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October 22, 2012

Tommy Tuberville

COACH TUBERVILLE:  Players of the game this week.  Defensive scout team player was Kris Williams.  Offensive scout team player DeAndre Washington who is doing a great job for us, as he's red shirting from his knee injury.
Special teams player of the game averaged 47.4 yards a punt, Ryan Erxleben.  Defensive player of the game, Dartwan Bush.  And we had co‑offensive players of the game, with a total of 11 catches and five touchdowns, Alex Torres and Eric Ward.  Hard to give it to one and not to the other.
Talk a little bit about the game.  A big win for us; a very good learning experience for a lot of young guys that are going to be back here for a while.  Have a few more games this year and some games down the road of how to play and how to get ready to play.  We didn't have near the focus for that game during practice or going into that game knowing that it was going to be very tough.  We were going to get their best shot.
I think we learned a valuable lesson, we just didn't look very sharp on either side of the ball, offense or defense.  That was the first time we've seen our defense all year long.  We lined up wrong.  We played the wrong gaps.  We didn't look like we were totally into what we were trying to execute game‑plan‑wise, and we didn't tackle very well.  Then we get into four‑minutes to go in the game with a 10‑point lead, and it looked like the pressure got to us a little bit on both sides of the ball.
But when you get in overtime, you play like we played, and we played pretty well.  We didn't blow one assignment in overtime on defense where they got an easy touchdown with the swing pass out of the back field.  Other than that, we played pretty good.  But some good individual performances, but individuals don't win games, especially like the ones we've got coming up.  So we've got a huge amount of improvement in front of us in which we can play much better.
This week's game Kansas State being the best team we've played.  They're physical.  I think they pretty much got their season started last year in the second half against us when we played well.  Had a good lead, and they came out in the second half and put it to us, offense and defense.  And they didn't look back the rest of the year.
Got a great quarterback, very good offensive line, physical, can run, can throw, most balanced team we'll see all year long, and a defense that's given us problems.  They don't do a whole lot, but what they do, they do well.  Very much a reminder of Iowa State and how they play.
So a huge challenge for our entire team going on the road.  Looks like the weather's going to be a little rough, and we've got to be able to adjust to that.
We've got to play our game.  We've got to get ready, play much better, prepare much better, focus, understand what we're getting ready to get into.  It will be a big‑time atmosphere, playing one of the top teams in the country.
We've moved up in the poles, which doesn't mean a lot, but it goes to show our players are getting recognized.  You only get recognized if you're successful.  So we'll have, I think, a much more spirited preparation for the week in which we'll have to and we'll go play and see what happens.  Questions?

Q.  Last year I don't know if you said it was a decision to win or great selling point, and then things just sort of fell off the wagon, then you have West Virginia, and you packed it up with this road trip.  Can you talk about how you're putting more of your mark on this program and what that means?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  We're playing better on both sides of the ball.  Last year we were one‑sided.  As you all know, we couldn't stop anybody.  The best defensive game we played was against Oklahoma.  A little flashback defensively how we played against TCU of how we played last year.  We didn't look near as composed as we've looked in the first six games defensively.  Looked like we lost our composure, and we made some plays.  But you can't give up that many yards and expect to win as many games as we've got left in the season.
We're going to play well on the offense in a lot of areas.  There are going to be times we're going to go three‑and‑out which we did Saturday.  But defensively is the area we've got to focus on more of that, and our field position, our coverage teams and all those things to where we can be a lot more consistent.
But I think that this is much more the team that we want in terms of being a team that we can play on both sides.  There were times in that game we looked good defensively, and offensively didn't look up to par, and defensively, vice versa.  We've got to be more consistent in which is the type of football team I want to have.
I don't care whether we're a team that just plays over our head on either side of the ball.  We've just got to play consistent.  There was no consistency Saturday.  If we had played consistent, we would have won that ballgame before we got into overtime.
We just did not have any consistency on either side of the ball where we can say, hey, you stop them, we'll go score.  It was one of those hit or miss days.  Hopefully we can get back to the type of team we want.  Play the run, be able to run the ball better, and everything else will open up.

