NU vs Arkansas St.
Recruiting Information: Sean Callahan
Not a big recruiting week with an 11:00 a.m game, its next to impossible to get anyone in town for this early of a game. Most of the guys on Saturday will be in-state recruits. There will be some at the Idaho St. Game, Johnny Stanton will be there. Wisconsin will be the focal point, along with Michigan. Itís pretty clear that NU will have to take 2-3 D-linemen. They do have a few people coming back, but will be important to have depth. These guys go down with injuries all the time. There are some good JUCOS out there. Scary situation to be in where you donít have a lot of linemen. They will be playing 2 FR tomorrow. Itís become a thin position almost over night. Chase left this week, nothing else official. Status remains unknown.
Todayís Speaker: Head Coach Ė John Papuchis (Defensive Coordinator)
Coachís comments: I envision my first opportunity here under a bit different circumstances. I didnít think weíd be coming off a loss, a game where we played so poorly, with so many things up in the air. There are great moments of accomplishment and great moments of disappointment in college football. Obviously last week was the latter. The reality is that you have one way to respond, you have one way to come back from a game like that, get back to work on Sunday and get after itÖ.thatís really your only choice. At times, there is a lot of negativity swirling around, a lot of finger pointing, a lot of blaming. We donít have time to worry about who is at fault, itís about how do we fix it. Obviously I take the majority of the burden for what went wrong last week. How do we fix it? How do we do everything in our power to make sure that never happens again? Everything that we laid out in terms of our goals and objectives as a team, are still out there for us to go get. It doesnít mean that the season is a loss, the campaign is a loss. I was proud of the way our guys responded this week, the way they cam e back to practice with a renewed vigor. From players and coaches I received texts on Sunday, asking what can we do better. I thought we would return from Cali as conquering heroes. It didnít happen that way. So are we able to use this as an opportunity to learn and get better. What I want to do this morning is to get a preview on Ark St., answer questions re last week, our defense and team in general, and try to give an idea of the direction we are going.
Questions re UCLA:
Why was motion so confusing to the D-backs? When we went into this year, we thought that we had allowed offenses to dictate to us, as opposed to running our defense. We became very vanilla. We canít allow that to happen any more. We worked hard to keep pressures on, how to keep base defense going when people are doing all of the motions. We didnít handle it as well as we would have liked. We wanted to keep blitzing and coming, didnít adjust as well as we would have liked.
Is the defense too complicated? Reading quotes from younger players, seems difficult for them to grasp and feel comfortable with it. ÖÖ maybe we are not getting the best out of our athletes. There is always a fine line. Fine line of being so simple that you are not presenting issues to the offense, but you donít want to be so complicated that you canít run it. There are very few defenses Ive been around that are easy for our freshmen to run. I donít know how many guys have been quoted saying this. Itís a balance. In my opinion is the defense too complicated? No. There is always the middle ground that you have to find.
Are there other schools that execute a defense similar to ours? To a certain extent. Philosophy wise, weíve visited Alabama, Florida two yrs ago. Oklahoma. There are similarities with some other teams in the country. We believe in what we do, what we did the other night is not what we want to put on the field. Our objectives are not to be thrown away.
Strategies about rushing the passer? Thatís always a bit difficult to answer in terms of when Suh was there, he was a bit of his own dynamic, one of the best players of his generation. You want to eliminate the explosive factor. You have to get bodies on bodies and eliminate the big passing game. To do this, puts a lot of stress on your front, keep QQB in the packet, not scramble for big yards. We limit the ability to turn our guys loose on the passer. There are times we do and times we donít. Itsí the D-lineís job to control the rush and keep QB in the pocket. Our front 4 get criticized for not doing more pass rush.
Broken down by position group, share how you dissect where the major issues were. First and foremost to me, ultimately it is on my shoulders. We either asked them to do something that they werenít capable of doing, or schematically it wasnít a good idea in the first place Ė all my fault. We didnít tackle well as a group. D-line Ė when you are facing QB run game, you canít trade one for one. Somebody has to get off blocks and help make a play. Secondary Ė tackling and execution of assignments. LBs Ė tackling and execution. I have to coach better, we have to plan better and we have to TACKLE.
Did any players execute any of their assignments well? At any time during the game Ė ha! During the second half, we held them 27-24 for quite a while, there were some positives in that. Every snap wasnít bad. Ciante played well. D-line Ė making and finishing plays was where we had our issues. Execution wasnít that poor. Compton had some good plays and some poor plays. That could be said for most of the players.
Both sides had 600 yds of offense, but they always started on the 45 and we started on the 5. Special teams execution seems to be an issue. Our ST put us in some difficult situations The first punt of the game was 12 yds, put us in bad spot on defense, always a determining factor. Field position battle is our responsibility on defense. Our ST have to be able to perform better. The game has changed a little bit. The metrics that you use to measure yds isnít the same. Bottom line is, we have to get off the field better.
