Head Coach Randy Edsall began today’s day after call with a breakdown of the 37-20 loss to USF from an offensive and defensive perspective. Not talked about today, but what was clearly a key to yesterday’s game was the Huskies inability to get off the field in the second half yesterday, as USF was able to convert 7-of-9 third downs. The Bulls didn’t punt in that half, as both failed third down conversions resulted in made field goals. They also continued to give up the big play.
“The nemesis with big plays, we gave up way too many again; twelve for 329 yards,” Edsall said.
Considering the defense faced just 77-plays from scrimmage in this one, that is a really bad statistic (.156). QB Quinton Flowers ability to get out of the pocket and pick up yards with his legs was certainly a factor. The Huskies were certainly focused on containing Flowers in the pocket yesterday, but he was still able to pick up big yards on the ground.
“Sometimes we didn’t have the type of leverage we needed to have on the edges, we let that kind of disappear on us,” Edsall said. “He’s done that against everybody, but you have to be smart as you rush. You want to be aggressive, but then again, you don’t want to be too high because if you leave a seam open, he’s going to take it. Another thing is you have to have good eye discipline to read the quarterback draw and see those things. He’s very talented and he’s going to create things on his own, but we had some issues where we didn’t do our job and didn’t get done what we were supposed to get done.”
Offensively, it was a struggle, particularly in the first half as the unit opened with four consecutive punts before registering their first points of the game. The final drive of the half ended with a critical interception off a deflection/drop by WR Aaron McLean as the Huskies were inside the red zone down just 17-7. It was a massive momentum shift and highlights some of the struggles the Huskies have had over the last few games on that side of the ball.
“We just weren’t able to finish drives offensively,” Edsall confirmed. “We had opportunities on the plus side of the field and didn’t take advantage of them. It was one of those things where we had 2nd and 6 at the plus-30 in the first quarter and we ended up taking a sack for 11 yards, which got us out of an opportunity to score there. In the second quarter, we had a 1st and 10 at the plus-20 and we threw the interception and then the third quarter, we had 4th and 1, stopped on downs. So we had the opportunity again to get points and help ourselves out and we didn’t. We had a 3rd and 8 at the minus-46 and we end up getting a sack there, so some of the things we did, we hurt ourselves.”
In a three score game, those are critical errors that is corrected, could have made the game on Saturday even closer than it finished.
CONCUSSION CONCERNS FOR UCF GAME WEEK
Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs left yesterday’s game with a concussion on the second attempt of a throwback pass from WR Quayvon Skanes. It’s unclear whether he will be available this Saturday in Orlando, but Edsall talked in depth about concussions today. What’s the process that he will need to go through in order to able to play on Saturday?
“They go into concussion protocol and there are steps that they need to meet as they go forward,” Edsall said. “I met with Bob [Howard] earlier and he told me where we are at right now. I’ll have a little bit more information for you on Tuesday, but that is something they need to go through and every guy is different based on their symptoms. Guys that have multiple concussions, if they had one or one recently and they get another, it’s probably going to be a situation where you probably won’t have them for a little bit. Some guys get cleared within a week depending on the severity of it or if it’s the first one, but for some guys it might be seven-to-ten days. It all depends on the individual and whether they pass the protocol and the steps they need to go through to get back out there. We aren’t going to rush anybody and Bob and his staff and our doctors do a great job and are very conscious of those things. All I do is I meet with Bob and he tells me what they can do and that’s how we go. Last night I said I saw Bryant early in the game take that one shot and he got up a little [differently] which is why I called timeout because I thought maybe there was an issue there. I had him come over and get checked out because I know he’s taken some shots and I thought he got up kind of slow, so that’s why I did what I did yesterday.”
PINDELL WILL BE READY TO GO IF NEEDED
If the Huskies are without Shirreffs, David Pindell would get the start. He received some praise from Edsall following yesterday’s loss after leading UConn to two consecutive touchdowns in the only two full drives he led.
