Weekly Coach Martin Interview :: 11/04/14 A tough loss against Texas State, a game that you played pretty well in. You had a good performance out of the defense stopping the run, you just had some special teams miscues that cost you.
Doug Martin: Yeah, I think we improved versus the run defensively. I thought we played with a lot of passion and a lot of intensity on both sides of the ball. Offensively, one of our better games. I thought Tyler Rogers made a lot of progress. Larry Rose played well. Offensive line played really well and we started a true freshman in there, Dezmond Candelaria started at right guard. He did a great job. We did blow two opportunities down in the red zone. Those hurt us, we needed those points. The two missed field goals and the blocked punt, those were crucial. It’s really what I was telling our team. If we don’t beat ourselves, if we don’t make so many mistakes, we’re going to be hard to beat because we have talent now. Last year we just didn’t have the talent, now we do. We just have to learn how to grow up and not beat ourselves. You talked about the play of the offensive line. You didn’t give up any sacks against a team that came in averaging over three sacks per game.
DM: Yeah, I thought part of that was Tyler. I thought he did a great job. It’s the best game he’s hard as far as making decisions. I know he had the two interceptions but the one should have been caught, it bounced off the wide receiver. The other he threw to the right place, he just mechanically didn’t do it correctly. His decision making and getting rid of the ball was really good. I thought the offensive line did a great job not only protecting him but in the run game. The blocked punt for a touchdown obviously hurt. You’re using a different punter, how much change is there when you go from a punter you’re used to all year long to a new punter. How much does the timing change on punt plays?
DM: Maybe a little bit. Stephen is a little quicker in getting the ball out of there. He pulled a hamstring in practice on Wednesday and that’s why we lost him. The blocked punt really wasn’t on Kelly [Kingseed] it was a problem with our protection and it should have been protected easily. We just had our personal protector blow an assignment and that just can’t happen. From a development standpoint you talked about Tyler having his best game with decision making. What improvements did you see? You had over 600 yards, you ran 100 plays.
DM: I thought we played more physical up front. I thought our offensive line did a great job there. Larry Rose obviously had a great game. He was dynamic in that game. He was making people miss, he was outrunning people. We just had guys stepping up and making plays. Teldrick Morgan had a lot of catches. We got the ball in the hands of our guys who can make plays. Greg Hogan stepped up and make some plays. It’s the best I’ve seen him play this year and he’s a freshman wide receiver. Overall I just think we had more guys contributing and more guys stepping up and making plays. He’s missed a couple of games but Larry Rose is averaging 100 yards per game this season. How important is that and did you know that you’d have a running back averaging 100 yards per game in this offense?
DM: Well, that can happen and that should happen in our offense they way we’re structured. Before we just didn’t have the guy who could do that and now we do with Larry. You’ve got to picture all of these freshmen a year from now with 10 to 15 pounds on them. Imagine Larry Rose 10 to 15 pounds heavier. He’s going to be fun to watch for a long time. Same for all these defensive kids who are freshmen. We’re just biding our time and put together another recruiting class like this and we can have a lot of fun around here. With Larry Rose and his versatility, I think he runs a lot harder than his size but he’s also able to catch the ball as well. How similar is he in terms of his versatility to a another guy you coached when you were the offensive coordinator, Kenny Turner?
DM: That’s probably a pretty good comparison. Larry really does run hard and I don’t think people really appreciate that from him. He does a good job of making people miss, he’s got speed but when he wants to he can put his shoulder down and run over somebody and he did that Saturday. The area where he is probably lacking the most has been in the passing game, catching the ball. Again, on Saturday he made some great catches and runs after the catch. He’s one of those young guys that’s continuing to improve and right now I think he’s hitting his stride. He’s beginning to play his best football. Lafayette was picked to win the league. They’re probably the most talented team in the league just in terms of players. What do you expect to see from them? You played them well last year at Lafayette.
DM: You’re exactly right, in my opinion they are by far the most talented football team in the conference. It’s a senior dominated football team so their guys have all got a lot of experience and have played together for a long time. They’re the biggest, they’re the fastest football team in the conference, probably the most physical. This will be a great gauge for us to see how much of a gap we’ve closed recruiting-wise. I know we need another class at least to get into the very top of this conference but this will be a nice gauge for us to see. In terms of recruiting, you have a bunch of guys that you brought in in this year’s class who are contributing and are some very good players but theoretically next year’s class will be better than this year’s class and so on and so forth. How close do you feel you are to getting an entire roster full of the type of players that you want?
DM: We have 68 scholarships right now and we should be at 85. I just met with our compliance people today and after this next recruiting class we’ll be at 82 and that’s about as good as you can get. With this next recruiting class we will be a very talented football team. That means 50 of the players I will have recruited here. If we can put together another class like this one, we could be right there. We’re losing games by anywhere from three to eight points right now. If we put together another recruiting class like last year’s we could be right there and play with anybody. What do you want to see from your team this week and how much can you draw on the performance from last year, obviously a lot of the players who played in the game last year are no longer here.
DM: I think that helps a little bit with guys that were there and are coming back. It gives them a little confidence. I think our team gained a little confidence last week with Texas State. There’s probably some help there with playing them as well as we did last year. How’s the team looking on the injury front?
DM: I think the only one we’re going to lose this week is JB Copeland. He has a slight knee injury, it’s nothing serious but we probably will not have him this week and he’s been playing really well for us on defense. It’s a little bit of a loss. And the punter, Stephen Witkowski, I don’t think he’ll be able to punt this week either with the hamstring pull.