Q.  Was there any kind of indication during the week that you thought about it?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, but you can't expecting to out and play like we played with the emotion, and all those things after playing West Virginia.  Some games in which this game was one of those examples, I've been in a lot of those games, and somehow your seniors got to rise up and those experienced guys got to put your foot down in the game.  We got down by ten.  Got back up, and we got down again.  Got back up ten points and everybody thinks the ballgame is over.  We let up and score, and get in overtime, get behind.  It was just one of those games where there are a lot of things you can learn from.
But we're a much better team than what we played.  But we found a way to have more points at the end of the game.  And that's really what counts.  But you can't expect to win all of those though.  You get into those kind of tennis matches, so to speak, and you're going to come out behind as many as you're going to come ahead.

Q.  When you have your friendly discussion with the referee, kind of what was going on out there as far as were you arguing with him?  You were obviously arguing with him about something.  But what was the call?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  The weather.  I was really disappointed with the weather and the way the wind was blowing.
No, you know what?  I see things, And sometimes it's like basketball.  It take a foul, get your guys fired up, and I went out there to get the 15 yard penalty.  We didn't need that.  But I was just showing displeasure as you do some.  It happens on both sides of the field in every game.  It's not going to go perfect.  But you get caught up in the heat of the moment.  The heat of the moment was not very good for me because we weren't playing very well on both sides or kicking game.  You just I think sometimes when you show emotion, your players kind of recognize that.

Q.  You've had success in your career against Top 5 teams, obviously.  Are there kind of common things in these wins that you've had during the course of your career that you can look to and say those are the things that you have to do well in order to win games?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  I don't think there are any secrets to how you win teams you're supposed to or beat teams that you're not supposed to.  I think you go back and look at it.  I think the players are the ones that have to take it upon themselves to make sure that they get the best out of their teammates and themselves.  You've just got to play.  You've got to make things happen.
When you're playing teams especially on the road like we're getting ready to play this game, you've just got to go, have confidence in what you're doing and you've got to play as a team.  When you go on the road to play, we'll have 70 players and 15, 20 coaches and a handful of fans.  And not many people on your side.  So you've got to pull yourself together and play as a team.
It's just that's all there is to it.  If you don't play as a team on the road, you're not going to beat many folks at all.

Q.  Can you talk about the level of trust that you have in Art, and how good that feels?  I know you wanted him in here the first year.  But has that been a really good thing for you?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, it's been real good until Saturday.  No, we all recognize we can kind of pretty much put our eyes on what's happening on the field.  We look confused in that game.  But I thought they did a good job at times recognizing that, and that's coaching.  You've got to recognize it, and we're trying to play a lot of players.
Sometimes you get it over to one group and say, hey, you've got to make sure you do this against this formation.  You play your back‑ups, and they go make the same mistakes as the other guys.  We're just not experienced enough overall to get everything, get our best foot forward all the time.
But I'm really pleased that Art's here, and Fred Tate and John Lovett.  They all understand what we're trying to do.  They're all on the same page.  And we had a great discussion at halftime about the problems we were having, and you've got to be able to communicate it.  It's fun to know that everybody's understanding of the good things that are happening and the things that are not working, and that comes from everybody knowing each other.

Q.  Can you talk about Bill Snyder and what he's accomplished at K‑State?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, Coach Snyder, that is an amazing story.  He did a great job.  Decided to get out, and then hated to see how the program was going and decided to go back and take it over again.
I talked to him very soon after he took the job.  I was working for ESPN, and we talked a little about him getting back into it, and talked about how much work he had to do to get back the way he wanted to get it back.  I'm proud for him.  I'm proud for him and his family.  Him wanting to get back in it, and going through the grind again.
They've done a heck of a job.  They go a different approach than a lot of other teams, but everything that they do is sound.
I've learned a lot from him watching how they coach, how they prepare, and they're not going to be fancy.  They go out and try to make mistakes and capitalize on them, and that's football.  So I'm looking forward to coaching against him again this year.  This will be my second time, and last year he took us to the wood shed in the second half.  We thought we had a team that could win that game, and we thought better after the end of the game after they got after us pretty good in the second half.

