Saturday's home tilt against Western Michigan exemplified how quickly things can turn in a game. At…
ROBB AKEY: WMU Post-Game
RA: "Very disappointing. I thought the first half we had a whale of a football game going, and I liked the way that we started out the second half. We executed things just the way we wanted to, got the extra possession and did a nice job taking it right down the field and scoring and starting a new ball game. 14-14, you might as well be 0-0, but it's a new opportunity at that point in time. Then it really just seemed that after we fumbled the kick return, things went seriously south. We ended up with a safety, and that was a point in time where this team needs to grow up. Something bad happens, and we magnify it. We magnify it with penalties. We magnify it with turnovers. We magnify it with things like that. We said going into this game if we protect our quarterback well, and we got after their quarterback better, and took care of the ball we had a chance to win the ballgame. There's no doubt that's a true statement - but we didn't. They played their tails off. They executed well, and they outplayed us in the second half unfortunately."
Q: What are your thoughts on the pass rush tonight for you guys?
RA: "It needs to still be better. We still need to get better at that, and we will. But, there's a great sense of urgency to get that [pass rush] to be better. Third down defense… we need to get ourselves off the field. We had opportunities, and we did better at that (pass rush) in the first half. There was a long period of time there where offensively… on third down… that's a critical down… that we were doing very well. We were converting, and then that fell apart a little bit, and we've got to be able to consistently do that. No, you're not going to convert every single one of them. That's not humanly possible. Well, it's possible but it's not going to happen when you're battling another tough football team. But, we need to get the majority of them and we need to get them at the right times. There were some great third downs that we converted, particularly on some of those touchdown drives early in the game. There was one to…Eddie Williams had several today… especially early in the game. I know there was a big one that Preston Davis converted for us early in the ballgame. A fourth down and a third down conversion that this guy right here (points to Deonte Jackson) made for us early in the game, and those led to being able to score points and kept drives going. But, we've got to do that…we've got to do it more consistently, and when something bad happens we've got to counter that with something good, and unfortunately that was the tale of the second half."
Q: Coach, 1-2 on the season now. Where do you feel like the team is right now?
RA: "Well, this football team is at a point where it needs to make a decision that we're going to play and we're going to play more effectively. We've got an opportunity. We're going to come in here tomorrow, and there's going to be a great sense of urgency to get things fixed, and we're gonna run, we're gonna lift, we're gonna look at this thing on video. We'll take the good things and we're gonna hold onto those. We're gonna take the other things that need to be fixed and we're gonna fix those, and then we're gonna get ourselves ready to go down and open up conference play at Utah State, and that's a game that we need to go get after it, and this team needs to make a decision, and I really don't care if it's the third, fourth football game they've ever played in college or it they've been playing for four years. It really doesn't matter. If you're on the field you've got accountability to everybody else on this team and you need to do what you're supposed to do. That's the way we're gonna go about fixing this."
Q: It comes in a loss, but how about Eddie Williams' game today?
RA: "Eddie played… Eddie made a lot of big plays, and that was a good thing. He made a lot of good plays. Eddie is a competitive son of a gun. We had a number of guys I think competed their tails off. The guy sitting next to me here (Deonte Jackson) I think is a very competitive guy. I look at Shiloh (Keo). This football team's not shy about competing, but this football team…we need to be more correct. That's what we need to do."
Q: How did you feel about Nathan Enderle's play today?
RA: "I think Nate's doing fine. I think that we've got to help Nate. We've go to protect Nate better. There are probably a couple of decisions he could have made better, but as a whole I think he probably performed pretty well. We'll know more when we sit and look at it on video, but we've got to protect him, and he was taking some hits and he made some…but we also made some good throws, and we also made some good catches, too. He does a nice job of checking, handling checks at the line of scrimmage also. Nate Enderle is going to be a good quarterback."
Q: When did you guys decide to do the onside to start the second half? Was that something that at halftime or is.. was it… obviously it seemed like you guys were thinking about that before.
RA: "It was part of the game plan going in that when an opportunity presented itself that we were going to run that, and they presented that opportunity and the kicker did a great job with the kick and Greenwood did a nice job fielding it. In fact, I thought our kickers and punter played well today."
Q: That's like three or four times in Eric Greenwood's career, so far, he's been the go-to guy on the onside, right?
RA: "He's got the knack of coming up with the football, yeah."
Q: Coach, you've been around a lot of future pros at Wazzu and what-not. Do you think Eddie (Williams) has a chance to play on Sunday?
RA: "He'll have a chance if he keeps playing well and people are…you know, every NFL team has been in here to look at our seniors and he's one that they're interested in, yes."
Q: How about the field position today?
RA: "That's what magnified the second half. The defense takes the field on whatever yard line it was when we fumbled the kickoff return. Then we get another one, a penalty after the safety; so first of all we've got a safety, we're backed up because of what happens on the kickoff return. Our kickoff return team was horrendous today. So, the field position was worse. So, we start off in a hole. That's how we ended up with the defense on a short field getting scored on the first time. Then we get a short field and we get a safety. Then we add a penalty on to the return, which creates another short field for our defense. Our defense had some good stops today earlier in the ball game, but our defense hasn't been a three-and-out crew just yet automatically. We need to have some room to be able to work with, and our special teams, we've got to help build that. Those all kind of flow in there together. Yeah, that certainly contributed to it, but at the same time the defense has one job. God made defense for one reason: That's to keep points off the board and get the ball back for your offense. When we take the field on our own one yard line we need to push them back, or we take the ball to the other end of the field. When we go on defense we've got to get our job done, and we need to take more accountability for that."
Q: Mike Iupati got in the game a little today?
RA: "Yes he did. He helped with some of those conversions, and he helped with some of that short yardage stuff, and he looked like…we had to be careful with the number of reps that we had for him today. That is provided that it [shoulder] responds well and we come back tomorrow. He should be pretty close to being a full-time player for us again, but what I saw of him today was pretty damn impressive."
Q: I guess Joseph Dickson wasn't in?
RA: "JoJo didn't play today. Didn't suit. Shoulder wasn't ready. Hopefully it will be next week, but I don't know that answer yet. RA: Thanks, ya'll. See you in Logan. It'll be better."
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