Football
Video: Caldwell addresses the media

Oct. 4, 2010

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Coach Caldwell's opening statement:
"The UConn game was obviously a disappointment. There were some positives from it. We got better in some phases, but not consistently. We did some good things for a half, but unfortunately we turned the ball over and got behind. We didn't respond well in the second half and that was the biggest disappointment. After the game, I thought our defense didn't play very well, but they actually did. They had 38 running plays for 81 yards and only made two yards per-carry. But the seven plays, they had a 115 yards and that was difficult for us to swallow. Offensively, the first 18 plays of the game we had nine mistakes. The 18 plays put us behind, obviously the fumble was not one of them that was a physical thing, but that got us behind. The next 10 plays we executed perfectly and we scored 21 points in a short period of time. When we came out in the second half I thought we had some great momentum and everyone was excited and they returned the opening kickoff back and it kind of let the wind out of our sails, and we never did recover. Basically, that's UConn in a nutshell. He's [Jordan Todman] one of the best running backs we'll face and he proved it to be true. He's fantastic, but a lot of that has to do with their offensive line. They are an experienced bunch and big guys. We got out-physicalled upfront.

"We are excited to get the taste out of our mouth and move on to a new team. It makes it even more special when you have one of your own coming. Their Athletic Director, Dr. [Derrick] Gragg, is a graduate from Vanderbilt. I'm very proud of him. I met him a couple of times since I've been at Vanderbilt and he's a very special person. I know he's going to have his team excited and ready to go, even though he doesn't coach. I'm sure he wants to bring a team in here that's ready to go. They are like us: they've struggled in some areas and some games. They have played some pretty good teams as well. We're ready for the challenge and ready to go. We have a few people hurt that did not get to play Saturday and it doesn't look like they will be able to go this week. We'll probably be without Chris Marve but we won't know until tomorrow and that will hurt us at linebacker. We'll make a decision tomorrow to scope his knee or not. He has a little bit of a meniscus tear, it appears, but we'll know more at that time. That's giving you some inside information, so take it and run with it."

On the injuries:
"We have T.J. [Greenstone] and [Adam] Smotherman. Smotherman may get to take a few snaps this week, but we're not certain. He had a little bit of swelling but they weren't too alarmed about it. They think it's normal for this time, after an ACL. We are going to see how he does on Tuesday and Wednesday to see if he can take a little bumping and see where to go from there. T.J. is probably out with a high ankle sprain. He feels good walking but anytime he does an athletic move it's very painful. It's one of those things we can't rush. That's what we are having to guard against with T.J. and Smotherman because they want to go so badly and they are out there doing extra, and I have to keep an eye on them all the time because they'll over-train."

On how Chris Marve sustained his injury:
"I don't know. It happened in the game Saturday. We noticed that he was favoring his ankle a little bit. He practiced yesterday and it was a little sore so they decided to do an MRI and they found it had a little tear in it. That's one that he may play with if it doesn't swell and lock up. Chances are, it probably needs to be cleaned out."

On the two halves for Larry Smith at UConn:
"Well, getting behind and having to throw when UConn wanted us to and not when we wanted to (hurt). In the first half, Larry was 11 of 15 with two drops. He was on fire. In the first three quarters we only gave up one sack. We protected well. The ball floated on him. It was windy so maybe that had something to do with it but it's a throw a quarterback is supposed to make and obviously he wanted to make it but it slipped out of his hand and they picked it off and after that we were forced to throw when we got behind and they over-powered us upfront. The first sack we gave up was a mental mistake. The next four were more physical."

