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Clay Helton media call tidbits (9-16)

Opening comments

* I watched film of last night’s game and of all three games this year. I saw a team that plays with tremendous effort and competitiveness, but there is a need for more consistent play in the areas of situational mastery, fundamentals, technique and communication. That’s my job.

* On offense, I was impressed with the progress of the quarterback. He spread the ball around, showed poise in a wild environment and had chemistry with the wide receivers

* In watching the tape one of the things we need to handle better is the zone pressure movements up front when it comes to the run game. We gave up 10 ½ tackles for loss, that’s too many.

* I see an offense that is best when we’re balanced and we did not have that last night.

* On defense we did not contain the run, we wanted to get to the QB but we need to get him down when we get there.

* Special teams we had inconsistencies in the punt game, we need to hit the ball better and John Baxter will continue to work with both kids. The blocked field goal was disappointing, it was a possibility to make it a one-score game and instead it became a three score game.

* At the end of the day I believe in this team

* Injury-wise, Chase McGrath suffered an ACL injury and will have surgery in a few weeks. He will be replaced by Michael Brown, who had a similar injury last year and really pushed Chase in fall camp. Because the injury fell within the four-game rule, Chase will be able to redshirt and come back next year as a RS soph. Malik Dorton has a quad contusion, if he cannot go we will see Jay Tufele. Andrew Vorhees has an MCL knee sprain, if he cannot go we will see Alijah Vera-Tucker. John Houston has a wrist injury, if he cannot go we will see Levi Jones.


* After 3 games what is the identity of this team?

We are leaning on our defense. On offense we need to create more balance. 200 yards rushing and receiving is what we’re trying to do.

* Who are the leaders on offense?

Senior leadership on o-line with Toa, Chuma and Chris Brown. All 3 backs. Tyler Vaughns and Tyler Petite.

* After the game Aca’Cedric Ware talked about the team practicing lazy over the past two weeks, not getting after it

I think Ced was referencing the Thursday practice last week. I addressed them as soon as practice was over, let them know what our standards are, it was probably a reference to that and we addressed it.

* Do you work goal line run enough in practice?

We work it every Tuesday during the team run in full pads, and 75% of play calls on Tuesdays are runs. Playing against a 3-4 front it was tough to get to the perimeter, we had a miscommunication on the line with the 4th down call to run Stephen Carr to the outside, that toss play has been good to us in the past.

* are you happy with the senior leaders so far?

Our seniors know how to get out of adverse situations, I told our younger players that today, to lean on them. I was so proud of guys like Marvell Tell and Iman Marshall on Saturday, couldn’t get them off the field.

* what was the primary issue on Saturday with your run game?

The movements hurt us up front with their zone pressures. We thought we had shown a good picture but it didn’t work as well as we wanted, Tee ended up going to the pass and we threw for 322 yards. Sometimes a game dictates that more passes are going to be called, when we got a little behind we had to start throwing the ball.

* How confident are you in Michael Brown?

Very confident. He had a good camp, pushed Chase and made him better, now it’s Michael’s opportunity.

* You are a positive person while the fan base is more critical now, how do you re-engage the fans?

Win. That’s the biggest thing. And consistent play, that’s my job. When things are tough I don’t want to make it seem like I’m not concerned for our seniors to be Pac-12 champs again. I love being the leader and I’ve been in this situation before. When times are tough the young men are going to look to me, so if I don’t show confidence and belief in them it’s going to be hard.