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October 8, 2012

Tommy Tuberville

COACH TUBERVILLE:  Little bit about last week's game.  Disappointed, obviously, we didn't play our best game.  Played against a good football team that outquicked us in some areas.  We had 150 yards after contact.  In other words, we didn't tackle very well at the point of attack.  They tackled us at the point of attack.  We didn't have any real big plays to speak of.  We've got to make bigger plays in open field on both sides of the ball.
The thing that really got us in trouble was our third down conversions in the red zone on both the offense and defense.  We gave up two third downs for touchdowns, and we couldn't convert third downs in the red zone.
So a lot to work on.  Had some good performances by some guys, but we just weren't consistent enough to make big plays, and you've got to make big plays in games like that.  They made them, and we didn't.
Our guys were ready to play, it just looked like we were waiting for something to happen, but we've got to make stuff happen in games like that.
Game this week, we've got a good football team coming to town.  Scoring a lot of points, averaging 52 points a game.  That's a lot of points.  They do a great job.  They've got an outstanding quarterback that loves to throw the ball.  He's strong.  He's quick.  I had a chance to watch him quite a bit in the Manning Camp this summer against all the other quarterbacks in the country, and there was no better kid than him.  He's got great touch on the ball.
He loves to play, and you can tell he's got that senior leadership.  A guy that's got some age to him.  He takes a shot in the pocket and he'll stand there and throw it.  He's got good receivers with a lot of speed.  Lot of speed on the field Saturday.
Then defensively, we'll go back to running back.¬† Also they've got a very good running back that is kind of a dual‑threat that you don't normally see on a team that has that much speed at wide receiver.¬† They're hitting on all cylinders.¬† They're undefeated.¬† And they're leaning on a defense that's gotten better and better every week.
I know they've given up some points, and their offense has put them in some tough situations, but their defense has a lot of talent and a lot of speed.  So we have our hands full.
We'll go back as we try to do each week and try to get ourselves better.  Technique and fundamentals.  We need to make our own breaks.  We can't wait for somebody to give them to us.  Last week we turned the ball over, and gave up points and the other team didn't.  You do that, and more than likely you're not going to win games.  Hopefully we can get back on track.

Q.  Are you discouraged by how you saw the team perform?

Q.  Discouraged.
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Well, there were some good things.  We can tell we're a much better team.  A team like that that came in fresh and fast and as good as Oklahoma, we competed for a while with them I think they understood going in they had to play perfect.  They had to play real well and they did.  Their back was kind of against the wall and they had to come in and play as well as they possibly could, and we got their best shot.
But in this league, as tough as it is, you're not going to be able to bring your A game every week.  We hope we bring it this week, because we obviously didn't bring it last week.  We've got a lot of room for improvement.  We have some guys ready to play.  With what we do on offense, our quarterback has to play well.  And he'll be the first one to tell you that wasn't even close to his best game.
You look on the other side and we didn't pressure Landry Jones at all.  He stood back there and just kind of picked us apart.  That's pretty much how things go.  But we've got to play better on defense too.  We gave up a busted coverage for a guy in the back field that went for about 30, 40 yards on a crucial situation, and we gave up two third and longs for touchdowns, which we've normally been pretty good at it, but you have to give them credit for executing it.  They put the ball on the money.

Q.¬† With that being said, you were talking about the pass‑rush.¬† Is that a concern for you this week to get a push right into Geno Smith this week?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, you've got to do a little bit of both.  You can pick your poison.  They do a great job with screens.  They throw a lot of short passes.  They've got two receivers, and they get the ball in open field, you better have more than one person around them trying to tackle them.  I know that.  So we'll go in with the same type of game plan.  We'll bring four.  We'll bring five.  We have just got to make sure that whatever we do, that we tackle at the point of attack.  We can't give up 150 yards after the catch or after we've made contact on the run.  We can't do that.
In this league, you're not going to win many games.  So we've got to get back to making sure that we play the way we played in the first four games on defense.
We tackle well, and we tackled good receivers.¬† It wasn't anything other than the fact that we just got there and didn't make plays.¬† They hit us on the screenplay the other night early.¬† They ran a couple of formations that we hadn't seen, open date formations that they came in and got us outflanked.¬† We adjusted well to them, but it took us a while to do that.¬† Once we did, we started making plays, but we got hurt by the short pass early last week.¬† This team can do the same thing.¬† We've just got to make sure when we get there‑‑ they're going to catch their balls, you've just got to make sure you make tackles.

