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September 6, 2014

Charlie Weis


Q.  Here with head coach Charlie Weis.  Coach, let' start off with the good stuff, especially the way the game started, 24‑0 right out of the chute.  What did you like about the way the guys came out of the gate here?
COACH WEIS:  One of the biggest points of emphasis was a fast start, which we got.  We got the fast start, but I think we made plays on kind of every facet, including making the long field goal and played good on offense, played good on defense.  Then we got into the second quarter, and I felt that pretty much I wouldn't say we didn't make plays the rest of the day, but once we got into the second quarter, it didn't seem like the same juice was there.  Now we were still playing hard, but there were just too many plays that weren't made on to the ball that I was a little disappointed with.

Q.  Montell Cozart, three touchdowns, no interceptions, what did you like about his night?
COACH WEIS:  Well, in the first half, especially, he's 8 for 11.  To pinpoint, thread the needle passes, thread the needle passes down in the red zone to Nick, you know, it hits Tony on the wheel route that ends up going for six or in the second half, I think that we were just in the second half, just a step off on a lot of those balls, because they were up on us so much that a lot of those throws ended up being deeper throws instead of sure throws, and there were a lot of close ones.
But just like we talked about, I think that his athleticism and that passing game to make some plays because he bailed out of there sometimes and put himself in position to go ahead and make the throw.

Q.  Your defense really dominant in the first three quarters, so SEMO got some big plays there in the fourth quarter, how do you assess their night?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, I think we created turnovers, and pretty much had stopped the run.  Then they got that little quarterback run game going in the second half that they were putting some pressure on us and they made big plays in the pass game too.  Number one ended up having a big night and just that, 170 yards, it seemed like with a couple of touchdowns.  I think we gave up some big plays in the pass game late that other than that I thought that they played pretty solid.

Q.  That quarterback run game, did you have that going with the pass defense there?
COACH WEIS:  I mean, well, not with the two big ones.  I don't think they‑‑ I don't think the quarterback run game had anything to do with the two big ones.  I mean you know, with some of the other ones, but those ones down the field, I don't think were really affected by the quarterback run game.  I think we just gave up a couple of big plays.

Q.  In that first quarter, could you pinpoint a reason why you think you had trouble there?
COACH WEIS:  Well, I really don't have an answer to that.  I can give you my conjecture.  My conjecture is they were so antsy and anxious to get going, I think they might not be used to success to be playing on top.  Too many times the games are close, and all of a sudden it's 24‑0, and I don't think you ever stop playing hard in and go into a comfort zone.  But I think that you're finally feeling good about yourself for a change because there are so many times you're playing from behind rather than playing from ahead or from in front.  I think it might have even caught them off guard a little bit that things were going so well.

Q.  You couldn't ask for a better first quarter?
COACH WEIS:  No, just the whole biggest point of emphasis I've been saying to them is we need to come out in the first quarter and put a team away early.  Now it looked like that was the way it was going to play out.  But obviously, the way the game ended up, it didn't end up exactly like that.  But you couldn't ask for much more in the first quarter.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  No, actually there was still action going his way, but eventually, like you said, when it got to be the fourth quarter, everything was going either in the middle or on the other side right there, because not only did they have interceptions, but he had pass break‑ups, too.  He played a very‑‑ he played a very good game.

