Tuesday, October 10, 2006 Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Mike Shula
“We are back in the SEC this week with Ole Miss coming into town. It feels good to be at home. Our players know what this game means. We know what we’re going to get with Ole Miss coming in. They’ve got a very solid defense that’s playing better now than they did earlier in the year. They do a lot of blitzing, they are very fast. It’s a quick defense, they’ve got good cover guys. They’ve got one of the best linebackers in the SEC. Offensively, they’re going to try to run the football and run it and use their quarterback who is a very athletic quarterback to in misdirection type things, whether or not it’s him carrying the ball or him with play action passes.
They did a real good job last week early in the game against Vanderbilt and got up got the lead and then continued to try to run the football. They like to come off the ball. They’ve got huge, young offensive linemen that can come off the ball. They’ve got their back from last year who is a speed back and now they’ve got a power back that they like to tie in with the type of running style they play.
Special teams have been another reason why they’ve played well and had success as of late. I would even include the Georgia game. They were in the Georgia game really until the end. They blocked some punts. They’re very aggressive special teams wise. They do a good job helping them with field position and they’ve had turnovers the last few weeks. We’ve got a full week of work ahead of us starting today and we know we have to play better and that will start today.”
You’ve played some other quarterbacks who would roll out and do some things but is Schaeffer more of a threat to actually run down field and is he more athletic than any other quarterback you’ve seen so far?
“Yes, we’ve had some athletic quarterbacks. He’s pretty athletic and the scary thing about him is that he becomes another running back with the ball in his hands and he can make people miss in space. The other thing is that even if they do want to roll him out on a misdirection type of pass, if you’ve got things covered in the secondary, he can make a lot of yards so he’ll present another problem for our defense.”
You’ve obviously had some pretty good success recruiting in the state of Mississippi, what do you attribute that to?
“Well, I think Coach (Sparky) Woods does an excellent job over there. Coach (Buddy) Wyatt is also over there. Just like with all recruits, the important thing is the communication, getting kids whether or not they are in Mississippi or other states, getting them over here to a football game to see the atmosphere and what the facilities are about and just get to know our coaches. I think sometimes when you have some success, that can lead to more success in certain schools and areas but we’re glad we have the guys on our team that we have from Mississippi.”
Last year Ole Miss held Alabama to just 13 points. What have you learned from last year’s game that will help you with this Saturday’s game?
“Well, I think they are good. They do a good job against the running game. They bring a lot of secondary blitzes that are run blitzes. We didn’t play as well early in the game and we made some plays later on. We’ve got to take a good look at the tape from last year and kind of compare it to the way they’re playing now and the games that they’ve just played and see if they’re going to play us like last year or add some things that they’ve done this year. But we need to try to do better offensively.”
This is about trends. When you got here, Alabama, obviously a long tradition of a good running team, but the last couple of years, your passing numbers have kind of creeped up. Can you just talk about if there is a subtle transition that you’re becoming more of a fundamentally better passing team and more emphasis there?
“Well, we’ve tried to emphasize being balanced. We strive for balance. We strive for trying to keep defenses off balance. We feel like we need to run the football in the SEC to win games. And the ability to do that, if you have the ability to do that, and then get some wide receivers that can make plays for you and get them some good looks as well as your quarterback and that makes us even more dangerous. Try not to be one sided, although if things are working during a course of a game, if you’re throwing it and being successful, then we’ll do that. Or if going into a game you feel like that gives you the best chance to win then we’ll do that. But the same thing running the football, if you have a lead, kind of like last week, and you can make first downs running the football, then you do that because you can keep the ball away from the other team and play field position and hopefully get it in the end zone. Bottom line is we’re going to strive for balance.”
You lead the conference and you’re the top ten in the nation in turnover margin, can you talk about how that has come about and what the benefits are?
“I think the benefits are if you can combine holding onto the football with your defense being opportunistic, that’s usually one of the biggest indications of winning and losing is winning that turnover ratio. That’s something that they’re talking about over at Ole Miss. You know we stress it like every team stresses it. We do certain drills as far as ball security with our running backs, our quarterbacks, our wide receivers, and anybody that touches the ball. We also make sure that the offensive linemen understand they play a big part in it too as far as knowing their assignments so they don’t turn people lose in the backfield that can create turnovers. Defensively, I think the most important thing is having guys think positively about turnovers defensively and then if you have the talent to get a bunch of guys around the football, I think speed really helps in that regard. Of course the obvious thing too is putting pressure on the quarterback.”