Q.  If last week was the big test, what is this week?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  A bigger test.  They're all bigger tests.  This is a good team.  I said it the first of the year.  My vote was going to go to these guys.  Just knowing the quarterback they have, if anybody has the front running lead of this championship, it will be them with all the experience and speed they've got.
It's one of those things and they've been up‑and‑down.¬† They've had some games they haven't played quite as well.¬† But the teams that have tackled them give themselves a chance.¬† But it doesn't make any difference.¬† We've got to play on both sides, offense and defense.¬† We can't just worry about tackling them.¬† We have to score points. ¬†In the last two weeks, our offense has not scored points.
We won on defense at Iowa State pretty much, and last week offensively we couldn't get anything going consistently.  We get in the red zone, and we've got to score some points not lay back and kick field goals all the time.

Q.  Would you like to see a little more emotion out of your team when the downward spiral starts?  Or do you think there is plenty of that?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We've had a lot of emotion on the sideline.  I thought Saturday, after our first drive, that we went down and didn't get anything out of it.  I thought we lost a lot of emotion, and that comes from coaches, but it also comes from your seniors.  We've had good emotion all year long.  It was kind of like we weren't expecting that to happen.
I told them, you better expect anything to happen in the games coming up because everybody has good players.  We've been able to pretty much name our number the first part of the season in terms of moving the ball scoring on long plays, short plays, making third down conversions and all of those things.
But when you have adversity hit, you have to turn it up a notch.  And a lot of the younger guys had not experienced that you got to remember, lot of these guys haven't played much.  And they have to understand when adversity hits, they have to turn it up a notch.

Q.  Would you have yourself or one of your coordinators when you see that go down, you might tell that person in advance to get in somebody's face?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Well, we assign a lot of the guys on the sideline, not just coaches but players that are sideline cheerleaders so to speak, of talking and getting guys revved up.  A lot of it comes from individual players.  They have to fight back too.

Q.  Talk about what's going on Starts right now?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, he can't practice, because the doctors have him taking all kinds of tests and stuff.  He's not even practicing, so we'll have to wait to see how that goes.

Q.  Can you talk about the running back for West Virginia?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Who, Buie?  Yeah, they started another running back, and I think he got hurt or whatever, and then he got the reigns.  He's one of those guys that he's great on the draw plays he's good out of the back field.  He's got good speed, and he runs like a 230 pounder.  He breaks a lot of tackles.  Tough do that when you're running the type of running plays they run, you're going to run zone plays, draw plays and a dive play up the middle.  You have to break tackles.
He's got a good burst of speed, and last week he had 200 yards just watching the film.¬† He had a lot of yards in the Texas game.¬† When you start getting a good pass‑rush.¬† They've got a good counter punch in terms of running delays and draws and those type of things with him, and also have good screens with him.¬† They do a good job of that.

Q.  You mentioned Seth was the first one to say he didn't play the way he wanted to.  But what have you seen from him in the way he's handled it and bounced back?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  At the senior meeting, he did a lot of talking talked about how he played and trying to do the things he recognized he did wrong.  Quarterbacks get a lot of praise and a lot of criticism.  He works awfully hard at it.  It's not one of those deals where he went out and wasn't prepared to play or ready to go.  We have to do a better job of getting guys out of his face.  They did a good job as Iowa State did, of disrupting his timing and all of those things.
He understands what he has to work on.  He's the first guy that will go out early and work on the things he did wrong the week before.  Work on his foot work.  Most of it is about technique and not overstriding when you throw the ball.  Sometimes the ball comes high out of his hands and on one of the interceptions, it was tipped and the ball went high over the middle, and he works on all of those things.  So it's not he takes it in stride.  He goes out to try to improve on all the little things that make him better.

