An Interview With Coach Meyer
THE MODERATOR: Coach, your thoughts on the game.
COACH MEYER: As always, I like to give credit to a very good team we faced in Central Florida. We knew going in they would try to run downhill on us.
I think this is the second week in a row we held a team under 100 yards rushing. However, pass defense, we have a long way to go. Getting pressure on the quarterback.
Offensively, we’re down to our third tailback, and it looked like it. We have to get better. The guys carrying the ball are talented, just terrible mistakes. Penalties and turnovers are not in the first game, very minimal penalties and zero turnovers.
And then this week was not good. So just gotta fix it. We’re going to have to really ID who is going to touch the ball. We have to go back to the drawing board and make some decisions on who is going to physically touch that ball and they have to take care of it, obviously.
So I would also like to thank our fans and our student body. Tremendous. And also the weatherman did a nice job for us. So appreciate his effort. And got a big one next week, but we’re going to enjoy the win. Winning major college football games is a tough duty, especially when you face a quality opponent. Questions?
Q. Braxton’s 27 touches, was that necessitated by Hyde’s departure of the game plan or just the fact he’s the best player on the field?
COACH MEYER: Well, yes, yes, yes, and yes. That’s too much. 27 hits. He’s blown out right now. We have to be smart. Someone’s gotta run the ball. And right now he’s our best answer.
But Bri’onte and No. 2, Rod Smith, are both talented guys. We’ve got to have a good week of practice. We might lose Carlos Hyde for a week or two, I don’t know, MCL sprain. I’m not sure how long he’ll be out. Obviously I thought he was running the ball good. And also Zach Boren is another option for us to carry the ball.
But 27 carries, you could tell he was kind of blown in that fourth quarter.
Q. Usually coaches will say the biggest improvement between Game 1 and Game 2, some of the issues you had today, you mentioned the sloppiness, the fumbles, the turnovers, the missed tackles on defense, how will you address that almost seems like a camp type issue maybe that you had out there?
COACH MEYER: What type issues?
Q. Kind of like issues you handled in the first weeks of camp, fundamentals, stuff like that.
COACH MEYER: Exactly right, that’s what happens. Very good point. Tuesday and Wednesday you’re down to two days a week of practice and you’re trying especially not that it’s that hot but you have heat issues where you want to keep practices to a minimum.
So exactly right. What’s the answer when it gets a little tough, go right back to fundamentals. We’re running a lot of plays on offense, and I think our guys got a little fatigued. But those are all excuses. Our guys should be better than that.
But, once again, we played a good team, played a good team, take care of the ball, we’re out of here, go do what you gotta do, enjoy your families, and get ready to go face Pac 12 opponent next week.
So everything you just said is absolutely correct. How do you handle sloppy play? Well, you won a game, go out and get real physical in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday and get better.
Q. Of the three numbers, 27 carries by Braxton, the three turnovers, the 10 penalties, which one bothers you the most?
COACH MEYER: The turnovers the turnovers and penalties were turnovers pick your poison. Turnovers and penalties. You can’t win. That’s not a good team.
Right now we’re not I don’t want to say we’re not a good team. But we’re not. We’re just mushing around out there. And we’ve got to be much better than we are.
Q. Update, Nathan Williams didn’t dress.
COACH MEYER: He was all sore all week. He didn’t practice. Frustrating for him, frustrating for us because is he in, not in? And it’s a tough injury. He’s got a micro fracture injury.
Q. Travis Howard?
COACH MEYER: He had some stingers. My understanding he’ll be fine for next week. Had some tough injuries. But overall, once again, I don’t want to be a downer around here. We won a frickin’ game. Won by two touchdowns against a quality opponent. Time to move on, get ready to go play.
Q. You mentioned lack of a pass rush today. You seem to have some talented guys up in the front four. What do you think it is that you’re not getting that pushes you want?
COACH MEYER: I think that’s a good question. I’m going to get that answer next week. I felt the same out there as you did. I can’t answer it today and tell you why. You’d think we’d have a little more pressure. I don’t know how good Central Florida’s offensive line is. I think they played pretty good today.
But there’s quick passing was I don’t want to say it was our excuse the first week, but we have got to pressure the quarterback. He had far too much time to throw the ball.
Q. You went for it twice at midfield on fourth and short, made it once, didn’t once. Was that dictated at the failure at the goal line last week or risk/reward situation, or what?