Joe Kines, Defensive Coordinator
“The offensive line is the best offensive line we have played, 345, 350, across the front, excellent pullers. When you see them on tape, they are really doing a nice job with their scheme. The wide-outs have great speed. Running backs are running good. Quarterback is an older youngster who is playing really good right now. Offensively, you have to really zip up your britches and stop the run here. You can’t be light this week. It’s going to be one of those situations where you are playing a power team. Someone got to whip a double team. Somebody has got to get off the block. Somebody has got to make a play. It’s not real complicated, but it will be a week’s work to try to get it done.”
On Ole Miss running back
“He’s a good power runner. They play two youngsters back there. Six is a really good inside runner. Good speed and good eyes. They run the zone play and he can find the crack. He can find the crease in it. They run the power, he can hit the hole and get to the outside. He had a great day against us last year. He can outrun you to the corner. They have a good little package there.”
On the Duke Game
“The first half we kind of stood around. We got ourselves together and we’re back the second half playing. I look at the tape and we didn’t get off the block and tackle. You can be happy, sad, mad, glad. As long as you get off the block and make the tackle, it doesn’t make a difference. We weren’t ready to play, obviously. You look at them on tape, what you see, is what happens as the score changes. We never did get the score to change, until the second half.”
Dave Rader, Offensive Coordinator
“The weeks work was never that way. We were good at things, hard counts, different snap counts throughout the week. As good as we’ve been all year. There was no indication. The game gave us an indication that we weren’t as prepared as we needed to be and we addressed that. We will work on hard counts again today.”
On Ole Miss
“You look at there defense, and No. 49 is everywhere. You see him making plays. You see how physically imposing the young man is. I recall how good he is the past two years that we’ve played him. He’s a tremendous football player. He makes everybody around him better. If we weren’t playing him then I would enjoy watching him play. The defense has a lot of speed. The secondary is quick. Faster than anybody that we have played. Their scheme allows them to utilize their talents because they bring so many blitzes and put so much pressure on. You can tell they have a lot of confidence.”
On Ole Miss stopping Alabama’s offense last season
“I think a couple things happened. One is that was our post-Prothro game. Their blitzes were effective that day. They turned some guys lose. It slowed down some drives for us. I think there were some things that went into that. The rest of the season last year, we didn’t really see the same defense. I think they did show some cross blitzes and things like that, that we saw later in the year that we had to be sure to control. I’m very biased. In the seven years I’ve been here, seems like everybody plays Alabama their best game of the year.”
John Parker Wilson
“It’s something that we have addressed as a team since then. We’ve got to play our level of football. We can’t come out of the gate expecting people to lay down.
On transition from running to passing team
“I don’t know if there is a change. I think we are still the same team. Alabama has always has had good running backs. We have always been able to run he ball. We are seeing some different looks defensively so we are adjusting to that offensively. When guys put eight and nine guys in the box it’s tough to run the ball, so we have to go with the passing game when they do that.”
On Ole Miss
“They are an intense team. They get after it. They really center around that linebacker. He is a playmaker, he lights people up and goes and get the ball.”
“They are just a good team. I don’t know if there is one specific thing, solid defense. Coached very well, they are always going to be in the right spots. They aren’t going to get beat and they aren’t going to miss any assignments. They are just a solid defense.”
“We want to come out and put some points on the board and move the ball. Take care of the ball just like we want to do every week. Our main goal is just to come out and win if we do that then we will be happy.”
On last year’s Ole Miss game
“It was just one of those games, a tough game. Any time you play an SEC team, it’s going to be hard to score points. It’s a dogfight and we came out on top.”
On DJ Hall and Keith Brown
“I have always thought so highly of those guys. I don’t know what they’ve been doing but they step up and they make plays. D.J. was playing, not 100-percent healthy, he made plays. Keith is doing the same thing. It is so tough on defense to have to guard two guys like that. They are two great members of the offense.”
On his pocket presence
“I feel like we are pretty good in the pocket right now. I think the ends are doing a pretty good job of pushing the rush ends by us. We have a nice pocket formed. I feel like I have a pretty good clock for knowing when to pull it down. The one time I didn’t do that I threw a pick. I stepped up and about ran but decided to throw it to Travis out there and the ball got picked off. Besides that, I’m feeling pretty comfortable in the pocket.”