Oct. 29, 2012
Head Coach Gary Pinkel
Opening Statement... James Franklin will start and other than that the roster and the alignment is exactly like it was last week. James last week, people don't understand he just started running the Sunday before last week's game against Kentucky, so that's the first time he started running, so he really made great strides all of last week and we expect him to get better and better and better, get more confidence, I think he got some confidence playing in that game and then we will determine what we do with him and what we ask him to do. We are anticipating him being very close to being 100% and that's calling plays to quarterback the way he does.
We are playing a very good Florida team, they had tough loss last week, but they are playing great defense, offensively they are running the ball really, 190 yards a game quarterbacks are playing well managing it well, they have good athletes, a very good kicking game turnover margin they are a slot ahead of us in the SEC, and doing a very good job there too overall. Excited about playing in another great place to play college football and we just want to play our best football game that is what our goal is to be doing and we are going to work real hard to do it.
On Florida's defense.... You can see his stamp. At Texas they did the same thing, they played really good defense there as you all know, the years that he was there. .. He's a good coach got great respect for him and building that program there at Florida and they play very, very good defense and their offense, they have good players, they play good offense too, they control the clock, they just do a very, very good job
On the defense ...
Well I think that our defense, statistically in a league with really good defensive stats, better than any league in the country I would suggest. We get up there and match up pretty good against them, we are playing really good defense overall. Even the times our offense, cause of our problems, have put our defense on the field a lot longer than they should be, I'm very pleased with how we have been playing defense and we all know what turnovers do to winning and losing games, the impact it has. We always talk to our players fumbles don't just happen you create them through fundamentals and technique and techniques that we teach in ripping the ball out, the many different ways to do it and a great example with what Sheldon Richardson did, they are working hard at it and they believe that the fundaments, the more they do it the better they are going to get and we are seeing the result of it and certain years those things snowball in a positive way and that's kind of what's happening
On Sheldon Richardson leading the team in tackles ... He runs pretty good, you saw him scoop it and almost score. I keep telling you, I told ya that a long time ago He runs like a linebacker, and he's 295 lbs., maybe not as fast as a linebacker, but very close to it. Very great athlete, great quickness, great pursuit, you can compare him to Ziggy Hood, somebody asked me that once, Ziggy first round pick and starts for the Steelers, Ziggy was a different type of player, more of a gap, a stout, strong guy in there and that's what he does for the Steelers, and Sheldon is just different Sheldon is quick, he gets into the gaps, he gets into the backfield, he creates a lot of problems for the offenses because he gets penetration, any time you get penetration from your defensive players it creates a lot of problems for offensive blocking and doesn`t surprise me and he plays hard and with a great athlete that's what happens.
What is his job on defense.... It's a gap control defense, so everybody has a gap, but what he does it get through a gap pretty quick and that's the difference, he can run along the line and get to spots to get through the same gap and that's what makes it very difficult for some of the best offensive line in the country that plays against him and certainly he gets blocked sometimes, not trying to say that, his quickness and his ability to get in those gaps and create problems, you have guards pulling or blocking back or centers or people pulling, and all of a sudden he disrupts everything, it doesn't just disrupt the gap, it disrupts, a lot of times, the whole blocking, any time penetration disrupts the offensive continuity or that blocking assignment and that's what he does and he is very good at it and when he gets there he can make plays, he can spin, he can react just because he is very gifted. The great thing about him is he is using his gift, he has worked so hard to get as good as he is now and the incredible thing is that he can probably get a lot better.
On did you wonder if Sheldon would ever get this good... One of the things we talked about when he got here, one of the things we do when we bring anyone into our program, our program is designed to help players mature, not just him, but any player, to be mature, be disciplined, and to carry those things over academically, and on the football field and the problem is that he wasn't really in our program. He was hurt the whole time so he couldn't do any of these things we do to help mold and develop these kind of things, he couldn't do and finally this summer. Last year he got hurt so he didn't go through winter conditioning, he didn't go through spring football, all the different things that we try to do, he didn't get up at six o'clock in the morning to work out, he got up at 6 o'clock in the morning, but didn't work out and do the things that we do to help mold and change our players and mold them into competitors and mental toughness and all those things that apply to everything. Finally he came back in June and he went through the whole summer camp with the whole team and what a big difference that was, just to go through those eight weeks from when we reported in august. It's really neat to see it happen, it generally happens, sometimes it doesn't, but he's worked really hard and he's a great competitor.
On did you see Andrew Baggett kick as a senior in High School... David Yost, Andy Hill looked at film of him, I think I looked at a little bit of him. I think we kick I think. What they do now is they give you have video of them, you see them in camp and you see them kickoff and see some of their numbers and how far the leg strength and things like that. But what we like to do is have them walk on and have them compete and earn the job, because I think it is very difficult to predict a player right out of high school that he can come in a kick in front of 70,000 people . He walked on, He's had his struggles, and in the last three or four weeks he's better in practice, he's working very hard at it. Statistically he's better in practice and all the different things we put them through, we pull them out during team periods and what we try to do is put them in position, then all of a sudden, he sitting over there, ten minutes we call him in for a field goal and he doesn't know when it's going to be and he's getting better and it's a neat to see it carry onto the field now. It's a huge difference walking away with threes not only for the points but for the momentum maintained or get from making the kick.
