Press Conference Transcript, Sept. 2
Sep 2, 2013
An Interview With: COACH MEYER, COACH DRAYTON, COACH COOMBS
COACH MEYER: Thank you for coming. Very pleased with our win. Very pleased with our fast start. That was something that was real important that we made a big emphasis in our program. Not very pleased when we had the lull in the second quarter when we had those four bad drives, but I'll give you a quick rundown of our personnel and how they played.
First of all, offensive champions were Jordan Hall, great to see him, 159 yards and graded out 81 percent. I guess those are career highs for him and I thought he played very well.
Chris Fields had two touchdowns, three out of three opportunities, made all three. Philly Brown, grade out champion.
Offensive Player of the Week was Jordan Hall, obviously not near what we expect on offense; we have to get a lot better but those kids did play well.
On defense, you had Noah Spence, I believe that was his first start. Graded out 80 percent and had a sack, graded champion.
Doran Grant, graded out 96 percent, out of 21 opportunities, made the play 18, which was high, and a lot of opportunities, made his plays.
And Christian Bryant was Defensive Player of the Game and graded out at 94 percent.
So we have got to do a little better. The good thing is we have a chance to get better. A lot of new players on defense, when Shazier cramped up, we were down there, Christian Bryant was basically our only veteran player out there. I'm anxious to see a lot of improvement. Looks very positive for C.J. Barnett to be back. Bradley Roby will be back.
We are going to get more play out of Corey Linsley on offense, and so that's a positive, we are starting to get our roster back intact. As of now, Rod Smith will be back if he has a good week of practice and does it all right. So that helps us; where I really notice that is special teams.
Positive in our kicking game was our kickoff, it was fantastic. I want to say that they were held inside the 20 every time, I believe they were, except for once on the 20 or 22, and special teams Player of the Week was Ron Tanner and honorable mention went to Vonn Bell. He had three tackles on kickoff and Ron Tanner just really played well, kickoff and a variety of other spots on special teams. It was good to see our Australian get in there and punt the ball a little bit, kind of negotiated not a snap and I expect him to get a lot better when he's moving forward.
So I'll answer any questions for you.
Q. Four guys got carries if Doran has that, how does he fit into that mix, how many touches would you like to see him get?
Q. Is there a chance Roby could be one of the game captains? He's obviously one of the leaders
Q. He won't be at all this year?
So Norwell, the way he has been, I wanted to put him out there, and we did that.
Q. In light of what San Diego State did, first of all, have you seen anything on them, and secondly, what didn't go right for them if you did get to see it?
Other than that, I see a defense, it's an odd stacked 3 3 5 defense that they blitz, high percentage of pressures, their movement, they are a chaos defense that play really hard with some good players and offense, I think that they kind of stepped out of their comfort zone a little bit. They threw, I want to say 63 times or something like that.
I coached against Rocky Long before, excellent football coach, tough, guys play real hard. And they won, I believe nine games last year, which is not surprising for his coached teams.
Q. Following Roby, does he step right in as a starter?
Q. What is Chris Fields doing now this year that allows him to contribute more than maybe this time a year ago?
I admire Chris Fields. Chris Fields wasn't in the Top 50 for playing a game last year, and he's really the same talent. He's just playing his tail off and doing a lot of things for us, and he's doing it all right, too.
Q. Kenny said after the game that with the two point conversions that he has I don't know how much freedom he has, but he's looking at numbers, is that something that can happen at any time throughout the game? Is that the plan to let him decide that?
We have been working on that since last February. It worked pretty good. So I don't know how often we'll do that, I don't know that. We usually decide that on Wednesday. But it's in the package.
Q. You said you wanted to be a real aggressive defense this year, wondering with the new guys out there if you had to peel it back a little bit and not put so much pressure in press coverage?
And then Roby coming back now frees up Armani, who is a tremendous special teams player for us a year ago, and we had to be very cautious. He played a lot of football for us in that heat. That helps with our depth.
Q. We can expect maybe more press coverage?
Q. You were in Ohio at the time but do you have any memories of the Kardiac Kids?
Q. And he was very accurate is that the most important thing, for a quarterback?
I say this quite often, unlike, really, unlike most any position in all of sport, the quarterback has more of a pulse; they are who your team is, usually and that's why I like the energetic quarterbacks and really working on with Braxton, he came out pretty energetic and we had a lot of enthusiasm going. We just need to sustain that.