Q.  Is there more criticism on quarterbacks these days than maybe there were?  Seems like a guy puts up so many numbers, and going back he talks about whether his position is being evaluated.
COACH TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, because there is so much more that a quarterback has to handle lot of quarterbacks in the pro‑style system might run the ball 60, 70% of the time one game.¬† Next time they might throw it 60, 70%.¬† For us to have success, we've got to be good on the short passes.¬† We've got to be good on the deep passes.¬† We've got to spread it out.¬† Those little screen passes on the side, they look easy.¬† But the quarterback has to throw it 35 yards most of the time for a completion to get four or five yards out of that play.
So there is a lot of pressure being in shotgun.¬† Knowing the play that's coming and how you've got to execute it.¬† Just watching‑‑ I don't just watch our guys, I watch other quarterbacks during the year and it's so hard throwing completions against all these zone coverages you see now because if you don't throw it perfect, you see what happened to us the other day.¬† One is over thrown and they intercept because everybody's laying back making a mistake.¬† You pretty much have to be perfect.
You don't see much manned coverage anymore where it's one‑on‑one and you can get it there.¬† If you overthrow it or underthrow it, there is nobody else around.¬† We've seen so much zone coverage that you've got to be spot on.¬† It's the same thing for us.¬† We're a big zone coverage team, and we've made a lot more interceptions this year because of it, because there have been some quarterbacks that have made some high or low throws for interceptions.

Q.  You've talked about the difficulty you've had scoring in the red zone.  Is there any common thread you see?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, of course we go back and look at everything.  If we start having a problem somewhere we look at what we did this year and what we did last year.  Pretty much no matter what happens in the red zone, we're able to run the ball better, but we've still got to throw it.  This year we've gotten penalties.  We've had a holding call or something that's happened.
We haven't been as good on our fade routes as we were last year.¬† I think we're a little off percentage‑wise.¬† But a lot of it is just timing.¬† It's timing when you throw the ball as much as we do.¬† We have a lot of receivers, lot of different receivers, and we're playing different receivers.¬† One time he'll throw a crossing route to Jakeem Grant which is rather difficult to do for any quarterback.¬† Then the next time he'll have Eric Ward, different speed, different sized guy.¬† So it's a little bit more difficult for a quarterback.
The thing we've got to do is be more consistent throwing the ball in the red zone.

Q.  What have you seen from the attitude of this team after the first loss of the season?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  It's been good.  They were real disappointed in the dressing room because their whole deal is they know we've got a pretty good team.  They know we can play a lot better than what we played.  We knew going into that game we were going to get their best shot.  I could tell before the game how they were jacked up about playing.  They hadn't played in a month.  They played one ballgame in a month.  We were going to have to come out and really be hitting on all cylinders.
And we looked good early.  The thing that Chuck brought up, it looked like we lost our enthusiasm for some reason, because we haven't been behind like that.  We got behind, caught up, got behind it just seemed like I don't know whether we froze or something.  We weren't able to make that play to get us back into it.
So, as coaches, you discuss it.  I discussed it with the seniors and the team, hey, we've got to play.  No matter what happens, we can't get conservative.  We've got to keep playing.  We've got to have fun.  Because once you start losing the fun attitude, it gets a lot more difficult.

Q.  Going back to overcoming adversity.  What are you doing in practice to put the guys in situational things instead of changes in practice to help overcome the adversity issue?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, we do a drill against each other where we have sudden change, and we work on our sudden change plays for offense, and our sudden change defense has to go out on the field and turn it over.  So we go against each other quite a bit on that.
Lot of times you'll run a big play from your offense and try to throw the ball down the field right after sudden change.  Post route, something like that to take advantage of a team that's setting over there on defense.  All of a sudden they have to get up there and go out there and they're usually not focused on, hey, I've got to get after it, and they go deep.  So we usually work on sudden change transition.  Our offense versus our defense, which is usually pretty good.
We've been working quite a bit on red zone offenses and defenses and what we're going to do now and go against each other.  We haven't done it against each other as much.  So we'll put the ball to the 25 and move it against each other and compete against each other.
Of course then you have winners and losers.  Somebody's going to build some confidence and somebody's not.  We're playing a lot better competition, so we've got to have more success.  You're not going to be a hundred percent.  But we've got to be able to convince ourselves on both sides that we can play red zone defense a lot better than we did last week.