On is Baggett still young in his development as a kicker.... I recall he kicked for one year, I can't say that for sure, but I think it was one year, but we really like his leg strength, real good leg strength and it's like a golfer, you're in that arena, you're out there by yourself. Obviously you have to get the snap and hold those thing have to work, get the protection, those things are obviously very important, but bottom line is you are called to make the kick and in a very team oriented sport that's very individual, so you got to have something special about you to do something like that in that environment.
On have you seen Baggots confidence increase these past few weeks... Yea you can see it in practice a little bit. He still gets frustrated a little bit, sometimes those guys are their own worst enemies, and quarterbacks are the same way, you throw a pick or two and you get frustrated, and I think kickers are the same way, they have a skill an d you are supposed to do it right, but you can see it, and I kept saying and you don't want to say it publicly, but in the staff meeting I could go in and say that hey he's been kicking better and now we have the stats to prove it and then your confidence grows.
On how to keep emotion out of decisions during the game... That's my Don James background, it's called the Thursday checklist, and I'm not sure, normally we could have 60 items that could happen in a game against this particular game against this opponent, we have to look at the condition, weather conditions, things like that and that comes up for certain decisions in going for field goals or not, but there are all different area's short yardage, what parts of the field we are going for third and one, fourth and one, I could go on and on. The reason behind it is what I learned from Coach James is that through calm and intelligent discussion you can come up with the right answer. Sometimes it a fake punt can get you five yards, and when it works you're fine, I pull the trigger on something like that, but a lot of other things, like for example, we went through the scenario with James Franklin, we went through that scenario Thursday morning, I went through it with David Yost on Friday also just to make sure we were on the same page, every scenario that could happen out there, the good the bad and the ugly you got to do it and then ultimately I have to make the decision to pull the trigger, but it helps discussing it then, not just sitting by throwing it by everybody out there and that's proved very good for us in game day decision making that we do and it's been a real plus for us.
On going against something that was settled upon in the Thursday in the game... Weather for example might change things, the score of the game but those things are all taken into consideration. You always have to adjust, there is nothing that is 100%.but for the most part I think it allows you, even if you decide during the game to go a different direction, you've had a huge discussion of it, you have analyzed it before and you are going a different direction for the right reason and you always have to keep your mind open to make the right decision.
On why your sideline demeanor works for you.... I don't know, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. My think for me, the way I am, I tell my players this too, I just want to be in control all the time. With all this stuff going on the field, they know one thing, and this is for me, I'm not evaluating any other coaches, that I'm in control and even though I get angry occasionally, I trigger back and I'm in control and I'll make sure that we make the right decisions as a staff for the right reasons. I just feel better that way. I tell the players all the time that I'm not listening to Earth, wind and fire in my headset and that we are talking strategy, I go back to offense and defense all the time, the kicking game, might be a third and three at the midfield and I say if its fourth and one we are going to go for it and I go back to Steck and say we are going to go for it and he might say well shoot I'd rather punt it here rather than go for it and that's just my background and I think that everyone has to do what their personality is and I love the kids and hug the kids in the locker room and they know that too, everybody's different and also I just don't want to the attention here, I get enough.
On Kendial Lawrence and the adjustment he's made to be able to carry the ball so much... Huge adjustment, that a big adjustment there in that game. WE have talked about the great year that he has had, he's very mature, he's learned, he's experience, he's very explosive, his burst, he gets going fast real quick, he can get to top speed in a relatively few yards. He's strong and he doesn't take a whole lot of big hits and he usually gets different types of hits and he also goes down and avoids the big, big hits, not saying it doesn't happen, but I think that helps him also. Well we looked at that a little bit, it was something we did a little last year, we've had some limitations offensively, we know that, we've had some personnel issues that we have had to make some adjustments, are we going to change our entire offense, no, but we thought it was kind of necessary to do some of those things if we can and we are playing good defense and then we put James Franklin in and we kind of control what we did with the football with him, running the ball well, so it kind of changed to a ball control offense, pretty much what it did and running the football and mixing it with short passes, and James limitations it kind of created that too and our defense has been playing well too. Our defense, that second half we have two turnovers midfield right away and for them to come away with no points was mammoth, that was huge in that game.
On the differences between Henry Josey and Kendial Lawrence... I think they are a little bit different. I think Kendial likes to cut back a little bit more, Henry was a guy who would hit a seem and he would just go, and it's a little bit different that was, Marcus Murphy might be a little bit more like Henry, maybe in some respects, they came in very similar styles, like that touchdown run, he had down to the bottom then all of a sudden he breaks the thing all the way to the outside. I think it very difficult to compare running backs or quarterback, they all seem to have their own little style, but most of those guys are very, very explosive players and they have great speed and great acceleration which allows you to hit some seems.
