Football Previews Ohio State At Media Luncheon

UABSPORTS.COM Quarterback Jonathan Perry and Head Coach Garrick McGee
UABSPORTS.COM
Quarterback Jonathan Perry and Head Coach Garrick McGee
UABSPORTS.COM

Sept. 17, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The UAB football team will face a tough challenge this weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio to face the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday. The matchup is set to kick off at Noon ET/11 a.m. CT on the Big Ten Network.

On Monday, head coach Garrick McGee along with student-athletes Jontavious Morris, Shaq Jones, Jake Ganus and Kelton Brackett addressed the media at the weekly luncheon.

McGee and the players discussed a variety of topics, including the team's improvement throughout the first two games and upcoming opponent Ohio State (3-0), which is coming off a 35-28 victory over California.

UAB (0-2) dropped a 49-6 decision at then-No. 8 South Carolina last Saturday.  In that contest, the Blazers outgained the Gamecocks, 178 to 130 in first-half total offense.

PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Head Coach Garrick McGee

On what ways the team has changed since the season opener vs. Troy...
"It is really hard, that's what we talked to the team about, because there is no evidence with the wins and losses. If you really study the film and really study the guys' technique and their understanding of the game plan on offense and defense, the way they communicated, got lined up, recognized formations, they weren't out of control.  There are a lot of small wins that happened, especially in the first two and a half quarters of the South Carolina football game."

On continuing to push forward against South Carolina when facing adversity...
"That's the step for all teams that are going to become good football teams. You have to understand the ups and the downs of the game. Obviously, I thought the pass interference call right before half time was a critical call in the game. Whatever team you're coaching, if you can go into the locker room at half time down 14-6 on the road against one of the top-10 teams in the country then you are in good shape. That's how those types of games are won and they have been won."


 

 

On the injury status of starting center John Hix...
"It's not as bad as we thought. The good news is that he only hyperextended his elbow. He was down on the ground; a guy fell into his elbow. It was hurting him pretty bad during the game and he will be limited somewhat this week but I think he will be able to play this weekend."

On the play of Billy Autrey stepping in at center vs. South Carolina...
"I thought he did a pretty good job. He was stepping in during an important game and had an important role. He had to touch the ball first and we had no quarterback-center exchange. But I thought he came in and did a pretty good job for us. We all know him and trust him so our guys are comfortable with him."

On the play of the offensive line against South Carolina...
"We trust (Autrey) and expect him to play, but it is always good to know that you have more quality depth than you really thought, especially with the type of pass rush that we were under the other night.  For him to step in and have Aaron Green out there and Kaycee Ike and Chris Hubbard, playing against those two guys (South Carolina's Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney) as we're throwing the ball down the field with the game plan, you saw (Autrey) hang in there. At some point those guys are going to get some sacks every game of the season. Like I said, I was very proud of our team and how they competed the first two and a half quarters of the game. They were really trying to win, they weren't trying to hold on and try to survive, and we were playing to win the game."

On whether there were any other injuries from the South Carolina game...
"There are some nicks. It was a physical game, we have some guys that are nicked up, and we have some guys that are going to be limited some. But I don't anticipate anybody being out for the game."

On looking at Ohio State and what they will bring this week...
"Well just overall talent. It's another one of those programs that has the top talented players in the country. Obviously at quarterback they have a kid that's dynamic, the type of quarterback that Coach (Urban) Meyer played with throughout his career so he probably feels comfortable calling the plays with that kid because he brings some of the same elements that Tim Tebow brought to the table, that Alex Smith brought to the table at Utah. And the kid he had at Bowling Green, he was the lead rusher on the field. He's really dynamic with the ball under his arm. Then defensively anytime you coach against those guys they are going to be sound.  They understand how to play with leverage, they understand how to play together. I've been fortunate to coach in the Big Ten for four years. I've coached against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, so it's a typical Ohio State team." 

On what the keys are to minimize big plays...
"The key to playing good defense is eliminating big plays. You have to make tackles. You can't let two guys miss a tackle and race off for 60 yards. You have to really swarm the football so when he starts making moves that there's multiple guys standing in front of them. You have to keep leverage on the ball, you have to understand where your help is coming from and make sure you don't jump inside the defender and he bounces outside. You just have to play good team defense."

