New Albany quarterback. Starting in one of our tougher guys on defense that throws it around.
So I thought?? I was not surprised. He’s been practicing like that since spring ball. Kind of came out of nowhere. Didn’t expect that in spring practice.

Q. They’re both tall to me but Michael Brewer and J.T. Barrett are I think considered undersized as a quarterback. Is the game any more favorable to that sized quarterback now than it was when you started?
COACH MEYER: What a great question. I think space has made it a little bit easier, back when you had masses of people in front of you all the time. That’s a great question I never really thought about.
We had Chris Leak, an undersized quarterback, Josh Harris. And Braxton’s not gigantic. I think that would be very good research.

I think mobility has kind of taken over the 6’4″, 6’5″ guy that can’t run. There’s some great ones out there. The defensive coordinators would like to get after those guys because the threat of him doing something with the ball is not really there.

Q. Can I ask what you think makes Frank so successful. I know the past two years aren’t one of the better?? he’s one of the winningest coaches in the FBS?
COACH MEYER: I’ve had so much respect for him. When I was the?? I was the receiver coach and Bob Davey came walking in said you’re the special teams coordinator, I said I don’t want to be the special teams. I didn’t really say it like that, because he would have said you’re out.

But he was one of the guys I went?? because Beamer Ball something that’s been around for a long time. And I would like to think we’ve patterned ourselves ever since that was in 1999 or something like that,’98, when he said that. That’s when my appreciation for special teams and then I see what Virginia Tech did for so many years.
I studied them in person and I studied them afar ever since. He set a standard for?? he’ll go down as how they won games, first of all, he’s a classy guy that does things the right way. But second of all his style of play is so unique for many, many years. Obviously he’s a legend.

Q. Urban with J.T. at quarterback, I remember two years ago you said the same thing about Braxton, add a little more to it each week. Is this a situation where you were fine with what he’s been doing or do you add a little more to add to the flavor?
COACH MEYER: We’ll expand a little bit. He was just in there. Tough week to do it against. The one thing they’re not overly complicated. They just play very, very hard. Yes, we will keep giving him more and more. We went into a very vanilla last week.

Q. You kind of referred to this, running game, both offense and defense against and for the run. You were okay with the way you ran the ball and for the most part the way you defended?
COACH MEYER: Take away one series, and I know that’s really not the right way of looking at it. When you look at the score being 7?6 at halftime I thought our defense played outstanding. That’s 21?6. We were in a bad?? and really their touchdown, that was when the ball hit the pylon, that was a close call as well.
So I’m okay with overall running the ball and stopping the run, that’s not going to get it done this week, but first guy out I wasn’t that disappointed.

Q. Dovetailing off that, for your running game, the carries were very evenly distributed it seems from backs. Going forward is that the way you like because you have guys that can carry or do you need somebody to be a 15, 20?carry guy? What are you looking for this week and down the road?
COACH MEYER: Last year we had a guy that was a 20, 25?carry guy. We have some pretty capable players. We also don’t have that body type to go just slam it in there so many times on the offensive line. And so that’s a good question. We’re going to let it see. I know there’s a lot of guys, Rod Smith had the play of the day. He held a block on punt return for 11seconds. And the way we do our business here, that entitled him some carries.
I mean, it was one of the greatest efforts I’ve ever seen on a play for 11seconds he locked down a defender and then knocked him down at the end of the play. If we could get?? one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen.
When you see guys doing that type of thing, Jalen earned some carries and Donte certainly has. You have Zeek and you have Curtis Samuel, all these guys earning these carries. And so it’s probably going to be like that again this week, just because these young guys have earned these carries.

Q. One quick, you just touched on it the pylon. What was explained to you about that? I guess the rule is if you touch the pylon in any way it’s a touchdown. But he hit it from the back instead of the front. Just how was it explained to you or was it?
COACH MEYER: It wasn’t. I’m not one of those guys that rant and rave at officials, and I know there’s a replay, I heard there were two calls. We sent the one in as well where Zeek rolled over a guy on the third down and 4 and I didn’t really study it that close, but we sent it in I’m waiting on the response back.
If it touches the pylon, it’s a touchdown. The question I had is did part of his body go down or out of bounds before he did it. Great play by that kid, because he was out of the??