Q.  Is he the same way now as he was?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, Kirby talked about him.  Of course, who would have ever thought Kirby would be a middle linebacker?  And I was at Miami when he first went there.  He sent his defensive guys down to talk defense with us.  And his defensive guys were Jim Levitt and Bob Stoops.  They were co‑defensive coordinators.
So he's had some good coaches work for him.  He's trained a lot of guys that are now doing very well at other places.  Again, he's all about fundamentals and techniques, which is really the life blood of your program.

Q.  What is the assessment of Douglas and Porter this week?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Porter was out running this week.  I don't know what day of the week he'll practice, but they feel good about him.  He got rolled up on the running play running to make the tackle.  And who else?

Q.  Douglas?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  He was out running yesterday also.  He's getting close.  Bruce Jones did well.  We're not going to put a corner back out there until he's a hundred percent healthy.  It's going to be close, but he's a lot further along than I would have thought last week.  He was kind of limping around.  Yesterday he looked pretty good.

Q.  How about Jace?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Jace is still bruised up.  He's day‑to‑day.  He was in meetings yesterday going through everything, so we'll just have to wait and see what the doctors will eventually release him.  But he's anxious and eager to get back out.

Q.  Coach, your team is consistently (Indiscernible) how do you go about affecting that number?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, it's one of those things that you pull your hair out.  I don't have a lot left especially in the front.  But you know the thing about penalties, to me, they always go in streaks.  They always happen when you're not playing very well.  If you're playing well and having problems, then with penalties, sometimes you can overlook them a little bit.  But most of the time they're focus problems.  We've got a lot of young guys that are making mistakes when they shouldn't be.
We had a couple on the kicking game the other day.  It's just they don't play very much, and they get out there and sometimes try to do something they probably shouldn't be doing trying to do somebody else's job.  But hopefully we can cut that down to a minimum as we get into these last five games.

Q.  You guys have played pretty much and won every kind of game.  You've played the close games and the shootouts and won in blowout fashion.  How important is that for this team to play whatever game that week requires?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  It's huge.  It's a great learning experience.  You have to have those.  I feel great about offense, about going out and playing.  Whether it's a close game or a game where, hey, if we've got to run the clock and we've got a good lead or if we're behind and we're trying to catch up, I feel good about the offense.  Defensively we're still in that elementary mode where guys are learning how to play their positions.
Last week we gave up a 3rd and 20 for a 60‑yard pass.  I mean, I can expect them to catch the ball in that situation with a little over a minute to go, but not for a touchdown.  It's just grasping the moment an understanding the defense.  On offense, I feel good if we got a score or run the clock, it's just we've got more experience in that area.
But we're still learning on defense, especially the front seven where we've got so many young guys.

Q.  Which position defensively has to improve to have success against Kansas State?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Linebackers.  They've played some good games.  Last week they were out of position.  For some reason we just did not look confident in stopping the run.  People are going to throw the ball and make plays.  But you know your linebackers have to play run first.  We just looked like we were in a different world Saturday compared to the other games where we've played some good running teams and played pretty well.

