On how Adrian Martinez played last week
There’s no doubt about it, proud of our guys, how they competed, executed and it doesn’t matter how you get it done, if you get it done in a tough environment against a good opponent it’s a great day.
On keeping Adrian at the same level
I think every week we are getting more in sync, more on the same page, learning more about each other and getting some things ironed out across the board. WE just have to continue to build on the momentum that he did and he had on Saturday.
On Tech’s defense
They are really long, great size on the outside, across the board, at all three levels. They are playing hard, making plays and it will be a good challenge for us.
On the pace of Tech’s offense changing things for his group
I don’t think so, I think we have to focus on executing, staying on the field. I think that was the biggest thing we were able to do last week – stay on the field on those third and fourth down situations to give ourselves a chance to find some rhythm, do some things operationally and ultimately finish with touchdowns. Every offense in this league is explosive, they go fast. We have the capability to be no different than that. But at the end of the day, you have to do it and put touchdowns on the board in the red zone and be good on third down.
On Martinez’s rhythm
It’s important, but, again, all those gears have to be in sync and firing. He’s the main focal point of that and he has to be firing. But it’s everybody around him as well. Everybody just doing their 1/11th.
On four verticals play on third and 16 working as a QB Draw too
As soon as we saw that they wer ein man, that was definitely a possibility. As soon as he broke through and was able to break through those twists up front, as soon he popped out I was like ‘Ope, he might be out.’ I didn’t know it was going to go for 55, but I knew we would have a good chance to get to the sticks.
On Martinez finding ways to cut it loose in practice before Oklahoma game
I mean, I think, again, we’ve seen a lot of those plays through practice through his time here very, very early. Him being able to do that and all of us being able to execute the way that he did and we did was a lot of fun to see.
On how Martinez has carried over preparation to Tech
It’s one of those things where we played much better, made plays, stayed on the field on third down, got some good touchdowns in the red zone, but if you go through the tape there’s a lot of things that we have to be better at. That’s the exciting part, I think our guys have caught that and seen that and know that there was some plays out there on three and outs that we had an opportunity to stay on the field and have an even better performance. I think that’s part of the motivation is that we haven’t played our best game as a unit as well.
On the injuries to the offensive line
Well, it is what it is. Guys have stepped up and are practicing extremely hard and guys are tough suckers up there right across the board. We have to keep developing some guys behind that front line and keep plugging along.
On not allowing a sack since Week 1
I didn’t know that exactly, but they’ve done a really good job in their preparation in the week in seeing, feeling the blitz patterns in each protection and the different IDs and playing hard. They’ve done that every week and it was cool because in such a harsh environment, the communication from a quarterback to his offensive it sounds simple, Gillie (Hayden Gillium), Hadley [Panzer] and Adrian did a great job of handling that environment and being on the same page with the environment and the tempo stuff we were doing. They did a great job.
On playing in front of a big crowd at home
There’s no place like it. Our fans are so passionate, into the ball game and truly care and not just about the outcome but our players and the culture and young men we’ve had there. Truly fortunate to have had that for along time. It’s a special place for a long time.
On a rushing attack with Martinez and Deuce Vaughn
There’s no doubt about it, and it’s something we have to keep building on. There’s next level of things and sequencing of things, schemes and formations and that kind of stuff that was a great stepping stone, building block for us to see it come together.
On importance of Gillum in pass protection
It’s critical, especially when you’re mixing up tempos and stuff. Defenses aren’t getting lined up and set and making sure the quarterback knows who they are going to, who they are not going to in certain situations and getting the ball out of your hand. His leadership and attitude every day that he comes to work. He plays his butt off on every snap.
On what makes Tech hard to prepare for
It’s their length and their size. They really plug gaps up front and make it hard to plug gaps. It’s a challenge for us.
On Ben Sinnott
Ben has great ball skills. There will be times that even in practice that he will haul in a tough catch. We know he’s capable of that. In the pass game, you think you have a high understanding of where the pass could go, but how it worked out and the progressions of the defense it went his way. And when it did he did a nice job of answering the bell and making the catch and having great security and getting yards after the catch. Not surprised at all.
On how important Malik Knowles was to the win vs. Oklahoma
Every player that played in that game made a critical play in a critical moment to help the effort. The thing I was proud of Malik the most wasn’t a touchdown catch or the things he did that way or the comeback or third down or whatever. It was how be blocked. He played 80 some odd snaps is what we graded him at and he busted his tail. It was a long, physical game. It had a great mentality. I was really proud of him.
On QB power on last TD run
It’s a hard play to stop. But, again, those guys up front got it done and Adrian has done a nice job. It’s just math. You get into those short yardage situations and goal line there is going to be one unblocked guy and we get closer to it with having the quarterback carry it, obviously. But Adrian did a nice job of carrying it and staying in relation with his guard and getting it home.
On challenges of Tech’s offense
It’s explosive. They do a good job of pushing the ball down the field. They have a good run game compliment I think with it. They have playmakers all over the place. I think they do a great job creatively with the things they do. They’re a really good offensive football team.
On Tech’s RPOs
They do a lot of things to get the ball out of the quarterbacks hands quickly and get the ball to guys in space. That’s kind of the MO. Theyc compliment that with a lot of down the field shots. It’s not like you’re going to be able to sit on a whole bunch of things. You have to be ready for everything.