COACH MEYER: Yeah, there’s certainly, including myself, those second days, what I do is I go back and evaluate each call. One was we declined the penalty or we took a penalty and knocked them back 15 yards and they ended up scoring on that drive.
It’s just I’m trying to push the buttons to make us a good team. Midfield you should be able to, on fourth and one, get a first down. We did it twice, and I think our offense knows we’re going to do it again. At some point you have to do that. When you’re a very good team which right now we’re not but we’re working our tails off to become that very good team.
Q. Last week you said that, I think, the 17 carries that Braxton had were too many. And he’s obviously the most talented guy out there. How do you limit that in this kind of situation? Will you tell him specifically don’t carry the ball as much?
COACH MEYER: No. We called some of those we had more direct runs last week I want to say we had three direct runs where he made a couple of decisions that were incorrect where he pulled it where he should have gave it. He’s scrambling around. Not all those are direct runs.
He’s kind of the guy that’s an athlete playing quarterback. We’re changing that. But that’s too much. I’ll say it again next week.
But we have to find a way to win that game. Open for any suggestions not really. I apologize, I’m not open for suggestions. (Laughter) I know we’ll get some. But we’ve got to develop a running back.
We need a guy to turn around and hand the ball off and pound it in there, get six, seven, eight yards and line up and go. And we’ve certainly got some guys with some talent. Not much experience now. But we’re high and dry we’ve got two guys. Let’s go. We’ve got three injured tailbacks right now in the program. One’s out for the year and one’s been out for about eight weeks and one I don’t know how long he’s going to be out.
And Braxton Miller you did make a correct statement, Braxton Miller’s the most talented runner on the team. Another guy that’s done a nice job that I’ll investigate more this week is Philly Brown, turning into that playmaker, you might see him carrying the ball a little bit on the east/west stuff. We have to.
Q. You referenced the secondary and giving up some big plays. You also created some with the turnovers, the interceptions for the second week in a row. Are you encouraged by the progress there, or does it negate the big plays or anything like that for you?
COACH MEYER: We’re giving up a ton of passing yards. Once again, I’ll have more for you. I think we have a press conference on Monday or something like that, or Tuesday, after I watch the film and hear our staff, what they have to say.
Turnovers, we had a couple down in there that changed the game, that were kind of the checkmate plays of the game. Orhian Johnson, off the top of my head and Sabino on another one, where we stopped them; they were going in to score.
A lot of positives. The negative I see right now is I don’t see the quarterback getting hit. And that’s something that has to be addressed. That’s going to solve a lot of problems in pass defense. We’ll address that, have conversation about that this week.
Q. You mentioned the two backs, Bri’onte and Rod, two guys with a ton of talent but haven’t had a ton of at bats, obviously. How will you build they’re the next man up. How do you get it so that they’re the guy you can trust next week and going forward?
COACH MEYER: The only answer is it starts tomorrow. I think we come in at 3:30, 3:00. When we jog the first unit out there, someone will jog out at tailback, choices are Zach Boren, Bri’onte or Rod Smith. Those are the choices. And maybe some situations Philly Brown. That’s the only thing you can do.
And the good thing is they have, like you said, Bri’onte Dunn. No problem. We’ll take a Bri’onte Dunn anytime. Rod Smith, we’ll take him anytime. Good dudes, good guys. Talented. Not a lot of production out of those guys. But usually good guys that work their tails off, good things happen to them.
Q. Tell us where this team would be after two games, where is it on that the spectrum in your mind?
COACH MEYER: Not where I thought we’d be. Not where I thought we’d be. I thought we’d be a little more explosive on offense and thought we’d get some pressure on the quarterback.
Offensive line I think is doing a decent job moving the ball. Receivers are starting to build up a little bit but there’s other areas where I thought we’d be a little more explosive on offense.
Q. Orhian Johnson, looked like he took more the reps today as the star, the nickel back, and kind of playing Corey Brown. Looked like he had a tip on one of the interceptions, intercepted a pass at the goal line. Just your thoughts on him getting in there and playing today.
COACH MEYER: I was very involved with that decision because I see he’s so talented. But he’s another guy that’s been around here, production hasn’t been exactly what it needs to be. He earned that right in practice. He does some really good things for us on special teams. And we felt like we needed more production out of that nickel spot.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Coach.