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September 3, 2012

Manny Diaz

MANNY DIAZ: The immediate thing that goes through your mind is we've got to move on to the next play, and one of the neat things about Saturday night was our worst plays on defense were actually followed immediately by some of our best plays on defense. Obviously the 11 guys that were on the field at that point were all just heartbroken, really, to allow that to happen, but to come back and block the ensuing point attempt, you could see a bunch of guys feeling sorry for themselves and not really focusing on that play. But for us to block that PAT I think really speaks to maybe the spirit that this team has.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: Right. Well, there's not going to be any touchdowns that we allow that I'm going to be overjoyed about. But we certainly‑‑ what games provide is real‑life adversity. That's what you can't simulate in practice. You can't simulate the variables of the things that are out of our control, and of course any good defense or any good team or any good individual learns to control the things that they can control and not worry about the things that you can't.
But all that being said, there was no call that allowed for a miscommunication in our coverage on that second touchdown.
So one, even though it may be easy to say, well, this happened causing this, in reality that's still not true; we still just made a mistake which allowed them to score.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: Well, it's what I said when I sat here last week, when the games come there's something to fix, and there's always going to be something to fix. And games are also‑‑ they are humbling is probably the word, but it tells you who you are. Forget about what everybody thinks. This is‑‑ we are building our resumé. Last year's defense, one of the things on the resumé is we didn't give up big plays. Right now this year's defense is giving up the big play. We know that's on our resumé, we have to find a way to minimize that and make that a bygone sort of small point by the time the season is over.
It's what I enjoy about the season is that it's what's real, it's what's defined, it's what we put on tape, and we have a chance to fix it every week.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: Well, it's going to measure players in terms of their ability to learn and learn concepts on defense. You know, we go from a team last week that lined up with no backs about a third of the game to a team that when the ball is snapped will have three backs in some way, shape or form in the backfield when the ball snaps, so you couldn't be going from one end of the spectrum any further to the other.
But that's‑‑ see, that's kind of neat about college football. That's what college football is; it's not sort of everybody running the same offense, same defense week in and week out. We do have these dramatic changes in style.
And certainly with what New Mexico did last week and the way they were able to run the football, it's just an entirely different challenge than we saw last Saturday, but that's the world we live in. We've got to go stop it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: Yeah, it'll be assignments, it'll be, number one, no pre‑snap problems, got to make sure we get lined up to what they do, and communication will be important, which is one of the things we didn't do a great job of Saturday night, so we'll have to make sure when the ball is snapped that we're already not in trouble, and then they do a great job. There's guys that were moving all over the place after the ball snapped that sort of changed the number count, and we'll have to handle all that, so our guys will really have to be in the right place, and it still comes down to tackling.
One thing option teams do a great job of, in a way the same thing the spread teams do in a different method is they isolate your defensive football players, create one‑on‑ones, so even if you have the guy, it's not just having the guy, you've got to get the guy on the ground. Now, you can do by running with five wide receivers and throwing a short pass or you can do that by going to the triple option where someone has got dive quarterback pitch. You may have someone on pitch, but he still has to tackle the guy. He doesn't tackle the guy because somebody is brought up on diving quarterback, that's where they can make big plays, and that's what happened‑‑ that's what they were able to do, explosive plays in their opener this past weekend.
Those are really the challenges when you go up against an offense like this.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: I don't think there's any doubt that that will be one of our main points of emphasis this week in terms of improving. I think that's one of the deals that you just take for granted the experienced guys that we had on last year's defense that have been in that environment. We did things‑‑ when you do things that you don't do for 29 days in practice and you do it on game day, then you know that that environment playing out there in front of all those people changed‑‑ changes the deal or the situation for some of the guys that we had in the game.
You could see the very distinct line between our guys that have been in that environment and played a lot of defense as opposed to guys that haven't been in that environment. You have to go through it, you have to do it once as a coach. You warn them; you're like the parent that warns their child about the dangers of this, that and the other, and the child still goes and does it and they came back and said, gee, mom or dad, you were right about that, and you just sit there and say, I know.