Q.  Did you see that Seth's accuracy was a little wanting on Saturday?
COACH TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, he didn't throw the ball nearly as accurate as he can.¬† He looked a little hesitant.¬† There were some routes, some eight‑yard out routes that he has to throw the ball 40 yards and for some reason in practice he'll click that thing off and in some of the other games there is no thought about going anywhere else.¬† But he pulled it down Saturday.¬† Just maybe a little hesitant because of an interception here and an interception there, and that can hurt your confidence.
As we talked to him and as he talked to the team, that's not what happened anymore.  We're going to run our offense, and he's got to be the guy to pull the trigger, good or bad.  You've got to take shots when you've got them.

Q.  Could you talk about your thought process inside the red zone of going for it on fourth down as opposed to kicking the field goal?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  You've just got to go by how the game is going.  Points are important.  You go down, you get in the red zone and three's better than seven, especially early in the game.  Later in the game you have to figure out what it's going to take in terms of how your defense is playing.
But right now our defense is playing pretty good.  We only gave up 370 yards the other day, and a lot of that was after contact.  That's a pretty good game in the Big 12 on defense.  Pretty good game and ten of those point that's they got out of 41 came off turnovers.
So we're not in the panic mode.  We're a good football team.  Just because we lost one game, we got beat, we understand we've got to keep doing what we're doing.  We've got to play better, coach better, have more sense of urgency and play for four quarters, because we did that down at Ames.  Our guys just kept their momentum.
But it seemed like the other day as we talked, we lost our fun in the game, and we've got to get that fun back.  No matter what happens, we've got to keep playing, having fun, and try to keep making things happen.

Q.  Can you compare the speed of the offense compared to what you saw from 2010?
COACH TUBERVILLE:¬† It's a lot of the same.¬† They don't run as much of the diamond look where you have three backs.¬† They've done a little bit of it.¬† They're more‑‑ they stay spread a lot more.¬† They play a lot more wide receivers.¬† At time they play two wide receivers. ¬†But with the speed they've got, why would you go in.¬† Just spread everybody out, and see if they can tackle because they've got that type of player.
Then you throw a running back in like they've got, and it really keeps you off guard defensively.  So just try to be as consistent as you can on defense.  Tackling these guys is a chore for four quarters.  But then you put a quarterback back there that is leading the world in passing right now, it makes it pretty difficult.

Q.  Do you know Dana Holgorsen?  How nice would it be to spoil his return to Lubbock?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, I met Dana a couple times.  He came and visited us a couple springs ago.  Came and watched spring practice when he brought his kids.  But he's been around.  He's had some good quarterbacks.  Obviously, a good quarterback coach everywhere he's been.  I'm sure he's spent a lot of time here at Tech.
But when you kick it off, it really doesn't make any difference.  If you coached here or not, it's your team verses the other team.

Q.  What does West Virginia do offensively that changes some of your opinions in the red zone?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Oh, yeah, you've got to understand, can you keep up with them?  They're averaging 52 points a game.  They're 52% third down conversions.  You look at a team 40% is huge.  They're 52%.  No matter whether they're third and 20 or third and 3, they're going to come after you with that big quarterback and throwing it.  They can run the draw plays and screenplays.  They're very versatile in what they do.

Q.  Any update on Kenny Williams?
COACH TUBERVILLE:¬† No, he's‑‑ he didn't practice yesterday.¬† I haven't got an injury report on him today.¬† But he's walking around good.¬† He's not one of those high ankle sprains.¬† He's just got it rolled.¬† He'll be ready to go.¬† I just don't know whether he'll be 95 or a hundred percent.¬† He'll be close.

Q.  What about SaDale Foster?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  He had a good game.  He played 25 snaps and got cramping up.  Some of these guys, the speed that they play, they can't handle 60, 70 plays like some of the defensive players can.
He had a good game for him.  For the first time he's had to go out and really carry the load.  He protected well.  He did miss one blitz on the 4th and 5 when we went for it, and he wasn't able to get outside in quick enough time to block the linebacker that went outside.  But carrying the ball he was good, catching the ball he was good.  He'll get better and better.  He's a guy we have to count on getting the ball more and more to.

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