MADISON, Wis. -
To recap the game after watching it, I thought there were some good things and obviously some bad things. We started slow. I think playing an elite back like that, and obviously not having anybody on our service team to practice like that against caught our guys off guard a little bit. You could see the missed tackles early and then I thought after we settled down and got our guys tackling more aggressive and not stomping their feet and trying to go high on them, I thought we did better. After that 14, after those two touchdown runs, the rest of the game was 17-14, with a bobbled snap on a field goal. So, potentially 17-17. I think the turnovers are what kept us in it, at plus two, getting two and not turning any over. Obviously, that is a very good defense. They returned a lot of guys from last year. They shut down a lot people last year, going back to their opener with LSU. At the same time, there is no excuse for 2-of-14 on third down and only two first downs in the whole second half. We should have performed better on offense and if we had done that, with the way our special teams played, our special teams played really hard. I think 11 punts with only eight yards in return, eight yards total return. It would have been interesting to see if we had played better on offense.
How has being in Madison effected your schedule this week?
We have just kinda made the most of it. Obviously, it is very different. The hotel and Wisconsin has been awesome to us, letting us practice over there and they have fed us over there (Wisconsin). That has obviously helped. But it is obviously strange. It has been a strange four days. We are just trying to make the most of it, prepare for this next game and we have to get ready to keep improving. Did you guys practice yesterday?
We did not. Sunday is the players’ day off.
I’m assuming you are watching film and having meetings at the hotel.
DeAndre (Johnson) didn’t make the trip. Can you give us an update on his health?
He did have a sudden medical condition. Out of respect to him, I won’t give more details than that. It was pretty scary and one that he was hospitalized and could not travel.
Is he still in the hospital?
He is still in the hospital, yes.
Do you know yet if you expect him back this year or is it too early to tell?
I do not know that.
Does this remind you when you were in the NFL and going off to a different place, a kind of training camp deal?
A little bit because it is someone else’s facility-type thing. But we are trying to get ready for a game versus training camp. There is a little bit of that.
The Bethune-Cookman game is still on?
As far as I know.
What gives you confidence about the defense, that they will be as good as you think they will be?
Seeing them every day. I think that there are some really good players, some guys that have really improved. I like how we are coaching them. I like how they have gotten better since the day we got here. The last game that they played last year they gave up 77 points. I think they have improved a lot and I think they will keep getting better.
With the goal-line defense, they had two pretty big stands. What do you think was the key in those two series?
I think that guys really sucking it up and saying we are going to stop these guys. Some of our guys give up 50 pounds to their guys. So, they played with a lot of heart. I think it is something that fans and really our area down there, we talked a lot to our players if we are going through all these things, it would be great to play really good today, with this hurricane coming, to give people something to have a moment to watch something that excited them.
On one of those series, I think Akileis Leroy was in for a few plays. What did you see from him that you want to put him in such a high-pressure situation?
Physical player. We have a lot of special true freshmen on both sides but especially on defense. I looked out there at one point and the three safety spots, the nickel and the two safeties, were all three true freshmen playing at Wisconsin. That is pretty unique. I think that we have some special talent guys. We are all about playing freshmen. When you play them early in the year by the middle of the year they are playing really well.
Did you see enough from Daniel Parr to say that he is your starter this week?
I would say that as of right now, yes.
Antonyo Woods, that new technique, seemed to have helped and a few more were on target. Is that what you saw?
We are still high some, but at least they were all catchable. But, when they are high it still affects the timing, sometimes in the pass game and in the running game. Hopefully, they will continue to get better and that change helped a lot.
Does Bethune-Cookman’s offense allow you to play your base defense or a little more of what you are used to?
It is more similar to what we see every day in practice, some big splits some tempo, RPOs. Hopefully, that will help. Bethune threw for 250 yards against Miami, they have had 400 yards in two games. Watching the team they played, I think the team they played (last weekend) was pretty good. Especially on offense. They had some good players, especially at quarterback. Bethune is a lot better than they were a year ago.
What did you take away from their game at Miami?
They played really good on offense. For a couple of series they were hanging with them. A lot of broken plays. They kinda had Miami stopped and then those backs at Miami would just stop, run around everybody, make them miss and out run people. I thought they played them closer that what it ended up.