So we'll move on, and the good thing is the first one is out of the way.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: Well, for us, I mean, it still comes down to what we want to do every week. We want to be a better tackling team, which I suspect we will be in the second week of the season. We want to be a team that doesn't beat ourselves before the snap, we want to be a team that doesn't give up big plays. We want to be a team that makes big plays. You saw that in flashes a little bit in the Wyoming game. There was a lot of good when you put the tape on and watched it. We have a lot of respect for Wyoming's running game, and they only had two runs of over five yards, and one of them was the first play of the game. I think two thirds of the runs were for three yards or less. We had a run defense, and the challenge we had week one was good. We gave up a few explosive pass plays that are all correctable and that we can fix, and we just look forward to moving on.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: Well, sometimes I think they're the same. I think they're the same. I think when you look at your defense and when you come back in, no matter who you play, you're in this constant state of just trying to improve and just trying to get better. That's what you're trying to‑‑ you want your guys to be people that are just infatuated with just improving myself over whatever I was last week, and if you get 11 guys or 22 guys that have that attitude, as the whole, of course we'll improve.
So everybody has got a little thing, from our best player all the way to the guy that got one snap in at the end of the game, everybody has got something individually that they can do better that we can coach better than we coached in the first game. I've got to coach better in week 2 than I coached in week 1.
So if we all dedicate ourselves to doing that, that is what we set as our goal every week is a constant state of improvement, and it's funny how things work out on the scoreboard if we do that.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: There will be, but it really‑‑ again, what an option offense does, it really brings out‑‑ in a way it sort of puts your defense in one line because you've got to handle the A gap. It starts in the A gap. Then they're going to move out to the B, to the C, and then somebody has got the quarterback and somebody has got the pitch, and there will be a blocker out there for that. So really it puts a stress not just to have somebody fill all those jobs starting from our defensive tackles out to our corner, and everybody is going to have to tackle. That's another thing these offenses are really good at, they can make anybody on your football team the tackler if they want to, so you've got to win, and if they find the guy that's not in the mood for tackling then you could be in for a long day. You could play it all right and that guy doesn't feel like tackling that day and you've got a bad day going.
The run game always starts in the A gaps with our defensive tackle, and one our linebackers will always be haunting that area, and everything starts inside out and moves from there.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: You know what, I watched the tape on Sunday, I was pleased. There were still some little things that you just saw from the first day. I have different standards. There were a lot of three‑yard gains that nobody would ever notice, and they were good plays for our defense. But they really could have been zero‑yard gains if we just maybe would have gone a half a count sooner and attacked the line of scrimmage. But overall when I look at our run defense, when I compare ourselves to even our opener last year against Rice, we were a better defensive football team Saturday than we were one year ago against Rice. Rice ran for 130 yards on us. With what they did, overall I was pleased with their performance, but they know they have some room to improve.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: I don't know. That stuff I don't even pay attention to. I don't know who's on any list. I see a list that comes out, and there's like, you know, it seems like everybody that can walk and chew gum is on some of those lists. I really don't‑‑ that doesn't‑‑ what I love about the football season is we get to talk about people that do things in games, and I think that's the neat thing. We get to talk about actual games and we don't have to talk about whether people deserve or don't deserve more accolades. They can do it on their own. They can put it on tape.
What I always tell our players is at the end of the season, we have a DVD of every game. To be able to put 12 DVDs in your hand and just hand it to whoever you want to hand it to. That's what we do. We're in the manufacturing business. We manufacture tape, and every week we put something on tape, and at the end of the season we have these 12 tapes, these 12 DVDs that we can lay out here, and what you want is to say which one should I watch, just pick one, they're all the same, just pick any one you want and pop it in your player and just watch it. That's it. That's all our focus is.
Because it gets back to what I was talking about: We cannot control lists, we cannot control awards, so it's not something that I worry about, and hopefully it's not something that our players worry about.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: I think Carrington is a guy that really improved in his confidence as the year went on last year. I think the Oklahoma State game was a good game. I thought he played well against Oklahoma. I think against Oklahoma State he really made some plays against Blackmon where he started to say, you know what, I might not be half bad at this deal.
The neat thing about working with Carrington every day, he's a very humble individual. He's soaks up Coach Akina's teaching like a sponge, he wants to improve every day, and he's a fun guy to coach. So you're always happy when guys like that have success on Saturday.

Q. (Inaudible.)
MANNY DIAZ: We just felt like he had more flash plays. We're a bit of the mindset that we have four starters at defensive tackle and who plays the first play isn't necessarily the most important thing, but we did think that Desmond was a little bit more productive, and Desmond plays extremely hard, really is made for what we talk about in terms of penetrating, getting across the line of scrimmage, but it doesn't mean anything against any of the other guys, we felt just Desmond had to be awarded for some of the plays he made on Saturday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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