I thought we came out of the blocks very well early, thought the special teams did a real nice job of setting the tone with field position and created a punt return right off the bat. Defense played well early. Offense we had a couple key drops, stopped big drives that could have been big plays that I was not happy with. I thought we got a little sloppy on special teams at times on our kick coverage and even our kicks. Defensively - in the first half - we played real well and then kind of just peaked down and drifted there. I wasn't happy with that. … fought through that, second half I thought we executed much better, got our focus, played much better, executed much better, got a lot of guys touches in the game, got a lot of plays, very pleased with a lot of the young guys that got in the game, athleticism, got to experience what it's like when the lights are on, but have miles to go. I thought Murray State did a really nice job, competed very hard in the game. Did a nice job with their scheme and I thought we played ok, we played better as the game went on, but I don't know if it was nerves, jitters or whatever early…solid first game.
On the improved rushing game:
I said it the whole time, I think we're much farther along, we have a lot of diversity in our running game and different kinds of backs that all kind of bring a little something different to the table. Lonnie is playing extremely well, blocking and mixing his runs in. When we keep split backs like that it gets him a lot more advantage to touch the ball. I thought the offensive line did a real nice job. Great pass protection all night and then we kept pounding the ball and that's what we got to do. We got a long way to go, but I think it's much improved.
On how that would help the passing game:
You can force people to play the box. Now you can get some of those guys one on one down the field, you know, you're play actions and create the big plays and what you want to do and if they don't, if people want to stay back and play cover two, then we're able to run the football inside. It gives you that second dimension and when you play QB, sometimes you make so many decisions…sometimes when you can just turn around and just hand that sucker off, make a few first downs and make a few plays, you go, phew, well that was a lot easier than me having to do all that. That dimension is able to take a lot of pressure off your quarterback.
On Chris Thompson:
I'm glad that he didn't put that ball on the ground - his knee was down. And this was the first time Chris has played in awhile and I thought he really did some nice things. A couple times looked hesitant, cause I think he's wanting to just get in the flow and he will. We've been very pleased with Freeman and Wilder. Lonnie Pryor had a heck of a night. Debrale did some nice things, but it was nice to get Chris back out there playing.
On Brandon Jenkins:
They did an X-Ray and said it was negative. Just looked like a big bruise, just got stepped on. One of our own players stepped on his foot. We'll check it out again tomorrow if it looks like it swelled pretty good. They said the X-Ray came back negative, just a bruised foot.
On Bjoern Werner:
All that guy does when he gets between the white lines and the lights come on on that scoreboard, he just can play the game. He can rush, stops, jumps, bats balls. He's just an instinctive - he's a heck of a football player and he has a great motor. The thing about him…he's so daggone instinctive. Brandon does too. They're all that way. But Bjoern, he had a great game.
On Tank Carradine:
No, I mean that's what I say. He's not really a third defensive end. They're 1A, 1B, and 1C. Doing a real nice job and it gives you a big luxury to rest guys and things and I was happy to get Giorgio in there.
On the O-Line:
You're talking about Cam Erving - that's the first offensive game the guy's ever played. We'll look at the film and I'm sure there will be some things done wrong, but he did a real nice job. Menelik tweaked an ankle there, got it fixed up…he wouldn't tell anyone. We saw him limping and made him go fix it. Thought Glauser did a real nice job. It's a different dimension it brings to us there.
On EJ Manuel:
He slowed himself down in the pocket. Much calmer in the pocket now. I think his reads and progressions - 16 for 22, but had two big drops. That interception he got, I thought the guy was going to catch it and break a tackle and score and it turned into a daggum interception…For the night, I thought he was pretty efficient. He and Clint both, I thought threw the ball very well, very effectively, got the ball down the field.
On punt return:
Rashad's our punt returner, but we've got two or three guys that are capable of doing it.
On Karlos Williams:
I thought he had a pick in the corner that time, wished he could have held onto the ball, but he went up, he's playing the ball much better. I'll watch the film tonight, but seemed to play a pretty good ball game.
On James Wilder Jr:
He's strong now. He's a man and he brings a different dimension and it's good to see him get in that groove more and more…we're going to keep feeding it to him, we're going to keep pounding, he's got to become a weapon in what we're doing now.
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