Oct. 6, 1997
Bruce Snyder Press Conference
It was a very difficult weekend. Washington was one of the better teams that we have played against in some time, in terms how physical and focused they were. Even with all that said, we had a good week of practice and preparation. So, it was good to get back into that mode where we are preparing each week. I thought our effort was good in that game. We had a chance. Even as we let some opportunities slip away, we still had a chance late in the game. I thought we fought the entire time, but it just didn't work out. I give a lot of credit to Washington. From our standpoint, we need more offensive production. There is no question in terms of scoring. We are just not scoring enough. Our red zone, or critical zone, really showed up in this last game. We had three opportunities down there with good field position, and we couldn't get a touchdown. We didn't get field goals either. That is a concern, or an issue that we need to develop and keep working at. On our defense, I thought we did an excellent job in pass defense. They tried to mix it up and throw some earlier in the game. I thought we did a really nice job versus the pass. As it wore on, you could see their game plan changed. They ran the ball again and again. They really blocked us and gained some yards, which was discouraging to us. There were some high points and some things I am pleased with throughout the team. There were also some things that I am not so pleased with that we need to work on. We came out of it relatively healthy. Ricky Boyer has a tender clavicle and it was in a sling yesterday. I am not a doctor, but I am making a prediction that he will be fine by Saturday. We're up and running. We have everyone going.
(ON PROTECTING RYAN KEALY): We have to figure out a better way to protect him and get the ball out sooner which involves route running. The protection needs to be improved. Maybe different protections, maybe move him a little bit more than we did. A quarterback cannot stand a season every game, getting hit as many times as he did. We know it, and we need to improve on it.
(ON THE OFFENSE AND RYAN KEALY): A lot of what we do is go back five steps, and bang, the ball is out. That changes if a wide receiver is getting pressed and his route changes. Now you may have to give him a hitch step to give him one more chance to get open. Or, a linebacker runs down the middle. Things change. The one thing that is different about last year's team, is that if they didn't get the quarterback, he was off and running. He could really go. Plus, he could make throws on the run. Our ability right now isn't that. Our style has changed a bit because our quarterback has changed. But, he can move. He can move in the pocket. I think what we need to do is maybe change the launch point of the ball which takes away some of the pass rush in terms of its direction. We really weren't able to run the ball. Once we could not move the ball effectively inside, it really limited what we could do.
(ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE): We were hoping that we wouldn't have this many players shuffling in or out from week to week. Coming out of this last game, I think we feel more comfortable right now, than we have in any time before this. I mean this in that these are the five guys. We feel good about our depth. We know the five guys that we want to start. So, I think we are going to get better because of that. You'd like to start your first game with five players that never come out. We were not in that situation. Based on yesterday's running, Randy Leaphart is still limping on that ankle. Grey played very well as a center. He did a nice job inside. We thought Marvel did very well on Jason Chorak, a fifth-year All-American senior. On some things, he hurt Marvel. But, on some plays, Marvel blocked him. I felt decent about his performance. I felt good about Victor's (Leyva) performance. He is getting better.
(ON USC): I think every game is pivotal. I think every game is the most pivotal game and can set your direction. SC is certainly that in terms of the Rose Bowl. A team is not going to go to the Rose Bowl with two conference losses. One of the two teams that is going to play Saturday in this stadium is going to be out of the vote. One is going to move on, and one is not. So, the SC game is pivotal form that standpoint. We are looking down the barrel of SC, Stanford and Washington State in a row. These three games are just monumental. These games are going to be close, particularly if we win. If we win, we are probably not going to win by a lot of points. This is pivotal. Every game we have is pivotal because you are in or out, in terms of the Rose Bowl.
(ON THE TEAM REBOUNDING THIS WEEK): I am sure we will. Based on last evening's meeting and practice, I think we will. We have had a great attitude all season. Our issue is that we are not making enough plays particularly when it really counts. Our individual performance has to be better. If our individual performance gets better, our team attitude is fine. This guys just have to play better, and I have to coach better.
(ON RYAN KEALY): I think we are finding out that he is very resilient and tough to come out of that game (vs. Washington) the way he did. I think he is physically tough, and I think he has proven that he is mentally tough. He is good to talk to on the sideline. He does not lose his composure. He has the ability to listen without having his bell rung. I think he is fine. I think we need to execute the offense better, but his head is fine.
(ON THE COACHES DOING DIFFERENT THINGS): We are so early in the week in terms of actual game plan. You'd like to think that every week and every day you find the best things for the kids to do. If you can be simple and effective, their is some brilliance there. There is a brilliance to giving your players something they can handle, and that they understand. Also, it is important that you adapt your coaching to your talent. It is important that you ask your players to do what they can do, and not what they cannot do. It is amazing how many times asking a player to do something he is not able to can happen. There are some players that we know a lot better than others. We know some players' abilities better than we do that of some of the newer players. Those are the two elements of great coaching. You need what you need, but you don't need more than you need. The teams that are really rolling and are winning a lot, they recruit to their system. The players that come in can operate in that system, because that is what they were recruited to do. The teams that struggle, tend to be those that aren't strong enough to recruit that kind of player all the time, so you are adjusting all the time to the talent that is coming in. We are not going to change much, because we have recruited that way. We are learning what Ryan can and cannot do. Also, we have to get that receiving core going. Also, on protection, we have the two new players inserted in the offensive line. I hope we don't have to change much, because I really like our offense.