So I think competitive spirit is No. 1 and then toughness No. 1 and then ability to get over a bad play is No. 3. So I'm not sure if I'm asking your question, but that's what I'm looking for.
Q. Specific memory of the Kardiac Kids?
Q. Your former broadcast partner is going to call the game this week. Are you interested in his take or what he thinks of your team?
I'm sure we'll talk this week, and I absolutely have interest in what he has to say. He knows football.
Q. You've got a chance to see Braxton's personality this year, it just seems such a humble nice kid. How difficult is it with Manziel gone the pitfalls of fame and success for young guys?
But the difference was camera phones and blogs and Twitter and all that stuff didn't gift, because if it did, I probably wouldn't be standing here behind this microphone. And imagine a few of you wouldn't be working where you are working, not to mention any names, Tim May (Laughter).
So I don't know the whole story. I have a lot of respect for their coach and my heart always goes to the player, like, my gosh, if you want to leave them alone leave them alone and let them go play the game. But I get it.
Q. When you've watched film Bradley work over the last month, what have you seen about him? Have you seen what you wanted to see? Do you understand what I'm asking there? What will he bring, do you think?
He catches a lot of people in his ear, people that, you know, you could have done this, you could have done this, and then after you've been told that for so long. So I believe that he went through a little bit of a funk of buyer's remorse or whatever, and I'm not I think he would be a good one to talk to, because for a mature guy, at the right time, you can.
And I've seen ever since the incident that occurred, which was everything, once the videotape came out there, was no assault, there was no battery, there was no, whatever. But I think he learned a really strong lesson and he's done everything we've asked him to do, and I'm anxious to get him back on the field.
Q. Second thing, special teams, have you seen somebody with Kerry Coombs as the coordinator? Have you seen, I don't know, a more coordinated approach? It seemed to y'all seemed to have a pretty good day with those on Saturday.
Q. You know what I'm talking about.
Q. Looking at the tape, some of the breakdowns of the offensive line, what are some of the things that you guys saw that were happening?
The player they had, his stock in the draft just went up a little bit after playing against us. He did a very good job. He manhandled some guys and did a good job. So whenever that happens, what do you do, you go back to your fundamentals and keep working and keep grinding. I have the utmost confident in our offensive line and their position coach, what he did with them a year ago and what he is doing with them now; that they will play much better, and they have to.
But give credit where credit is due. There was issues, and the biggest issue is a fantastic football player that I mean, he could play anywhere at any school in America, that kid for Buffalo.
Q. You talked after the game, to score 40 points and you're a little disappointed, that's a good thing, but what did you think of the offense as a whole, and I know there's probably not a point total that you're shooting for each week, but do you have high expectations?
However, we have some talented guys. Our coaching staff has been together and we should have been better. We came out of the gate the way I kind of envisioned, and we finished the game kind of like I imagined we would, too.
We had two long drives, one 10 play drive and one 14 play drive, and not one time did we call quarterback run in any of the times other than the one quarterback draw, and then one coming out of sweep. So that's two for the entire course of the game.
Now we scramble when you play man coverage teams or man under teams like he did on a 3rd and 10, that's whether you're John Elway or Braxton Miller, that's how you defeat man under coverage. And same thing with drop eight, they did a lot of three man, drop eight into coverage, and he kind of got out of there and scrambled. So that's part of quarterback play. That was not designed runs for him.
So I have high expectations for our offense, very high, and I think we grade it very average for this game without taking any disrespect on our opponent, because they did a good job.
Q. Seems like both San Diego State and Cal the next two weeks are going to be offenses that are going to try to run a lot of plays; with some young guys on defense, and guys having cramping issues, do you think your defense is ready to face an offense that's going to play that way?
We have to make sure our guys and I have to do a good job, the training staff and the players take care of yourself, because we can't have those issues, because that will be a major league problem this week. I'm not worried about next week; we'll discuss that next week.
But that will be a problem, if you look out there and some guys are cramping or they are not playing, then we've got a problem. No one has that much depth. C.J. Barnett and Roby being back is certainly going to help us, though.
Q. How ideal is it for you as a coach to, first of all, you won the game, there were a lot of good things early, but a lot of things that you can point to the last three quarters and say, you're not anywhere close to where we want you to be; in that sense was it almost a perfect world for you as a coach?
