Mark Snyder Weekly Press Conference Transcript
Thundering Herd Makes First Trip to the Louisiana Superdome Saturday
Oct. 6, 2009
10/6/2009 - Coach Snyder Press Conference Transcript
It's our first time going to the Louisiana Superdome. I had an opportunity to coach in a dome for four years when I was at Minnesota. We used to talk about home field advantage, but we didn't really see it from our opponents. But we will get down there on Friday and catch some punts, kickoffs, those kinds of things. On Sunday night we turned the field so that our specialists were looking into the lights. It will be an interesting adventure, I have never been there, and I am looking forward to it.
On Coach Toledo's coaching style:
They are a little bit more two back than we are, but they like to run the ball, and keep their defense out of harms way. They play good special teams, and that has always been his style. They like to control the clock, and open it up for play action pass. He always has two or three tricks up his sleeve.
On Tulane's running back Andre Johnson:
He is a very good back and he is a very powerful guy. He put them in field goal range last Saturday by breaking tackles on three different occasions. He is their guy. No. 20 (Jeremy Williams) is special. That's what Coach Toledo will do. He will pound with his tailback, and then there is single coverage outside, and that is there M.O. When there is a third down though, he will move him everywhere and you have to find him.
On the importance of Ashton Hall and Omar Brown:
Ashton will be closer up to the ball, so it will be Omar's job on the deep balls. I think our corners are up for the challenge. Army did some things last week to take away No. 20, but then No. 19 (Casey Robottom) had a big game. They are developing some other guys as they go through the season.
On developing the passing game:
It starts with protection. You want to stay ahead of the chains. You would like to throw the ball when you want to throw the ball, not when you have to throw the ball, and that is what I mean by staying in front of the chains. Sometimes that is difficult to do when you are playing a good defense, and I think you saw two pretty good defenses out there on Saturday. I think both sides of the ball had issues when you knew there was going to be a pass.
On getting more wide receivers involved:
I think we need to make a concerted effort on getting the ball to some other guys.
On the health of Courtney Edmondson:
I can't answer that right now, I will get back to you after practice today. He is still feeling a little bit of a twinge in there. He would make a huge difference on the field, but I am going to travel him either way. He is going to be probable, and for his leadership stand point for those other guys he will travel.
On taking some shots down the field:
I think it starts with protecting. We took a shot or two down the field and didn't make the play. With the camp that Courtney (Edmonson) had, he might have made that play, or two or three of them.
On conditions from this past Saturday with the wind to playing in a dome:
I think our guys are going to love it. I just said this at the Quarterback Club meeting, the guys who will love it are the quarterbacks, the wide receivers, the DB's, the running backs, because there are no conditions. Last week going towards the scoreboard there were some elements. It felt like that wind was going about 15 miles per hour. This week we don't face that.
On if the elements continue, turning it into an advantage:
We had to address the wind, but we need to use it as a home field advantage if it continues. We have been to many stadiums, Rice being one, with a day game and the sun. You always wondered why they pooch kicked going that way, and then you like up and there is the sun. That is just knowing your stadium. If the wind continues, we have to make sure we have a game plan for that and we use it to our advantage. I don't recall in the past couple of years having wind like that though.
On the special teams giving the offense good field position:
We talk all the time about setting up a score with special teams. With the wind the way it was, and having a young punt returner back there in Andre Booker, I said, "If in doubt, don't." Although it kills you sometimes, you want him to run up there and catch those punts, instead of your offense starting at the 20 or 25 as opposed to the 40 or 45, or the plus side 40 or 45. We let three punts hit the ground on Saturday and bounce over our heads. It's our defensive job to stop the offense on third down, and it is our special team's job to get our offense field position. The defense can help by getting turnovers, and that is an area we can get better at. Field position is everything. That is what the game this week is going to come down to, and that's what it came down to last week because that's what Coach Holtz believes in. If you look at the average drive start, starting at the 10, there are numbers that prove you have a better chance of scoring the close you are down the field. Some on the staff wanted Andre to catch those balls, but from a worst-case scenario, the wind could hold a ball up and he would muff a punt and from a mental stand point with a young player, you never know what could happen after that.