On what the issues are with the running game...
"I've been asked that question a lot throughout my career because the running game is all about timing. It's not just about handing the ball to the running back. The blocks have to be set up; the right tracks have to be set. The quarterback has to go from one play to another. If you have a bad play called the running back has to anticipate the defensive movement. There is a lot that goes into running the football and I think we are headed in the right path. I think we are really close. Earlier in that game (at South Carolina) there was an outside zone to the right, it was about a 12-yard gain. Kennard (Backman) and Chris Hubbard did a good job with the block. I thought (Greg) Franklin was really running the ball hard. I think it will come it just takes awhile to get the timing of the running game down."

On the running game learning from facing an opponent like South Carolina...
"Well it helps when it's productive. What we have to do is have good practices. We have to continue to concentrate on the details of it and understand how the line calls work from the center and all the way out to the tight end. The receivers have to block on the perimeter. Understand if it's an outside or an inside run, which shoulder you should attack on the defender. It's a lot of little things that go through football that have to be worked on."

On the importance of the running game for the offense...
"Balance in any offense all over the country is always good. Whenever the defense has to worry about the run and the pass it always helps. What we're trying to do is play action pass to make them think that there is going to be some runs, to stay in games and take plays down the field."

On how the secondary played the first two weeks...
"I think that there are probably about six or seven snaps this season, I think there were maybe nine snaps in the game the other day where they had 300-plus yards of offense. We have to understand that in order to win we have to play all four quarters, you can't take one play off because as soon as you do a really good team can take advantage of you and run for a touchdown. But I am really proud of the way our guys are playing and playing in these types of environments. It is really good for them because the pressure builds. What I was really proud of was that no one was surviving, no one was trying to hang on they were out there making plays."

On how Jonathan Perry did in the type of environment at South Carolina...
"Well like I said, playing quarterback is a hard job. There is a lot of pressure that goes on with being the quarterback. You're the guy that has to deliver the ball consistently; you're the guy that has to make the checks and everything, manage the game. So I think that he's growing and learning. I think a week or so from now he'll be in a position to get our team ready to go out and get a C-USA championship, which is our goal."

Freshman DT Jontavious Morris

On playing a school like Ohio State...
"I thought an SEC team would be our first experience with greatness. But we saw that their players are just like us, which made us try to play at a higher level. Williams-Brice Stadium was a big venue. We want to carry our intensity into next week. We are looking forward to a different outcome at the Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium)."

On being able to contain OSU QB Braxton Miller...
"We know he is a great athlete. He has great running and throwing ability. But with correct alignments, assignments, and execution we can get the job done."

On importance of sticking to assignments...
"Assignments are key. If anyone on the defense misses his assignment, the play can go for big yardage. If everyone puts their mind to it, we will play well."

Freshman LB Shaq Jones

On game-week preparation...
"Getting ready for a game is more of a mental preparation for us. We know we are facing a big opponent who has players with great skill sets. We feel we have the athletes to match their athletes. We just have to prepare ourselves mentally more than anything."

On last week being a difficult challenge...
"Playing a top ten team was an eye-opener to show us that it's going to be a challenge wherever we go. It's not going to be a walk through the park. It's not high school football where you run around and make easy tackles. You have to execute your technique properly in order to succeed."

On preparing for Ohio State QB Braxton Miller...
"He's more of an elusive quarterback. He's got quick feet. We're going to have to run to the football, surround him, and wrap him up."

Freshman SAF Jake Ganus

On getting an interception...
"It felt great finally getting one, and now I feel like I can get more. I was playing my part and the ball came right to me."

On playing Ohio State...
"Playing at South Carolina will definitely help us prepare for playing at a venue like Ohio State with the big crowd and atmosphere. I don't think we will be quite as nervous running out of the tunnel in front of thousands of fans that are booing you when we have already been through it at South Carolina."

On what strides the defense has made since the start of season:
"Against Troy we gave up the run a lot. Going into halftime with South Carolina (Marcus) Lattimore had around 20 yards total. In the first half against SC we played great defense and executed the game plan. I would say we have already made huge strides and will continue to take more."

On Ohio State QB Braxton Miller...
"I think if we all do our part well and work together we can contain him, but he is an outstanding athlete who can run and throw the ball so we will be looking to stop him any way possible."

Freshman CB Kelton Brackett

On putting mistakes behind to move forward...

"Coach McGee tells us to concentrate on the little things. Paying attention and keying in to what the other team is doing is very important. We have to do that in order to avoid making those little mistakes and the rest will take care of itself."

On going from South Carolina to Ohio State:
"We have gotten our first game and big game jitters out. Now we can go into Ohio State not being as nervous and anxious and be able to play well. We are calm and ready to go up against Ohio State."