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Coach Mike Shula Press Conference: Kentucky Game


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Coach Mike Shula
Coach Mike Shula

Kentucky Game Week Press Conference
Opening Comments & First Five Questions Transcript

Opening Comments:

"We're getting ready to get started here, have three good days of preparation, get our kids focused on Kentucky, especially after an emotional loss last week against Oklahoma. It was an emotional first game being our opener (at home). So we've got to be focused this week more than ever on continuing to play with a high level of effort because that's what you're going to need to do against a team like Kentucky coming in here. It's our first SEC game at home in Bryant-Denny. We all know offensively some of their weapons. I coached against Coach (Rich) Brooks as a coordinator when he was a coordinator, (and) against his defensive coordinator Mike Archer. And I know that his team and their defense are going to be well-prepared. It's going to be well-coached and try to do a lot of things against us offensively, so these are all things that we are going to get focused on and get our players ready to go with."

Mike will you talk about Jared Lorenzen and the problems that he can pose for a defense as a unique kind of quarterback?

"Yeah, he's very unique. First of all he's very talented. He moves around in the pocket well, never goes down it seems like. Breaks more tackles as a quarterback then I've ever seen. He has a strong arm. He can create. The ability to create has probably been his biggest asset and taking nothing away from him just doing his normal thing, dropping back and throwing the football. He runs the option and carries it. He runs the option and pitches it and then becomes the lead blocker. Our defensive coaches are in there right now working on a plan for him and how to best keep him from making big plays. I think some of the plays that he's made are because of his athleticism and his poise. He's able to find receivers down the field and get the ball to them quickly and accurately."

Mike, you talked about the emotional factor. Is that something that you've had to learn more? From coaching the pros I think it's pretty much week to week. You don't have that up and down emotionally like you do (in college). Do you think that's different?

"We've talked to our players about staying on the same level every week or increasing our effort.  I think our effort got better from week one to week two, and it's got to be better this week. And now our execution has got to be better. We've got to continue to eliminate our mistakes, continue to build on the good things. The teams that do that, and this is what we talk to our players about: the teams that do that and continue to play at a high level are the teams that are going to win more so than other teams. Those are the teams that are going to be playing at the end of the season for meaningful games."

Coach, a lot of your players have played SEC games. You've played SEC games. Talk a little bit about the way it was when you were playing and the approach you had for the conference games and how you kind of get them focused along the same lines that you were as a player.

"The SEC games were always our biggest, especially early in the year. Our biggest focal point was getting that first win in the SEC and knowing that you were going to play a lot of talented teams and a lot of well-coached teams in the SEC and how hard they are come by. We always used to think about taking care of our own. When we played at home, taking care of our home games in the SEC because it's so tough week in and week out that we feel like we have an advantage at home in Bryant-Denny with our crowd. I think that was evident last week. I think our players fed off that energy a little bit, but then again, once we get into the flow of the game, it's got to up to us with our effort level and our production so to speak, our execution to be able to move the ball, score points and hopefully keep them off the board."

Mike, from looking at their film, how much of the other quarterback are they using as a changeup?

"They use Shane (Boyd). I don't know what percentage it is, but he does a lot of things. He's lined up at wide receiver. He's lined up obviously at quarterback. He runs the option. On the punt team he's the personal protector. He does a lot of different things, and he's pretty big himself. It's an interesting combination, and it creates a different type of mentality I think defensively from our standpoint as far as how to defend an offense. I think that's something that we've really got to focus on as a staff defensively as well as our players."

What unique situations does a left-handed quarterback create, not only for maybe their best tackle being on the other side but do you come at him differently? What's your perspective on that?

"The initial thing would be the bootlegs. A lot of teams prepare for a right-handed quarterbacks to come out to his right, and all the sudden you've just got to make sure that the end on the other side now that normally teams don't boot their quarterbacks away from the side in which he throws the ball--now it's all the sudden a lefty. So both of our ends have got to be alert for things like that. That's probably the initial thing. As far as other things, it's just getting used to a lefty. Just watching him on tape and getting more familiar with that. But more so with Jared because of his athletic ability and the fact that if you have a chance to hit and try to bring him down, you've got stay on him and stay after him, stay after him, stay after him. And if you can't, you've got to try to hang on until someone else comes to help you."