DAY AFTER CALL: HC Randy Edsall Assesses Program After Latest Loss To Tulsa (Week 9)

OPENING STATEMENT:

“Let’s talk about injuries first. RB Kevin Mensah has a right hand contusion, he got it when he fumbled the ball, still ended up playing, he should be ready to go. We have some guys that are limited, LB Ryan Gilmartin, a shoulder injury, CB Tahj Herring-Wilson with a hamstring and S Messiah Turner with a shoulder/neck injury, so probably the guys that are questionable now are Turner and Herring. Gilmartin is probable. Other than that we are ok from an injury front.”

“It’s interesting. What I mean by that is this. I’m trying to figure out a way to figure some of these guys out a little bit from a standpoint of how we can play the way we played in the first quarter on both sides of the football, offensively and defensively and then just can’t do it consistently for the next two quarters for sure, we gave up 28 and 21 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, didn’t give any up in the fourth quarter, but by that point it was pretty much determined. That’s the thing that is blowing my mind. So after the game, I’m in the locker room, I said to the kids, I asked them the same question, I said I need some help here, I’m having a tough time figuring this out. I posed them the same question. I didn’t get a response, I got a bunch of blank stares. I can put it on a couple things. Number one, I think we lack confidence, a lot of these guys have never won here, that’s one thing. Number two, we aren’t strong enough because one of the things if you’re strong enough, you can go out and really manhandle and dominate you’re opponent, you gain confidence. The next thing is some guys are just too young, but in saying that, I think there are some young guys who are really getting better. I thought Oneil Robinson had a good game, I thought he played well and tackled well, there are still some things he needs to clean up on, but Ryan Carroll, I thought he played well. You can see the younger kids gaining confidence. Travis Jones probably played his best game to date, still made mistakes, but played hard. Lwal Uguak played pretty well, he gives you a chance to do things. Caleb Thomas. One of the things that I challenged these guys on Friday night, I told them the thing is, we will become a really good program when everyone believes the first thing they see when they walk into the Burton Family Football Complex and that’s ‘Play every play like it’s the last play you are ever going to play.’ Once we adopt that mentality and we can go out and do it for 60-minutes, that’s when our program will get back to where we want it to be. Now, we aren’t anywhere close to that. When you take a look at Eddie Hahn on that play, running it down and knocking it out, that’s a tremendous play. That’s what I showed them today, that’s what I tried to talk to them about, it has to be like that for 60-minutes and until we do that, it will make it difficult for ourselves to be able to win. If we can get the performance that we got in the 1st quarter for four quarters, then we will be where we want to be, but we didn’t get that, so that’s something we need to continue to improve upon and we’ll continue to work. The thing that is crazy, each week, I told the team this today, it’s like a broken record, every Sunday it’s like this and we need to start changing it. The same thing defensively, this last game, we had 65-plays where they only got 188-yards, but they had 16-plays for 450-yards. All of that was a matter of guys not playing their gaps correctly in the run game, guys not fitting where they should, missed tackles and eye violations in the passing game. Those are the things that we harp about, but it’s the attention to detail again. There are guys getting better, but it’s more of the young guys that are getting better because I think they have more of the ability to get better, so I think that’s one of the things that has transpired.”

ON TUESDAY, YOU AGAIN MENTIONED THE 3-TO-5 YEAR TIMETABLE, IS THAT BECAUSE YOU WON’T HAVE THE PLAYERS YOU RECRUIT AT EVERY LEVEL ON THE TEAM, FROM REDSHIRT SENIOR, SENIOR, JUNIOR, SOPHOMORE & FRESHMAN?:

“What I mean by that is this. Our first full recruiting class was basically this past year, I think you’ll agree with that, we had the opportunity to fully evaluate that group and know what they are. When I say this, I’m not trying to belittle anyone, point the finger, I’m really just trying to tell the truth. We have to rebuild the talent level here. You guys can correct me if I’m wrong, when I was here before and then when we left, guys that I coached and recruited and some of those guys that were committed when I left here, Andrew Adams, him especially, there are 26-guys in the NFL from those guys that we coached and recruited. Since I left, I believe there is only one young man in the NFL. What we have to do is get back to finding those young men that have the ability, that want to work and want to commit themselves to being part of a program and part of a team that thrives on a blue collar work ethic, that thrives on doing everything the right way on and off the field and who are going to challenge themselves each and every day in each aspect of their life. Once we can put together a few of those classes and then these young men that are freshmen now, when they become seniors and with the experience that they’ll have, then I would hope we would be in a much better position to win consistently at this point in time.”

