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October 5, 2011

Tom O'Brien

COACH O'BRIEN: Our kids are working hard this week, getting ready for a very explosive Central Michigan offense. Last week they had four touchdowns over 46 yards. So our Achilles heel so far has been big plays, so we're going to work hard to limit their big plays and going to have to get going early on offense. Look forward to Saturday afternoon.

Q. You've got at least three guys I know that are playing on both sides of the ball. Can you talk about two-way players? Have you done that in the past or is it just reaction to some of the injuries and problems that you've had this year?
COACH O'BRIEN: In the past we used Will Blackmon our last year at Boston College. It started a corner for us as a freshman, played defensive back. When we ran short of wide receivers, we played him at wide receiver and then used him as our nickel back in defensive situations because we had a couple other cornerbacks able to do it.
We have used kids this year. It's been out of necessity because of the injuries that we suffered so that we could create enough depth to have guys play. I see multiple guys now play in the same game on both sides of the ball.

Q. How closely do you have to watch and monitor the number of snaps a guy that's doing that gets to avoid really wearing him out?
COACH O'BRIEN: Well, you have to definitely be aware of it. In our mindset, one side of the ball takes precedent over the other. Generally if he's going on the other side of the ball, it's to give somebody else a blow so that they're not getting too many snaps. You get a little gun shy when you've had as many guys knocked out as we've had.

Q. What were some of the things that you thought your defense did particularly well and particularly not well against Georgia Tech last weekend?
COACH O'BRIEN: Well, I think we gave up -- when you look at how they were throwing the football and they were averaging over 200 yards a catch, big plays in a passing game, it scared the heck out of us.
We hold them to 4 out of 13 throwing the ball, but all four plays were big plays. I think that was one thing -- one pass was something we hadn't seen before, and we didn't react. But the other ones we should have hedged two of them. We practiced a lot. The second one of the two, we had one of our guys run into an official and got picked off as he's trying to go get the guy. That was the discouraging part there.
Even though we held them for 13, the bottom line is they still scored their points. They're a very explosive team, but we held them to 400 yards. They were averaging 600 yards.
We went into the game thinking if we could possess the ball more than we did and run the ball more, but we just weren't strong enough with all of our defensive linemen out to hold up against them defensively.

Q. How did the preparation on defense compare to what you saw from Georgia Tech last weekend?
COACH O'BRIEN: Are you talking about today or last week?

Q. Last week to prepare against the triple action offense, is that what you thought you would see?
COACH O'BRIEN: The one counterplay is what we saw in practice, and they got us a couple of times, so we got it coached up the right way. It was in their offense, but they hadn't shown it. Other than that, you kind of practice, as I said, they snuck one pass in on us, the one on the goal line that scored a touchdown. The fullback leaking out is one we hadn't seen before.
But you've got to be able to find some things you don't see if you read your keys.

Q. In your opening remarks you alluded to getting off to a better start. I think in the first part of the year you've been up 48 points. Is there any reason for the slow start or is it something different every week?
COACH O'BRIEN: You know, I think last two weeks we were so beat up and we ran into two very high-powered -- you talk about two football teams that are averaging over 50 points a game. They're averaging over 500 yards of offense a game, one 500, one 600. Part had to do with the opponent. Part had to do with our physical condition that we weren't able to stand up to them.
We didn't catch up to Georgia Tech until the after the first quarter last week, but that happens to a lot of people when you play that offense. So it's something that is a concern.
Now we go back into our regular offense. This is a team that scored 48 points last week, so they've got the capabilities of doing it. It's something that we're working really hard mentally with this football team that we've got to come out of the tunnel and play much better.

Q. Are you expecting any physical reinforcements this week?
COACH O'BRIEN: We're trying to get Sweezy inside, and trying to get a few more plays out of him. That will be a lot to help out. Guys are trying, but we'll see how they end up on Saturday.

Q. In scouting Central Michigan this week, are there areas of specific concern that you have going into this ballgame?
COACH O'BRIEN: Yeah, we talked about our defense is in shreds right now. When you play four senior offensive linemen that are all 300-something pounds, big guys. They run the ball well. Got a quick little tailback that gets behind them and takes off and runs. The tight end can really stretch the defense.
We're red shirting a kid here, Asa Watson, that kind of reminds us of him. Got a deep threat quarterback that did a great job throwing the ball last week. If you look at them on defense, they're really strong up the middle. The two guys that play on the center and guard middle linebacker, the second team on tackle and the two safeties that are 1 and 3 on the team in tackling.
So they're built strong from the middle out on defense. They've got a definite big play on the offensive side of the ball.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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