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October 14, 2013

Everett Withers

Q.テつ Talk about the balance that you have to walk between being aggressive but not wanting to give up big plays, I'm sure it's a tough balance that you have to walk.テつ Can you talk about that a little bit?
COACH WITHERS:テつ Yeah, you know, being aggressive, you still have to have‑‑ you just don't blitz just to be blitzing and you don't dial a blitz.テつ You have to have a reason why, to blitz.テつ A lot of people nowadays in the game try to negate that with all the five‑out, all the empty, all those things, to try to keep you from pressuring them.
So you have to be smart, you have to have a plan, and obviously if you're blitzing and you want to blitz, you don't expect them to pick it up or backs protect so they can hurt your secondary.テつ So that's part of the plan of going in and blitzing; do you blitz on the early downs; do you blitz on third down.テつ So there's a lot that goes into it.

Q.テつ You seemed to mix it up, against Northwestern, you played some soft coverage but Grant had his game‑changing interception, so how often do you guys feel like you mix up your coverage within a game?
COACH WITHERS:テつ Well, I mean, you'd like to be able to say you can press guys the whole game.テつ I mean, you'd like to.テつ To be honest with you, if you were playing 65 snaps a game back like you did in 1995, you're playing almost 80 snaps average a game and those guys start doing this in man coverage a lot.テつ So you'd like to be able to press them every snap.テつ If I had my druthers, we'd walk up and press every snap.テつ But you can't.テつ That's not realistic.テつ And some of the coverages don't allow you to do that anyway.
But yeah, that was a game changing play because we were in press and they weren't expecting us to be in press and threw the ball out there.テつ So, yeah, you'd like to be able to do it a lot.

Q.テつ With that in mind, do you think y'all are a good press coverage team when you look at it?テつ Is that when y'all are at your best?
COACH WITHERS:テつ Here is the thing about press coverage.テつ Press coverage to me eliminates a lot of different routes that you have to cover.テつ You know, you've got to cover the go, and probably a hitch or a slant.テつ You know, they don't run comebacks.テつ They don't run a lot of digs.テつ They don't run a lot of stuff because they don't have that in their plan because you are walked‑up press (ph).
We would like to continue to improve on press and be a good press team.テつ But again, if you're‑‑ pressing in three‑deep is different than pressing in cover one or blitzing.テつ It's a total different deal.

Q.テつ After looked like he dropped into deep third or something, what was going on there?テつ C.J. rolled in and stuff and they popped a play, I guess my point is, what did y'all work on this past week to sort of tighten those kind of things up or what was sort of the emphasis?
COACH WITHERS:テつ Well, a lot of it is, when we are playing thirds coverage and we are using what we call a clue technique, where the corner has to clue two to one, he has to stay on top and stay square.テつ So if two goes to the flat, he's on top of one.テつ If one and two go vertical, he's got to split hem and we have to help him with a little bit of reroute on number two.テつ That particular play, we needed a corner on top, we needed for C.J. to intercept the ball because they throw into buzz coverage.

Q.テつ Do you think last week, do you think your guys have sort of gotten kind of‑‑ shored things up they needed to get fixed?テつ What's your feeling going into this week?
COACH WITHERS:テつ People say "fixed."テつ Our No.1 objective is to stop the run, and if a team can't run it on you, and they can throw it on you, you know, as long as you're tackling, as long as you are triggering and tackling, you're going to be okay.
We have got to shore up trigger and tackle.テつ That's what we're working on, trigger and tackle.テつ The coverages are what they are.テつ When you're playing three‑deep, the outcuts, a lot of times are going to be there, and now you have to tackle them so that's probably the biggest thing we worked on is trigger and tackle this week.

Q.テつ Inaudible.
COACH WITHERS:テつ I thought he did a pretty decent job.テつ A couple plays you'd like to have back, but for a first ballgame and playing, like I said, 70‑, 80‑plus snaps, to have a few plays that you would like to have back is not bad.
Hopefully it continues to get better.テつ But he's a senior.テつ He's played a lot of snaps.テつ He understands that role at strong safety.テつ So it gives us the opportunity to play a guy with some experience.

Q.テつ Inaudible.
COACH WITHERS:テつ Sure, we try to‑‑ you know, we like to see if Tyvis could play free safety.テつ I think he's got a chance to be that guy one day.テつ So obviously we worked there, we think Vonn obviously is talented enough to be a nickel and play a lot of snaps.テつ We did tweak around with a few things like that last week.

