Below is a transcript of Paul Pasqualoni’s Monday press conference. Enjoy.
We are on a short week, and today we start the first heavy day, and we will taper it down towards the end of the week and be ready to play on Friday. I thought everybody was in pretty good spirits yesterday as I suspected they would be, so we are moving on.
What does Iowa State do well?
Iowa State, from an offensive stand point, their quarterback is really mobile, I am very impressed with their offensive line, I think their left tackle and their right guard could play for anybody in the country. For our defensive line, this will be a real challenge in our opinion. Defensively they are very sound in what they do, their linebackers are very smart. They play a lot of press game and they play a lot of one-on-one coverage out there. They are a very good team, obviously they had a big win against a very tough and physical Iowa team.
What areas do you think the team improved in from Week 1 to Week 2?
I thought from a special teams stand point that we improved, I thought the punt protection was good in week one and it was really good in week two. I thought we did a little bit better job, we didn’t catch punts as well as I would like to, so we need to continue to improve there. From a punt defense return, when a block opportunity is there, I thought we were right on that. We just need to do a better job of catching and returning the punt. I thought kickoff coverage was pretty good again, special teams wise I think we are improving. Offensively I thought there were some things that we did very well, early on in the game I thought we ran the ball well and I thought that Johnny McEnteehad a couple excellent avoids in the pocket and some good throws. We are understanding our protection, but the execution needs to be even better. From a pass protection standpoint we are improving. The disappointing thing is that we can’t be at the goal line and give up a negative play. That has happened to us two weeks in a row now. We need to improve on that, and obviously we had some unfortunate interceptions. The one late in the game on the third down was just a tough play, it happens at every level of football.
It seemed like some runs weren’t getting as many yards, was that designed?
From a route running standpoint we were not as sharp in this game as we were in week one. And we addressed that yesterday. We are going to improve again on the concept of the routes, the depths, the stems. That is one area that we have marked to improve on this week.
Did you lose any confidence in the quarterbacks?
No, I haven’t lost any confidence in Johnny, Mike or Scott. I decided to just stay with Johnny for the continuity of the game on Saturday, it was nothing that Mike did. Mike actually had a pretty good read and throw on the third down play that he was in for, we just didn’t make the first down because we needed a little more depth on the route. It was just the flow of the game and the way the game was going, it was my feeling that Johnny had a pretty good understanding of their defense and I just wanted to have that continuity. The mistakes that we had are correctable, and that is part of being a quarterback.
What does Sio Moore need to do to be more consistent?
I think the entire defense is becoming familiar with the overall defensive scheme. And that is everybody on the defense. We need to play more consistently on defense, we are making plays as we all saw, but we also gave up a few plays. Our goal, and one of the things that we are addressing from a defensive standpoint this week is consistency. You can’t give up four big plays in a game like that. Now people are going to make plays on you, but this idea of the 20 plus run and 40 plus pass, that is unacceptable no matter how many plays you do make. They are all working hard, the effort is great, they are playing fast, we have just got to make sure we are lined up right and when the ball is snapped we need to be reading what we need to read and be where we are supposed to be. If we can do that we will play more consistently and we won’t be giving up big plays.
What does Mike Nebrich need to do to get the starting spot?
He just needs to have a great week of practice and really be able to function and have a great week. To me, it doesn’t matter who starts the game, the three of them are going to be ready to play and when they get in the game they need to be productive. Good sound fundamentals, great awareness, consistent reads, knowing what he is doing, managing the huddle and trying to maintain the tempo of the game.
Was the offensive tempo faster this week?
I thought it was better, part of the issue is that defenses are pretty multiple these days and you want to get out over the ball and make sure the quarterback knows what he is seeing. And you have to give him a little bit of time to do that.
Do you still want to run the two-back system?
I like a back that can stay out there, toughness in the back and a guy who has a feel for what he is seeing. But at the end of the day, to have two different styles of backs, which is what we would have, could really present some issues for the defense. There is no question that you would like to have a fresh guy to put in there.