On the playing style of the two teams suiting the MU linebackers:
I think it is tailor made for both our linebackers (Harvey and Harris). Brandon Burns is a DB playing outside linebacker. When ECU went big on us on Saturday, it was a good move by Coach Holtz. I think it is tailor made for our defensive line. We are big. Coach Holtz and I were laughing about it, saying that we might have the biggest lines in all of the country as far as non BCS schools. But still, we have to go out there and play.
On being more involved in the defense:
I told you guys after the Virginia Tech game that I would be more involved in the defense and that is what I have done.
On Tulane's Defense:
I think they did a great job against Army. It was assignment defense and they did a great job.
On Tulane being hard to read:
We just have to go out there and play. As you have seen in this league, anything can happen any week. UTEP beat Houston, UAB beat Southern Miss. So you have to come and play each and every week. You have to do what you do each and every week, each and every quarter, each and every play, then we will see where we are at by the end of the season.
On the health of Albert McClellan:
He will be questionable for Saturday. The decision we have to make is, do we keep putting him out there for 15-20 snaps a game, or do we sit him for a game. We are going to need him down the stretch, he's a special player. We are a different defense with him in the game. I will know more about that come Wednesday or Thursday. He and I will make that call later in the week. But he is such a competitor. If you told me he was going to take 30 snaps at Virginia Tech I would have told you, `no way,' but he did, and he played well. The snaps we are getting out of him are quality snaps, but we need him to be healthy.
On Brian Anderson being even keeled, as opposed to a Tim Tebow type:
I have seen both types of quarterbacks, and it just depends on the personality. Tom Brady is even keeled too, and he has won a couple of games, so I don't look too much into that. Tim Tebow is good for his team, and I have seen quarterbacks like that. Pat White too. Lots of people couldn't see from up in the stands or the press box, but I am on field level. When Owen Schmitt came in the game, he would Tim Tebow a bit. It kind of shocked me a little bit. Pat White, a real quiet kid, surprised me. But we all know Brian is even keeled, he doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low, and he doesn't let a lot of things bother him, which is good.
On Tulane's quarterback, Joe Kemp:
He is Jake Laudenslayer (Marshall quarterback). If I have ever seen a twin it is those two. Jake will be our scout team quarterback this week. They are twins, they even wear the same number. He looks like him and he has the same throwing motion with a little hitch in his throw.
On any thought about bringing in Press Taylor at QB vs. ECU:
No. Going back and looking at the film, he was under more heat than he had been in any game. I was disappointed with (Brian Anderson) him in one series, and it was that red zone series he did not play very well, but that happens. I thought he managed the game pretty well, he rushed for some yards, he avoided the rush, he got us some first downs. But both quarterbacks were playing against good defenses, and I think both coach would have liked for his quarterback to have played a little better. I think Brian did some good things though, the only negative was that red zone series. We missed some plays when we needed him to make some.
On ECU scoring a touchdown before halftime:
We told them we had to come out of halftime and create turnovers, and that is exactly what we did.
On the big game at LSU this weekend:
I think there is a big game in Baton Rouge this weekend, and the Saints are doing very well too. But we have addressed that. I don't know if it is true or not, but they have been averaging 20,000 people at their games, but it is a similar situation as a couple of years ago when we went down there after Hurricane Katrina and played in Mobile.
On getting Lee Smith more involved in the passing game:
We need to get him more involved, but he is such a good blocker. It is like picking your poison, but we need to get him involved in the passing game. I don't think there is any question about that. He is a great leader, he knows what his job is, he embraces his role, but he is a big target with soft hands. We feel like there will be a time and place in this game for that to happen.