FOOTBALL: Media Availability – 9/4

FOOTBALL: Media Availability – 9/4

A lot of positive things in
our opener, especially playing, as what I was told,
10 true freshmen– 18 players making
their college debut– and just starting the season on
a strong note with a victory. I thought it was a solid
performance by all three phases and a nice starting place
with still plenty of room to improve. Always, always nice
to win the opener and then apply the feedback as
necessary to generate momentum going into week number two. One of the nicest surprises
was Lester Coleman’s punting. He did a really nice job. In fact, one of the biggest
plays of the game, I thought, was the punt from roughly– I think his feet were
on our 15 yard line, and the ball ends up
on the opponent’s six. And so that was a giant play. He also– no fault
of his own, there was a ball that could
have been downed on maybe the two inch mark
from the yard line. We didn’t cover it as well
as we would have liked, but that was a really
nice pooch punt, and there was another that was
inside the 10 or 12 yard line, as well, that I liked. So I would say his performance
was a surprise to some extent that it would not only be
positive, but that consistent. In the first half
versus Ohio State, Indiana ran more plays than
we defended the entire game the other night
so you’re looking at almost double the output
in terms of energy expenditure and volume of
plays, but you also have to have a healthy,
fast, and fresh team. And so we have some
ideas, and obviously having defended our own
offense for a long time at Brigham Young– and a year ago we had a small
taste of it against Oregon. So we have ideas, but again,
each team, each roster– you have to manage it a
little bit differently, so we’re working on that. A fast team that’s been very
intentional and specific about the type of players that
they’ve selected and recruited with a very clear
brand of how they want to play the game, which allows
you to attract players when you’re really clear about
your brand and the type of play that you would like. Then you can select
players and sometimes get a little bit higher
quality in relation to what you need versus kind
of the national competitive marketplace, and
so I think they’ve done a nice job
attracting and developing players in a style
that gives them a competitive advantage
versus their peers. Pretty unique in that league,
and even though there’s tempo, they’re a physical
football team. I think they’re tough. They’re physical. They’re they run for not only
yards, but with toughness, and defensively they play hard. And I think they’re
physical, as well. So a great match up
or a great yardstick coming from, obviously, the
state of Utah, and our rival there, the University
of Utah, played them in their bowl game a year ago. And Indiana ran the
ball effectively, was physical against the
physical team, and matched blow for blow, and had a
great chance to win the game. So that’s a pretty
reliable metric for me in terms of a
point of reference. I think every game is
important, and I still think there is huge
value in our opener. I think every college
football game is hard to win and has its unique challenges. There’s always
potentials of upsets, as we learned this week, as well
as last year in any given week, and managing your current team,
and assessing where they are. So I have a better
idea, and I’ll have even a better
idea after week two, and then I’ll have a better
idea after week three, and then I’ll have a better
idea after week four. So the season and our team
is much like a jigsaw. You can kind of see pieces come
together, and a little bit more of the picture is formed,
but it takes time. It was most
definitely different. Like you said, going over
the calls and the checks were just spot on, and
we knew what to do, and we knew what to
expect, and we knew how to play with each other. And it’s just something that
comes with being in spring ball together and also having
a full fall camp together. It just showed how
relaxed we were and how poised we are, and
shows how good our defense is, and we’re just only
going to get better. We’ve just got to
improve all our game. Last week, William and
Mary didn’t throw that much against us, and we’ve got to
get ready for the throwing game, and we also got to
stop the run, as well. So there’s all aspects of the
game we’ve got to focus on. I mean, special teams, offense– we’ve got to contribute as one. They impressed me. They were very physical
up front with Ohio State’s offensive line. I thought they did
a lot of movement in the first series that
was kind of throwing them off guard, and I think
we have to practice that this week to make sure
we got it under control. It’s a really good feeling
to go out there with– knowing Coach Tujay
has confidence in me, knowing Coach Anae
has confidence in me, and knowing Kurt, and
Jordan Ellis, and Hamm– they all have confidence
in the O-line. And it makes you feel real good
when the play calls come in, and they’re running the ball,
and running to the right, running to the left,
running up the middle. They have confidence
running between the tackles, and it kind of fires you up. Obviously, like you said,
we had some negative plays, guys getting in clean
through the back field, which is some things we’re going
to clean up as the offense. So when you take that
into account and then just being able to push forward
to get those yards, I think we can reach our goal,
which is four yards per carry. We just want to get
there and just keep being a force inside the box,
outside the box, wherever we have the ball in
our hands, and just being able to contribute
to this team the way that we know we should. You know, it’s a
college football team. Like I said, it’s
a Division I team. No one overlooked
William and Mary. We knew they were going
to come in and give it everything they had. They play 11 guys just like
we do, so respect to them just like I respect
any other team that we face on our schedule. So just coming in,
we’re expecting to go in, give it everything
we’ve got, and play to win. That’s the only
benchmark that I know– play to win.

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