Q.  A big statement you guys made winning this game.  What is the message you guys have with Kansas State?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  I don't think we send a message to anybody else.  I think we should send a message to us that we've played well in one now, and we've played average and won a game especially on the road.  We played pretty well in Iowa State in most areas, except for a few turnovers.  Then this last game, we didn't play very well, but we didn't beat ourselves in terms of turnovers.  That was obviously huge for us.  If we hadn't turned the ball over, we probably would have won that game.
But it gives us confidence in ourselves.  We can't worry about Kansas State or Texas or Oklahoma State or Baylor.  The five we've got left.  We've got to worry about us and get better.  Not just the starters, but also the back‑ups who Saturday with 96 snaps on defense.  That's the first time we've had to go that many where our back‑ups have had to play a considerable amount.
They didn't play as well as they would have expected themselves to play.  So lot of lessons learned in a game and a half on defense is pretty much what we played.  A lot of lessons from 25 guys, just not the 11 that started.

Q.  Did you get the sense that after last week's not good practice and the result you had that this week you'll have the full attention a little bit more?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah.  You can't get ready for every game.  Some games you've got to go out and just win and will yourself to win, which is what we did Saturday.  We willed ourselves to win.  We were just bound and determined not to lose that game.  But there are other games that you know we're not going to will ourselves to win this week.  We've got to go play.  We've got to be prepared.  We've got to be focused and every snap can make a difference whether we win it or whether we lose it or win by a big score or lose by big score.  We've got to go play more of our football game.
Again, out of the seven games that we've played, we didn't come close to matching anything that we've done on either side of the ball, other than throwing the ball and scoring some points.  But we can't do that against most of the teams we're playing at the end.  We have to be able to play a team game the rest of the time.

Q.  What is the biggest challenge that Klein presents for you?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Just tackling the guy.  He's like Jace Amaro running the football.  He's big, strong, physical.  He'll run it.  The interesting thing about him now is everybody talked about he wasn't a good passer.  Actually, he was a good passer last year.  He's much better this year.  You can tell he's gotten much more comfortable throwing the ball, play action.  You put them all up there and he can get ready and put it on the money.
He's probably the front runner for the Heisman right now I would say.  How he's played, he's been consistent.  He's not going to be flashy just because of his size, but he runs the ball, and you look up and say, man, that was a good play.  But it's 2nd and 4.  He's got six yards.  I mean, it's just a totally different type of ballgame that you normally see.  So very good player, very polished guy that's really worked on his game on both sides, throwing, and running, and obviously a very good leader.

Q.  Will this be the toughest environment you've gone into this year on the road?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Well, Iowa State was tough.  They were laying, waiting on us, our first Big 12 game.  Both teams were undefeated.  Exciting, probably very similar here.  They had a good game two weeks ago, 24‑21, something like that, very close score.  They played at Iowa State.  That's a tough place to win.
This will be tough for our football team.  It was tough going to Fort Worth.  No different when you go on the road and people come here, we expect the same thing.  It's college football.  It will be fun.  We're going to load up and go and try to play much better than what we played if we're going to have any chance to win.

Q.  Can you take us through the final two minutes of the TCU game and your thought process?
COACH TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, that's probably the hardest point of the game to coach.  What do you want to do?  You want to be aggressive or not aggressive.  They did a good job.  We have to use all of our timeouts.  I was not pleased with having to use all of our timeouts on offense.  Just going for two, we had too many people on the field.  Just the organization of our sideline wasn't near as good as it's been.
Then we get to that point, and they have all three of theirs left.  They get the ball and make those plays, and then you've got to decide if you get the on‑side kick, are you going to try to make a first down?  You make a first down, the ballgame's over, or are you going to put the ball on the side of your defense?  And we decided to give our defense a chance.
They made one good drive before that.  We didn't think they could do it again, but they did.  That's what makes college football exciting because there were some big plays made by TCU in the last four minutes.  We had to make some big plays to keep them out of the end zone not to lose the game before overtime.  So we always go back and look at those scenarios of what decision we made, why we made it, would we change it?
Look at what they did on defense and offense.  Probably you'd like to say, hey, man, we should have gone out there and tried to make that first down by throwing one or two.  But what if you throw it to them and they run it back?  So there are a lot of ifs, ands, and buts.  But now that's over with and we won it, we made the right decision.  But if we hadn't, it would have been the wrong one.

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