Sept. 10, 2013
As far as the game Saturday, I thought we did what we were supposed to do. Good performances on both sides of the ball. Travis Wilson was exceptional at quarterback and Tenny Palepoi had a big game at defensive tackle, even though they each played only half the game. They did a nice job. It was good to get the two's a bunch of work. They played the entire second half, and those reps will be invaluable in some point in time for those guys. It was good to start the season 2-0. It was what we had anticipated and hoped for, and that's where we are at.
Pac-12 play opens for us this week with Oregon State coming to town. They have done a good job offensively. They are scoring just about 40 points a game and over 500 yards a week of offense and throwing the ball exceptionally well. (Oregon State quarterback Sean) Mannion is throwing for over 400 yards a game, which is exceptional. His pass efficiency rating is up in the 180s. They are doing a nice job with their offense through two games. It's important to try to get started off on the right foot in Pac-12 play this year. We haven't been able to do that the last couple of years so that is our objective is to try and get started on the right foot this year.
On the offense vs. Oregon State's defense:
We try to be balanced offensively with the run and the pass, and I thought we were balanced last Saturday, so that is not going to change. I thought they did a pretty good job against Hawaii. I think they only gave up about 250 total yards and so we have to be able to run the ball effectively to have the offense where we want it to be. I don't think there is going to be any more emphasis on the pass this week than in weeks past, but we will see what happens.
On the defense vs. Oregon State:
We have to get a pass rush. I think that is where it all starts. Not let (Mannion) get comfortable back there and have all day to throw the football, because when he does he is very effective. They have a lot of max-protect schemes where they have three-man routes, keeping the tight end back to block, and we have to be able to get pressure even when they are protecting with seven.
On the run game:
I think we took a step forward in that regard. We had over 300 yards rushing, so the overall yardage was very positive. We had some big runs in there, some explosive runs. I think we did a nice job. Now, the degree of difficulty gets higher this week with the front seven of Oregon State that's been historically pretty good. They got the defensive end that's an outstanding player, so I'm going to tell you right now, if we are able to rush for 300 again this week, our chances of winning are very good. But we'll see what happens.
On the linebackers:
Not bad -- much better over last year. Still not where we need to be. I would say the most consistent performer so far has been Jared Norris. He has been steady in both games. V.J. Fehoko has played some good snaps. Jacoby Hale was not quite as effective in this last game as he was in game one. But as a group, I think they are much better than they were last year but still needing to continue to improve.
On explosive offensive plays:
We are seeing more of those, without a doubt, particularly when you compare it to the past couple years. This Saturday, we didn't snap the ball a whole bunch of times because of exactly that. We had some quick-strike scoring drives that didn't last very long. That's something that has been severely lacking the last couple years and has shown up in the first two games this season. We hope it continues, because if it does, our offense has a chance to be pretty darn good.
On executing four-minute and two-minute drives in the first two games:
It's good. We debated at the end of the first half -- we had a comfortable lead -- and they were out to punt, and it was obvious that they were going to take the delay of game so we called timeout and that left us with a minute and a half. I talked to Dennis (Erickson) and Brian (Johnson) about how we should handle that next series. We had not done real well on the two-minute drives in fall camp. We were still a little bit rough in that regard, so we decided to go ahead and implement it. It played out very well. They executed it without flaw. At the end of the game, I think we ran six, seven, eight minutes off. Last week we were able to burn just about the entire four minutes plus against Utah State and then this past week another good showing. Situational football is huge, and I think we're doing a good job in that regard so far.