On Russell Hansbourghs development... Russell is very talented too, young guy, very similar to the guys that we have, so you can see we recruit those types of players, but very explosive, young player, freshman, but a player who I think is going to be really good and he has great quickness, can change direction, fairly mature for a young player and it's good to have a young player like that getting experience
On Anthony Gatti and how he has developed He's getting better. It's all based on how you practice and that's how we determine how guys play. And he's been practicing better, more consistent so we decided to get him more reps, and that's good. Now then you have to evaluate how he plays and how much more he's going to play or how you are going to adjust that, that certainly helps us, there is no question about that with all the movement we've had up front.
On any advice to James on running the ball... My whole thing, it's kind of a freak injury that he had before, he got the strained MCL, my whole thing with him is the same thing, do everything you can to protect himself. It's difficult for him a little bit, like it was for Brad Smith it was difficult because they are competitive. You can say to fall down, that's not in their blood to fall down, but the more that he can do that, get as many yards as you can and just go down, but use your athleticism, because your athleticism puts a lot of stress on the defense and we say him last year in the first quarter versus Vanderbilt, when he was playing, that was James, he's got movement, he can extend the play, he can put pressure on the defense running. He's a combination of a really good thrower and a really good runner and in our offense you have to have that or a great passer or a great runner that can throw the football. That's what Brad was, a phenomenal runner that could throw the football. Spread offense you have to have one or the other, and we have two great throws in Blaine Gabbart and Chase Daniel and James is probably the balance, he's got a great arm and can run and he's got quickness and in our offense, you have to have a quarterback, you got to fit in those traits and without that you are going to have trouble moving the football consistency and you have seen that a little bit thus far.
On nice it is to have a guy like McGaffie... Well he kind of quietly makes every catch thrown to him, makes plays and gets first downs. Tommy Saunders was a little bit like that and he played around a bunch of NFL players, but really he's just a great kid, he came in here a quarterback and he never complains, but he always shows up and makes plays and on that one ball that flutter out when Corbin Berkstresser got hit, I'm watching the ball and I don't know who is going to get it and he comes up and snatches it out of the air, wow.
On the play of Elvis Fisher... Well he's doing really well. He still gets tired a little bit. He's just a great kid, you talk about just doing anything for the team and some of those games he stayed in there when he shouldn't stay in and we tried to get him out and he wouldn't come out and he was limping around a little bit, but he knows our problems that we have, but with Anthony getting in there and playing a little bit, that gives him a little bit of a break so in the fourth quarter he can be a little bit stronger, so we will see where that goes.
On the development of Randy Ponder... He's really, really good player, he's a guy that had a couple of great hits in this past game and he's had some great games. What we look for from randy is consistency because he really plays well and one of the things we talked to him about this week is can you back to back a great game. Not only play a great one, come back and get another one the next week and I think as you mature that is what you look for. As players deal with the success and the go back out and play at the same level. . But he really works hard and does a great job, player that walked on the program and got a scholarship and done a great job.
On Saturday's chances of getting into the game against Kentucky... I was just thinking that in an emergency situation if he got hurt or had to come out for a play or something that was when I was expecting to go in, but at the same time I was still trying to prepare if I was going to go in on the next play. So, it was a little bit different preparation wise, but I thought I guess I did alright. On having free reign and not being protected in the Florida game... Yes sir. I feel like on Tuesday I will be able to move around a lot better and also working on cutting more full speed and go from there.
On moving the ball against Florida... If we can run it 27 times in a row that would be pretty cool. I know we are going to try and run the ball as much as we can like we are going to try and throw the ball as much as we can and whichever one is working better on Saturday is the one we will stick with and go from there.
On what he has seen from Russell Hansbrough this season... Really just determination and his eagerness to play, he loves the game and he loves to play running back and he may not get that many opportunities but he loves going out there and gets what he can. That's really important.
On not taking the big hits in a game... Just going off the offensive linemen and just reading their blocks and just knowing the down and distance and knowing that I need to get up the field and get extra yards, but then again knowing how to take care of your body and avoid the big hit. On playing in the Swamp... Everyone is excited about it and everyone has been talking about being ready to play in the Swamp so I think everyone is excited about it and ready to attack the opportunity.
On the ending stretch of the season... We all look forward to because the end of this last season is my senior year and just the season overall as our first year in the SEC, everyone is looking to finish it strong and finish it well enough to get into a bowl game.
On being recognized as the SEC defensive lineman of the week... A little bit, just a little bit. I don't want to downplay the recognition because it is an extreme honor, but we are trying to get wins and get to a bowl game. On leading the team in tackles... I thought I had a bad game for the most part. I didn't get a chance to make many plays and they kind of isolated me out of the game last week and limited the plays I could make and they tried me on one line and almost scored on the other one. So I will take it.
On the mood after the first SEC win... Confidence levels are up. I mean you know you can tell the guys are ready for practice tomorrow but for the most part we are just out here trying to get another win. We want more than one win in the SEC so we are trying to get another one.
On forcing fumbles... More opportunities this year, guys are running the ball a lot more and its not mostly spread offense and its more downhill than trying to run you over. So guys are going to try and make you miss. On trying to strip the ball from the offensive player... We emphasize takeaways that is one of our foundations that the defense lives by and takeaways lead to victory and that is the way we look at it and we got a dub off our takeaways.
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