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October 22, 2012

Manny Diaz

Q.  I know maybe content isn't the right word when you win a game, but how do you view it?  How do you view getting the win?
MANNY DIAZ:  Well, first of all, you're happy to get the win because you play the game to win it, and so ultimately that's the goal of the team. But then we come back‑‑ we have to come back in and‑‑ what we see is that we did enough things to get us beat, but then you also show them that you did enough things that enabled you to win the football game.
As I've said before in good times and in bad, the tape never shows us whether we win or lose, it just shows us what's going on, and you have to see the things where you see improvement, you try to fan those areas to try and keep it going, and that's really as simple as it gets.

Q. Where do you think you guys need to make the next step in the defense?
MANNY DIAZ:  Well, I think it comes down to our consistency. I mean, we can play well in spurts, we can play well at certain spots, and we just have to consistently get better. Guys that are making plays and then‑‑ but then have a couple not as good, so I think that's what it comes down to is we just want to go out and play a total ballgame, to make it easier on our offense to try and win the football game.

Q. And not an excuse, but is a lot of that the young, the youth, the inexperience of a lot of the guys?
MANNY DIAZ:  Yeah, I mean, we're halfway through the season, so what we're telling them is we have to stop being young. It's time to get some of the urgency, and I think what you see realistically when you analyze the tape is those guys that made three exciting plays and then 10 plays earlier in the year that you were not so excited about, and every week that number is starting to turn, and they're starting to make more plays that you're getting excited about and less plays that kind of drive you crazy. That's part of the maturation of a college football player.

Q. What do you think it says about your defense, giving up a lot of yards and sometimes a lot of points but still making‑‑ especially against West Virginia made enough plays to help win, the game against Baylor made enough plays to win the game. What does it say about the defense doing what it needs to do to help win?
MANNY DIAZ:  Well, the one thing I know about our defense is our defense is a close‑knit unit. They're tied together, and they still believe in one another. And that's been a feat because obviously they've been aware of all the negativity surrounding them.
They want to fight for one another. We told them in this game, the thing I was most proud of this game, we told them that really our expectation was them to just play as hard as they could play for 60 minutes because Baylor is going to get yards. I think they had had 500 yards every game going up into the TCU game before us and they only snapped it 54 times on TCU. If they would have snapped it 85 times or whatever they did against us, they probably would have had 500 yards.
But we just wanted to see‑‑ we wanted to see their fight, we wanted to see their aggressiveness, we wanted to see a better strike, not being as tentative on the football field, and those are the things that we saw. And so those are things‑‑ again, like I said, we have plenty that we still have to correct, but I did see guys with more aggression. I thought we tackled better, and those are things that we can continue to now move on and continue to get better.

Q. When you go up against Charlie Weis, what do you look at, some of his NFL films or do you go back to Notre Dame?
MANNY DIAZ:  I think at this point if you play them‑‑ I think what they've done through the first half of the season will be telling in terms of what they're going to do. Like any good coach, you have to operate in terms of what your personnel is. They have a stable of running backs that I think match up with anybody in the Big 12. They've certainly done an outstanding job of showcasing those guys. They've played multiple tailbacks on the field at one time, they'll line tailbacks up with the wide receivers, they do a great job of getting the ball in the running game and the throwing game. I think he's got them playing to the best of their personnel right now and sort of hitting his offense as to what they can do well.

Q. Obviously the run game has been a bit of a problem. That's going to be a challenge this week. Does that worry you a little bit?
MANNY DIAZ:  Yeah, it's a different challenge overall, but it excites me to be honest. I just‑‑ I still‑‑ obviously I believe in our run defense. Our players believe in our run defense. They know what it works. They've seen it works. They've seen it lead the conference in rush defense, so they know we can stop the run at this school. As a coach it's just a matter of just continuing to be consistent to get the guys as trained in it as they possibly can be.

Q. How about Josh Turner, nice game Saturday. I'm sure you're expecting more from him?
MANNY DIAZ:  Yeah, I thought Josh made some really big plays in the game. Obviously his interception really changed momentum at that time of the game. Made some nice tackles in the open field, big 3rd down stop on a pass breakup. So that's kind of what I was talking about is those are the guys you know are starting to make more and more plays, and then what you work on as a coach is the things that are probably harder to see is to continue to eliminate the negative plays, the plays that he wouldn't be proud of or that we wouldn't be proud of to put on tape. But those plays are getting less week in and week out with guys like Josh and the other guys in his class.
I thought Steve Edmond by far played his best game. I thought when he was in the game we really played well. Kendall Thompson, Cedric Reed. Cedric came through with a couple big plays, got a sack. There was another play where they threw a screen and Cedric runs out there and strains the ball and knocks the heck out of the guy, and as a coach those plays get you as excited as the sack because those are the plays that you really want to see young players make.
So again, that's what brings us back is we believe in this team, this defense believes in each other, and I think that's really an important deal. I don't think that they would fight for each other the way they do if that wasn't the case, and now we just have to‑‑ the issue is just persistence.

Q. Do you get the sense that you have some players that maybe feel bad, (inaudible) that some of them would take that as a personal affront?
MANNY DIAZ:  I think if that was an issue then I don't think we would have gone out there and gotten a three‑and‑out. I think one thing that we're aware of with Baylor, Baylor had some goofy streak that they had scored on the second play of the game six or seven times over the last two years. It's kind of what they want to do; they want to jump on you just to kind of be the first one to throw a punch, I guess. Now, obviously the fact we scored on the first play was sort of icing on top.
But I think our guys were good because bang, we score on the first play, we run out there, we go three‑and‑out. I thought the way we started the game was excellent. I thought our guys were into it.

