Oct. 20, 2009
Opening Statement: If I could start with my high school coach real quick. I just want to wish Coach Lutz good luck this week as he tries to break the record (The Ohio High School career wins record (360)). We will be there in spirit.
We are playing a very good UAB team. We are glad to be back home at the Joan in front of our home crowd. Joe Webb, he is an extremely good football player. He's like a tailback, but can also throw the ball too. He looks like he has gotten stronger from last year. They have a good supporting cast around him. Frantrell Forrest has been there forever. Little No. 1 (Rashaud Slaughter) is doing some nice things for them. They bring in their backup quarterback a little bit in No. 17 (David Isabelle), and move Joe Webb out to wide receiver. They have even thrown him the ball a couple of times. They are trying to use out of Joe the best the can. I think Coach Neil Callaway is doing a good job of getting the ball in his play-makers hands. As you look at them on defense, they are very active. It is a very active secondary, they crowd the line of scrimmage and they make a lot of tackles. On special teams they are very sound. It feels like every time we play UAB they play us extremely well. I know they will be ready to roll and I think our guys will be ready to roll.
On talking to the team about the game against UAB last year in Birmingham: We talked to them about it on Sunday, but this is a new year and it is time to move on. However, I did mention in on Sunday.
On the maturity and focus of this team: I feel good about this team. This is a pretty focused team, and a mature group. We will see today when we get to practice, but I feel pretty good about them. They put the last game in the drawer. I said a long time ago; if you start addressing these things right now, you are too late. We talked about scenarios way back in spring and in preseason camp. This is a look-look team. I would like to shout out to our fans, when they go to the sidelines; we need our home-field advantage. We need the crowd up on their feet making as much noise as possible. Let's see if we can get UAB into a couple of busted plays with our home-field advantage.
On the similarities between Joe Webb and Jarrett Brown from WVU: We were talking before the WVU game, saying that Jarrett Brown is a big kid, and we get to go play another one next week too, and Webb is a big kid. We had a good week of preparation last week and we will just carry it right over into this week. Physically, stature wise, they look a lot alike.
Question: Can you compare Webb to Vince Young? No not really. This kid can run, but Vince Young is special. I wouldn't go that far. I was in the week of preparation for Vince Young when I got this job, and he is just special. But Joe Webb is a very good football player. He is one of the best running quarterbacks in the nation. There is no question about that.
On Webb's 4-and-10 conversion last year to help UAB to victory: He dropped the snap and then just ran through us. That continued the drive when it could have sealed the game for us. Just last week against Ole' Miss he rushed for 144 yards (net 121 yards). He was smoking down through there.
On UAB's victory against Southern Miss three weeks ago: They played extremely well on all sides of the ball, and created some turnovers on defense. It was a bit much for Southern Miss to overcome. We were talking earlier about UAB's punt game. It is very unusual. It creates problems for you. It hurt Southern Miss, and we have to make sure it doesn't hurt us come Saturday. You will see us working on that today. He is a rugby punter, and he is a magician with it too. This kid is good at what he does, it is pretty impressive. And he enjoys what he does. You sit there and watch the film and you can tell he just enjoys what he does.
On UAB and the team concept: They have a much more team oriented concept now. Neil has done a good job with that. That's who Neil is. But I will tell you what, they are a much improved football team. We talked about that as a staff on Sunday, they are much improved.
On the junior college transfers for UAB: That has helped the influx of talent. I think he was able to do that because he has had staff continuity. As it was brought up a minute ago, they are not playing with reckless abandon anymore like we have seen out of them in the past.
On the game at WVU and the positives taken from it: There is no such thing as a moral victory. We still got the L, period. But, we felt like we were very competitive, and the margin of talent between the two teams has shrunk. I think WVU is a very good football team and Coach Stewart is going to have a good season up there. There was a lot of good you could take from that football game.
On getting the wide receivers back into the game plan: When you are playing a good defense, you are going to throw to your go-to guy, like Cody Slate. It was like the East Carolina game. Coach Holtz knew it, his staff knew it, so did the team, that the ball as going to Cody, but they have to stop it. He is one of our better players. But absolutely, we have to get the wide receivers more involved. It comes down to what defense you are playing and what they allow you to do. We look forward to this week and getting them back involved.
On the WVU defense and what they did to the Herd receivers: Structurally what they did took away from the things we do. But we can say the same thing conversely. Our defense did the same thing to their very good wide receivers. That is what happens when you play very good defenses. I thought that was the tale of two really good defenses. But we look to get our wide-outs healthy this week and back into our offense.
Question: Is there any chance of Country Edmonson playing this week? I don't think so. I don't know how much I can talk about it, but we played Courtney as a freshman. Right now if we go out there and burst him he is going to pop that thing again, so he is not ready to go this week.
On the snapping problems at WVU: I was just asked that a couple of minutes ago. You are going to have to ask Chad (Schofield). I asked Chad at the game and he didn't really have an answer for me. Not all of them were high, a couple of them were hot and the ball was damp because Brian was taking long, bleeding down the clock to get us into the right play. It went through our hands a couple of times. After the game I was out on the field with Chad and his dad, and his dad was asking the same question. I think a little of it also had to do with the cat that was lining up over Chad too, along with the wet football.
Question: Did Ashton Hall earn himself any punt returns for this week? You sound like Ashton. He wants to return punts, kicks, everything. He kills me on game day. I saw him first thing this morning, and the first thing out of his mouth, "Coach, do I get to go back on punt returns this week?" He asked me during the game if he could play wide receiver. He wants to run the racehorse too. He would be pretty good at it, but he is so important to our defense and special teams. Ashton is just a good player. He is the type of player you would love to have on your team. But we do have a role for Ashton this week in the punt return game.