Sept. 27, 2011
– Opening Statement
Last week was a good win. I think anytime you can open the conference season with a win, that’s a positive. You always need to try to defend your home turf and we were able to do that, and I think North Carolina has a good football team. We might not have played our best game but we played well enough to get it done.
So now as we move forward to the first road game in the ACC. Going to NC State, where their backs are up against the wall a little bit because they lost their first conference game. So, I’m sure we’ll get their best shot. Last year they beat us pretty good here. They scored more points than anybody since I’ve been here. We’ve got to play better, take better care of the ball, and see if we can get them off the field, which we struggled with last year.
On the play of Tevin Washington
I think he’s played well to this point. He’s been efficient for the most part with the offense and got the ball to different people. Certainly, he’s like everybody else, there’s been spurts that we’d like for him to do better but overall. I think you have to be pleased with what he’s done to this point.
On calling audibles at the line
Most of the time we change the direction of the play from one side to the other. Once in a while we’ll have an either-or. The two-point play was either-or. He [Tevin Washington] did a nice job on that. But most of the time it’s just changing the direction. And really, we’ve run probably less triple option plays to this point than we have in awhile.
On Jeremiah Attaochu (So., OLB)
He’s a very talented young man. I think he had a great spring practice and really, up until the Carolina game had not played with production the way I thought he would. He had a lot of production in that game. He’s growing. I think that he’s going to get better because he’s got a lot of ability, plays the game really hard normally and I think he has fun out there playing. So, I was pleased to see him do so well.
On preparing for NC State without Russell Wilson
They’re doing some of the same things (they did last season). Clearly, he (Wilson) can keep a lot of things alive because he was a talented runner. [Mike] Glennon’s probably got as strong or stronger arm than Russell Wilson. They’re not going to change a lot of what they do, I wouldn’t think. Where they have struggled a little to this point is running the football and last year against us they didn’t (struggle against us). They ran it when they wanted to
On kickoff teams
If you break down our kickoff coverage team, they gave up 18 yards a return… In the big picture that’s what matters, where they start, but it’s pretty hard to hold them inside the 20 if you kick it to the 20. We’ve got to do a better job kicking the ball. If you can hold people to 18 yards on a return on average that’s actually pretty good. The flipside is we’ve got to get our return game going. On special teams we did some good things. I thought our effort on extra point and field goal block was really good. We blocked a punt. We did OK in some areas. Just kicking the ball was terrible. Punting wasn’t very good and the kicking wasn’t very good.
On the punt block against North Carolina
I think that clearly anytime you try to do something it’s something that you see on tape or you think you do. The two freshmen did a great job. Kyle Travis, the one who lifted the guy up in the back wedge pretty good, and Darren Waller is a big, tall kid and he showed no fear in jumping over the top and got his hands up and blocked the kick over. Especially if you get penetration it’s a positive and we have to look at the tape of the next team and see if you can find a spot that you want to try to take advantage of as well.
On stopping third downs on defense
The way that we’ve played defense we’ve sometimes played well and sometimes it continues to be a problem. It doesn’t matter what defense you’re in if you don’t tackle people. A couple of those third downs we had chance to stop them and make tackles and the red zone defense has not been good. I think teams have been down there 12 times and scored 11 touchdowns. That’s not a very good statistic. We’ve done some good things, it’s a process, but it’s not like we’re holding any double secret stuff back waiting on a certain game.
On punt blocks as a momentum shifter
If you get pressure, hopefully the returns will be better. We haven’t pressured a whole lot. That’s something we’ve talked about that we need to do more of. I could probably count on one hand the number of times in my 37 years coaching where we’ve blocked a kick and lost the game. It’s a big momentum changer, it usually doesn’t happen too often. We wasted it because we pitched it on the ground down there. Actually this is one of the first games where we’ve actually set up the offense on the plus side of the field. We did it a couple of times and we need to take advantage of it.
On games on the road
You’re glad this is not the first one (road game). We now know what the routine is because we had a bunch of guys that had never been on the road (before the trip to Middle Tennessee). This will probably be a way more hostile environment than where we went on the road the first time. More people, bigger stadium. To this point our guys have been able to focus on the task at hand. Hopefully, we can do that and we talked about on Monday that you have to be dialed into this game.
On this year’s system compared to year’s past
There’s been guys pretty much since I’ve been here that you try to feed the ball to. You try to feed Jon [Dywer] the ball so you try to scheme to get him the ball. You didn’t want to let them take him away. Anthony [Allen] was a little bit like that. This bunch is a little more… it doesn’t matter (who gets the ball). You know what I’m saying, you just kind of run the system and if they want to take away David Sims then OK, we’ll give it to Orwin Smith. If they want to take away Orwin then we’ll give it to whoever. It’s not so much tweaking it to get the ball to certain individuals, as it is just kind of running the system.
On the 2011 Yellow Jackets
This team has been fun to coach. They work hard, they don’t complain, not to say that other guys do, but they’re fun to be around. They’re fun to coach and they want to be good. They listen and they try to do good things that you want them to do.