Q. And the other thing, Devin Smith all of a sudden just pops up every now and then makes a huge play. You’ve been with him, around him for three years now. Explain what he’s about in your opinion.
COACH MEYER: He’s the best “D” Ball player?? we’ve done this for a long time, I want to say one of the best “D” Ball players we’ve ever had. He adjusts so well to the ball. He caught someone said 18 or 19 touchdowns, average 40 yards per catch on a touchdown. That’s unique. Extremely fast. Tracks the ball down very well. It’s not like we’re holding him. The team we played against was a very soft zone. They weren’t going to give you the deep balls, and they had a coverage mistake, that’s how that happened.

Q. Was that played not only for him but for J.T. to recognize, you understand what I mean, did everybody kind of build on that one?
COACH MEYER: We wanted to do that early in the game. It was actually the same play where we caught Dontre on a 30?yard pass in the first half, same exact play except it was designed?? each levels play, designed to take a look deep first. If it’s there, take. If not, come down, check two to three.
And they mis?hit the coverage. That’s always a big part of our?? one reason Devin’s doing so well in our offense that’s the number one look on all of our, not all of them, the majority of our play action passing game.

Q. You mentioned you guys maybe came out a little vanilla and then could you explain the play book for J.T. this year. Is there a learning curve for coaches just like there would be being prepared on the field learning what he does well, how you’re going to call plays?
COACH MEYER: Once again, I think Barrett’s part of it. The offensive line is a big part of it. What can those guys do and what can they do well. We’re expecting them in next couple of weeks to be able to do it all well. It’s not just J.T. When we say expand the play book, it’s for J.T. and it’s for the offensive line.
And once those two groups come together, which I’m expecting that to happen rather quickly, it better or we won’t win this game, then we’ll continue to expand it.

Q. Coaches always say this time of year that they expect the biggest jump maybe from week one to week two, just for J.T., what do you anticipate will be an area where he can make some strides right away?
COACH MEYER: Good question. Just trying to think of the mistakes he made. He was pretty just good. More dynamic, 16?yard run, Ezekiel led on the draw play. And he’s done pretty good. He’s just not the dynamic guy. Wouldn’t mind, when you go, go. But he played pretty well.

Q. We’re all asking about J.T. It seems like a lot of your answers are you lack confidence in your offensive line right now.
COACH MEYER: The second half helped. Spring practice did not help. Training camp helped. And then the first half did not. The second half really helped. So to say I don’t have confidence is probably not fair, because we called on our own 20?yard line a play action pass to go win the game.
I wasn’t going to do that in the second quarter. In the second half I gained a lot of confidence, because I saw their demeanors change at halftime and there’s a redshirt freshman out there playing, a senior that hasn’t played much competitive football and there’s another guy, another young player that hasn’t done much.

Q. And you guys didn’t have a whole lot of plays in that game. I think you only had seven in the third quarter. Did you get everybody in that you wanted to offensively?
COACH MEYER: No. Raekwon McMillan, we have to get him in the game. He got on some special teams. Erick Smith got on some special teams. Sam Hubbard is close. Johnnie Dixon is close. We have to get other guys in the game.

Q. Pretty similar to that as far as the freshmen. I remember after last year you said you wanted to make sure those young guys were more ready to play after some of those guys didn’t get a chance to get in a year ago. I think only four played in that first game against Navy.
COACH MEYER: Only four played?

Q. True freshmen from this?
COACH MEYER: It could be more than that. They have to earn that time. But Raekwon will play this week. And the other names I mentioned are getting better and better. And Donte Booker had?? he cut his foot on something and so he wasn’t really ready to play. We gotta get him ready to play as well.