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Again, proud of our team. Great effort to win 34-0 against a quality opponent like North Carolina State. To get a shutout was tremendous for our defense. Really liked the way we played the whole first half, came out pretty focused, were energetic, capitalize on opportunities, make big plays on all three phases. Second half I was happy with the defense and special teams, offense we just shot our selves in the foot. We were gonna score on a nice drive and had to put it away like we emphasize and it just pops up and hits us in the chest, didn't make a play. Then we missed two third and shorts. Got the ball on the 3rd and 2 and we could have run around and made the play and we ended up short and another play we could have got nine and we were eating clock and nickel and diming and doing what we were doing and being patient and making plays and it puts us in the fourth score framework. At the end we said ok, they were crowding the box and blitzing like crazy and just tried to make big plays. I was really proud of Greg Dent-went out and made two big plays-double move against a very good corner and then beat 'em again on a double move and caught a pass over his head and was able to seal the game. 34 point game. We won the football game. We're getting better. We still got a lot of room for improvement. But we're making some strides and we gotta put this behind us quick and get ready cause we got another one in five days.
Do you think this win showed the voters you should be back in the top 25?
Hopefully people start to take notice, but if they don't, they don't. We're worried about us. We wanna continue to play well, do what we do well. And whatever is written, whatever is voted, whatever is done, we can't control. What we can control is how we play and that's what we're gonna continue to focus on.
What did you do to affect Glennon so much?
Pass rush, first of all. He's a very good player. He could play in the NFL. And we were able to affect him pass-wise. I think we covered tightly, were able to get the ball out of his hands, knocking some balls away, getting up on some guys, covering well. We really mixed the looks up, brought some different pressures, didn't give them the same thing to look at all the time, made him hesitate. And then I think the ability to take it on offense and go score a couple times in a row in the first half and then put that pressure on them that you have to execute-it's not one thing stopping a guy, but when the other side (executes) and puts on points and you start to need to press and you know every possession matters because their team is scoring-it affects you. I thought defensively we put pressure on him with the different looks and offensively we put pressure on him cause we were scoring a lot early.
How'd it feel to force a bunch of turnover?
It did, it was great. Get a couple balls that bounced up and went our way and I thought, oh lord almighty, I was looking for lightning bolts to come down and get us. But it happens like that. You just gotta keep playing hard football and sound football and making the smart play and those things will eventually start to come your way.
Are you happy there were less mistakes and less penalties?
Oh yeah, very. There were some critical ones at some times that we gotta eliminate from our young guys , but we're getting better on all those phases. Trying to be more technique sound and fundamentally sound and we're doing it and we're seeing the results.
Did EJ feel anything on that shoulder when he got hit?
He got the wind knocked out of him. He hung in there on some blitzes and delivered some balls and made some big plays and he takes that shot and sometimes when you get hit there it takes your breath away and he had a couple of those there.
Were you happier with the offensive spread, the number of receivers getting the ball?
I do, we like to have our dominant guy, but you like to put it to whoever is getting the one on one coverage that you can get to-a program and a team where you can interchange guys and when Rodney was playing really well and was struggling a little in the second half and Greg Dent could go in there for him and play. Kenny Shaw, Bert, everybody was making plays. To me that's a good thing because on defense, if all your balls are going to the same guy or two-Nick O'Leary made a big catch at second half on a big over, deep route and that's a good thing.
It looked like you wanted to run the ball a little more in the second half.
We did, just the short yardage. It was disappointing. We were getting four or-we were averaging four yard, five yard carries, it was just the third and shorts that we did not execute. And that's very disappointing and we've been doing that. We missed the first one of the game-the opening drive of the game that's the only thing stopping us, we scored every other drive, except for one where we had a penalty. We had the chest pop up and then missed a third and one and then missed a third and two and on that one, you gotta keep coming on the side and if Jermaine keeps coming down the sideline we were gonna pick it up. I think we missed three third-and-twos or less and that's very disappointing and unlike us. We've been able to get those and we need to clean that up. And that cost you a lot of plays, a lot of plays we had in the game…what was our plays? 71. We could have had 90 plays in the game. You're talking about three possessions or 80 plays in the game, we gotta get that. We gotta clean that up.
People with short yardage usually assume offensive linemen, but was it the running backs?
Nah, with the short yardage, the first one was we missed an inside guy. The second was cutoff by the backside guard and the third one was an option that we stretched out and that one could have been. But the first two inside were definitely that we missed two inside.
It seemed like EJ was getting those pitches timed perfectly.
He's got a knack for it, boy, and he can get down the field and run it and put pressure and the first one we got in there and the second big one. He's got a natural knack to do that and if you don't get it, he can run it. It's another dimension we got that we have to use.
Talk about Lonnie Pryor's touchdown run.
Man, what a run inside. We knew that with it in the redzone we wanted it physical and we were planning it and we kept giving him the ball inside and he broke two or three tackles, I'll have to wait to see the film, but he looked really good. And that's what we talked about in our redzone last week, we weren't getting in. And somebody has to go and make a catch like Greg Dent did and Kenny Shaw did down low or somebody's gotta run over somebody cause there's gonna be so many guys unblocked cause it's a tight zone and that was one heck of a run.
What do you think the difference is from your playing in this three game streak rather than your three game skid?
You want the honest answer? Three (EJ Manuel). He makes you play better. He opens up your offense, he lets you do things. And I don't think that's all him, but our team confidence has grown. When your leader leaves, it's different. And now he's back and their confidence as a football team grows. And I'm not saying he's doing everything himself, but they're all playing better. He has that affect on those guys and they also circled the wagons and they bought in to y'all are their friends and those people out there aren't their friends unless they win and that's a hard lesson to learn. So it's about production and it's about preparation and it's about the small details and sometimes that's a hard lesson to learn in life. And it's the same offensive line we've had for the third week, that's the first time we did that in a long time. And some of our young guys are growing.
Is this as good as EJ has played so far?
Yeah, consistently. Cause it's the most consistent start he's had but it's not all him. It's the way they're playing around him and doing things. And he's able to make plays.
You kept a pretty good offense to under 200 yards. That's pretty good.
I agree. We were putting pressure, we were able to stop the run and we were able to cover and then make that ball come out. And then we were able to keep it away from them on offense. That's a big part of it. We were keeping it away from them, making long drives and it's hard to sit down over there and then come back in and say I gotta-offense is a rhythm. Just like when we got out of rhythm when we missed those third downs and went for three plays and out and three plays and out and you say, ok now come back and get a drive. Ok, it's been eight minutes and all the sudden it's hard to do that. We had them out of position and I think we're getting better and better.
Christian Jones had a big day.
Christian Jones is a heck of a football player. Moving around and catching and he's long, we got a lot of young, good football players.
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