bleedCrimson.net: A disappointing loss at Troy on Saturday. The had a few miscues that really cost them in the game.
Doug Martin: Yeah, the turnovers are still just killing us offensively. It’s taking points off the board and it’s giving the other team points and putting our defense in bad positions. Defensively we only gave up ten points in the first half and the game gets out of hand because we can’t take care of it well enough. The positive side is our defense continues to cause turnovers. They caused two more Saturday. It’s just a matter of us, whether it’s personnel or scheme or whatever it is, we’ve just got to take care of the ball better.
bc.net: The three plays that were the biggest in the game, the kickoff return after you’d scored the touchdown, the holding penalty the took a first down off the board right before Tyler’s interception and then the intentional grounding penalty that came right before the sack and fumble.
DM: Yeah, I think you’re right. Those plays were huge. The kickoff return, we had just scored and made it a one score game, then to give that up was just inexcusable. The holding penalty, we probably would have been at about the ten yard line getting ready to score if not for the holding penalty. That was big too. That’s part of the game. You’ve just got to overcome those things.
bc.net: The intentional grounding penalties, were you given any explanation because it looked like neither one of those were intentional grounding, certainly not the first one.
DM: Yeah, that’s what I thought also and we sent those plays in to be evaluated by the officials. We haven’t heard back yet. I thought Tyler was out of the box on the one and all you have to do is get it past the line of scrimmage if you did. But like I said, you’ve got to overcome those things.
bc.net: One of the things that I’ve talked with previous head coaches about is a team’s mental ability to overcome the tough breaks, bad bounces and turnovers and things like that. For the most part your team has been able to overcome those from a mental standpoint. You’ve had turnovers on offense where the defense has come right back and forced a turnover.
DM: I think we have at times. I don’t know that we have for 60 minutes. We did at Georgia State and the New Mexico game we kept battling back but our guys need to keep learning that process that it’s 60 minutes. I see us do a lot of things good for 30 minutes or 45 minutes but the 60-minute issue is the problem.
bc.net: It looked like Larry Rose was back to his first game form. It looks like he’s completely healthy now.
DM: Yeah, I thought he really looked explosive again. He ran away from people, he made people miss and looked strong running the football again and hopefully that bodes well for this week.
bc.net: How would you evaluate the team’s passing defense against the first team other than LSU who has had a balanced offense?
DM: I thought we defended the pass pretty well. We got the one interception on the deep ball and that was the one thing I was really worried about was about us getting deeps ball thrown and it becoming a jump ball thing and us getting out-competed for the football and that didn’t happen. We’re still plagued with the running game. Troy had not been an outstanding running team. We played them well in the first half against the run but the second half we did not and I know we put our defense in some tough situations with the turnovers but you still have to go play defense. We’ve got to be tougher up front defensively.
bc.net: Were you surprised at all by anything they did in terms of running the ball, maybe by the amount they ran the ball
DM: No, it’s pretty much the same things they’ve done on film. It’s the same things we prepared for and we told our players, when you’ve given up as much rushing yards as we have, that’s what people are always going to test first, to see if they can do it. It’ll be the same with Idaho this week. Then they’ll try to throw the ball. We’ve just got to be tougher in our front seven.
bc.net: Looking at Idaho, it’s a tough place to play, tough travel to get there. What do you expect to see from them?
DM: Yeah, I think we can learn a little bit from last week. Troy was a hard place to get to also and the travel was tough and I don’t know that we handled that well. Hopefully we learned something from that and we’ll go up and handle that a lot better this week, especially our freshmen who haven’t traveled a lot to begin with. That’s a concern. I haven’t been to Idaho, I hear a lot about it, I don’t know that much from experience. I’m more just worried about us and whether we’ll show up with the right passion and the right intensity.
bc.net: They’re a team that turns the ball over a fair amount. Obviously the defense have been very good at forcing turnovers. Is that something you think you can exploit?
DM: Absolutely. It’ll be very important that our defense keep doing what they’ve been doing. I think we lead the conference right now in takeaways. Once we get the offensive side fixed, that’ll be a great advantage for us. Hopefully they can keep that up.
bc.net: You talked a lot about the football team working together as a team. With some of the turnovers the offense has had, has there been any disappointment from the defensive side just in terms of how well they’ve been playing, to see the offense turn the ball over?
DM: No, I don’t think so. Our defense has their issues too. We’re giving up a lot of rushing yards and average per carry is not near as good as it needs to be. There’s enough good things going on on both sides and there’s enough bad things going on on both sides. We just have to keep continuing to play off each other and keep trying to help each other out.
bc.net: Defensively, how do you fix the run defense?
DM: Well, we’re going to try to move some guys around a little bit up front. We’re going to take Jay Eakins and move him inside, he’s been playing end and we’re going to move him to tackle to try to give us a bigger body. We’re going to move Drew James who did play Saturday will play a little bit more. He’s a 285-pound defensive lineman, he and [Josh] Gibbs and [Kourtland] Busby will be our inside guys. We’re going to take Kalei Auelua and Stody Bradley who have been playing inside and we’re going to move them outside to see if they can give us a little more explosive play from the edge.
bc.net: One of the things you talked about right before the LSU game was losing the practice day. Obviously you’ve traveled a little more now and you’ve got back-to-back travel weeks. How difficult is it to deal with that when you’re working off a short week because you lose a couple days traveling both going out to a game and coming back from a game?
DM: Yeah, it’s really difficult. I don’t if people really realize but it’s not just the practice but we’re not allowed to meet with the players or show them film or anything on those days off. It has to be a total day of no football and nobody else is having to do that. Everybody has to give one day a week off which everybody does either Sunday or Monday and we do Monday but we end up also having to take Friday off which is the day before the game which is not really what you’d like to do but that’s the predicament that we inherited here. We didn’t cause it but we inherited it. It has been difficult to overcome, I will say that.
bc.net: What do you want to see from your team on Saturday that you haven’t seen the past couple of weekend?
DM: The only thing I didn’t see last Saturday and it’s the first time I haven’t seen it, I didn’t think we played with the same passion and intensity that we’ve played the rest of the year. I thought we showed up and played with a lot of passion and intensity against New Mexico, Georgia Southern and right on down the line. I didn’t think we did that Saturday and that can’t be who we are. We’ve got to handle whether that was the hard trip or players getting discouraged or whatever it is, we’ve got to learn how to overcome those things and show up every Saturday, better than what we did. Troy was an 0-5 football team and they showed up with a lot of passion and intensity. They’ve got a winning tradition there and they kind of know how to handle those situations better than we do at this point but that’s where we’ve got to get to.