YOU SAID LAST WEEK THAT YOU COULD CARE LESS ABOUT WINS & LOSSES, BUT THEN YOU SAY TODAY, PLAY EVERY PLAY LIKE IT’S THE LAST PLAY YOU ARE EVER GOING TO PLAY, IS THERE A MIXED MESSAGE OR DO YOU WANT TO WALK BACK WHAT YOU SAID LAST WEEK BECAUSE SURELY THE WINS & LOSSES COUNT ON SOME LEVEL, DON’T THEY?:

“I said it in two contexts. At least what I meant is this. In terms of the wins and losses, if we don’t get these young men the right way, you’re never going to win consistently. I’m more concerned about getting these kids right. Yea, I want to win, I think you see the way I get after the officials at times, I want to win as much as anybody, ok? But, the thing we are going to do is we are going to do it the right way and we’re going to do it in a way that is the right way to have sustainable, long-term success. I know the wins and losses count, it goes on my record, I understand that, it goes on the university’s record, but my thing is this, we aren’t going to cut those corners to try to get those wins. If it takes us, for our kids to understand we lose because we don’t do these things right, then that’s what we are going to have to learn before we ever get the opportunity to win on a consistent basis. That’s what I meant by that because if we just allow them to do what they are doing and we don’t change the culture, the work habits, the attitude and the commitment to preparation, we’ll have no chance to win. I want to win every darn game we play, but the wins and losses aren’t going to matter unless you get all those other things right. I’ll take it one step further, if I don’t teach these kids those things, who the heck is going to teach it to them and where are they going to go in life without it. That’s the other part of the equation in being a student athlete in an NCAA institution in Randy Edsall’s mind, it’s not just about winning and losing, it’s about developing young men in life. I think I’ve proven in my career that we do it the right we, we don’t cut corners and if we do it the right way and get the right people here, then the winning takes care of itself. If you don’t put that foundation together and keep enforcing it, then you have no chance, in my opinion, which in some people’s mind doesn’t mean a whole lot.”

YOU USE THE WORD CULTURE, IS THERE A WAY GOING FORWARD THAT YOU CAN QUANTIFY INDIVIDUAL OR UNIT IMPROVEMENTS FROM A CULTURE STANDPOINT, EXPLAINING IT BIT BY BIT BY WHAT YOU WANT TO BUILD?:

“Let me just say this, I won’t mention names, but let me give you some examples of some of the things that took place this week and why we still don’t have it. We come out to practice here on Friday for our walk-through before we leave. We have a young man who comes out with no socks on, we have a certain dress we are supposed to have. I tell him what are you doing, we don’t dress like that, go back in and get dressed. He gave me some type of excuse. If you have your program where you want it to be, one of the other players would be on him, not me. So guess what, his butt will be up at 6AM pulling the sled. So then we go on the road, into a meeting, we have one guy that wants to bring his ice cream sundae into the meeting. He didn’t get down to eat in time, when we go into the meetings, we don’t eat in there because in meetings we pay attention as we try to win a ballgame the next day. Well he gets all upset. Then, we have callouts for special teams and he’s a backup on one of the teams. Coach Allen is going through if someone is down, the next guy is up has to say his name and stand up, that guy didn’t do it. Then we go out in pregame, we have two guys that don’t show up on the punt team, when we do the punts pregame like we do in our normal warm-up every weekend. Once we get those things right, those little things, guys going to class, guys holding each other accountable and pushing each other to do more, that’s what I’m talking about when I talk about the culture, it’s self-belief. Then we as coaches can focus and concentrate on the things that we can do. Then the same thing with guys putting in extra time on their own because one things I’m not going to do is cheat on the 20-hours, I’m not going to do it, more than four hours a day. So these kids have to do it on their own and we need to teach them how to do it. If they don’t want to do it on their own then we have the wrong kids here, then we made mistakes recruiting. That’s why I’m saying it takes awhile to get that culture. Now, do I see that changing now? Yes I do because when I see these young kids and you see them doing some of the things they are doing, they are going with it because that’s all they know. We are changing some habits that were formed for a long period of time. I guarantee you, most of these young men haven’t been held to the expectations and standards that we have for them, I guarantee 90-percent haven’t been. When I go out and recruit, I lay it all out. I tell them this is how we do it, if you want to be part of it great, if you don’t, go somewhere else, I don’t have a problem with that. But some of those people never heard that message and some of them only have so many games left or a year left, some of them, you know how it is, some people are just resistant to change.”

OVERALL, IT SOUNDS LIKE THE DRAFT, WHEN A PROGRAM IS AT A CERTAIN POINT, DOES IT MATTER WHERE THE PROGRAM IS AT IN TERMS OF YOU GOING AFTER SPECIFIC POSITIONS AS OPPOSED TO THE BEST ATHLETES?:

“What I’ve tried to do is always go and fulfill positions. Now if there is someone we really like that can be a difference maker in our program that has interest because he can change the program, then I’m going to recruit him regardless of the numbers we have at that position, I’m never going to turn down or try to get someone that can enhance us from that standpoint. The problem is, if you start doing that, you’re going to end up in a position where the numbers will be skews, so I have a number of what I want at each position and we’ll try to do that. One thing that I do like as I look at our offensive and defensive line, I think we have a core group of guys there that we can really build around. Now we need to get some skill guys that can really make a difference. When you look at those four guys upfront, including Pierce DeVaughn, those guys have a chance. If they just keep working and improving, same thing on the offensive line with some of the young kids that are redshirting, I think there we are going to keep adding to it, but now we need to find a way to get some people that can make a difference on the perimeters.”

MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR

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2 weeks ago
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