This afternoon, head coach Randy Edsall broke down yesterday’s game from an offensive and defensive perspective on his weekly ‘day-after’ conference call. There are several things that need to be worked following the 56-17 loss to UCF to open the year and he talked in-depth about each today.
“The one thing that I’ll say is we had ten possessions on offense and we scored on three of those ten drives, we punted twice and going into the game which I said last night, I knew that there were things that we would have to do in order to give ourselves and opportunity to win. The five other drives that we had, the thing that was a little bit mind boggling was the fact that in the first quarter we had the ball on the plus-36 and we fumbled the ball. In the second quarter we had a drive that we put together and we had a 1st and 10 right before the half and we throw the interception. In the third quarter we had a 3rd and 2 on the plus-23, we get a minus-4, we got for it on 4th down, 4th and 6 on the plus-27 and we don’t get it, so we turn it over on downs on the plus side of the field. Another series, we have 3rd and 5 on the plus-14, we have an incomplete pass, then we have 4th down and just get 4, so we turn that over on downs at the ten yard line. Then in the fourth quarter we’re 2nd and 10 on the minus-43, we get a pass completion down to the 14-yard line and we fumble that ball. Here we had, in those five possessions, an opportunity to score 35 points and we’re on the plus-side of the field inside the 36-yard line and we come away with nothing. We did a good job of moving the football, but we didn’t do a good enough job of finishing those drives. That’s one thing we are going to have to do as we move forward. I was pleased with what we did offensively in terms of moving the football, but I wasn’t pleased in terms of how we finished and the number of points we could have got, especially knowing the kind of offense and quarterback we were going against.”
“The thing that really killed us, we played some really good downs of defensive football, but when you take a look at their scoring drives, it was either penalties that aided those drives, or third down conversions, which we didn’t do a good job of, or those big plays, which allowed them to score,” he said. “That was one of the things that we couldn’t afford to do. Any time you turn it over three times and you don’t get any, it’s going to be tough. I thought Luke did a good job of putting the ball inside the 20, we did that twice,” he said. “I thought Keyion Dixon did a good job and the punt return unit did a good job, but the one thing defensively we didn’t do a good job of, we had 10 big plays against us for 338 yards. Big plays for us is plus-12 or more and plus-20 in the pass game. They had 4 runs for 133 yards and 6 passes for 205-yards, so ten plays for 338 yards. We had 7 big plays for 150; 5 runs for 79 and 2 passes for 71 yards. We had some big plays, not enough, maybe that’s the make-up of our team against certain teams we are going to face. I thought we had some penalties that hurt us, the two DPI’s and the personal foul, we had them 2nd and 6 and we get the late hit out of bounds, the two DPI’s, we had a hold and the illegal downfield. Then we came out to start the 2nd half and we kick the ball out of bounds. Those are things we need to clean up on. There are positives we can take away and things we need to work on. We’ll work on those and get better.”
OFFENSIVE PACE OF PLAY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
“That’s just the way people want to play, that’s fine,” Edsall said. “There’s some things that you can do if you’re playing in a league like that and you’re going to play those teams, then you need to go out and recruit people that can match up and play man-to-man coverage and do some of those things to keep people in the box, so you can challenge people. We need to try to get better from a match-up standpoint. It just seems sometimes the officials, they hurry up too much, just set the ball when it’s going at that breakneck pace. There are certain things you can do to help that, but a lot of that is just match-ups and you need to recruit the type of people to match-up to play within your conference.”
MESSAGE TO THE FRESHMEN
“Number one, you aren’t a freshman anymore,” he said. “You’ve now played in a game, you understand it. We told you what to expect, but a lot of times experience is the best teacher. They get it, they’ll know and practice a bit harder, prepare a little more, not to say that they weren’t trying to do that before, but now they’ve seen it firsthand. I think that’s the thing that they have to do. We’ll bring them in here tomorrow, watch the film, make corrections, now move forward and get better. There were some things that a lot of young guys did in the game that I was pleased with. I thought Lwal, Travis and Jonathan Pace for the amount of reps they played and the things they did, there was production there and I thought they competed. They have a bright future if they work at it. I though Kevon Jones did a good job. Yes, he made mistakes in there as the middle linebacker, but I thought he made some plays in there, where maybe some other guys couldn’t make those.
“Ian Swenson did some good things in there,” he continued. “I thought Tahj Herring-Wilson had a good game. I thought he challenged guys, didn’t back away from anyone. That’s the whole thing, they need to believe in themselves if they go out there, but you believe in yourself because you trust your technique and know your fundamentals. I thought Omar Fortt had a good game. There were things we can build on. There are little things we have to clean up, communicate a little bit better because we missed some of those that caused some of the issues that we had. I thought Christian Haynes played well too when he went in there as a freshman. A lot of guys that were getting reps for the first time, Eli Thomas was another one. What they have to understand is now that they know how fast the game is at this level, how important it is to be mentally sound and to use good techniques so you don’t get yourself in positions where you can hurt the team.”
ON TURNOVERS & HOW TO PREVENT
“Zavier is a young man, who at this this level, people will try to come in and try to pull the ball away,” he said. “You need to understand that it needs to be tucked tight at all times. You want your defense to rip and pull, so those guys are conscience. Kyle Buss, you see him running down the field, he’s carrying it kind of loose, you need to understand, there’s always going to be someone coming from behind you when you break free, so you need to keep that tight and understand that when you get hit, cover it up with the other arm. David just had a bad throw really where he threw that interception. In terms of the fumbles that’s just a matter of hanging onto the ball, putting it away and understanding in close quarters you need to cover it up.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION FOR A YOUNG TEAM
“We had some issues out there yesterday with communication, sometimes a guy said he didn’t hear something that should have taken place, never go the call, things along those lines, that’s one thing with young kids they may not make as many adjustments on the field as you do here and they aren’t hard, it’s just a matter of say if a linebacker removes himself from the box against a team like Central Florida, there needs to be a call made to tell the linemen to slant inside so the ball pushes out so it’s closer for the responsibility that the linebacker is going to have because he’s removed from the box,” he said. “If you don’t make that call, there’s no way the linebacker can get all the way to the A-gap where the gap is free where he’s supposed to, so you make the call so it bounces out to the C-gap. We didn’t get some of those yesterday. That happens with young kids and the same thing with maybe a check in the secondary or making a call based on a split, things along those lines. That’s part of the problem these days, kids don’t communicate as much, they text, so here we are trying to get them to make these adjustments because it’s so critical. They’ve seen it on film, but then when you get in the game it’s different. Communication was definitely an issue out there on defense with some of those younger guys.”
“Some guys were out there, their first time on the field or any significant amount of playing time, we tried to tell them not to worry about this, but there were some guys that were trying not to make a mistake and they didn’t cut it loose and let it go and it caused them to make a mistake,” he said. “They were playing hard, but they weren’t playing with confidence, they didn’t want to make a mistake. You can’t play the game that way.”
RUNNING BACK REPS MOVING FORWARD
“We’ll have Kevin, we’ll go into the game next week and he’ll probably be the starter,” Edsall said. “Zavier and Khyon will be there behind him. We’ll just try to get guys on the field and now that we have a game under our belt, we can see some things and what guys roles will be. We have 12, one-game seasons. What we have to do is try to put the kids in the best situation in that particular game. There are things that we’ll do now that we’ve seen guys on the field and have seen them perform. We’re going to utilize those three guys as best we can to put ourselves in the best position to be able to win.”
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR