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November 5, 2012

Tommy Tuberville

TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  A little bit about last week.  Obviously a big disappointment, as as much for anybody the players.  They worked awfully hard to get ready for this game and play that game, we just made too many mistakes on both sides.  Gave up a couple big plays defensively and then made regular mistakes in the red zone offensively.  We've done that in every big game that we've played this year.  All of our losses we've not played very well in the red zone.  Two penalties in the red zone cost us 14 points.  In a game like that, that's huge.
So we go back and get ready for this week and get ready for Kansas.  I know they haven't won but one game, but they've played well, they've been in most of their games.  A lot like Texas, they run the ball offensively.  They're playing a couple of quarterbacks.  Defensively the guy that coaches them is a good friend of mine, Dave Campo, who was with the Cowboys when I worked at the University of Miami, very good football coach, so they'll come in ready to go, well disciplined, ready to play, and looking for a win.
The thing that we'll do this week, we're going to change it up some, we've got to change the routine up.  It gets dark now between 5:30 and 6:00 and we'll probably go out a little bit earlier and have more meeting time after practice, trying to break the monotony we've been doing now for the last three months.  I think that will help.
And getting the call today from having our Oklahoma State game at 2:30, we don't have a night game now for the rest of the year.  It's good that we practice during the daytime.
But we're looking forward to getting back on the field, and hopefully we can play better than what we played last week.

Q.  How do you not let this one fester so it doesn't beat you twice?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Well, there's not a whole lot you can do other than talk about it and try to get a good game plan in and try to get everybody focused.¬† The seniors yesterday, they were obviously down, and as we talked as a group and then as a team, it's one of those things that we can‑‑ if we can fix the problems, we can control it.¬† So we don't really worry about who we've played.¬† We haven't done that all year long.¬† We worry about what we do and what we can do and where we can get better.¬† We know what we need to work on and the things we need to get better at.
This will be a different game also this week playing at 11:00.  That's a tough game to play.  The fans are usually not usually as quite as into it as they were the game last week, so we've got to do a lot of motivational things from the standpoint of coaches and players and seniors and get everybody upbeat early in the week, forget about last week and go to this game and try to play much better than what we've played.

Q.  Can you talk about your process, when to kick and when to go for it on 4th down?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† You just kind of go by the numbers.¬† Any certain instance, like right there at the end it was a two‑possession game.¬† We had to go for that field goal.

Q.  But first half?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, we kind of look and it's kind of like being out in the middle of‑‑ for instance, there was one time we were around the 35 or 40 yard line going in in the first half, and I decided not to go for it.¬† You've got to look at the momentum of the game and how you're playing, and do you need points, do you need motivation, do you need the momentum.¬† So like the second half we went for 4th and 8, and in the first half we didn't go for a 4th and 5.¬† So there's just‑‑ you just have to kind of go by your feel of the players and do they need a boost, do we need to get the fans more involved, do you need to get the momentum back, is it getting away from you.¬† I think a lot of those little things go into it.
But kicking field goals is a little different.  When you drive, for instance, 60, 70 yards and you get down and you've got 4th and 3 or 4th and 4 you have to take points most of the time because it's a huge blow to your offense to come out empty, and it's also that for your defense.  It's more mental than it is anything else.
That's kind of how I do it.  I've looked at how several people do it, and it's just kind of a feel thing of when you want to kick an onside kick or run a trick play.  There has to be a feel in terms of what the sideline is like and how the momentum is going and do you need that extra shot of adrenaline.

Q.¬† Along the same lines, when you scored the last touchdown on Saturday and it was 24‑22, you went for two, was there a consideration to kicking a PAT?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, we had talked about it even before we had gone on the field.¬† Defensively I got on with our offensive coaches because you don't run a two‑point play just spur of the moment.¬† We talked about the situation.¬† I think it was about the middle of the third quarter, and we were on defense, and we saw how we were playing on defense, and we had stopped them a couple times, but we also thought that, hey, we need to let these players know we're trying to win the game.¬† We're trying to get back into it, so if we can score one touchdown and get that two‑point play, then it would be huge momentum.
So we actually decided probably 10, 15 minutes before that, so we had already had the play that we wanted, hash mark that we wanted the ball on, so it was all planned out if we were to score, and fortunately we did score, and the play we ran obviously didn't work.¬† It was almost, but almost doesn't count.¬† A little bit different two‑point play than what we had run the last couple times we ran a two‑point play.¬† It's a lot feel, also, but two‑point play is always‑‑ that's planned way in advance, more so than a field goal or where you go for a field goal or where you go for a touchdown.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, the guy got a great jump on the ball, and what happens is when you're kicking from the right hash and you're kicking back to the field, that angle is cut down a little bit, and he didn't have quite as far to go.¬† He probably had a half yard closer to the football.¬† But you've got to give him credit; we blocked it well.¬† Everything was‑‑ our time was good.¬† It's just that extra kicking to the left gave him that little bit of advantage of blocking it.¬† But you still have to do it.¬† You've still got to get your hands up, keep your guys open.¬† He actually had blocked one time before that.¬† He got his hand on the one that actually went through the goal post.¬† And so we had talked about it, we widened our splits out and we did everything that you need to or are supposed to.¬† The problem was just the angle, that little extra angle of kicking back to the left side got him a little bit more involved.¬† It was just a great play by them.

Q.  Could you talk about the postmortem and when you go back and look at it specifically on offense and the play calling and how you evaluate that?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Actually we did a little bit more than that.¬† On Sundays we take every drive, whether it's nine drives, 10 drives, 11 drives, and we go pretty much through‑‑ we don't go play by play unless we feel like it was a point in the game where it was a deciding factor.¬† But we go runs, passes, right, left, deep, how many screens we ran, how many draws, then what side did we run, right or left.¬† We do that mainly for self‑scouting, but we also do it for how we set other plays up, did we do it the right way.¬† We look at formations, did we put enough formation into the boundary, personnel.¬† So we do all of it; we go through every bit of it in terms of trying to dissect what we called was right or not.
Neal calls the plays, but most plays are called two or three plays in advance of what you do because you try to set things up‑‑ any offensive coordinator worth his salt is a guys that knows what he's going to call, he plans it for the next drive, what formation he wants to run, what personnel, what has worked in the past, do you want to go right or left, and we go back and look at that.¬† Did we change enough, did we get in too much of a pattern.¬† So it's all broken down scientifically, and then we put it all in a computer and we keep it‑‑ in other words, if we tart from the 20, if we start from the 30, if we start from the 40, we keep numbers in terms of field position of where we started the first play from, and so a lot of it goes‑‑ I mean, it's way over my head in terms of just thinking about it.¬† But I can understand it a lot more by looking at it on paper, and that's the reason we put it on paper.
I know everybody complains.¬† I complain about run‑pass ratio sometimes, and we do keep run‑pass, right, left on the sideline where I can look at it.¬† I'll ask them when the defense is on the field how many runs we've had, how many passes, how many deep throws, have we thrown enough to Eric Ward, have we played enough tight end sets, two backs, all those.
Neal gets criticized more during the game than he does afterwards because I give him my input.  So do the other offensive coaches.  So it's all looked at very thoroughly as you go through a game as well as going into a game and after the game.

Q.  How did you feel about how the game was called on Saturday?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  It was good.  We went into the game and we had to run the football.  You know, it's one of those things, do you run one back, do you run two back, do you run downhill, do you run lateral.  They had had a problem downhill with two backs.  We did that, we ran three backs.  We tried it all.
I was hoping during the game that if one of our running backs could have got over 100 yards, I knew we'd be in the ballgame.¬† Well, we got 80.¬† We didn't get get 100.¬† Those things are not ever going to work out perfectly.¬† We played well enough offensively in terms of moving the ball, making plays.¬† We didn't turn it over.¬† What beat us was penalties.¬† Bottom line, we got in the red zone and we were moving the ball, and normally we end up having to bog down and kick field goals.¬† We bogged ourselves down this time.¬† We held on the 2‑yard line and then we had a chop block on the screen pass that went to the 4.
So just big momentum shifts for us.  Instead of getting touchdowns, went back to field goals like we did against Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas State.

Q.¬† How bad did it hurt, in the two‑back stuff, having (inaudible) on the sideline?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† We just didn't have any experience.¬† Eric did pretty good, but he doesn't have the lead that‑‑ Eric was a lit bill more shifty, but it's a lot easier to push a linebacker out of the hole when you're 230 than it is when you're 200.¬† So that obviously hurt us.¬† But it wasn't the reason.
But I think we'll get better at that, and we're going to have to get better.  We're still going to have to run two or three backs, and we're going to have to run our big sets.  Jace being out has probably been our biggest loss because he gives us the tight end blocking plus the guy that when you put him in, you don't know whether he's going to be down tight end blocking or a guy split out playing wide receiver, which is just as valuable.

Q.  When is his next evaluation?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  Thursday, this Thursday.  They didn't give him the clearance last Thursday, so he'll be looked at again this Thursday.

Q.  How much different was that Texas team than what you had seen on tape previous to Saturday?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Texas?¬† I think pretty much we all knew what we were going to get.¬† We were going to get the best shot.¬† It was totally different.¬† They threw the ball down the field.¬† We had to go in, stop the run, and we had three defensive backs that were out, and they knew that and they went after us pretty quick and we found out ‑‑ after that point we couldn't play as much man coverage as Seth made on the line of scrimmage because we weren't able to stand up with No.1 on the post routes and stuff.¬† So then we had to take somebody out of the box, and when you do that, then they just line up and run the ball down the hill.¬† We didn't match up as well as we would have two or three weeks ago with all of our guys in there, but everybody has injuries; you've just got to step in and play and hopefully you can hold up.
We didn't hold up quite as well as we hoped we would against the deep ball.  We had three balls that if we just make one play we're right there.  And you have to give Ash credit.  He threw two post routes.  I don't know whether our starters could have covered those post routes, perfectly thrown, on the run, stretched out and had to catch it, and made good plays.

Q.¬† When you guys finish up this five‑game stretch of five straight ranked teams, how do you feel you've made it through the stretch?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  Well, we would have hoped to have won all of them.  We competed in all of them, much better than we did last year.  We won a couple of games on the road.  We won a big game at home.  But it's just never satisfying to lose any game.  But we did make progress until we started having injuries, and we'd lose three on offense, three on defense, kind of threw us back a couple of notches, now we've had to try to work our way back.  It's just hard to lose those experienced players.
But again, this time of year when you get to November, everyone has those injuries, and the ones that are lucky enough not to have them are really on top of it.  But everybody has them.  We can't make excuses.  Those guys that are backups have to come in and play well.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  They practiced yesterday.  They'll play this week.  The Porter one hurt us as much as anything.  We took Newbold and put him at nickel last week, which he hadn't played much, and then we had to put another corner out who's played very little.  And that just put us in a tailspin.  He had to learn two positions, which is hard to do in one week's time.  But Porter will be back and Jarvis Phillips will be back.

Q.  What did Jarvis do?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  Turned his ankle in practice last week.  They all three ran well yesterday.  Cornelius is probably the guy that if there's anybody out of the three that's behind, he's probably the guy that's behind a little bit.

Q.  When did he get hurt?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  In the West Virginia game.

Q.¬† I know you weren't able to run the ball as well as other teams against Texas‑‑
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  I don't know.  The other teams, of course we looked at all of it, and a lot of times when people ran the football, they caught him at the right movement in terms of they run a lot of twists and things, and for some reason we didn't catch them in as many twists.  They didn't twist as much in this game as they had in the past.  That's really what got them in trouble against West Virginia.  They were trying to rush the passer and they were just handing off to 13 and he was just running right by them.
We didn't run it quite as well, but we're not as good a running team as some people, either.¬† We don't live and die off our running game.¬† If we get 150 yards a game that's pretty much what we would have hoped at the beginning of the year.¬† If you don't live off that, we're not an offensive line that's going to get in a three‑point stance and knock you off the ball, that's not going to happen until we say we're a running team, we're going to be a passing team second, but we don't want to do that.¬† We think that the players we've got, we can do better throwing the football.
And if you say we're going to go in that game and we're going to run it 80 percent of the time because we hadn't stopped the run, I just‑‑ that would have never worked.¬† Just the mentality of what we do and our running game is not much of a power running game.¬† And then when we lose our fullback and tight end the two, three previous weeks before that, that's hurt us, also.¬† We do want to be a running team.¬† We want to run the ball close to 50 percent of the time.¬† But our big plays and our winning is going to come from throwing the ball and throwing it down the field.

Q.  What has this senior class meant to this program?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  We talked about that yesterday, and I think it's a defining moment in the lives of these kids because it's the last time they'll play out here.  They've been here four or five years, they've put a lot of sweat here.  It's an emotional time when you know that something is coming to an end.  And in a couple of months' time, most of these guys won't ever play football again.  We want every experience to be good, especially senior day, parents coming, last time to play here.  They're coming down to the end.  And so we want this to be a special time for them, and number one, we want to play well and have some success, but they also need to understand that this is it.  This wraps up an era, and it's something that they'll never get to go back in their lifetime and do again.  It's a special time.

Q.  Anything special for your seniors other than coaching them to a victory?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† This week?¬† No, we usually‑‑ we'll save that for our Bowl preparation and stuff.¬† There's so much time that you have to put into game plan and get ready for this week.¬† We did spend a little time yesterday talking about the good times that they've had here playing in this stadium, the guys that they remember, we brought a lot of the wins up, Missouri game a couple of years ago, and obviously we didn't have a lot of highlights last year but talked a lot about the West Virginia game, and it's a tough time to see seniors in this business finish up their eligibility.¬† But this is a good group.¬† It's a very special group.¬† It's done a lot for us here in the three years I've been here.

Q.  You did do some good stuff in the game last week.  Do you take those plays and throw them away or will you go back to those plays and try to fix them?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, our game plan, basically we go back to our playbook, and then it really depends on what the other team does, how they line up, four‑man front, five‑man front, blitz, the speed they have and what we run, what we call.¬† The same thing on defense, formations we have to defend.¬† We'll take about 30, 40 percent of our playbook that we feel like will work against Kansas this week, defense and offense, and make it work.
The one thing we did well last week was other than the blocked field goal, our special teams played well.  Our coverage teams, we had some of our best returns all year long.  Erxleben did a good job punting.  They came after the first one.  We knew they would.  They had come after every first punt of everybody they'd played all year long.  We didn't block it as well as we would have liked, be he had get to out as much protection, and unfortunately we lined up with a guy a little deep in the backfield.
Other than that, our special teams were one of the bright spots of the game in terms of just looking at it and knowing that we've gotten better.  Kramer Fyfe had almost every kick into the end zone, that was the first time he had done that, and big move forward.

Q.  Talk about how Kaster played.
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  He was scared to death.  I was scared to death for him.  Most people don't recognize, when you've got a different center that goes in, this kid hadn't played a lot.  Deveric turned his ankle a little bit, was it the second drive?  Yeah, the second drive, and our first score.  He was in all six plays, we drive down and score.  It gave him some confidence of going in and playing.
They were the best defensive line that we've played against all year long and he knew that going in, and the center has to make all the calls on all the twists and all those things, and it wasn't a great game for him to enter but it was good to see that he went in and played well, made no mistakes, got pushed around a little bit, a little bit undersized.¬† When you're 275 playing against 315‑pound linemen.¬† But he did well.¬† I want to get him in some games the next three games.¬† I want to get him in.¬† I think Deveric is a guy that when you play 1,900 plays, that's a lot of plays, and he's the only guy that we don't have a true sub for.¬† So hopefully we can get Kaster in some of these next four games that we play and get him ready for spring ball and get him ready for next year.

Q.  Did Bullitt hurt his shoulder again?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  He did.  He hurts it every game.  He's going to have to eventually have surgery on it again.  It goes week to week, doctors.  He won't practice and then play, and I think early in the game the other day he stretched a little bit.  But there's nothing he can do.  As long as he can put up with the soreness, he'll continue to play.

Q.  Obviously you've become more effective at the run game, but when you lose Amaro and Ontiveros and don't have many other body types like that on the roster, do you look to recruit?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Oh, yeah, we tried to recruit tight ends last year.¬† There's not many in this state high school wise because people run the spread, and there are just very few.¬† You have to take a chance, whether it's a big linebacker or a big running back, we're looking at several junior college tight ends, right now some real good ones hopefully that we can convince to come in.¬† But we need that, and we're going to sign a fullback.¬† We've got to get a fullback, whether it's junior college or‑‑ a lot of times you take running backs and they grow up to be beard guys that can play fullback, kind of like Kenny.¬† Kenny is kind of an in‑between type of guy.¬† But no, we're‑‑ that was one area that we knew we were going to be very short on in terms of big guys for the run, whether at tight end or fullback.

