Sept. 17, 2013
Tough loss Saturday night for our program. Great football game for a fan. It was exciting, back and forth. There was lot of offense, but couldn't get it done in the end. We had several chances to get the last drive of Oregon State's stopped, but we couldn't make a play. They found a way to make every play that they needed to. It was disappointing, but there were some positives that came out of the game. I was very impressed and pleased with how the offense is moving the ball. They got a lot of yards and a lot of points. We did turn the ball over three times, which is far too many. But we're doing some good things on offense. The explosiveness of the offense continues. Through three weeks we've been able to make a lot of explosive plays. We have had several long, sustained drives that resulted in scores, and that was good to see. In the kicking game, Andy Phillips continues to be a positive. He drilled a really crucial kick in overtime. That is not an easy kick to make under those circumstances, and he did a nice job. Defensively, we continue to play the run tough. There are some positives to draw upon and hopefully build on, but overall, a loss is a loss and that's not how we wanted to start out conference play, but we have to look forward now and move on to the next opponent and regroup and try to correct our weaknesses and deficiencies.
On the defense and creating turnovers:
That's our biggest issue on defense right now, is our lack of takeaways. Pass coverage is a close second. Particularly interceptions. We have not been able to get the ball turned over to our offense. For our offense to do what they did, on essentially with no short fields, makes it even more impressive. We have got to find a way to get it corrected. It's something we work on constantly in practice and it's not just something that we hope happens, but so far this year we've had a turnover drought on defense. And it's really carried over from last year. Last year we were not very good at turnover the ball over as well.
I really believe in our defensive staff. Kalani Sitake has done a good job on defense for us for a lot of years. Personnel changes, certainly. Anytime we can upgrade or think that one particular player gives us a better chance to win than another, that's certainly going on, but that's always the case. In that game on Saturday, if we play the fade correctly, it's a whole different outcome. That's almost a ridiculous statement though, because we didn't. But that was really what hurt us, was those five or six fade balls. We only made a play on one. That quarterback was dropping dimes in there. He was putting the ball right on the money and their receivers were going up and making the contested catch. We were in position most of the time. A couple of times we were out of position because we lost our eyes and we were undisciplined, but the majority of those fades were right in position. We have to find the football and make a play on it.
On the BYU game having an impact on recruiting:
There is a lot less head-to-head than there used to be in recruiting. Certainly it's a positive if you win the game but it's a negative in a lot of respects if you lose it, particularly in-state. But I think if you look at the players that we are recruiting and coming down to the wire on there is not a whole lot of crossover in that regard.
We've really kept the same footprint as far as our recruiting areas - Texas, in-state and California. Coach Erickson has allowed us to branch out into Florida some - we had a bunch of official visits going on this weekend and we were very successful in those visits. With recruits making such early commitments nowadays - a lot of times you don't even get into a battle because guys have decided their junior year before you get to the heat of the battle - I just think that there is not a lot of common ground between the players that we are targeting.
On Travis Wilson:
They certainly have to account for Travis running the ball. We actually missed a couple of reads - if he reads a couple of other ones correctly, he's over 200 yards rushing. Even though we had a big night, it could have been even more prolific as far as his carrying the football. But that definitely poses problems for opposing defenses and coordinators. Travis, through three games, has proven that he's a very viable runner. So that's one more thing that they have to account for when they are scheming us. That is a big positive.
We talked about the interceptions after the game. One of them was not a very good route, so that wasn't really on Travis. Another one the DB made a heck of a play and one of them was just a bad decision and bad throw.
His mental state is good. Travis is a tough kid. He's a competitor. I think you saw that Saturday night. He'll bounce back and be ready to play this week.
On James Poole:
He's really unseated Kelvin York and is our lead guy right now. Until something happens to change that, he's going to be the guy who gets the majority of the carries, just like you saw Saturday night. For his inexperience in the program and relative newness to Division I football, very good production from Bubba. Also catching a couple of passes.
On the crazy finishes against BYU:
It seems like last year might have been more bizarre than it's been in a few years, but it seems like almost every year it comes down to the last play or the last series of plays, and I guess that's one of the reasons that it's made it a good rivalry. I don't have an explanation for it other than it's very competitive, and both teams seem to play well in the game and it comes right down to the bitter end.
On Jason Whittingham:
I thought he did a great job, particularly in the second half. It took him a little time to get settled in and he's got a club on his hand so he wasn't able to use the one hand, but if you look at the first half and the second half, he graded out markedly better in the second half and he made a lot of plays. He wasn't perfect, he missed a tackle or two, but it was good to get him back on the field. Conditioning was a little bit of a factor because he hadn't played for several weeks, but it was good to get him out there and hopefully he will continue to trend upward as we move through the season.