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September 24, 2012

Neal Brown

COACH BROWN:¬† Our maybe focus last week was mainly on ourselves.¬† We implemented a few things with Iowa State but mainly ‑‑ we have played, I think I told y'all this after the game the other night.¬† We played really fast, played hard and played physical.¬† We just have to get better technique and assignment wise, and that's the main things we focused on.¬† Especially up front with just technique issues.¬† And we wanted to get our second group quite a few reps, and we were able to do that last week.

Q.¬† Yards‑per‑attempt, where is that in relation to you want it?
COACH BROWN:¬† Well, it's better than where we were.¬† Really if you take out that first game, it's almost around‑‑ it's a little higher than ten.
But that's something that we focused on, for sure.¬† You know, we wanted to‑‑ we call them chunk plays, explosive plays, however you want to say them.¬† That's something we put a lot of effort in, a lot of time in during the off‑season and you're seeing some of that.
But the one thing that hurts us that ‑‑ in normal stats, they count those screen passes.¬† That hurts your yardages‑per‑attempt but we count them as run because that's the way we kind of think about them.¬† When you hear me talking about them, it's sometimes a little different.
Long answer; short answer is, it's good.  Not exactly where we want it to be yet though.

Q.¬† Coach mentioned Tony Morales‑‑ inaudible.
COACH BROWN:  Well, at center, Castro (ph) would go.  Yeah, at center, Castro would go.  And then Beau has been the third guy there, and then the next guy would be Polk.

Q.  What are you looking for in the Iowa State defense that maybe you've seen so far this year?  What are your concerns about that?
COACH BROWN:  They are by far the best defense we've played.  I think they are going to be one of the better defenses in our league.  With those guys, it always starts with the two linebackers, Klein and Knott, are as good as anybody in our league.  They are physical kids.  They do a great job in the pass game, getting in their zone drops.
They also got a kid, Washington, who is a safety that's played the last two years against us, and I think he's an NFL talent.¬† I think he's very, very good.¬† And probably their most underrated, they play about four or five d‑tackles inside.¬† But they are all big guys, I mean, they are 280‑plus and they do a good job of really pushing the pocket and getting a surge in the run game, also.

Q.  You guys have done better obviously getting off to fast starts.  How important is that to continue this week after the last two years?
COACH BROWN:¬† Well, it's huge, because I think the last two years, it's been 24‑0 and then 21‑0 the last two years.¬† We were able to overcome it two years ago and get back in the game and then turned the ball over and kind of took us out of it.¬†¬† That's been a huge foes cuss for us.
I'm really pleased, we came out firing really, really well against New Mexico, and against Texas State, we played well early.  We had the fumble but we played really well early and I think that's huge.  I think it gives our defense a lot of confidence when we come out and we are able to score.

Q.  With Klein and Knott, how important will your inside guys be on Saturday?
COACH BROWN:  It's huge.  It's going to be a challenge for them.  It's a big challenge for our guys.  They have to be able to not only beat them in routes but they have to block them in the run game and that's huge.
You know, they are really good players.¬† I mean, they did some things against Oklahoma State last year that were just special.¬† I mean, the pick, the interception he had to win the game, he tipped the ball.¬† I think that was Knott‑‑ I could be wrong on that, but they tipped the ball in the overtime.¬† They are just really good players.¬† I think those guys and Arthur Brown are really good.

Q.¬† The first three‑‑ inaudible.
COACH BROWN:  Well, you never know how games are going to go.  We have gotten him more reps so far than any other backup that we've had probably, even going back to when I was at Troy.  But going into the game, we're going to get Doege ready to go.  And Doege will play unless something happens, and then Brewer would go in.
The thing that makes me nervous about playing Brewer, he's a good runner, obviously a better runner than Doege, but we don't have a ton of depth, you know, there.  So that's what keeps us away from some packages and stuff like that from Brewer right now.

Q.  Do you feel good about your young guys on the offensive line?
COACH BROWN:  Yeah, we'll see, it's going to be a big test for them.  I think the jury is still out.  The jury is still out for us as an offense, also.  But they are going to play against significant bigger people and against significant upgrade talent than they have played the first three weeks.
New Mexico had some good players inside.¬† That was probably their best players on defense were interior, d‑line.¬† But it's going to be a step up.¬† They have got to go on the road and play in a hostile environment and see.¬† And I trust those guys; I think Le'Raven Clark has played exceptionally well through three games.¬† Alfredo is getting better; he and Beau are getting better every week.
But it's definitely going to be their stiffest challenge.  I mean, I don't think there's any question about that.  We have given all three of those guys about as many looks as we can last week and we'll continue to do so this week.

Q.¬† Are they more of a man team or a zone in coverage and if they are in man, I'm assuming slots, you're going to be able to read‑‑
COACH BROWN:  They are more of a zone team.  They are really a fundamentally sound team.  They are well coached.  The defensive coordinator has a lot of experience.  They do a good job playing against spread teams.
But they are mostly a zone coverage team and they are kind of a bend‑but‑don't‑break defense and they want to you have to extend the drives multiple plays, and then force mistakes.¬† They have done a good job so far this year of taking advantage of turnovers.¬† And that's something that‑‑ I think that's key to the football game.¬† We have put the ball on the ground more times than I would like, and that's something that we cannot afford to do when we go.

Q.¬† Man or zone‑‑
COACH BROWN:¬† Either way.¬† They will play man but that's not what they are going to make a living on.¬† They will make a living on playing‑‑ they read route combinations probably as good as anybody in college football really.¬† The guy that coached secondary last year did a great job and the guy they have this year has continued that.
They do a really good job of zone, and everybody kind of plays‑‑ I think y'all have heard me say this, now it's kind of like match up zone principles in basketball.¬† That's the way zone coverages are now.¬† Everybody matches up within their zone, and they do a really good job of doing that and playing route combinations.

Q.  So given that match up, do you feel good in having guys like Darrin Moore and Kennard that have some height and strength?
COACH BROWN:¬† I like those matchups, anyway.¬† Both those guys are 6‑4 or better and those are matchups we like.¬† But at the same time, the two corners we are playing, they got after us pretty good last year.¬† I mean, their two corners against our X and Z receivers really got after us and won‑‑ that little battle, they won that handedly.

Q.¬† Matching up good players‑‑ inaudible.
COACH BROWN:¬† Well, better so than most people they are playing, just because he can match them size‑wise.¬† Those guys are around 240‑ish and Jason is 250‑ish, in that range.¬† So just from a size standpoint, he can match up with them as far as blocking them and doing those type of things, a little better than a lot of people they play in our league.
It's going to be a good challenge for Jas, too, because he played a little bit last year, but this is going to be the first conference game that he is going into that he's a guy that we are really counting on.

Q.¬† The first few games, you were spreading the ball around, you said going into Big12 you would try to whittle it down to a certain number of guys‑‑
COACH BROWN:  We want to be multiple.  I mean, if you look at the five spots we have, we want to always evenly distribute it through those five spots.
Going into ‑‑ I think what you'll see more, because we really haven't played‑‑ we really played about a half against those first three games.¬† When guys get hot, we are going to keep feeding them, especially at the running back position, when somebody gets hot, we are not going to definitely just try to go third to third to third there.
When somebody gets hot, we are going to feed those guys, same with the receivers, if somebody gets hot, they will play significantly more.

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