Q. Mack was saying that he's looking at small victories now, not necessarily looking at totally shutting teams down defensively. Do you think the guys have had to adapt their mindset as the season has gone along?
MANNY DIAZ:  Well, yeah, you know, it's funny, I've said it, the whole time I've been here I've always said what we want to do is we just want to win the football game, as a defense. It was much more fun when the story was if the offense scores 14 we have to hold them to 13. But the same thing is still true, and that's what you want the players to understand. The difference in the way we felt yesterday as opposed to the previous two Sundays was night and day because these guys‑‑ college football you work really, really hard, and the way you feel afterwards gets determined by when they count up all the points who's got the most.
You want the guys to win. What you want the guys to understand is how winning occurs and what things that go about winning. So what we look at the most is what are we doing that's standing in the way of us winning easier so that, again, that would be‑‑ well, let's see, is it 3rd down defense?  No, we've been great on 3rd down defense. 4th down defense?  We've made mistakes on 4th downs, penalties on possession downs. These are things you can look‑‑ you can start counting points off the board pretty easily when you start saying, 3rd down penalty on a drive leads to a touchdown, 4th down penalty on a drive that leads to a touchdown, forced fumble that rolls in the end zone that we had a chance maybe outside the gap for and we don't get it down there. So bang, that's 7, 14, 21. You can make things kind of turn around real easy, red zone defense, giving up five touchdowns in seven trips to the red zone.
These offenses with the skill that they have are going to get yards. The Big 12 offenses in this day and the pace at which they play with are not going to get 250 yards of offense. What they can't have is all the points that they're getting, so how do we prevent all the points. Again, that's where we look at the critical plays that tie into that.

Q. How difficult of an adjustment has this been for you on a personal level as a coach, because I know the standard was we want to force more turnovers than we allow touchdowns.

Q. Have you had to kind of adjust your own parameters on what success is this season?
MANNY DIAZ:  I don't think so because I think the formula still works. I mean, obviously you have six touchdowns, you're not going to force seven turnovers. But we have to find a way to not give up six touchdowns, and we can do that. And some of the drives where we made them kick field goals turned out to be the difference in the ballgame. But that's where we know we need to be better, and we can be better.
It's just in terms of going through the process of getting better, you know what I mean. That's where that's at.

Q. How much do you feel a certain pressure when you're giving up points and yards like this?  How much do you feel that pressure?
MANNY DIAZ:  You know, the only thing I feel is just for my guys. I mean, I just sit around and‑‑ like I was saying, coaches think about the players more than the players think about the coaches. What just‑‑ sort of just losing your brain, how do I keep hammering away at Kendall Thompson, what's going to be the thing‑‑ what's going to be the way to get it in to Steve Edmond, to understand this concept. I mean, as a coach that's all your focus is about is how do I get my players, and that's where it starts either at your position or the whole defense, how do I get my guys better. What's going to be the one thing?  Do you hand them a piece of paper, do you show them a video, do put it on a Power Point?  What is the one thing?
Because everything else, the funny thing is the pressure to win or play well‑‑ when we went and played Baylor last year, we had come off of a five‑ or whatever‑game streak of playing as good a defense as anybody in the country. When we went and played Baylor this year, we came off a four‑ or five‑game streak of not playing as good a defense. I didn't feel any different going into the game. They presented a very stern test, and it didn't‑‑ the pressure to stop them didn't change. It's just about you as a coach.
And I think that's what the players respect because then they understand. They understand that you don't change based off of what's going on outside, and you just want them to know I'm for you, and if you can look the players in the eye and say I'm for you, no matter what, I'm for you when everybody was loving you, I'm for you now; how do I get you better. And that's the cool thing because what's cool is you know it's going to turn because you've seen the movie too many times and you understand the way it works. This is no different than parenting your child, this is no different than teaching the kids in school. It is simply the matter of persistence, and what is fun for a coach is that that's not the coolest thing now. Staying after it and continuing to find a way even when the results and the short‑term aren't always there is not what the cool thing to do now is. The cool thing is to run and scatter, the cool thing is to hit the reset button on the video game. There's a million things saying stop, cut bait, change course. This is a game that says, no, don't flinch, stay after it, find a way. No matter what's happened in the last four weeks or five weeks or seven weeks, we've won five games and we've lost two. We've beaten two teams this year that we did not beat last year. So we're ahead of last year's team right now. We have to continue to keep fighting on.

Q. You mentioned the 4th down defense.

Q. Is there something that's going on on 4th down, or is that just a fluke?
MANNY DIAZ:  You would think that 4th down and 3rd down wouldn't be all that different in terms of how we are personality wise and how the offenses are personality wise. I think back to the other night, we sack them on 4th down but we're offsides, and that was disappointing because they were a hard count team and they got us on that one. The next 4th down they convert on was kind of a sham. There's three guys that are moving, the running back is stepping up talking to the quarterback, the left guard is talking to the center, and the tight end is turned around talking to the back, and Carrington Byndom has got the field flat, and he's sitting there watching all the chaos in the backfield, and the quarterback just gets the ball and throws it out there. It's really just kind of a travesty and mockery to be honest. The whole game sort of went in‑‑ anyway, it's ba‑bang, boom, off they go, and the next play they get a long pass and off we go.
As with anything, you would always look at it systematically, say, gosh, are we doing one coverage, are we blitzing, are we not blitzing, what's going on, but it's been a lot of different things. And again, your possession and down defense is never going to be the same on 3rd as it is on 4th.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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