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September 15, 2012

Rocky Long


Q.  You said you were nervous at the beginning‑‑
COACH LONG:  I'm glad you caught that, because I said at beginning of the week, the game‑‑ scored 55 points a game and gained over 500 yards on total offense, that's hard to do against a scout team but nobody wanted to listen.  Well, guess what; they are really good on offense.
I mean, that quarterback is amazing and then they have some receivers that are very difficult to cover.  I think that the biggest factor was if we played zone and rushed four, we couldn't even get close.  Couldn't even get close.  So that means they are pretty good up front, too.
If we blitzed some guys, we could get there pretty much and make them throw on time so we missed a few throws but they had a couple receivers that are as good as we'll play against.  I said that at the beginning of the week, too, and nobody wanted to listen.
But they have some receivers that we have a hard time covering, and we didn't cover them very well a couple of times.  It's good that the offense had a good night, and before we go too crazy, I told the defensive players talking to the press tonight, that's my decision, not theirs, but before we go too crazy, the defense did score, okay.  Right?  They did score and the defense did stop them on the last drive to preserve the win, okay.
So I've been around this a long time, and whenever you're supposed to and in everybody's mind you're supposed to beat somebody bad and you don't, everybody is going to be a critic.
Well, guess what, a win is a win.  I mean, they were good enough to beat us.  I told you that at the beginning of the week, too, and you didn't want to listen to that, either.

Q.  Inaudible.
COACH LONG:  I'm very happy with the way the offense played.  Disappointed with what the defense did.  The defense seemed to struggle all night.  It started when they throw a five‑yard pass out there and we miss the tackle and it goes for 14 yards.
We have a guy come free ‑‑ and I'm not going to tell you which one ‑‑ we have a guy come free on a blitz and the quarterback never sees him and we don't even touch the quarterback.  And he completes a pass down the field for about 30 yards.  So obviously we are good at making plays.
You've got to give them credit.  Some of them, some of that is them.  I mean, you can play zone coverage if you can get heat with four guys and then it's harder to throw and catch.  If you can't get there with four guys, eventually he scrambles for a first down or he throws it for a first down.  So that forces you into playing man coverage and blitzing.
Well, guess what.  If you fall down in man coverage or you get confused in man coverage, it's a huge play.  And we got caught in that old deal where we can't play zone and we blitzed and got beat in man coverage a couple of times.  Maybe the trick play got them started, too, because we were all right until the trick play.

Q.  What were you most pleased with on the offensive side?
COACH LONG:  I thought they responded to everything that was thrown at them.  They would catch up and get it close and the offense would go down and score and make it not close.  So they responded every chance they had to.

Q.  What was the mind‑set of the guys on the defense in the locker room?
COACH LONG:  I think they are very disappointed they didn't play well.  I mean, it's interesting that one week you play as good as you can play and the next week you play poorly.  You tell me what that is.
Now, some of it's the different scheme.  It's we didn't have the problem last year but when you play against a triple option and then all of a sudden somebody is going to throw 50‑some passes at you, that's a huge turnaround in three days.
It's not a huge turnaround in three days if you can rush four and get to the quarterback.  It's not.  But if you can rush four and not get to the quarterback, it's a huge problem if the week before you played the triple option.

Q.  Inaudible.
COACH LONG:  The goal going into the game is to win.

Q.  Was there anything0?
COACH LONG:  We started out trying to play zone coverage and rush four, because we didn't want to give up big plays.  So obviously that wasn't working so we started blitzing.  That didn't work any better, either.

Q.  You said about how you were warning us about their abilities, but at the same time, if you're talking about how well‑‑ isn't that also an indictment on your program's abilities as much as it is a compliment to theirs?
COACH LONG:  I think it's more of a compliment to theirs.  All you have to do is look every week and see the scores.  I think Louisiana almost beat Auburn today; and they beat Arkansas last week.  North Dakota State beat Colorado State last week.  Sacramento State beat someone.  Northern Arizona beat somebody.  There was probably more today.
I think that whenever you're not on your game, and the other team is on their game, there's a chance whether you're a beater team or not that you might lose.

Q.  How much of a factor‑‑ how much of an effect did that have‑‑
COACH LONG:  I thought the offensive line played great bauds when we were rushing four, we didn't seem to even get close to them and then if we had everybody covered, he scrambled and we didn't tackle him until he got sufficient yards to keep drives alive.

Q.  What made Hardin so hard to stop?
COACH LONG:  If you have a receiver that's as good as Hardin, you give him enough time to run routes, he's going to get open.  So the only way you stop that is to get to the quarterback, and I've just been mentioning that we couldn't get to the quarterback.
When we did blitz and the receiver, all he has to do is make one quick move and if he's a little bit better off than you are, guess what, he runs.

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