So obviously last week wasn’t the final Dooleyisms. This week’s Dooleyisms is kinda bi-polar. Offensively, the man was reasonably pleased. Defensively not so much. Just like the rest of Volunteer nation.
On The Defense:
Of course defense, a lot of problems that haven’t gone away. You look at the first half and we gave up nine plays over 20 yards and 28 points. In the second half we played a little better. We gave two plays over 20 yards and gave up 10 points. In in all these games we are seeing about 60 plays of pretty good defense and then you are seeing about 15 plays of really bad defense. Of course, the question is why and what are we doing about it. Those are the obvious ones. When you say what is going on, usually when you have the numbers that we have, it isn’t one thing. Obviously there are times when we don’t make a good call as coaches and put our kids in a bad position. There are times in that 15-play block where we are a little bit of a mess before the ball is even snapped and that can be a function of either we are doing too much and we are thinking too much or we are not executing what we have worked on all week in practice. That is kind of a combination deal. Then the third issue with it is when we have a decent call and we are sound, but we just haven’t mastered how to play it as well and then make a good play. We are a little bit of a jack-of-all trades, master of nothing, and it is so important that we start mastering a few things and get good at [a few things] to hang our hat on so we can try to get those 15 snaps down to about six or seven and at least have a chance…You can always get a little more simple, but I think the bigger thing now is getting good at what you are doing. They hit a couple of seam routes when we were playing Cover Two. Was everybody lined up right, playing ok? Yeah, but we are getting about two yards wider on the seam than we should be, the safety is about two yards deeper so now all the details of execution become paramount. You ask whose fault it is, but they have to rep it and get better. It is a combination of those things. There are still some things that we can try to minimize the thinking on the checks and that is what we have to do…When you talk about the bulk of the game, they play pretty well. You see a lot of good adjustments, guys playing fast, good energy, lined up right, but it is hard because there is no excuse for the way we are playing. There is just no excuse, we should be playing better than we are.
Uh, coach. It cost you you’re job. I wonder what the UT record would be if Justin Wilcox was still around? Have to think we’d be no worse than 5-3.
On the UT Offense:
Offensively, a pretty impressive performance against a great defense. Nobody has put those kind of yards on them, I don’t know if they have done it in a long time. To come out and beat them 21-10 in the second half is a great feat, but it wasn’t good enough. At the end of the day we had 20 yards to go and we didn’t get it done. It is a team loss but there were some really good performances, especially on offense.
The offense did put up a ton of yards on the Gamecocks. It was an impressive performance.
On Zach Rogers:
When you practice with speed and consistency then the quarterback always knows where you are going to be on what play. It is so important, when you have a good throwing game, that the receivers are running as fast as they can all the time. That allows the quarterback to have a rhythm to where he can place the ball. Zach has the greatest consistency of all in how he practices. It reminds me of how Wes Welker was when I was at the Dolphins. He practiced so fast that the quarterback knew exactly where he was going to be on all these routes. That is something we are still learning to do with the other guys. It is really a hard thing. It sounds easy, but it is hard…His stature is not like the other guys. He’s not as long, not as physical, that sort of thing, but Zach has always been fast, he’s always had a great knowledge of the game and has always had good hands. He is a classic case of a senior playing good football…It is hard to really minimize what those last years do to a player. When you are on your last leg and you have been around. We still have a really small senior class. We have about [five] senior starters, [three] on offense, two on defense. Just like Ben Bartholomew. Ben is playing great football. You just start getting it. It’s just development. Zach has always had the tools, it just takes time to [develop] that confidence. Now, all of a sudden, `I’ve been here, I’ve done that, I remember that, I remember that,’ it is muscle memory. I’ve run this route now a million times. It is the deliberate practice that you get over time and you get better and better and better and better.
Rogers had a truly impressive performance on Saturday. I think he looked more NFL ready than Justin Hunter of Cordarrelle Patterson. Who doesn’t think he looked like an Austin Collie, or an Eric Decker on Saturday?