Q.  Could you take us through the play calling aspect on game day and how much input you have on game day?  Or is it solely up to Neal?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE: ¬†Well, we put the game plan together, and you have two of them, you have run and pass, and then you break the pass down, whether it's play action or drop back, and you do the run, whether it's a one back‑run or a power run.¬† You break it down.¬† And we watch film and put it all together, and you have Chad Scott that's pretty much in charge of the running game along with the offensive line coach during the week because you can't watch it all, and then you get all together on Tuesday before you go to practice starting tomorrow and then you kind of put the running game together, what's the best plays, what the offensive line coach feels like the best play, what Chad Scott feels like the running backs can do, whether it's short yardage or long yardage.¬† Same thing in the passing game with Cumbie and Mainord, and then Neal kind of‑‑ he kind of goes back and forth and puts his two cents' worth in, as well as I do, and then you get that in, you run it all week long, practice it, then you get in the game, and I don't like anybody talking on the phones with the coordinator calling plays.¬† Worst thing you can do is have a head coach and assistants hollering in your ear because I've done that before, I've had to call in and you've got to actually do it yourself.¬† It's got to be one guy, one thought, but the thoughts of other people come whether it's time out or whether you're off the field.¬† And so what we do is the offense comes off the field, they sit down and we go through every play and every defense that we saw against that formation, what they ran.¬† But because usually defenses are called versus formations and down and distance.
So we go through that and we talk about the‑‑ why that worked or didn't work, and we critique it and break it down, and okay, do we need to run the ball more, do we need to pass the ball, do we need to play action more the next time we get the ball, do we need to go after a corner, do we need to go after a linebacker.¬† There's a lot that goes through it.¬† Offensive coaches do not watch the game when the defense is on the field nor does the defense watch when the offense is on the field.¬† All your work is done between.¬† But when the offense is on the field, there's one guy that makes the decision.
Now, Neal will ask me, run or pass, Coach.  If this play doesn't work, if it's 3rd and 5, do you want to run it, do you want to pass it and I'll give him my thought.  But then he gets the last call.  He knows a lot more about it than I do because I'm over on the defensive side and a lot of times I'm not even watching the game, I'm listening to the defense and trying to help them.
There's a lot of thought that goes through it.  It's not just let's run this one this time.  There's a lot of knowledge that goes into every play that's called.
And then again, he's got to try to set them up.  You've got to set up play action, you've got to set up run, and you set it up with formations and you try to get them lined up in a way that you can take advantage.
Texas did a good job of moving tight ends, formations, moving, and you saw us, we were running‑‑ we were just trying to get lined up.¬† That's their philosophy of offense is trying to get you lined up wrong and get gaps.¬† I don't care about getting people lined up wrong.¬† We want to know where they're at and we want to be able to block them and make the play work.¬† There's just different philosophies how you run them offense or defense.¬† It's a lot easier to‑‑ it's easier for me to sit back and‑‑ after the offense comes off the field, Neal, what did you call that play for.¬† It's easy for me to say that, but it's a lot harder I'm telling you when you're there calling and you've got about 30, 40 seconds to make that decision.¬† That's the reason we go freeze a lot of times.¬† You'll see us line up, we'll get down and we're all looking at the formation and we'll have one guy in the press box giving Neal the front and one the coverage, and Neal, they're going to be in zero coverage, they're going to bring five, and then he'll call a play.¬† We'll match a play to that.¬† That's what you look on your call sheet.
It's more than just run pass, it's a lot more complicated than that.

Q.  Can you talk about your relationship with Dave Campo and also what you know about Charlie Weis?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  Yeah, Charlie and I are good friends.  We became very close; we spent two weeks together in Iraq and Afghanistan traveling around.  He was at Notre Dame at the time, I was at Auburn.  I didn't know Charlie that well, he had been in pro ball.  But we had a good time together, became very close.  I've spoken at a couple of his clinics sense then.  Good football coach.  Transition to college is a little tougher than what a lot of people think because there's a lot of recruiting involved.
Campo and I worked together at Miami back in 1987 and '88, and then he went with Jimmy to the Cowboys.  I stayed his coordinate for at Miami.  I know Dave well.
But other than that, I know a lot of guys on every coaching staff.  I've known Mike for a long time.  But there for about four hours, you can care less about who they are.  You go after them and try to beat them.
There's a lot of carried‑over friendships in this business because we deal with each other on a different basis than a lot of businesses.¬† We're around them and compete against them and go to clinics and try to learn from them.
We try to learn from everybody.

Q.  You said Campo went to the Cowboys with Jimmy and you stayed.  Did you have an offer to go to the Cowboys at that time?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:  If I had not have stayed with Dennis Ericson, I would have gone.

Q.  So you could have?
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, but I wanted to stay in college.¬† But if Dennis Ericson, if he would have brought his whole staff ‑ he didn't ‑ they asked me to stay.¬† They didn't know anything about the 4‑3 defense, so I stayed and it worked out pretty good.

Q.  Talk also about the next two weeks.  Obviously you've got Kansas and Oklahoma State, the challenge there.
TOMMY TUBERVILLE:¬† Yeah, we've played pretty good against the run all year long.¬† The problem in this league is you have many one‑sided teams.¬† Teams can run and pass, and that's what gives you huge problems, and we lined up against the run the other day and weren't able to cover play action.¬† That got us in a little bit of a problem.
But I don't look at rankings.  I am sure we're still ranked somewhere in the top 30 or 40 on defense, a lot better than we were last year.  At times we looked at a good defense, play very well, we didn't get lined up right.  They did a good job moving tight ends, moving personnel around, and they got us mismatched is what we talked about earlier is what you try to do.
That's one thing we have to work on and do a lot better job of getting lined up.  But it's a challenge.  You play these running backs, we've got some good ones coming up; Baylor has got a good one; Oklahoma State has got a very good one and Kansas has got a good one.  So we've got our hands full.

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