Oct. 8, 2012
(Thoughts on Saturday's 17-0 loss to SMU)
"I was surprised at the outcome of the game to say the least, as probably a lot of you were. I don't think we played as well as we're capable of playing on offense and on special teams. Our defense played extremely well. Our whole team gave great effort. It was a great turnout from the fans. I think we had thousands of teachers here. The crowd did their part and we didn't do our part. That's not saying that SMU isn't a good team, because they are good and they beat us fair and square. It was a well fought, clean game with very few penalties. I thought coach [June] Jones showed some class by not trying to run up the score at the end of the game. They probably could've thrown a play action pass the way we were trying to stop the run.
"I was particularly disappointed with the offense. We just didn't do the little things right in key situations. You look at the tape and it's never as bad or as good as it seems, but we had some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of. We had zero explosive plays, and when we did something good we had two major penalties. The thing that's good about playing so quickly is we get to go on another trip, which is great because I'm collecting mileage points. We've been in four different cities in 20 days. It's just a very unique schedule. If we were winning, it would be lots of fun. The game is this Thursday. It's unbelievable how quickly we put away the SMU game. Let's drag it through the mud a couple more seconds with some of your questions."
(On using the tight ends more)
"I think you'll probably see more of that two tight end offense we ran at the beginning of the third quarter. We're integrating it into our offense more and more. We should have been doing it [all along]. That's one of the should'ves and could'ves that we're looking at correcting."
(On the offensive play calling and execution)
(On what he would tell fans who are frustrated with the 1-5 start)
"We're looking at all those things. We work on play selection during the week and write up what we're going to call based on the computer and game plans. There's not a situation where we don't have a play ready to call. We mostly just go off the chart and all five of us [offensive coaches] sit in the room for hours coming up with the plays that we're going to call. Play calling is a lot simpler than you think. Sometimes someone will come up with an idea, but we don't call any plays that we don't practice."
"Just hang in there with us. I have nothing but good will towards our fans. I think we have great fans here. I didn't notice them leaving at halftime. I think our fans are incredible and we always have the best fans of any place I've ever been. They pay for a ticket and if they want to leave early, that's up to them. We want to put a product on the field that will keep them coming back and staying for the second half and fourth quarter."
(On making offensive adjustments for Thursday's game)
"We'll save it until Thursday night when we unleash our new plan against Tulsa. It's going to stay similar but we have some changes that we're going to make. It's hard to make changes with a few days of practice, but we're going to make some changes."
(On what he told the team at halftime on Saturday)
"I told them that we weren't playing up to our ability on offense, with some colorful adjectives. We're better than this."
(On Carson Meger)
"I thought Meger played one of his better games this year [against SMU]. He is earning his way and closing the gap between the two quarterbacks. But I think this is a time where you don't throw Nick under the bus. You support him, support the offense, stick together and encourage him. We'll continue to help build his confidence and the offense's confidence."
(On where Nick Lamaison needs to improve)
There are a lot of things Nick has to work on, and he's working on them. He takes criticism really well and he's really coachable. He is progressing. But it's not a simple thing. It's corrections, it's a couple of bad habits and he's continuing to work on that. There are two people the fans are going to be mad at, the coach and the quarterback, and that's part of the deal. One of the finest men I've ever known was the president at Washington State, and I can remember him asking me, `Do you think you're staying with the quarterback too long, he hasn't played real great.' I said `I think I'm doing the right thing, and the right thing is to stick with Drew Bledsoe. He's just a freshman.' It's not unusual that I hear these comments."
(On what was the focus of Monday's team meeting)
"We talked about the passing game and put it to bed. We showed them the good plays. We just cleared the air, swept the game behind us and recognized the people who played well. There were a lot of people who played well in that game. [Shane] Huhn was our defensive back of the week. Gage Sharp is playing great on special teams, moving from safety to linebacker. Josh Fely is playing great on defense. Germard Reed and Marcus Bagley are playing awesome. Horace Miller played very well. Drew Thomas is playing great. A lot of our kids are playing well, and we recognized that."
(On the offense's overall struggles)
"There are a lot of things not working real well on offense. It's a take your pick situation. We're trying to correct as much as we can as fast as we can, and we'll continue to do that. We're going to stay the course with the people we have. We're not going to change our offense mid stream. Everybody has their own opinion, but that's my opinion.
"Every play goes through me. I have the opportunity to nix or correct every single call. I am the ultimate play caller when it comes to this team. I let Andre Patterson call the defensive plays. If you call plays and they work, you're a good play caller. If you call plays and they don't work, you're a bad play caller."
(On concerns that the offense might be too predictable)
"It's not predictable. It's a matter of execution. We chart everything. When we put together that 80 or 90 yard drive, we ran for seven first downs in a row. But it worked. June Jones'offense is one of the most predictable that you can run. I was standing there yelling out their plays to our defense, but they do it well."
(On his goals for the rest of the season)
"The goal for the rest of the year is to win this game, take it one game at a time and stay healthy, stay fresh, so that we can give our all to each game and each play. We haven't lost hope and we're staying disciplined, doing everything by the book."
"They're really good. They're 5-1 and only got beat by Iowa State. Their quarterback is a transfer from Nebraska. He won four games as a starter at Nebraska, and has won five games as a starter at Tulsa. He is a really good player. He may have bruised his shoulder against Marshall. He didn't throw many passes in the second half. But coach Blankenship says he's fine. The running back Watts electrified the crowd last week. He's a really good running back. They have another great big kid Singleton, a 265-pound running back. They ran the ball straight ahead for 250 yards against Marshall. They are a good quality team, and their defense is really solid. A lot of their guys played against us last year. They embarrassed us last year. We're going to be prepared to stay fresh and healthy, play the best we can and improve our offensive production."