On if depth has become an issue:
"There's not a whole lot we can do. We're kind of held captive right there. We have a very young bunch and our freshmen aren't quite ready but they're working every day to get there. We played a couple of them. We had a snap situation with a freshman, and I hated that for James [Kittredge]. It was an awkward and tough situation for a guy to go into. I did it a few years ago at Kentucky but James is a tough individual. He knows that it did not cost us the game by any means. It was a great experience and hopefully it will toughen his hide a little bit and he'll be ready to go. We've been held captive a little bit in there. We don't have many guys to choose from and we have to keep encouraging them to step up. It's going to take a lot of work and they are going to have to do what their coach tells them to do. This goes for the whole team. That's what it boils down to. It's like the curl route that was called that we threw for an interception for a touchdown. I'm thinking, `good gracious.' But it was the receiver. He didn't run the curl. He's supposed to come back to the ball like the corner did. At the very least it probably would have been pass interference. The public only sees that the boy intercepted the ball and ran it back for a touchdown. As I told you before, quarterbacks either get too much of the credit, or too much of the blame. Larry actually played very well and I'm proud of the game he played, other than the one throw. On the other throw, it's the wideout's fault. He's not taught to run a curl that way. He's a young player. It might have been nerves rattling him a little bit. We have to grow past it."

On the linebackers:
"They are going to have to step up this week with [Chris] Marve being out. Nate Campbell moved forward and played an excellent game. He really stepped up. Matter of fact, the defensive coaches really commended him. He made some plays that haven't been made here at that position. We have some younger guys that we believe in but they haven't worked their way up to playing time yet. Now, the lights have to come on. We will shuffle around. If they don't come on then we can play more nickel with two linebackers and an extra defensive back. We can get it done that way. We'll find a way to get it done. Hopefully our linebackers can step up. Archibald [Barnes] has been improving. We have some younger ones who need to step forward and start making plays.

"We'll probably put Nate [Campbell] in at middle linebacker right now. Dexter [Daniels] has an opportunity to step up. DeAndre Jones and Blake Southerland need to progress. They haven't progressed as quickly as we would have hoped. It's not a knock on them. Right now we're just forced to play some guys early who maybe shouldn't be in that situation yet. On the other hand, that's the reason they came here; to play early. We have to see if they can make the best of it. I certainly hope so. We believe in them."

On the secondary and playing nickel:

"It depends, like you said. We don't have a problem playing nickel. Sean Richardson is a physical guy. He can step up and play and we'll try to get him in the box as much as possible. I think he made about 17 tackles on Saturday so he's a very tough individual."

On finding consistency:
"You have to keep working at it. We try to find something positive in every game. We had lots of positives on Saturday. Defensively, they ran the ball 38 times and we held them to two yards or less. Offensively, we scored 21 points in about four minutes because we executed. The biggest disappointment offensively is that they did nothing that we hadn't prepared for. Nothing. We made mistakes and that's very disappointing and they know that. We are a family and we have to grow up. If you have to block the Mike, then block the Mike. There's no excuse. You have to concentrate more. We have to get our priorities straight. It should be academics and football and I'm not sure we have them in that order. The young ones are enjoying them foot-long hotdogs and knee-high belly washers and are socializing a little too much. They have to get a little more serious about football and that starts with me."

On the youth and mistakes:
"I have to start with myself. I'll take responsibility, I'm not afraid to do that, but everyone has to be held accountable for their actions. That's our word for this week: accountability. It's like you in your job. If you don't do a good job, we ought to be able to put another guy in that spot and right now we are held captive a little bit. We should be doing it better."

On the offense:
"We had a good plan on both sides of the ball. We have to execute. We had a wheel route right open and the protection broke down a little bit and Larry [Smith] doesn't have quite the time he needs to toss the ball up. We had several situations like that and we hope they learn from it. Sometimes with our inexperience we don't realize what we're doing. You know, they see red instead of seeing the play. What I mean by that is that you have your aggression out on that guy and aren't thinking about what needs to be done. We just have to keep doing it."

On the defense:

"They have to be in the position that your coaches told you to be in. If you are supposed to take the inside shoulder take the inside shoulder and if you're supposed to take the outside shoulder take the outside shoulder. It's like the punt we attempted to block. We came scot-free and we should have blocked it. The two people attacking the wall were supposed to be attacking the inside shoulder and they attacked the outside shoulder. How difficult is that? Still, we came scot-free and we had our hands above our head instead of below our head. That's the first thing they are taught. We just have to keep doing it. Hopefully, the next time we have that opportunity we will execute it perfectly. That could have turned the game around. We had it setup and we came after them a couple times early to get that one person set up free and it didn't work out, but maybe next time it will."


 

 

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