Q.  Was there not enough pressure on the quarterback? 
COACH WEIS:  No, I'll have to wait to see that.  What happened was they got into so much unbalanced formations in the game, okay?  Especially unbalanced into the boundary.  You could get yourself caught if you end up bringing heat, okay, you could get yourself caught, because when you put unbalance into the boundary, wherever you bring pressure from, you leave yourself really vulnerable on the other side.  So I think that it did a nice job with some of their unbalanced formations, slowing down the rush some.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  Well, I mean, I think that we ran for, what did we run for, 250?  It had to be at least that.  The two runners, the two runners and a little bit of Tony and a little bit of Montell, I think they ran the ball pretty well.  I think the pass inefficiency in the first half was excellent.  I mean, when you wait for 11 and a half, that bodes well.  Now we ended up going 50% on the night, I believe.  I think it was about maybe 12 for 24 or something other right there.  I just kind of in my head, but I think I'm pretty close.  That means in the second half your passing efficiency wasn't nearly as good.
But also most of our throws in the second half were more down the field throws, and that was one of the things we've already talked about, that we've got to find more short completions when we get into the second half.  You know, there were a couple balls‑‑ there is risk‑reward when you're throwing the ball down the field.  I need a couple of those with Nick, they're really close to Nick having to sit a two touchdown instead of four or five touchdowns.  He's close.
But it is what it is.  Pass inefficiency in the first half was good.  We ran the ball well most of the night.  I didn't like the fact that I was getting stopped on 3rd and 4th down in the yard, okay?  Which is an area of concern.  But I think there will be plenty‑‑ when we watch this tape tomorrow, there will be plenty of things in there that we really like and plenty of things that we don't like.

Q.  You already talked about a little bit about Avery, but Avery got the first touchdown.  Boateng got the first run.  They put their stamp on the run.
COACH WEIS:  There were a bunch of guys like that.  DeAndre Mann wins.  Between DeAndre Mann and Corey Avery, I think that you saw, what we've been telling you is what you saw.  These two guys are pretty good.  Now I think you've got to give credit to the team we played against too because I told the coach at the end of the game, you know, I thought that their team was fighting hard, really hard and making it win the game, but I thought they should be commended.

Q.  The depth chart, and obviously (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, when Duvic was named the starting kicker this week, it didn't go too well.  Let's just leave it at that.  It didn't go too well.  So because it didn't go too well, we decided to go in the other direction.  I don't think he was quite ready for me to say you're the guy, and we'll just leave it at that.

Q.  With that said (Indiscernible)?
COACH WEIS:  He hit the ball pretty well all night.  Forget about the one that got blocked because he didn't have any chance on that one, but even the one he missed from 47 yards or 49 yards, whatever it was, he hit that one really solid.  I don't know what he missed by because I can't tell from where I am.  But I thought that he hit the ball solid, and I thought he had a chance of making it.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  Well, it depends.  You know because we had a portion of the game that you would have liked the whole game to go, you have that to work off of.  So, I mean, if you sit there and take the first quarter tomorrow and just show them the first quarter as a team, which I might just do that, might just come in and say, okay, here's the first quarter.
Now tell me which team you're not going to have a chance of playing with, if you play like that.  You know, I'd be more concerned if we didn't have a portion of the game that went that way.  Would I have liked at the end of the game for it to have kept on going in the same direction?  I'd be lying if I said that weren't true, but at least the first quarter went just pretty much how you choreographed it.

Q.  Do you remember doing those things?
COACH WEIS:  It was good for Tony.  Now, remember now, we're three games in last year, and he's had some big numbers already, and he's ready to go.  Now he doesn't get hit as much but he still has the ball in his hands.  He must have three or four carries and another four catches, so I think that was a hell of a spin move and an off the wheel route right there.  That was a nice call by John because they had gotten in those two back sets with Tony, and they were just overplaying that and rotating.
So John went back the other way, and there was no one on Tony.  He was just all by himself.  I was concerned that he was so open that Montell, just put it within ten yards of him there because he was so open.  It was a nice counter move to what they were doing too, the split back version with Tony in the back.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, I'd like guys like Tony, you'd like to see if you can't get the ball in his hand about ten times a game.  But it's not always going to go exactly the way you have it dialed up unless you put it in the back field and make him running back and handed ball off to him.  But we're trying to have Tony for a full season.  We're not trying to have him for a partial season.

Q.  Can you talk about Nick?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, I mean, Nick's what's advertised.  Everyone's been waiting to see.  It's nice to see what a number one receiver looks like.  He goes in there and that's what you'd expect him to look like.  Get open, catch the ball, score touchdowns.  That's caught the swing pass and turned it up the sideline, and you see that he's got some giddy‑up.  He's not just some guy that can't run.  He's a nice, polished, veteran receiver.

