Warchant TV: Jimbo Fisher on the ULM win
Well I thought that-the thing I was the proudest of was that we played hard the whole football game. Our kids competed hard in the football game the whole game. Thought ULM played hard in the football game too. They were hard on defense, caused some issues. Proud of the way our kids stayed focused in the game and competed in the game and were able to make plays in key moments of the game. And even at times when things weren't going well. They'd rally back up and make a play. We have a lot to clean up, a lot to get better on, but it was a good first ball game and I think ULM has a pretty good ball club too. I like what they do and they're hard to go against. Proud of our kids, the way they competed, and we gotta get much better, just keep working.
How do you think EJ did in his first game?
I think he was a little nervous in the beginning. The wind caught one of those balls early, he had the wind at his back, on that third play of the game there and I think the wind caught it and he was actually throwing into the wind and I think he had a little bit of nerves. And then he got in the groove and really played well, made some big third down throws and converted some third and longs. Thought the second half he came out and got a little tentative at times, a little late with his feet at times. I think-you gotta learn when you're the starter like that and you're playing ahead, you gotta play smart and play aggressive. He got into that groove and came back and made some good plays. For the most part he scrambled well and there were no middle mistakes as far as not knowing what to do. He had a poor decision on the interception, the clouded the coverage, and he saw it, he just thought he could stick it in there. He came right back over as soon as he did it and told me what they were doing and what they were in, he's gotta learn from that. For the most part I think he had a solid day.
How about the receivers?
We did, made some good plays. Caught the ball. Bert [Reed] made some deep balls and some big plays and then Dent came out there and made a big one. Dent could have had two. He had a dadgum ball in the redzone when we went offsides, I thought he could have scored there then we made the field goal. Then he came on and made a 50 or 60 yard catch downfield and did a great job. Rodney Smith made some nice plays and really played well, Jarred Haggins made some nice plays. Bert had a couple nice plays. Rashad [Greene] made a couple nice plays. Rashad's got some juice in him now. I thought they played a solid football game. I'll know more when I see the film, but it seemed to be pretty good.
Were you happy with the defense?
Oh yes, they played well. I was happy with that the team [ULM] was no huddle and we were getting our blitz in and our checks in. We were used to what they were doing, we could line up and they were this wide and that wide and motion back and forth-we spent a lot of time on that. We spent a lot of time on that on offense, about five or six days, took our ones and did some things we don't usually do so we could get ready for that. We know so many teams do that. It helped them out. I think we did a tremendous job controlling the line of scrimmage and did a great job on third down and third and long and we were able to get off the field and we kept the pressure on the passer. They didn't throw a lot of balls down the field, they tried to dink and dunk and it was hard, but when they did we had some pressure and I thought we did an outstanding job. Physical and they couldn't get any runs. I thought up front we did an outstanding job.
Were you happy with your special teams and kick coverage?
They set the tone from the opening kickoff. We got some big guys that can cover. We got some great leg with Hopkins, he can get it up high. Those guys can run and they can cover. I say this all the time - there is a 20% chance that you can get an 80 yard drive per game, to get two is-if you get two 80 yard drives in the game-how many times did we catch them in the 20 yard line? I mean not only did he kick it out a lot of times, but we caught them inside the 20 a couple times. I think maybe the only time we didn't was when we got the offsides and we had to re-kick it. That's just on the top of my head though. They set the tone. Punt returns we did a real nice job, had a nice kickoff return, got that average back. We covered extremely well. We're big and athletic and the guys can cover.
What do you see differently between this roster and where you were last year after Oklahoma?
I don't know about the Oklahoma game specifically, but I'd say depth. I think we're getting bigger bodies and I think we can run and I think a lot of those freshmen got their feet wet today. We got some guys that can cover kicks, got some guys that can sub guys on the defensive line when guys get tired. On offense we got a great rotation of receivers, we got a great rotation of running backs. Played two or three tight ends and we have guys in there getting experience and guys that if other guys get banged or bruised we can get them in. But we can keep depth and keep fresh in that second half.
Did Jermaine Thomas become a non-factor in this offense?
I wouldn't say he's a non-factor. He was just banged up in the beginning of camp and Ty Jones had a good a camp as he's had and 23, Christ Thompson, has come back and had a really good camp and Devonta Freeman was there all the way through. But 38 [Thomas] will be back in the mix and playing. We have no inclination of him being down. Today was just a different day on offense because they run all those packages and blitz and have a bunch of guys in the box, so you couldn't run the ball a lot. So you threw the ball and we had 63 plays and it was just a different type of game. But 38 will be back in there. You can bank on that.
You had some nice contribution from the freshmen today.
We did. Had a few freshmen, don't know how many it was. But I thought Freeman played well and O'Leary went in and caught a ball and had some chances. Karlos [Williams], Rashad Greene, and then Clint Trickett had a nice deal there. Some of the linemen got in there. I was hoping we could have one whole drive, to get them in there for a whole series. We had the ball four times the second half. Had a twelve play drive, a fourteen play drive and a one play drive. I was trying to get them some more at bats, but there were a lot of them that got to play.
EJ made some beautiful throws that overshot the players, was it the wind?
No I think it was his feet. He got hit once, and once the wind caught it but he just missed a couple balls. There were three or four balls he should have thrown better. He missed Bert [Reed] on a little double move, he made a nice throw, just led him out there too far. O'Leary got one thrown down at his feet, his feet got tangled and he didn't get his lower body process through. Then he had one on Rodney before he hit Dent, but there was one where he got blasted. He couldn't hold it long enough to and then got blasted on the next one but hit it on the money, held it just a hair longer. There were probably four throws that he could get back, but you throw it 35 times and that's what happens.
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