Tackling every day in practice, are we just hoping they get better? We have to do more than HOPE. The key in tackling has less to do with our guys has less to do with how they practice, and more to do with our guys getting themselves in good tackling position in practice. A good rep is putting yourself and your feet in a good tackling position on every play. If weíre running past ball carriers and feet out of position, that leads to bad habits on Saturday.
Armchair QB comment: our speed wasnít keeping up on defense with crossing routes they were running. In terms of matching some of the routes, when you put together your plan on defense, you are aware of some potential issues, some matchups that you donít like. But you hope that the hope the calls that you donít like, that you donít get them. But you know this going into it. In situations where Will was matched up with their RB, we didnít foresee this happening, hadnít done this type of thing in two years of film study.
Were the athletes pretty well matched for both teams? To a certain extent, I think the athletic matchup was good. Their RB and QB were pretty good players. Beyond that, I donítí know that there were any skill matchup issues. Their wideouts were not better than our DBS.
Two younger LBs Ė we have to make sure that we are as athletic as we can be Ė needed to get Zaire and David Santos on the field. They had showed flashes. Will start the game with Zaire. These guys can help us going forward.
I have learned is the sense of responsibility for everything that takes place in a practice or a game Ė I knew that is the case when you are in charge of that unit Ė but the feeling of ownership and responsibility, everything that happens is new for me. My role in previous years was different than the burden of the whole thing. The thing that keeps me up at night, I want to be great, I want to be successful, I want our team to be successful. Going forward you will see better, because we are going to will it to happen.
Advantage of lining up off the line of scrimmage. This has become itís own topice, itís own monster. When we play the 2-gap, you have to be off the ball to play this , you canít be on the line like you are with the 1-gap. Like anything that has diminishing returns to it, we backed our guys off the line a few years ago to give our guys a chance to do better. But like anything else, there is a fine line and we donít want to give so much ground that we become soft at the point of attack. I agree, we need to be more aggressive, crowd the ball at the line.
We donít have two interior guys in left-handed stance. I got 7 guys that can play in that stance. Iím not sure what that comment was about.
Arkansas St. Preview
You will see that they are a team that are high tempo, high speed, no huddle. Their objective is to see how many plays they can run in a game. Ran 105 pays against Memphis. Our challenge is to respond, get lined up and communicate. They are a one back, like to run the zone read, quick passing game Deeper developing routes as they get into 2nd and 3rd and long. Bubble options. QB and skill guys are pretty talented layers. O-line is inexperienced group, most are first-year starters. WE need to win battle up front, limit big plays. We need to win first down. A lot of pressure is put on this group on how they play 3rd down defense. If you can play 3rd & 8, 9 or 10, you have a lot more chance to be successful on first down. If you are seeing a lot of 2nd & 3,4,5, the 3rd down success rate will be corresponding to that. They do have some big play explosion capability.
When our offense is also running fast tempo, can you and Beck get together and say slow it down, my guys need a break? Yes, there are times we want to slow it down to help defense recover. When offense is scoring a lot of points, itís great. When we are not, itís not good. This is something between Bo and Beck, not really between me and Beck.
I would love to be able to predict a lot of the game stats. My number one goal is to be a better team tomorrow than we were a week ago. Defensively I want us to make considerable strides, better tackling, better execution, I hope I can look in the mirror and feel I coached a better game. If that continues form week to week, our goals are still there for us to go get. I live in a world where losing feels like the end of the world. With the passion that this fan base has, the world was crumbling this week Ė ha!
What is our #1 goal Ė to win Big 10 Championship, or the National Championship? I disagree that we are out of the national championship!!!!!!!!!!! The team that won it last year lost 1 game. The goal is to win the rest of our games. There is a perception that weíve lowered our standard and we havenít.
With Chase Rome out, Peete will have more of a role.
If we win this week, everyone will be back on your sideÖ.. I hope so, I turned on my twitter last week and it was bad. Itís called passion (says a lady in the crowd). Iím with you. We care about it as much as you do, our kids do, our coaches, we do want to win championships.
Itís hard when you lose games and youíve put so much into it and you control how so many people feel about their team. We take it extremely seriously and when we felt weíve let people down, thatís hard. We promise to do the best you can going forward.
Rex Ė he will play when heís 100% - haha! Is he 100%? UhhhhÖthatís for Coach Pelini to say Ė haha. He is getting close. I would expect him to be back for conference play.
Itís a big one this Saturday, we canít wait to get it done.
GO BIG RED!
"I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don't enjoy." Ė Jack Nicklaus