Q.テつ If you can just kind of put on your co‑defensive coordinator hat, at the start of the season, the perception was the secondary would be the strength, front seven is very young.テつ Seems like the defensive line in particular has played very well, the secondary struggled.テつ What's your take on the overall defense?
COACH WITHERS:テつ You know, I think it goes back to overall philosophy.テつ When we go into a game plan and we say, first of all, we can't let them run it, so we commit guys to the run.
So in that ballgame, you saw a lot of seven guys in the box, when they had two backs, eight guys in the box, which puts a lot of pressure on the corners, especially those guys, especially those guys.
So I think our philosophy is obviously stop the run, you know and knowing what the issues are on the outside part.テつ Now, do we want to play some more man‑to‑man, yes, we want to continue to play more man‑to‑man.テつ That's going to help those corners I think take away some of those short throws because we can go get up on them and cover them a little tighter.
I don't think there's anything about weakness‑‑ I just think we've got to tackle better.テつ We've got to trigger better in three‑deep zone and continue to press more, cover tighter coverage on the outside, don't give up seams down the middle.テつ The ball is not being thrown particularly down the middle.テつ It's really from the hash out, so we just have to tighten ourselves up a little bit.

Q.テつ This time last year after the Indiana game you had the refocus or whatever the word is; how do you feel about the defense now compared to then?
COACH WITHERS:テつ I feel really good.テつ I feel like we are talented up front, and we have to play less guys in the box because I think we can.テつ I think we are talented enough up front and front four to be good and play some coverage in the back on first and second down.
The key is first and second down.テつ We are a really good third down team, one of the best in the country, I believe.テつ And first and second down, that's where people are trying to make their money against us throwing the football and we have to continue to get better on first and second down.

Q.テつ Iowa is balanced with running and passing, can you talk about what they do and what you have to do to stop them?
COACH WITHERS:テつ Greg Davis, who is the offensive coordinator, gave me my first Division I full‑time job at Tulane, and I've known Greg for 20‑some‑odd years and he has not changed a whole lot.テつ He's a zone run game‑‑ I mean, he fits exactly what I have always been in the past.テつ He's going to get in one‑back, two‑back, run the zone and run the zone and then play pass off it land third down, get in three‑wide receivers, a tight end, and use the tight end to work your Mike linebacker.
So that's what he does and it doesn't changed and it hasn't changed.テつ So we have to stop the run, the zone run game.テつ We have backs that are capable, hard runners, tough physical offensive line.
So we have got to stop that, and then we have got to be good obviously on first and second down with the play‑action pass, and the quick game.テつ They throw a lot of quick game passes on first down.

Q.テつ You've won 18 in a row; does that mount at all, that pressure to maintain that?
COACH WITHERS:テつ I really don't believe it does.テつ I think every game is its own entity and you go in and you work on every single game and not look at what's happened in the past.テつ You work on the next one.テつ The hardest thing as a coach is you're always thinking about the next one; as soon as you just finished that one, Northwestern, boom.テつ We have a bye week but we are all planning on Iowa, how to stop Iowa.テつ I think that's the mentality of our football team and our staff.

Q.テつ Talk about their running game in particular, the Weisman kid seems to be a tough, hard‑running guy.テつ What have you seen from him on video that stands out about him?
COACH WITHERS:テつ Obviously in the zone run game, I mean, they run both inside and outside zone.テつ He does a nice job of knowing where to cut the ball back in the run game or keep it front side, as we say.
You know, the key is, when you're a good offensive line and you're running and you're pushing those defensive linemen, that ball can get to that second level in a hurry if somebody doesn't fit a gap properly and now you have issues of a big back in the secondary.
Those are the things that obviously we have to be‑‑ we have to build a wall in the run game and make him stop his feet so we can get the back side pursuit there.

Q.テつ Watching video of him‑‑ talk about just him particularly, is there like an I don't want to quit‑‑
COACH WITHERS:テつ Yeah, I think that's what Coach Ferentz and the program has been about.テつ It's been about toughness, the run game and toughness.テつ Coach Ferentz is an old offensive line coach; and that's run the ball‑‑ I'm sure they do inside run a lot, you know, in practice.
So yeah, I think it is.テつ I think the running back typifies what the staff is; he's a tough kid and a tough runner.

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