On stopping run game last week
Early in the game, no. Late in the game, I would say not very far off. I think we had a couple of things that a guy might have been cut out of a gap and we didn’t make it right. There was a couple of times we were in some sub-optimal calls and we were shorter in there than we wanted to be. Some of the things that we did last week are easily correctable.
On preparing for an air-raid
I wish we would go against somebody who wasn’t very good once in awhile. That’s the Big 12, we knew that when we came here. This is the Big 12. I think that for a time there was a resurgence of defense in the Big 12. There are still a good group of defenses, but the offenses have struck back. Just the creativity that some of these teams have today is incredible. Sometimes with these new teams, it was the same case last week with us, knowing what their identity was because we didn’t have a lot of tape. Texas Tech is similar to that. I know obviously the things they did at Western Kentucky. It’s a new group that they have at Texas Tech. It’s a challenge to get these guys early in the year.
On how his group played on third and fourth down
Our guys played really hard. I think that the big takeaway is that we gave away some explosive plays that we haven’t given away in some one-on-one situations. We knew that was going to be the situation going in and that we were going to have some one-on-ones and that we were going to have to win them. There was a couple that we didn’t. There were two series at the end of the game when we were very conservative with a lead that we just kind of allowed them to get plays down the field – I don’t want to say allowed them but guys played their hearts out and if we play with that kind of energy and intensity, we’ll be hard to beat.
On Texas Tech’s offensive pace
It helps to do that a couple weeks in a row. I think that we were prepared last week for mach one and we got it at times. I don’t think there were any snaps that our guys weren’t aligned, and that was a huge key to the game for us. We thought that if we got our feet in the ground and got aligned we would have a chance. We continued that prep into this week because 109 plays or whatever plays it was against Texas, 106 vs. Houston, those are big numbers.
On main things he stressed to the defense
Just technique. I think we had some technique errors that cost us. I think early in the game we had some communication errors that we had rectified as we went on but its just fundamental football. I don’t think it’s anything earth shattering. You can point to every play and say what happened. It’s not like we don’t have answers. Things happen throughout the course of a game. You know, sometimes a guy does make a mistake. We are trying to prevent those before they happen.
On more snaps for some players
I think across the board, Uso is developing so much better each week. He’s maybe one of the more talented people we really have – he’s really special. It’s hard to take Eli Huggins off the field, but yeah he’ll have to be in the rotation. We are going to have a deeper rotation at defensive end. We’re hoping Nate Matlack can give us some snaps at defensive end this week. We’re going to have a deeper rotation at linebacker – everywhere. I think we are okay with that. That’s the way we practice. We distribute our reps in practice fairly evenly between the ones and the twos. It’s not like these younger guys aren’t getting the reps or don’t understand the principles. They just don’t do it as much in games. There’s going to be a lot of faces that you might see.
On coach designated to subs
That’s within the rules of if they sub, they give us an opportunity to sub. Sometimes we just need to get people off. Other times we do that to try to match their personnel. It’s not always a gadget when we do it. But we’re not trying to be unethical with that stuff. We do it, and we’re in-tune to when they sub.
On young players getting snaps
That’s awesome. I’m looking at the last two series of the game, VJ Payne played almost every snap of the game as a true freshman and Omar Daniels was playing significantly. That’s valuable experience in that environment to get those guys running.
On performance of the back half of the defense
I think Kobe Savage is getting so much more comfortable, Josh Hayes too. Those guys are getting so much more comfortable with what they do. They play with the speed of older guys, but they’re just learning. Josh Hayes has never played safety until earlier this year. Every week we are getting stronger, better. That’s just galvanizing to have some ups and downs.
On Savage’s early success
How he goes about his business, he’s always doing extra, he’s always trying to perfect his craft. Doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s just his personality.
On how important communication is
That was probably the biggest thing. That was a loud environment at Oklahoma when we were on defense, which we probably didn’t expect as much. We had some issues early with getting things all the way around. It’s no different here. We practice with noise. Most of the time throughout the week, Wednesday and Thursday, we do stuff with crowd noise so we emphasize some of the things that need to happen. But if we’re not on the same page we are going to be in trouble
On what Tech does best
Because they have such big receivers they create some matchup down the field that they draw a lot of pass interference penalties because they are so physical at the top of their routes. I think that because they are able to stress you vertical another things that stresses you is the quarterback scramble with the Donovan Smith. I think that he is as dangerous running as he is throwing the ball.
On Tech going for it on fourth down
That’s the way college football is now. Texas Tech is not alone in that, there’s a lot of teams that are doing that. It plays into how you play third down. Third and five can be a run down, it’s a base down. Sometimes third down and one are shot downs. It’s a different mentality you have to have on third down.
On Eli Huggins
Unbelievable the things you don’t see on the stat sheet of him just battling in there is his leadership and things he does that way. Oklahoma, early in the game, I think their plan was to climb people up to the second level and getting on backers, as good as I’ve ever seen. They found out pretty quickly that you’re not going to be able to do that when Eli is in there and you can’t leave him alone on a center. The fact that nobody is able to single block that guy allows us to do some much more.