“First of all, I think that all the folks here, our thoughts and prayers are out to all the people that affected by Hurricane Irma. We have lots of friends at our place in Florida, so you kind of get the full feeling of anxiety that comes with all this. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something to help some of those people as well.
“From a game standpoint, I thought we improved some as a team in this last game. Our execution was a little bit better. Attention to detail was a little bit better. We didn’t finish some plays that we could have finished. I’d like to see us be a little bit more aggressive. I think we got on our heels a little bit on defense because they did some things that we hadn’t practiced and weren’t prepared for, which can happen and I think our players need to understand will happen a lot of the times. We’ve got to be able to adapt and adjust and still play and be aggressive. But we had some good performances.
“From an injury standpoint, Lester Cotton will be out probably just today. Probably be back to practice tomorrow. Dylan Moses is out of practice today but probably will be back sometime soon. I don’t think either one of them are serious injuries.
“Colorado State is a really good football team. I think Mike Bobo has done a really good job there. These guys play hard, they’re physical, they’re very aggressive in their style. They can run the ball, they can throw the ball. They’ve got a good quarterback. They’ve got a lot of balance in what they do. They’ve scored a lot of points so far this year and they’ve limited their opponents pretty well when it comes to point totals and what they’ve been able to give up. They’ve got a really good receiver in No. 4 and a good running back and the quarterback I’ve already mentioned is a very, very good passer and they’ve made a lot of big plays in the passing game. This is a good team. It’s going to be a challenging game for us. We need to play better on both sides of the ball. The one thing if you’re any player and you ask yourself, ‘If I was a stock, has my stock gone up based on the way I’ve played in the first two games or is there things I need to work on to get better.’ I think that hopefully most of the players would say at this point we need to be working to get better. And that’s certainly how I feel as a coach and what I would like our players to try to do.”
What has Matt Womack done to lock down the right tackle job?
“Jedrick played quite a bit in the game and did a pretty good job for the first time out there. I think Matt has really improved. He’s played with more power. He’s improved his pass protection. He’s a tough guy that it means a lot to him and he works hard. I think he’s an example of a guy that has really developed an ability to play winning football. And I think Jedrick is a guy that can play winning football for us, too, as he gets more knowledge and experience. We’re going to try to play our best players.”
After looking at the offensive line, did you think it was any better than so-so?
“I think that the offensive line did a better job in this game. When I talk about finishing plays, there were probably seven plays that we have a hat on a hat, that if we finish one block, that play would be significantly more successful and maybe even an explosive, big play. When I talk about finishing, I think that’s what we need to do. Same thing in pass protection. We get a hat on a hat, we’ve got to finish, get the right hand placement, get in the right position so that we have a chance to throw the ball down the field more.”
How did Jamey Mosley and Chris Allen look on Saturday?
“Both those guys, we weren’t disappointed in how they played. They certainly made a lot of progress. We’re going to have to continue to work with those guys so that they continue to develop at that position, and we’re encouraged by their effort, their attitude, the way they’re working at it. We’re going to do the best we can to get them to play the best they can and kind of go from there.”
Bo Scarbrough has one fewer catch this year than all of last year already. Can you talk about getting the running backs involved in the passing game?
“We’ve always tried to have the running backs involved in the passing game. Sometimes they have responsibilities before they go out in terms of pass protection so sometimes what the defense does determines whether they get out or they don’t get out. Sometimes you free-release them and somebody else has to block and if they rush, you have to block five-man protection and get the ball out hot which we do that, too. But we want to get our backs involved in the passing game and I think the system that we have right now allows us to do that. I think all of our guys are capable of doing that.”
Is the week to week criticism and analysis of Jalen a little overblown?
“Well, I think a lot of things you do are overblown, but I realize why you do it. It’s your job to create news. It’s our job to try to help our guys play winning football. I think different players play winning football in different ways. If you want to be critical of a guy for rushing 154 yards and think he should not do that so he can pass more, than that’s up to you. You can do that if you want. But we did pass for 192 yards and I think that’s the kind of balance that we want to create. We’re going to continue to try to help our players play to their strengths and work on any weakness that they have so that they can do better on those things. I don’t think this is any more overblown than a lot of other things you do, if you want to know the truth about it. But I kind of get it. It’s not personal. I don’t mind it. It’s OK. I get it.”
Last year you felt you protected Jalen a little bit and you wanted to develop him more. Are you still developing him?
“We’re still developing our team, so our team’s got a long ways to go. I mean, in a lot of areas. We called some passes to throw the ball down the field and we didn’t have very good protection. So is that the quarterback’s fault or is that somebody else’s fault? Some of the conclusions that get drawn are not fair in some instances. Sometimes no one’s perfect, they don’t make exactly the right read or whatever. That didn’t happen much in this game really with either quarterback that played. There’s certain things that we need to improve on as a team in the passing game, and that’s something that we’ll work hard on. The things that we did in the short, quick passes are things that complement our running game and complement what we do on offense, and I think it makes our offense more effective when we can do these things. They’re things that hopefully we’ll be able to continue to do successfully in the future.”
How do you feel the chemistry of the team is right now?
“I think we have a lot of players on our team that I truly, truly think have very good attitudes. They’re working hard, trying to get it right, trying to do better. I sort of like this team, but I also think that some of the circumstances that the season has created so far has created some opportunities for some guys. But it’s also created some circumstances that don’t allow us to do exactly what we want to do until we get some players back. We’re going to continue to work to improve the players and create roles for the guys that we have. But at the same time, we’ve got to not ask players to do things they’re not ready to do.”
How has Anthony Averett improved over the years to get to where he is now?
“I think Anthony’s like a lot of guys that didn’t really ever play the position in high school. I think it takes a little longer for them to develop if they ever play a new position, especially if you take a guy from offense to defense. We recruited Anthony because of his athleticism, his speed. He’s worked hard and has become a very good player for us for all last year and so far this year. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve. We think that you have to have some guys like Anthony Averett in the program who are willing to make the sacrifices to spend the time to develop so that they can’t become a really good player. I think his example of that is something that other players should look at.”
You haven’t had any turnovers through two games, have you put any extra emphasis on that?
“We always emphasize taking care of the ball, and we always emphasize attacking the ball. We haven’t created as many turnovers on defense as we would like in terms of ripping the ball out. We have made a few interceptions but we need to attack the ball more and create more turnovers on defense. We really emphasize taking care of the ball on offense. Turnover margin, turnover ratio, whatever you want to call it is one of the most significant statistics in winning and losing. And hopefully we can continue to do a good job of taking care of the ball.”
Do you have an update on Josh Jacobs, Rashaan Evans, Anfernee Jennings?
“That’s a good question. Josh Jacobs worked some in practice last week. He’ll work more in practice this week. We probably won’t know until Wednesday to see how these guys sort of progress. I’m talking about Rashaan Evans and Anfernee Jennings. If they have a chance to do some things in practice, there may be a chance that they can play in the game. But I think it’s too early to tell right now. Both are making good progress in their rehab, so we’ll have to wait and see.”