Sean Kugler Media Luncheon Transcript (11/18/13)

S. Kugler

Nov. 18, 2013

(Opening Statement)

“It was good to get a win for the team Saturday night especially for the seniors to have the opportunity to walk off the Sun Bowlturf for the last time as winners.  We set a goal early in the week for that to happen.  Especially for the Miner fans, I was amazed by the crowd.  Even though our record is what it is they were out in full force and loud and really helped our team.”


(On Nathan Jeffery’s performance)

“He has been through a frustrating year.  He has had several nagging injuries – foot, groin, you name it.  He was a starter last year put behind a true freshman.  He got the opportunity to carry the load by himself for the first time and did an outstanding job.  He ran hard all night.  I was extremely happy and proud of him.


(On a two-quarterback system)

“I mentioned after the game, I think Blaire Sullivan is too talented to be standing on the sidelines and watching.  I want to get him involved with this team in several capacities. I think he can play a lot of positions for us, not only as a quarterback, and you saw how he ran the ball the other night. He can be agreat defensive player and he did a great job on special teams as well.  We’ll see more of them.  We’ll wait and see (about a position change).  Our focus is on this week.  He accepted his role last week and did a great job.”


(On opening more plays for Mack Leftwitch)

“We didn’t go into it planning to have seven passes.  There were a lot of factors in that.  We wanted to establish the run early and often.  They didn’t stop it so no sense in going away from it.  We kept their offense off the field; we were controlling the clock. The run game was working so efficiently, that we stuck with it. We had some plans to hit some play-action passes. They were both effective.  We had one, which was pass interference, and the other a touchdown to Jordan Leslie.  The one we hit with Jordan Leslie, we wanted to make sure we got that in before the end of the quarter because going into the wind would’ve been difficult.”




(On Mack Leftwich’s toughness)

“I’m not surprised by his toughness. I have had a bit moreexperience then any coach has watching a player because I saw every one of his high school games, throws and runs. The kid is an incredible competitor.  He’s as tough as they come.  We will open things up and give him a chance to throw because he’s got an outstanding arm.  The week before we didn’t protect him real well.  The focus going in was to protect the quarterback and run the ball efficiently.  We ended the game not giving up a sack or quarterback hits. I thought the offensive line really did an outstanding job this week and coming off a game as poorly as they played the week before, give credit to them and Spencer Leftwich.”


(On improvement of defense)

“The scores don’t reflect it, but I have been seeing improvement from the defense on a weekly basis, especially in the secondary.  They’re starting to get it.  They’re starting to play faster and more aggressive.  We had a lot of tackles for losses and tackles for no gains by the safeties that probably earlier in the season would’ve been missed or not in the right position. I’ve been extremely excited about the improvement in the defense.  I thought the line did a good job of handling their offensive line.  The vision for this program is to be physical on both sides up front. I really felt, in this game, the offensive and defensive line on both sides of the ball got after FIU.”


(On the jersey switch)

“We had our home uniforms which are official home uniforms sponsored by Nike which we had already worn against LA Tech, and they wore their white uniforms.  The FIU coaches were complaining and they called the league office and mandated that we switch our uniforms. To be honest I don’t care what we are wearing, we have to go out and execute. It was kind of funny and kind of annoying but we went in and changed uniforms and it didn’t help them the color of jerseys that we were wearing. ”


(On Tulane)

“Tulane kind of got the same formula that North Texas has going.  They force 28 turnovers on defense and several they have taken back for touchdowns.  They’ve had some blocked kicks on special teams and some of those have gone for touchdowns.  They’re scoring on defense and they’re playing solid special teams.  If you look on them from film last year, compared to this year, they have three transfer defensive lineman – two from LSU who are graduate guys and one was a junior college transfer – and it has made a difference for them up front.  They are physical up front, and they have size and athleticism on the defensive side of the ball.  They have 83 tackles for losses, 8.5 tackles for losses per game, which is insane really.  They have been dominant up front on defense.  And they have great speed on defense in which they fly around and blitz.  Offensively they run the football effectively.  They have two big backs, which has been an issue for us.  They’re a solid football team; they’re everything their record says (6-4). With them coming off a bye week it will be an extreme challenge for us.”


(On Tulane winning two games last year and changes that were made for this year)

“I think the biggest change was up front defensively.  They have three cats up front who didn’t play last year who are making an impact. Sometimes you hit on one, sometimes you hit on two and they have hit on all three. Their defensive front will be the best that we play.”


(On Jerel Watkins and LaQuintus Dowell)

“Watkins will be back this week, which I’m happy about.  Our o-line depth has been extremely thin and we’ve had to shuffle some people around.  Dowell is questionable.  I’m hopeful to see how he moves throughout the week and hopefully he can come back for us.  He’s certainly a contributor for us on special teams and as a running back.  We ran a bunch the other night but we’re really thin at that position.  You can’t always bank on not having an injury during the game.”


(On Aaron Jones)

“He has broken ribs and it’s going to take some time for him to heal.  It’s a shame for him, he was on target to have over 1,000 yards.  But he achieved a lot of goals this year but I know he’s hungry and he’ll be out to prove he’s even better next year.”


(On Tulane’s quarterbacks)

“They have been very efficient, they move the ball well.  (Nick Montana) has been injured some and they use (Devin Powell) well. They haven’t put up the numbers like some of the teams we’ve played but they’ve moved the ball efficiently.  They have a very good offense.”


(On Kugler’s satisfaction to see the team’s improvements)

“I was just happy for them to get a win, just to have that feeling. I give them a lot of credit. It isn’t easy to go to work when you’re 1-8.  If you’re hurting and you’re sore it just feels worse.  And it’s hard to get motivated.  They played like a team that had passion and was motivated. They had fun and flew around.  They played for each other and were energized. After big plays, you could see the excitement and it was genuine.  I was happy to see that because I reiterated to the team on Sunday, it’s a heck of a lot more fun to have that feeling and play that way.  And it’s free – energy and passion is free.  I think they’ll learn a lesson from that, that if you go out and play with energy, good things are going to happen.  I think we can use that moving forward as a guide of how we need to play.”

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