“They Made More Plays Than We Did”
Dan Mullen
Editor-Dawgs' Bite
Posted Sep 10, 2010


“I’m proud of the effort our team played with. Down 17-7 at halftime, we came out and they never stopped thinking, believing. Right until I guess the clock hit zero they believed they were going to win that football team. I know I did and our coaching staff did. I’m proud of the way the kids fought. But, there’s nothing good in losing for us.”

“You look at that game, we had every opportunity to win that football game. We dropped five passes that hit kids in the hands. We turned the ball twice over on offense, I don’t think we tackled real well on defense. We had a dropped interception that probably would have been a touchdown. We messed-up, we did some wrong calls on defense and missed some support and gave up a couple of big plays we didn’t need to give up.”

“We scored a touchdown to get momentum, we get a personal foul right afterwards and we’re kicking off from own 20-yard line. Our kickoffs again, average at best. I go watch them warm-up, I come out at halftime and watch Sean (Brauchle) warm-up and getting great height about the goal line. We kick-off and it’s a line-drive to the ten.”

“That’s the execution that we have to get cleaned-up as a team, in every phase of the game. We need better calls on offense, defense, myself, we could have done some things better. The opportunity was there for us to win, we didn’t grab it. And know what? We need to do that to turn the corner for this program. We’re going to do that. There are people in Baton Rouge that aren’t going to feel sorry for us next week and this is the Southeastern Conference. If you’re going to play the toughest schedule in the country you’d better learn to deal with adversity and find a way to improve as a football team from week to week. Obviously every phase of this program right now has a little area they can improve in for next week’s game.”

Q: What was different for the defense to shut Auburn out in the second half? “I think we wrapped-up. They were still able to move the ball on us. One of the things that we didn’t want to do was give up the big play. We did that in the first half. Both their touchdown passes were on third down. So we gave up the big play in situations we shouldn’t give it up. In the second half I thought we did a better job of containing them, keeping them in front of us and forcing them to drive down the field and not give up the big play.”

“In the end they made more plays than we did. When they needed to make a play they would make the play; when we needed to make the play…we didn’t. We’re still a young football team and we’ll get that figured out.”

Q: It seemed Cam Newton made some plays when there was no play to be made? “Yeah, he’s a good athlete. You know, he’s very creative when the play breaks down. And our guys knew that. We had him contained sometimes and he broke a tackle and spun-out of there. We knew we were going to get that going in. He rushed I think for 70 yards; their backs 68, 48, and that was too much. If he’s going to make those special plays to beat you, then so be it. That wasn’t as big a factor as some of the other consistent junk they were hitting with their tailbacks.”

Q: Is this an example of a young team still growing into the SEC? “No, I was expecting a much, much better performance today from our players. In that situation we have to expect to make the plays, we have to expect to win those games. And with a young program, a young team that we’re trying to build up there are times they are looking around, OK, it’s time to make a play (turns head right, then left)…Oh, I’m the one that’s going to do it! Instead of ‘it’s time to make a play, that’s me Coach, give me the ball’.”

“We’ll develop that sort of attitude and that sort of swagger here hopefully in the very near future.”

Q: After almost 600 yards offense last week what was the biggest difference this week, what were the red flags tonight? “It’s not a lot of red flags to me. It’s the offense not getting into rhythm. When you’re dropping passes…we had a couple of deep throws. We’d take a shot and be off someone’s fingertips. Third down we had at least two drops that would have been conversions for us. Those are things that you cannot do. You’re going to have a tough offensive play if you’re not getting into that rhythm. When you have a guy open over the middle you’ve got to hit him and we’ve got to make the catch. Third-down-and-four we’ve got a guy open in the flat, we can’t drop the ball. Those are things that are going to affect you, and you’re not going to get into that rhythm that we were able to last week. That was the difference that I saw of our players.”

Q: Did you stick with Chris Relf more because he’s older, more athletic, more experienced of the quarterbacks? “I don’t know. We were talking about it through series, and we wanted to put different guys in situations. I mean, Chris is our starter right now. I see him being our starter until Tyler (Russell) all of a sudden completely beats him out for the job.”

“But we were doing some good things in there at times. And then we’d just make a silly mistake. It would be a protection breakdown. You don’t always know until you watch the film, but I guarantee I’m going to watch and say it was this guy on this play, it was that guy on that play. Last week over 50% of our plays were what we call perfect plays where everybody executed perfectly in their assignment. I’m going to bet we’re going to be about 10% this week, where ten guys did the job and one missed; then the next play ten guys did the job but another missed. We just didn’t get into that rhythm offensively that we need.” Q: You mentioned kids looking around, are you still looking for that go-to guy on offense? “Yeah, that’s still developing. You look at it, not one receiver that plays was on the roster when I took the job 19 months ago. Well, I guess Arceto Clark was on the roster, he didn’t play last year. They’re still learning how to play in those situations. But that’s going to come. When these guys get that experience…and they’ve got to learn to do it in practice as well. I think a lot of it is going to come. You have to learn to be an impact player at practice, you’ve got to learn to be a go-to guy in practice, you have that confidence in yourself where you’re going to make every ball, you’re not nervous to make a mistake or any of those things. You learn and understand the game and how to play.”

“It wasn’t real tricky. They played press man-to-man at the end of the game. It’s pretty easy, just win. But it takes a lot of fundamentals to learn how to get off man coverage. With a young receiving corps we’ve got to learn to do that, and we did that at times. And then we didn’t make plays when we needed to make the plays.”

“And it’s not just about the last drive of the game, I mean to me the real turning point was when we went three-and-out a couple of straight drives at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter. That was where we really lost all our rhythm on offense. Our defense was starting to pick it up and we just didn’t get the flow going when we needed to on offense.”

Q: How much does the play-calling change when you switch quarterbacks? “Our play-calling doesn’t change. And we didn’t really dial-back on anything, we were trying to see what they were giving us to try to take advantage of it. We don’t really change plays for the quarterbacks, there might be one or two things we do with Chris that we might do with Tyler, or one or two things we do with Tyler that we might not do with the other guy. Or you favor the one over the other in a certain situation. But you’re talking about 1% of the gameplan would be that way.”

Q: Was Marcus Green’s knee bothering him in the second half? “Yeah, they dinged it up. And they said he’d go back in, and he went back in and he was kind of sore and pushing-off it. We’re going to have to find out tomorrow what that situation is. They held him out, fortunately Brandon Henderson has been playing pretty well so we didn’t really miss a beat there.”

Q: It was a great call on the on-sides kick, were you disappointed not to get anything out of it? “We were ready to do it. We told our guys we were going to do it after our first score, we were prepped for doing it. We get the personal foul so we don’t want to do it from our own 20.”

“But every time we hit the high note, (slaps table) nobody made the play. We thudded. And that’s from me all the way down, from the top to the bottom of this program. When we hit the high notes that’s when you’ve got to explode on a team. You’re going to win in the Southeastern Conference when you hit on those high notes you have to explode. You have to make those plays. You have to make the great calls as coaches, you have to make the great plays as players. That’s what this league is all about, that’s why it’s the best league in college football, the most competitive league in college football. Is every single Saturday you better bring your A-game and when the time is right you’d better make the play. You’d better make the call as the coach, you’d better play at the top of your A-game to win.”



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