So I think that's a very valid and is much cleaner than all of us would have liked to have seen it, and it's a great opportunity for us to coach him hard and get better Tuesday and Wednesday.
Q. Question about Linsley. Offense played great with him in the game, can you give any definition to the injury and just how close he is to being 100 percent?
But it was bothering him, and he's a tough kid, so they put a screw in it, and those are long injuries. So he's a little bit ahead of schedule even. So we played him I think 17 plays, and I wanted to put him back in and we had the decision on the sideline, let's just keep going as is. He'll play more and so he'll just keep gradually getting better and better.
Q. Just interested in your view of the freshman debuts, is it kind of what you expected, the good and the bat?
On offense, had I think that might have been it the. James Clark just got in there for a few place. On defense, Joey Bosa has played very well. He's earning a lot of time in the rotation. I'm really impressed with him.
Mike Hill continues to get better and tray Johnson played extensively. We didn't really expect that to happen but Ryan went down with cramps early and hard time getting back. I believe that was it. Oh, Vonn Bell did very well and Cam Burrows did very well. That's a great place to start to make a name here.
Q. Curtis Grant on the penalty, what do you tell
Q. Can you evaluate Cam
Q. He referred a couple of times to giving Ezekiel touches, when you look at the running back depth that you have, how tough is it for guys to get in there?
You know, if I can sit there and have a crystal ball and say I'm going to have this exact amount of plays and that I can sit there and say, okay, well, these guys are going to get that number of plays within that set number, but it doesn't work that way.
I'm always a firm believer if a running back gets the hot foot and gets in the rhythm during the course of the game, then it does that back an injustice for me to take him out at that time when he's got a rhythm going.
So we had a little bit of those two scenarios going on this past weekend. Jordan got into a nice real rhythm. The game slowed down for him. He ripped off a couple of explosive runs and I felt real comfortable with him during the course of the game. Was not the initial game plan for me going in with those backs.
I really had the thought process of getting those guys in early on. But I've got to give credit to Buffalo. Buffalo presented some things to us that got us a little off rhythm at times and I had a veteran in there that I felt good about.
Q. Bri'onte Dunn, we heard all week about second, third guy in, and I don't think he played a snap at all. Was it a performance issue? Discipline issue?
We have a thing around here, that all of our players are held to the standard of, if you find your way on special teams, then you can find your way on the offense or on the defensive side of the ball, and Bri'onte needs to continue to compete with his teammates to find a little bit more of a role on special teams so that he gets an opportunity to play on offense, it's justified.
Q. Jordan Hall obviously had a big game, such a tough year for him last year. What kind of changes have you seen in him, as a player, as a person, this year?
He's a mature individual on the football field, very smart. You know, he can sit there and come out of a series of the game and sit down on the bench and tell you exactly what goes on.
And again, that's a very comfortable thing for a positional coach that's out there who doesn't quite have the vision that the players have while they are out there playing and come back to the sideline and provide the information that he does, really helps us to keep the flow of our game day adjustments going and puts us in good position to have success.
So, you know, that by itself is a tremendous quality to have in an individual during the course of the game.
Q. He was originally going to be the hybrid and now he's the tailback; how do you see his role evolving, especially with Smith coming back and Carlos Hyde coming back?
We'll see as we get a better feel for San Diego State and what they present to us, and we will define those roles real soon here.
Q. What do you want to see, Coach Meyer was talking about Rod Smith, if he has a good week of practice, whatever, he could be in the mix. What do you want to see from him in this week of practice?
You know, he gives you a nice match up against bigger backers coming through the line of scrimmage and sometimes those backs are forced to block on their defensive ends, and he's a big body type, as well. You know, really, all phases. Rod is a commodity to this football team and having him back is definitely a plus for us.
Q. And then Saturday, like with Bri'onte Dunn not getting to play and stuff, but with Dontre Wilson, y'all wanted to see some things from him and Ezekiel, was that part of the mix going in? Talk about how you played that I guess.
So, yeah, we definitely wanted to see if they were going to be an individual that gets in there and just kind of goes with the flow and gets in the rhythm, attacks the game or if it's going to be an individual who flinches because of the threat of the atmosphere.
But no, both of those two kids passed the test. Got to find a way to get them more involved. But we are extremely excited about the God given talent that they present to this offense, there's no doubt about that.
