Weekly Coach Martin Interview :: 11/25/14 A tough loss against Monroe. We saw a lot of good things in the game but again the offense had trouble scoring in the second half.
Doug Martin: Yeah and that’s real disappointing. The crucial part was getting down to the one yard line and we don’t get it in on the fumble and then our defense goes right back and takes the ball away and gets it to us on the 30 going in and we don’t score and we were getting ready to take the lead there at 24-20. Blowing both of those scoring opportunities really hurt and then to get the punt blocked right after that really sealed our fate there. I thought it was the best game our defense played all year and I thought Larry Rose and the offensive line were exceptional and we just have to keep finding a way not to beat ourselves. Was the fumble just a miscommunication? What happened on the play?
DM: Well, a couple things. We’re in the shotgun a lot and to jump up under center at that point was difficult and I don’t think we handled the snap well. I don’t know if it ever came up and their nose tackle got a good jump on the play and kind of disrupted things. You talked about the defense. The defense put a lot of pressure on Monroe and you blitzed and brought pressure more in this game than you had maybe the entire season combined.
DM: I thought they did exceptionally well. That was the most we’d come all year with the pressure. I think we hit the quarterback 24 times. We didn’t necessarily sack him but we hit him 24 times. When you do that in a game you’re going to disrupt another team’s offense. I thought our defensive kids grew up. They really pled well, they handled the pressure. Defensively with as much pressure as you were bringing, you really only had one play in the first quarter where Monroe caught you in the pressure.
DM: Yeah they did. Our defense gave up 17 points. The other points came off a blocked punt and a punt return that we gave up. That was probably the best game our defense played. Was the pressure something we can expect to see more of next year as the defense starts to mature?
DM: Oh yeah, absolutely. We were really not able to do that early in the year just because of the youth and inexperience we had but that’s certainly where we’re gravitating to and we’ll be able to do a lot of things defensively next year. How do you feel Tyler Rogers’ play was in the game?
DM: I thought he played better. Larry Rose took a lot of the pressure of him because of the way he was playing and how we were running the ball. I thought Tyler made very good decisions. He had the one interception, that’s cut down from a lot of what he’s been throwing. He made better decisions, he converted on third downs. Hopefully that was a step forward for him. Larry Rose had a huge game for him. You talked last week about Monroe’s defense being one that generates a lot of negative plays. How impressive was it for him to do that against that type of defense?
DM: They’re one of the top defenses in the conference and for him to do that was big. I thought Larry grew up from the standpoint of there have been times this year where he’s been banged up a big and he’s looked to come out of the game and Saturday he stayed in the game. Even though he got pounded a couple times he stayed in there. We were down a couple running backs anyway so for him to finish the whole game like that shows his durability is improving. Next year when you look at Larry Rose with 10 or 15 more pounds on him, he’s going to be a real threat. From a physical standpoint he’s not the biggest running back, what makes him such a good running back?
DM: Number one is he’s got great vision. He really sees things before it happens. He sees a hole opening up and he’s able to have the burst to hit it. The other thing he does is he makes people miss. There was one run down on the goal line and we didn’t block the outside linebacker and he’s standing right in the hole and Larry made him miss and gained seven more yards. There’s not many backs that can do that. What did you see overall from your team that you were pleased with especially coming off the bye week?
DM: Again, defensively I thought we played our best game. I’m really pleased with our offensive line the way they’ve played this year and obviously Larry’s played a big part of that. Larry Rose also and the play of Teldrick Morgan. I think Teldrick Morgan is the best wide receiver in the Sun Belt Conference. And these are all young guys we’re talking about. The whole offensive line comes back next year with the exception of Ume, obviously Larry and Teldrick are back, all the quarterbacks are back. We have a chance to do something really special here with all those defensive kids coming back too. Our talent level has improved. We need one more class to catch it up and I think we’ll be a dangerous team. How much has depth or lack of depth hurt the team this year?
DM: It hurts in specific areas. Like offensive line we’ve got pretty good depth there, wide receiver we’ve got pretty good depth. We don’t have a lot of depth at running back, tight end we don’t have any depth at all, that’s something we’ve got to address in recruiting. Defensively we still don’t have the depth we need in the front seven. Another recruiting class will certainly help that. This week you wrap up the season at Arkansas State. What are your expectations for the team as they close out the year?
DM: My expectation is to go win the football game. This is our last chance to go out with a win, to give these seniors a win, to stop this losing streak we’ve been on. This is a must situation. We need to do this for the health of our football program to make it easier going into next year. We want to finish this thing up right and we’ve been close, we just haven’t found a way to get it done. This 2014 team, this is their last shot at that. I love the direction our football program is going in, we’re moving in the right place but this team has been an underachieving team in my mind. I know it would have been a stretch for us to win six games with the youth and everything we had but I certainly think we had the ability to win more than we have. That’s been disappointing. This is a big game for us. In this game Larry Rose has the chance to run for over 1,000 yards as a freshman and be the first Aggie to do that since Denvis Manns.
DM: That’d be a great achievement for Larry and even more so for our offensive line. Those guys have really opened those holes for Larry. And you think about it too, Larry’s probably missed two games where he’s been out. He only played one series against Lafayette. I think great things are ahead for him certainly. Obviously he’s still got to go out and play the next three years but he feels like he’s the kind of running back that has a chance to run for 1,000 yards in each of the seasons he and it’s a pretty exclusive club of running backs that have done that in college football history.
DM: Yeah, he can. I think the big thing for Larry is how hard will he work in the offseason in the weight room. He’s got a great work ethic now. If you can imagine him 10 or 15 pounds heavier going into next year. That’s the exciting part of things with Larry. If he’ll go to the weight room with Coach Decker and get those things done, he could be really special.