“I thought he [David Pindell] did a little bit better this week than he did against Missouri,” Edsall said. “I didn’t like the throw on the two-point play, I thought he rushed that and didn’t really set his feet. I think there are some things that he continues to work on in practice and continues to get better and I think that’s what he’s going to have to continue to do.”
TRE BELL MAY SEE PLAYING TIME MOVING FORWARD
Senior transfer CB Tre Bell played his best game of the season in his return to the starting lineup with Jamar Summers missing the first three quarters. When Summers did return, it was Bell who stayed and true freshman Jordan Swann went to the bench. Bell had his first career interception on a major overthrow by Flowers. He was also called for a pass interference that prevented a long TD. On the play, Flowers had an inordinate amount of time in the pocket and a secondary can’t be asked to cover as long as they were on that play. Bell made the smart move by committing the penalty as he was beat and it’s better to take a 15-yard penalty, rather than surrender six. Other than that, he played a solid game. Edsall seemed to agree with that assessment today.
“I think Tre has done a good job,” Edsall said. “He was starting and then he got beat out and he’s gotten an opportunity and went out and tried to make the most of it. There might be more opportunities as we continue. That’s what you want guys to do, take advantage of it, work hard and you never know what’s going to happen.”
After the loss on Saturday, Edsall mentioned he thought some of the freshman were wearing down a bit. He expanded on that sentiment today.
“What happens with young freshmen, it shouldn’t happen with anyone else that’s been in [college football], but granted our program is probably a little different than what they’ve been used to,” Edall said. “Still, we don’t go above the twenty hours per week, we have a schedule that is catered towards those guys being able to recover and doing the things they need to do, but for the freshmen just coming in, they’ve never been on a schedule like this, it’s not something they go through in high school or anything. The amount of time that they are putting into football and what they have to do in terms of class, those sort of things, sometimes it’s hard on those guys. Some of them were forced to play when they shouldn’t be playing, but they are playing because they are the best that we have. In a perfect world, you’d like to probably have all those guys redshirted, using that year to get bigger, faster and stronger.”
That experience, however, is only going to make them better moving forward.
“Anytime you get game experience, it’s something you never take for granted because it will only help you,” he said. “A guy like Ryan Van Demark, all this time that he’s getting will be really good, but right now, he’s 265-pounds and he’s battling his butt off, but he’s not big or strong enough yet. He’s very good, very talented. You see him get out and running and all those things, but what you see and hope for is this experience will help those guys and get them better. The more that you can develop depth and have quality depth, then it will allow you to get better.”
MAINTAINING CONFIDENCE FOR FINAL QUARTER OF SEASON
“If you have the right type of people in your program, they are going to go out and compete, give everything they have every game that they play,” Edsall said. “If you have personal pride, you’re going to go out there and do that. If you have leadership capabilities about you, you’re going to make sure your teammates do the same thing. If you’re going to be involved on a team, it’s your job to give everything you have all the time and if you aren’t going to do that, don’t go out there. If that’s the case and you aren’t going to go hard, there’s a chance someone else will get hurt, you’ll get hurt and some of those things. I don’t think it’s that hard, you just tell them that these are the expectations. We still have things that we can accomplish. Is it going to be easy? No, it’s not going to be easy, but nothing in life is easy if it’s worthwhile. Young guys, for me and them, if they want to get better and continue to improve, they are going to work hard each and every day. It’s a process with what we’re doing here with this program and all these guys, I told them today, you just need to get working. You don’t get bigger, faster, stronger because you say you’re going to or you’re going to get more knowledgeable, the way you do that is by working hard and putting the time and effort in and it takes a lot of hard work. So all this time now, everyday you go out there, go to the weight room, go out and practice, is a chance to get better and a chance to improve your standing on the team and you’re learning of what you’re supposed to be doing offensively, defensively and on special teams. That’s the attitude that you need to take and as I said, some of these seniors aren’t going to have the opportunities that these younger guys are going to have in terms of what they are going to experience, but they are laying the foundation and everyone needs to continue to do that. If you have personal pride and you’re a competitor, then you come out here everyday and give it a hundred percent.”
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