Q.  Coach, (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  If he didn't, I might have punched him in the face.  So there are two ways of looking at it, you know?  I'll give Nick credit there, but that rolled around a little bit.  They also had another onside kick and Corey came up big on that, and that was different because that was with the hand scheme.  That was with an adjusted kickoff return team.
But obviously at the end of the game once Nick came up with that and we got the run there a couple of times just because the clock wasn't right on and being able to kneel down until after the second play.  Then we finally got it on to the 40‑second play.

Q.  Montell really thrives on confidence.
COACH WEIS:  I don't think it affected him at all.  I think it was less calling more balls down the field.  They came to not taking the nickel and dime throws and throwing more down the field.  I'm sure one thing that John will end up addressing is how they get some shorter, quicker, get the ball in their hands to these still guys because for the first time in three years now, we've got a group of receivers that you look out there and say, okay, they're Big 12 receivers.  We haven't really been in that position.  You know, it's plays of production that you got out of some of those guys.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, I mean, right at the end of the half or whatever it was.  I must not have realized that the ball was a fumble.  I have not addressed that with them yet because I let John talk to them at halftime.  I also said the same thing to Montell.  I said, who do you think was going to recover that ball?  It's going to you.  You can't run a ball around because variations of that ball could have been scooped up and taken to the house going the other way, and that wouldn't have been very good.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  We had a bunch of guys that for one reason or another that weren't dressed.  I think you should expect Rod to be playing next week.

Q.  What did you think of the group?
COACH WEIS:  I think they were going to come out and see some of these guys actually legitimately want to help us.  You know, we really believe that.  We believe that some of these guys‑‑ I mean, obviously, Corey's going to help us.  Keyon played a bunch.  Keyon played a bunch in there.  Boateng played a bunch in there.
So some of those guys played a bunch in there tonight and there were a bunch of other guys that we would have liked to have played in this game, but the game just didn't play out like that.

Q.  Defensively you guys were able to rotate a lot of guys through and you had a lot of different guys playing.  Was this the first time you felt like you realistically had that second unit and that second group of guys and they did not have a huge drop off?
COACH WEIS:  First time was confidence.  First, the answer to that would be we've done it before, but sometimes you're holding your breath.  Especially rolling those linebackers in there and rolling those defensive linemen in there and rolling those DBs through there.  There are a lot of guys that played in the game.  I mean, probably the way things went in the fourth quarter, you probably have a lot of tired puppies right now.  Not that I'm worrying about them.  They'll be fine eventually.  They'll be ready to go.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, even on the back play, the Damon Martin play, I don't know.  I'm assuming there must have been a snap issue because why is the ball going back there?  I'm assuming that to be the case.  I don't know that yet because it was right towards the end, and there were so many other things that we had to get cleared up.  I let John handle that.  I'll talk to John and find out exactly.  Of course, I'll have watched it already by the time I talk to John, but I'll watch it, and then tomorrow morning we'll chat about it.

Q.  Where do you watch it?
COACH WEIS:  Where do I watch it?  No, I won't watch it tonight.  I try to watch the whole game, the coach's copy of the game before anyone gets here.  So when they get here I've already watched the defense and the special teams.  So if I have any questions before they really get going into the morning, I can say, what happened on this play?  But I like to see them myself first before I go ahead and do that.
So if you'd like to join me for coffee, 4:30, quarter to 5:00 tomorrow, I'll make the first pot.

