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September 9, 2014

Tracy Claeys

Q.  Tracy, with Nick going down, another guy you lose on defense.  How are you feeling right now in terms of just depth overall, defensively?
COACH CLAEYS:  Just gets you a little younger.  But when Everett played in the game he played well.  And move the next guy up, just keep rolling.

Q.  How do you feel about their no‑huddle, watching that tape.  Obviously this isn't something new anymore.  It's different especially in the heat.
COACH CLAEYS:  The heat we can't control, so you just play with it and just see how it goes.  That's why our secondary has played quite a few snaps the last two games and so you worry about things you can control.  So the tempo will be like Texas Tech from the Bowl game and that and hurry to the line and so it will be a little faster than what we're normally used to.  But in the past, sometimes it takes a couple of series to get adjusted just how fast that's going to go.
You hope you can survive those first couple of series and hang on and move from there.

Q.  How much would you say you've learned from Gary Patterson's staff over the years and is it as much as anybody you've been around in college football?
COACH CLAEYS:  Some games, the way we we've played he probably wouldn't want me to say I've learned anything from him because we haven't played as well as he has.  But it's easily close to 90percent.
One time I was down there eight of 10 years in a row and the first time I became defensive coordinator, there spring ball, I spent 10 of 15 practices down there for spring ball and I've learned a tremendous amount from him and his staff.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for the way they coach defense and how they do things.

Q.  Do the defenses line up similar?  If they watched TCU and watched you, would people say it's very similar?
COACH CLAEYS:  He runs what you call a 4‑2‑5, 5 defensive backs.  We're a 4‑3.  We use three linebackers.  When you go one back, it's all the same.  You all line up the same.  Even though we're doing it out of the 4‑3, 4‑2‑5, there's a lot of the same principles we still do that we learned from Gary.
So I mean he's going to have a great understanding of how we line up and what we play, but it still all comes back down to kids executing on game day and playing hard and tackling.  But, yeah, it's a tough‑‑ I haven't been able to go the last two years.  And I've missed that and because it's a staff that we've always worked with as far as exchanging ideas on how to defend things and it's been good, I think, for both of us and now the fact since the contract was signed, you know, haven't been able to do that.

Q.  What was your biggest takeaway from last Saturday?  Did you come away a little put off by the way the second half unfolded?
COACH CLAEYS:  I look at it more as like I thought the first half we played extremely well.  I think they were two of eight on third downs and everybody tried to make more of it.  It's how well you play on third down.  It really is.
Second half, I don't know if we stopped them on third down.  Maybe once in the second half.  And so when you don't stop people on third down, you play a lot more snaps and have more opportunity to score points.  But I still think the value that's come out of that is that each of the first two games is the last series or two we've been able to play a lot of young kids.
Because of our injury situation, that's going to pay benefits to us down the line because those kids are going to have to play.  So we need to play in the second half better than what we have.  But at the same time in the first half I think that our kids compete awfully hard.

Q.  Turnovers, you guys are creating.
COACH CLAEYS:  Here's the thing about that:  It's helped us.  And you always try to get turnovers.  But I don't want to be a bad defensive team that relies on turnovers to get us out of situations.  And that's what I appreciate of the kids.  It would be nice to get turnovers and play good defense the whole time.  And like in the first half, we played pretty good.  T.C., quarterback pops, Damian catches the ball.  Those are all good defense.
In the second half, you know, the one got us out when we were struggling and that.  And so we gotta have turnovers.  It's all about getting the ball back for the offense.  At the same time I don't want the turnovers to be something that covers up, because we're not worth a damn on defense.  We have to play better on defense.

Q.  How frustrated were you with the containment in the second half?  I know you got pressure and all of a sudden quarterback steps up and he's breaking and it makes it tough on the secondary?
COACH CLAEYS:  He made a couple of skirmishes.  Damarius Travis falls down on the 1.  Can't keep your feet as a DB you're in trouble.  He fell down on the 1.  Quarterback scramble got us a little bit.  And this week's quarterback is as good as a quarterback we're going to play at quarterback.  That's a little bit of concern.
The thing, though, again two halves there's two things.  We didn't play as well on third down and we had more missed tackles in the second half.  I've said all along these teams that spread the field and hurry it up, they're getting their people with yours in space.  If you miss tackles you're in for a long day.  It won't be any different this week.  This will be as fast a team offensively as we've played since I've been here.
They're going to put four wide receiver out there.  Most of them former track players ran awfully well in the state of Texas.  Our string, I think we run well enough in the secondary, I really do.  We'll find out, because this will be as fast a team as we played all year long.