On Tiny Richardson:
I told my wife after the game, you talk about life not being fair, but it is life. This kid has incredible character, incredible competitive character and he represents this program so well. You guys don’t know this, but he was hurt the whole week. We were really worried he wasn’t going to play because of his knee. He didn’t practice hardly at all Monday and Tuesday and our history has been that we are in trouble if a guy doesn’t practice and he is going against [Jadeveon] Clowney, but Tiny could not wait to go prove he can go block this guy. To watch how he competed the whole game, it just breaks your heart that the guy made an incredible play that last play and it happens to be the one that they are going to show on ESPN. I told Antonio that we would have never had 35 points on the board at all, we would have gotten blown out of the park, if it wasn’t for him and I believe that. That is one of the things that is going to make him the special player that he has the ability to be is how he puts that on himself, but we would have never even been in the game if Antonio had not performed the way he had.
Totally agree here. Kid made one mistake. Unfortunately it was at the wrong time.
On the Timeout Call Near the End:
Looking back I guess I should have challenged it because, you know. I turned it in. He stepped out. When he was coming over there I was a little too close to the ball and I am on crutches and I have to call a timeout immediately if he is in bounds. So it was a really hairy moment for me. I am like, I have to get this timeout immediately if he is in bounds and I have to make sure I don’t lose my hip in the process by getting run over. I did a little three-legged get out of the way and I really didn’t see his foot hit the line like I probably would have and so when I saw him wined it I went right to the timeout. Then I just assumed if it wasn’t, because it was a long time for the replay. I hadn’t had a conversation of whether that is reviewable, I am sure it would have been if I had challenged it but I don’t know if that is something they review automatically. That could have been a big issue
Tough call. The refs weren’t very good all day. Even Mark May and Lou Holtz agreed that South Carolina got all the calls. The worse call was the “horsecollar” on Connor Shaw by Willie Bohannon. The kept a drive alive. The non-intentional grounding call was terrible too. But at the end of the day. UT didn’t make enough plays.
On New Defensive Personnel:
We put in Dan Gray. Dan has a lot of physical tools that some of the guys don’t have as far as size and speed and burst that you really look at at corner. He is a true freshman so he has to really invest in learning what to do and it isn’t a lot and going out there and performing. He did a good job in the fourth quarter. He has done some things. We are going to need all of our guys this week. These guys – they spread it out, they go fast, they throw it. Jordan Williams has really shown some good things out there. I think he is going to be a really good player but he also hurts us a lot. Our outside backers hurt us a lot, just playing with discipline on the zone reads, the nakeds and the sprint outs containing the quarterback. Trevarris Saulsberry continues to show us a lot upfront and that is encouraging.
By and large are most talented kids are still young. We don’t have a large senior class. Dooley has made the next guy’s job a lot easier. Yeah, I said it. And I believe it.
On Justin Hunter:
I think that is going to help Justin the most is getting his strength levels where he is capable of getting. I think of all the things that hurt him was losing that year of strength development. He was not a strong guy coming in, track guy, so never really committed to the weight room and started to commit after his freshman season and made a lot of gains before he hurt his knee. When he hurt his knee it really set him back from a strength stand point and I think it shows up out there. When guys get their hands on him and some of those opportunity balls. He is going to get better at that. Justin is playing really well and he has a lot of improvement that is going to make as a player. A lot of it is going to come down to keep on playing, learning the art of route running and then developing your strength levels. That is going to help him, his stature.
Hunter still looks really skinny out there. But even track guys now a day look ripped. He needs to bulk up. Dooley says, and I agree, that he loses the jump balls because of strength.
On his Relationship with Dave Hart:
We talk every week, more than once a week. Dave has been great, very professional. He obviously wants to know my take on where we are, what we are doing well and what we aren’t doing well and how we are going to fix it… When I was the AD at Tech I visited with the football coach every day. So probably more than most ADs. I am not a good model for the AD when I was the AD at Tech. I was a little more the coach who was just responsible. I think it is important every week that you have dialogue with your boss when you are in season. It is something I have always wanted to do, whether we are winning or losing. I think is important for the boss to have that kind of dialogue so you have a real pulse of what is going on. It is good.
One thing for sure, Dooley knows where his bread is buttered. If he is the coach next year, it’ll be because he impressed Dave Hart somewhere along the line.