Publisher's Note: Leo Peschio contributed to this transcription.
Talking to Coach [Bryan] Stinespring this week and he didn't say it but it doesn't sound like he's relishing the experience of coaching against you and where he'd been so long. I'm curious, you've coached against guys that you worked with, you coached against guys that played for you, is it mixed emotions because obviously you want to win, but is it an emotional or trying week?
Yea, I mean when you develop a relationship with certain guys. I mean obviously you have, you cross over a lot in this business. Bryan and my situation is probably different because we were together for twenty-five plus years. Outstanding football coach, even a better man. Those are always, he's as competitive as anybody I know. He'll have his guys ready to play and that's hopefully what we're going to do this week is have our guys ready to play. I have the utmost respect for Bryan as a football coach and as a person and love him as a friend.
I don't know if you'll recall this but he said when he was a GA even though he was on the offensive side of the ball he liked to sometimes sit in on your meetings because he liked the way you taught the game. Do you remember that?
I remember that. That was many moons ago, but yea he would sit outside. Sometimes he'd sit in my room. A lot of times he sat on the outside. But, that's what you do as young coaches, and Bryan was a guy that wore so many, hats here and we had a lot of success during his time here and he was a big, big part of that.
Will Tyjuan Garbutt be available?
I'm hoping so. He was in blue today and limited. Hopefully we get Tyjuan back.
Did you have a chance to review that play?
We saw it, yeah. We saw it, turned it in, that's all. It is what it is.
And then how did you think the freshman defensive line played?
You know I was pleased with them. I thought DaShawn Crawford did a nice job. I tell you he played well even though he's not a freshman. He was first time playing in big-time college football. The two young kids, Norell Pollard and Mario Kendricks both did a solid job. I'm really encouraged by their upside. Now we've got to continue to improve and grow and have a great week of practice. But, I thought our first year guys, [Jaevon] Becton played well I thought, solid at defensive end, and [Jaylen] Griffin played well at defensive end. I thought he did some nice things too, Jaylen. Those young guys playing for the first time I thought really played very solid and played for us when it was all said and done.
You gave up, the secondary anyway, gave up three big gainers in the first half. Two of them didn't result in any points at the end of those drives. Those were the bulk of the yards in the first half. And then third quarter you don't give up a single yard, the fourth quarter you played well too. Were there some adjustments or was it kind of an adjustment period for some of the younger guys who were rotating in and out?
I think it was as much as anything an adjustment period for those guys. Two of the big pay plays were busted coverages. It wasn't like they just got beat deep or anything like that, which is going to happen occasionally. But, those were inexcusable, and [Jermaine] Waller would have been the last guy I would have thought just by the way he played and how he performed all spring, all summer, and all fall camp. But, that also goes to show you, all of a sudden you're the guy and you got to be locked in every play. And I think it was, more than anything, I thought we played tight for some reason in the first half, and pressed a little bit for whatever reason and we settled down in the second half and played like I thought we practiced all fall camp. Now like I said, we've got to do it for sixty minutes, we can't just do it for thirty. That's what it's going to take. So that's got to be our mindset from here on out. In practice, our practice habits have got to be consistently good. Our practice habits, we got to give consistently good effort, and that carries over to what we do on Saturdays.
One more about [Jovonn] Quillen's status, I know he was on crutches.
He's kind of day to day. We'll have to wait and see. We're hoping we can get him back, but we'll see. I don't think it was an ankle so it's a little better than what we thought it might be.
How did you like how the linebacker rotation worked out? Do you think that was beneficial?
Well, I was going to play those guys. Rook played outstanding, Rayshard [Ashby], he played outstanding. Dax [Hollifield] was solid, little bit all over the place. [Alan] Tisdale did some good things, but he was an issue on the quarterback run. We see that play a thousand times and he had a bad read. Keshon [Artis] came in, for a handful of plays and was productive in those plays. I'ma play them a little bit, I mean it's hard early particularly when it's warm. You're playing good people. I like what Tisdale's done, his body of work has been tremendous this camp, and he's earned some playing time. He's got a skill set that's, he's very talented and I'm excited about it. It was his first college game, and he's going to continue to get better. I rotated a little bit in there, and hopefully we'll get a chance to do that again this weekend.
What, I know it's one small sample size, but what did you see from their offense and particularly their new quarterback as you may already know?
I mean offensively they're doing the same thing they've been doing. Only thing I did see is a couple quarterback runs, designed runs. They did that with five too with the [Steven] Williams kid when he was in there a couple years ago. So they have that capability in their offense.
The thing I've been impressed by the quarterback is he's a big, athletic kid. He can run, he's very good with the ball in his hand. He made some good throws, and he's got some talent around him. That's the one thing that they've got some, a couple tight ends that I think are really talented. They got a couple receivers that are really good football players. I think Lala Davis is a good back, I always liked him when he was at Heritage High School, and one, the [Kesean] Strong kid is a good player. They're a little bit different, but he's got some quickness, can catch the ball out of the backfield. I think they've got some really good skill kids and the quarterback's a guy that I l think they'll run, we didn't see much, they had a couple designed run plays, quarterback draw, quarterback speed sweep but a quarterback sweep off of that. I think there will be some other designed run plays for the quarterback, I could see that happening with them. I don't think they showed much that they're capable of doing. But for the most part it's kind of the same offense, what we've seen. But the quarterback is talented.
It's not revolutionary but the fact that Stevie Williams who played quarterback for them is now a receiver and they can move him around. What kind of challenge does that present in preparing your defense?
Well, I mean obviously he's played receiver and so the one thing you've got to be aware of with him is the ability to throw the football, and they did run a reverse pass with him against Norfolk State. He's got those capabilities with the double pass or reverse pass or those types of things. But again, he's a big, athletic kid that has some speed, has some size and has the skill set. So I think they put him in a good position, I think, if he's not going to be a quarterback for them he's a good enough athlete that he could be a factor somewhere else, and I think it's good coaching on their part to try and find a spot for him on the field.
You mentioned a couple times now that you guys played tight, how do you avoid that in the home opener? Is that something you talk about, do you change anything?
We need to go trust the training, trust each other and go out and take a deep breath, blow it out, let's go relax and go play. I don't know if there's a scientific way to do that. We got a game under our belt now. We saw what we can do if we settle down and play in the second half against, I think, a good offensive football team, and now we just have to go do it on a consistent basis.
You know one thing I told our kids defensively, when make a mistake, when we make a mental error, a critical error that's no different than us turning the ball over or throwing a pick. It doesn't come out in the stats as a turnover, but it can cost us the football game, and they've got to understand that we have got to play error free. We always strive for perfection hoping to get excellence, but that's what we've got to work towards. We can't be seventy-five percent on defense at this level, you're going to give up thirty-five, forty points every week. That's where our kids got to understand that every play counts, every play is critical. Their performance on that play, what they're supposed to execute is critical to this success of our play on defense, and eventually the success of our, the result of the game. I told them, you can talk about five turnovers, but we had five or six big plays and that's equal to five or six turnovers in my opinion and they got to understand that.
[Zion] Debose and [Rob] Porcher any closer to playing for you or is one out longer than the other?
Yea, Zion is going to be out for, that's who you're talking about right?
He's going to be out for a little bit. Porcher we're hoping to get back this week. He's practiced today and he's gotta knock some rust off what I saw today, but he's showed some abilities last year to be a playmaker and be productive. He has not taken a snap yet obviously this fall, and he needs to be ready to roll. And hopefully he can give us some added depth and some quality depth at that position.