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Listen to Audio (27:43)
“First of all, obviously there is no shortage of things to work on this week. After reflecting and showing the film to the players yesterday and trying to get everybody to truly understand where the good things were and where the negative things were. There's certainly areas where we've got to play much better – a lot of it has to do with us as a football team...
“The beginning point, obviously, is field position and special teams. We’ve got to do a dramatically better job in covering kickoffs. Those two big kickoff returns were back breakers. Emotionally they were back breakers, certainly from a point standpoint they were back breakers. The one where they punted the football and it hit Richie Rich in the foot, that's something that we've got to do a much better job of communicating when the ball is on the ground because with one of the vogues that is going on in college football now is there is an awful lot of what we call a rugby style kick.
“Where they are spreading the field out and the punter, instead of the traditional punt down the middle of the field or hanging it up, a lot of guys are side-stepping, they are kicking end over end trying to get the ball on the ground, getting it to roll. Make’s it difficult to set up any type of particular returns… It’s just getting the guys once the ball is on the ground to communicate verbally and visually so that they know to start looking for the football and trying to identifying it. So that’s one area.
“Obviously, another major area is the efficiency offensively. The illegal procedures and some of the things that happened offensively that took us totally out of rhythm. It cost us negative plays, it cost us some sacks, it cost us from the standpoint of illegal procedure on first and 10, now it's first and 15. Or you make a run and in one case, we made some four or five-yard runs that would have brought up second and medium and now all of a sudden, not only do you lose the yardage for the penalty, [but] you lose the play itself. We've got to be much more efficient from that standpoint.
“I think our kids realize that and they looked at. One good thing about our football team is that they’re very realistic. When they watch film, a lot of the times they are harder on themselves than the coaches ever would be as far as critical analysis. They take a look at themselves, and it's surprising how they know when they didn't play well and when they didn't execute the things that they needed to.”
“The challenge this week against Maryland – they’re different in some of the teams that we’ve been playing. They remind in some respects of Virginia in their ability to run the football. Two big, strong running backs, they really run the ball well. (Keon) Lattimore's got almost 700 yards – I think over 600 yards – and so both of those guys are big, physical. Their offensive line is a lot like Virginia’s – it’s another big physical offensive line. If they are having a lot of success running the football, the play action pass is very, very dangerous. If they are not having much success running the football, like most teams, they tend to struggle a little bit in trying to throw the football.
“Defensively, the (Erin) Henderson kid is a lot like Durell Mapp from the standpoint that he makes a ton of tackles, he makes a lot of plays. He runs sideline to sideline, he’s big [and] he’s physical. They are a 4-3 defense, but they'll do like a lot of the teams are and change every now and then to show an odd man front to try to blitz you, to zone dog you [and] to pressure you. They try to give you protection problems and that has been a little tiny bit of a reoccurring theme with our football team over the past four or five games is that sometimes we’ve had undue pressure on the quarterback.”
On T.J. Yates:
“We've got to do a much better job making T.J. comfortable in the pocket. He was 26 of 33 in the ball game and conceivably should have been 28 of 33 – he had two drops. The other major area where we've got to be better at is not turning the ball over. He made one great decision on a screen play where he just threw at the receiver's feet as opposed to taking a sack or finding somebody else and trying to manufacture and fabricate a play. When things are going bad, what ends up happening sometimes is that the best passes you throw are incompletions. If you are not in rhythm and not on time and the receiver is not open, sometimes the best throw is up in the bleachers.”
On Jordan Hemby:
“He’s had several major injuries. He’s been injured pretty much off and on this entire fall. He’s had a really, really bad hamstring. I think prior to coming here, besides the knee injury, I think he also had a fractured leg, so he’s had some real injury and health issues.”
On Bryan Bethea and Quinton Person:
“Quinton’s contributing significantly on some of the special teams. He’s on our kickoff return teams and he’s gone in and played on some of our punt pressure teams. Probably, as we speak right now, they’re probably going to stay in the same roles that they are already in.”
Listen to Audio (6:30)
“They have two good running backs. Like the defense does every week, we’ve got to go out and try to stop the run, and the secondary has to cover their receivers, so if we do that, I feel like we can come out victorious.”
On the loss at Wake Forest:
"Really I can't even explain it, all I know is we our going to come back and try to do better this week. Overcome our mistakes from last week, try to play better and just take it up another notch. Hopefully we can do that and find ourselves in a bowl at the end of the season."
On the defense’s strong performance being overshadowed:
“It’s frustrating, but we’re still one team. When they suffer, we suffer, too. We just have to go out there and do the best we can. We cover for their mistakes, but sometimes when you have that many turnovers and you can’t force any, the game comes out bad.”
On adjusting to the defensive end position:
“So far, it’s been good. [Defensive line] coach [John] Blake is a terrific coach – I attribute all of my development to him. He’s teaching us great technique, he’s teaching us how to work to the ball, [and] he’s teaching us work ethic and attitude that hasn’t been around here in a long time. Right now, I’m still growing. I still have a lot to learn [and] I still have a lot of progress to make. I’m just trying to get better every week.”
Listen to Audio (7:36)
On the Arkansas rumors:
“The past week or so, that’s been pretty heavy. People are commenting, ‘Are you going to come back to Arkansas when he comes back?’ And I’m like, ‘It’s not a done deal yet. I think he’s really happy here and we have something special going here.’”
On if he understands why Davis may be interested in going to Arkansas:
“Oh, I can definitely see why. It’s his hometown. His dad still lives around there – I know his dad real well. He’s got family and friends there, so I can definitely see why he’d do it. Like I said, we’ve got a good recruiting class and we have a good one probably coming in. We have very talented players here, so I think the future is bright.”
On his success at H-back against Wake Forest:
"You know it has always been in the offense, the different people we play tend to cover the h-back or tight ends differently. Wake Forest gave us an opportunity to use the tight end more and we created more routes for me this week. It worked and T.J. just happened to find me."
On his decision to enroll in January:
"It was the best decision I made to come in early and just get acclimated to college life, especially the speed of the game. I knew I had to come in and work on my strength and blocking, it allowed me the time to do that."