How did everything look on film?
The film was good, a lot of good learning. We did a lot of good things, a lot of things we need to improve on. It was good to get a win, though, with a lot of room for improvement.
What did you see from your secondary?
They played well. They kept the ball in front of them, they made some plays on the ball, and they played aggressive. They didn’t get out of position. They weren’t really challenged, so I don’t that it was a real accurate assessment, would probably be the best way to put it, because it wasn’t like the ball was up in the air a whole lot, and the routes weren’t really vertical, so they did what they should do. But I didn’t see any weaknesses, which I think is a real positive.
What about the quarterback zone read thing, what was going on there?
It wasn’t as bad as I thought. We missed a couple tackles. A couple of the young guys got a little out of whack and chased the ball sometimes. We got cracked a couple times. It wasn’t just one thing. It was kind of what I thought at halftime. It was guys just not being clean in their assignment, and it was one guy on every play. Once we just settled down as a defense, took a deep breath, and said if we could just do our job, we’ve got answers for this guy. Then we were much better. So it wasn’t like we went in and made adjustments to the scheme. We basically made adjustments to our attitude. And when I say attitude, I don’t mean it was a bad attitude, I just mean our approach. Just kind of settle down, do your job, and we’ll be OK. So that’s what we did.
What did you see from the offensive line play on tape?
They were really good last night. Protection-wise, they were clean. They opened up some really nice holes for our backs. They got down the field and made blocks in the secondary. I thought that Xavier Sua-Filo had an outstanding game. He had some great pancake blocks. He was solid in protection. He was aggressive. I thought Alex Redmond, playing his first game, was really good, and he’ll learn from it. But I was very pleased with his performance. I said in camp that I thought they were going to be one of the strongest units on the team, and I think last night, at least after one game, which is just one game, they kind of made me feel that maybe I’m right, for once.
Is there a significant difference you see there from last year to this year?
Yeah, but it’s only one game, so I don’t want to overdo it. But I guess, Chris, what it was is that it wasn’t as chaotic. They were more comfortable doing what they were supposed to do. There was more certainty in their play and I think that’s a real positive. It doesn’t mean they were perfect and that there werent’ a lot of things they can learn and get better at. There just seemed to be more certainty. This is what I’m supposed to do and this is how I’m supposed to do it. I’m going to do it on a consistent basis.
With the bye week coming so early, do you treat it the same way you treated byes last year, or does it act as extra training camp?
We treat it the same way as we treat the bye week during the season. We treat it as an opportunity to do two things, really, one is get some additional work on Nebraska, and two, get some additional work on the fundamentals we need to continue to work on to be a good football team. So we will practice three times. We’ll have good long, hard practices. It’s not like we’re going to beat each other up. It’s important that we remain healthy, but there’s a lot of work to get done.
Coach, how did the freshmen look on tape?
Well, 15 true freshmen played a significant amount and I would say that all of them played pretty well considering it was their first game. A long way from where they need to be, and a long way from perfect. But going out in their very first college game in the Rose Bowl against a quality opponent and playing the way they did, I was encourage. A number of them played extremely well and made a number of big plays I think people took notice of.
Kickoff duties, are you guys fine with Sean and Ka’imi splitting those going forward?
We’re ok with both guys doing it. We’re fine with that. We’ll get Ka’imi his, and we’ll get Sean his. We didn’t get a chance to punt yesterday, which is a really good thing, but Sean got in the game and got some experience.
You told us you were going to some different things with punting, we didn’t realize you meant not punting at all.
I didn’t even realize it until late in the fourth quarter. I kind of looked at Sean and said, “hey, have you punted yet?” He said, “No.” And I said, “Well, that’s a good thing.” He liked it. He said, “Hey, coach, if you never see me out here punting, I’m fine with that.” All in jest, obviously.