Q.  You mentioned they're not comfortable being ahead or?
COACH WEIS:  No, my response was that it hasn't happened.  I mean, when is the last time they're up 24‑0 in the first quarter?  Sometimes people don't just like they have a tough time handling failure.  Sometimes when you have success, you get shocked too.  There are two ways that ends up working.  But the good thing is that exists.  That exists on tape and they can say here's what happens when things are going right and you're playing complementary football, and the offense and defense and special teams are all feeding off each other, which that is what it is like.
You don't get involved with that scenario plenty of times in my career, and it's a good feeling.  Plus it's not a good feeling in the fourth quarter when the momentum is clearly on the other side of the field.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COACH WEIS:  One very practical issue, I address the negatives as well as the positives.  1‑0, and you can go up and everyone can tell you that you just beat SEMO and you're no good.  And you can do it one of two ways because that's what everyone will tell you.  You can either sulk or enjoy the win because the wins‑‑ it isn't like we have a whole hundred of them in the last few years, you know?  Enjoy the win, and let's get ready to go down to Durham and play Duke because the next major hurdle we have is we haven't won on the road here in a long time.  I don't care what happened at the Duke game tonight.  I'll worry about tomorrow as well.
But tomorrow after we take care of the problems that we had in this game, we'll put all our energy towards starting to get ready for the trip to Durham.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about the downhill pass in the second half?  How do you balance wanting to deal with shorter, more accurate completion, rather than looking at the tape and saying if this went a little more right or a couple inches over, we'd have three more yards?
COACH WEIS:  That's a very good sound question.  That is a good question.  There is not even a but to that.  That's a very good question.  I think especially when a team is playing well in manned coverage and coming up in your face like they were.  The risk‑reward factor goes, the reward is much greater and so you complete the first down, now 2nd and 10, now you put yourself into the hole as a play caller and that is the one you're always dealing with.
I left John alone and I think I called one play of the game that was kneeled down on the last play of the game.  I called that one.  So if you want to know how many plays I called, I called one.

Q.  Coach, another question about pat in the game.  Talking about the way Montell started off.  He was very accurate out there.  Could he make more plays?  He seemed more comfortable early on the run.
COACH WEIS:  If you've been following us the last couple years, that is the problem we've had in the passing game.  I've said several times that his feet can save you in the passing game and really in the first half he was 8 for 11.  But a lot of that was his feet saving us in the passing game.  He either bailed out to the right or bailed out to the left.  He would step up or shuffle.  That is the type of thing that really we've been missing and he brought to the table, and he executed very well.

Q.  Were you wishing he would take off and run more often?
COACH WEIS:  No, no.  I want it by design.  You know, I'd rather he set the pocket and have protection.  If you don't throw the ball, I'd rather he not be exposed.  We have plenty of things where they call boot legs or rollouts where they're designed plays.

Q.  Would you expect the defense to continue?
COACH WEIS:  Yeah, that's a standard coverage.  You know, they're four press, and one.  They're what everyone plays it's just do you want to nickel and dime them or take shots for home runs?  That's really the decision you're going to make.  You can't have two play callers.  I can't go, hey, John, what is the short short on the replay?  I don't disagree with him.  I don't disagree with what he did.  There were a lot of plays where we go back and look at it, it's going to be oh.  I can hear the grunts already.  Oh.  You know, and then it will probably be one saying Harwell's getting grabbed and I can hear myself tomorrow morning.  Might even complain about you, for that matter, but it really doesn't make much of a difference, because whether it's four press, one or two man, which are some of the things they played in the game, it's going to have to be manned coverage in the passing game.

Q.  (No microphone)?
COACH WEIS:  I think when you go back and watch the game, some of these plays are very close.  I mean, I'm just looking at it from the field.  So from the field, you don't get a great view.  But I think some of these passes are really close.  We'll go back and analyze it.  But I think that all of a sudden, all you have to do is hit two or three of those because they're all touchdowns.  They're not just incompletions.  These are touchdowns.  You complete two or three of those, and all of a sudden, it's another 21 points on the board and you threw for six touchdowns.  It would be a banner night.

Q.  We're going in the fourth quarter to our left.  The fourth quarter both on the right‑hand side.  Both catches to the right that were really, really close.  You're challenging me to remember those plays.

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