Q. Is there such a thing as telling Dontre Wilson slowdown?
Q. When he dropped the ball, he seemed a little frantic, excited maybe is the word.
Q. Warren Ball was the first running back in the game, I know he only got two carries, what does that say that he was the top backup in there?
He's a young man who is very conscientious and does a lot right. Hey, you know, he's a freshman out there, too, last week. It was his first time getting the chance to play, so I didn't know what to expect there, either.
But very, very pleased with the way he responded out there and the way he played and his aggressiveness with the ball, without the ball. He really proved to me that he can be trustworthy out there in a game situation.
Q. With Bri'onte, he came in such a talented recruit, do you have to keep his head up when he's not getting carries
Q. Urban said after the game Saturday, 40 points, almost a little disappointing; how many points should this team score?
You know, just some fundamental things reared its head, or lack thereof, for that matter. I thought we played extremely level. Our pad level was high across the board. Buffalo played underneath us.
And then there was times when we kind of got off of rhythm and the response wasn't quite the way we wanted it from our football players.
And if we had everything lined up and the stars were perfect, I think that, yes, we had plenty of opportunity to put more points on the board but the thing that we need to address immediately is just fundamentally where did the breakdowns take place and why.
We didn't see those issues in practice; why in a game setting does it rear its head and that's the maturity of the team, and that's the leadership of the team and that's just people stepping up in those roles and making sure that that doesn't happen again.
Q. Dealing with it this week and you'll deal with it again with Carlos Hyde a couple weeks; is there an overall staff philosophy or philosophy you have with guys coming off suspensions and getting them back in the mix? Are they just back or do they have to prove something?
So if Carlos Hyde gets reinstated, and he can add some value to our special teams, then great. Then we'll sit there and we'll take a good look at where he stands in that running back group.
Q. What are your early impressions of San Diego State, and how much can you glean from their opening tape?
But the one thing I can see on film is that they are well coached, they get off blocks on defense, they run around and they are always around the football. So we have got to be very, very tight with our game plan so that our players can play extremely fast against all the different looks that San Diego State will present.
Q. The Aztec position, he can be on the defensive line and then playing at safety the next; how much does that increase the difficulty of reading what they are presenting?
We are going to take a good look at that. The one thing that I can say is that he is a smart football player. He is a very physical football player and we definitely need to be aware of where he is every player.
Q. Does it look like everything is called for him or does he have carte blanche?
Q. Who gets in at what order do they read a lot of that as well as we do?
So a lot of those concerns are addressed before the game.
Q. Urban talked about your great organizational skills, but your personality seems to be a pretty good mesh for a special teams coordinator; how much does your personality inject into that unit there?
I've really incorporated Mike Vrabel into a lot of the stuff we are doing because he's played on those units and he's done a phenomenal job at the highest level and he brings a ton of energy to the practice and the game, as well.
So I think our kids and I think our kids understand the priorities special teams plays for our team. So I think they play really hard as a result of that.
Q. Philly Brown seemed to have some trouble fielding some he didn't field any clean punts yesterday. How much do you guys have to clean that up?
Q. Your third recruiting class here, how do you feel you've grown now that you have the mentorship of Coach Meyer?
That, I think is I won't say it's unique, but I would say there are very few programs anywhere that recruit as hard or as often as we do. I've learned a great deal both strategically and organizationally about recruiting and I would say that because this is a national program, the balance of your recruiting changes a little bit from what I had done in the past.
Kids are still kids. Communication is still communication. There's just more of them and certainly more time spent on it here.
Q. Do you change how you approach your own business?
And if they got a kid who is a really good player and they have, what did you do, what worked; I asked guys all the time what works in recruiting. What I go into a high school, I ask the high school coaches, what is this guy doing on this staff; what's a difference maker for him.
I'm trying to learn all the time and I frankly think our head coach is one of the best recruiters that I've ever seen anywhere and he is constantly a source of information for us.
Q. Urban had said that he plans right now to make Bradley and Armani an or situation; you won't split up the reps 50/50, right?
Pulled obviously Bradley back last week from reps in practice because it wasn't pertinent to the game on Saturday and then we'll rotate the other guys with the second group so our kids are playing both field and boundary and getting used to all the situations that might come up during the course of the game, so they will all get plenty of reps this week.