Q.  You brought to the table for a party like this‑‑ you can do some things you couldn't do in the past?
COACH CLAEYS:  It really is.  I agree.  That's why I say it would be a good test for us.  We have the secondary people to do it.  They're thinking in the second half, and we gotta coach better but they're getting better as the young kids, the D‑line, that's the first time Gary more got a play in a game and we moved some people around.
The one thing that concerns me conditioning‑wise we did take out some kids on the D‑line a little earlier than we did the first game.  But that was because we just can't afford to lose another first round once the game has been decided.
We can't afford to lose another D‑lineman right now.  A lot of opportunities for the younger kids and hot stove theory is the best way to learn, in my opinion, is you get burnt, you learn how to stay away from that mistake again.  Hopefully they got enough of those in the last half last week that we're ready to go with some of the younger kids.  And they will, they'll play better.

Q.  What's your evaluation of Steven Richardson so far?
COACH CLAEYS:  He played well.  Did awfully well.  He'll be fine.  He'll hold up Big Ten season just fine.  It's all a matter of getting the guys behind them ready to go.  But I thought he did awfully well for a first game.

Q.  What's his strength been?
COACH CLAEYS:  His strength is his pad level.  He's just so strong and athletic.  He can run.

Q.  There were several plays like you say that the athletic quarterback had a time, with containment, is that one of the things that a young defensive lineman‑‑
COACH CLAEYS:  That's one of the hot stove theories.  Is that you work on things and say, hey, we'll let him scramble this way but don't let him scramble that way and you get in the heat of the battle and that doesn't happen, and so obviously we didn't coach it well enough and didn't get executed well enough.  So we gotta do better I guess on both sides of it with the kids and us on that.

Q.  You have three true freshmen in the game (indiscernible)?
COACH CLAEYS:  I think so.  If we didn't take Steven out, we would have had four.  I know that Andrew and Galen and Gary Moore was all out there at one time.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COACH CLAEYS:  Probably so.  Yeah.  But the good thing is as I say again they all have athletic ability and they're all capable of playing and I'd rather have that than three guys out there who can't play at all, because injuries.  At least they can play.

Q.  You had as many as five or six total, right, at one time?
COACH CLAEYS:  Yeah, towards the end.  John's out there and Everett's out there, and Craig's out there.  So at one time there would have been six true freshmen on the field at one time out there playing.
And so there's going to be some learning experiences involved with that when that happens but it's all about getting ready.  We're going to try like we always do to win every game, like this week.  Our kids will be excited to play.  We gotta get ready for the Big Ten as we're doing that.  And that's our goal with the younger kids because they're going to have to play.
So we're probably going through a little bit more finding our identity with some of those younger kids than what I had thought we'd have to at this time of the year.  So difference, D‑lineman we can't ask Steve to necessarily do everything that Scott did if he's not capable.  We've gotta find his strength and Andrew's strengths, when those kids go to the game we have to play to their strengths.  We're working on it.

Q.  Heading down to Texas are you worried about the cramping?
COACH CLAEYS:  I think we'll do everything we can to prevent it and I think it says something about right now they predict it's going to be in the 70s or 80s we've been in that weather.  It doesn't bother me.  If it gets into the 90s it would bother me more, probably, this time of year.  But we'll do everything within our control to do that.
And part of that is going to be playing more kids, obviously.  And so much of that depends on how the game goes, are they going to have 10 or 12‑play drives or three to 5‑ play drives.  So much of that.  But the good thing it's not going to be in the 90s so it's not going to be as big‑‑ and with the game starting at 3:00, it's going to cool down, as the day goes on, as opposed to everybody says, oh, 11:00 game, what's the problem with 11 or noon game, it gets hotter as the day gets on.
We don't have any control.  All that and Ed and the training staff and our weight strength conditioning staff that's their job on the cramping part.

Q.  Patterson said (indiscernible) it's a possibility.  Are your preparations this week with that possibility, the field on the quarterback?
COACH CLAEYS:  Played last week.  They did the same thing.  Most of those teams do the hurry‑up offenses.  It's a style.  It's a philosophy.  And I just don't see a lot of changes.
And here's the thing is that I can sit up here and coach can stay up until three in the morning, draw a thousand plays.  The bottom line is they played one ballgame and they got an extra week off.  They changed completely new offenses.  They got up big early.
The chances of us seeing everything they're going to do are slim and none but at the same time I'm not going to know everything they know.  That's the nice thing having an experienced secondary getting them lined up feet in the ground and know how to play football and let them play.  So it's a tough‑‑ it's a tough deal to prepare for.  You'd rather have two games rather than one especially with all new offense.  But at the same time it will be a great learning experience for our kids and we need to play a game like this.  And I think they're excited to play this type of game.
And as I said before, especially got tremendous amount of respect for what Gary and his staff have done there and you're going to see a beautiful stadium that they made a commitment to that they've built facility‑wise and all that.  So it will be a good game for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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