Sept. 29, 1997
Bruce Snyder Press Conference
(ON PAT TILLMAN'S PERFORMANCE IN THE OREGON STATE GAME): Tillman had a very good game. He had 10 tackles, two sacks and one interception. He was very active. He is one of the team leaders, verbally at times, and by his performance. We have named him our player of the game.
(ON J'JUAN CHERRY VERSUS OREGON STATE): The encouraging part is that he is playing better from a technique standpoint and a fundamental standpoint in the fourth quarter than he was in the first. As that game went along, he steadily improved, and he was playing better. That is really encouraging. The other part about him that I just love, is that he is fearless. He loves to compete. He will compete and he will try to make a play. He is not afraid of failure. What I saw in this last game that I liked so much is his improvement on detail. I thought that was good. He is fun to coach.
(ON THE OREGON STATE GAME): I thought we were winding them down as we went. What we are not doing is functioning as a unit. There will be eight or nine guys playing well, with two or three not concluding the drive. On one play, we were first and five and we didn't make it. We are just enough out of sync right now that it is eliminating points. In some respects, our offense scored all of the points in that game. The three points that they kicked came off an interception. Our offense isn't scoring that many points either. We're just not clicking. We just have to keep playing and we have to keep coaching them. We are close to having a rhythm.
(ON THE TWO OR THREE PLAYERS NOT CONCLUDING THE DRIVE): For the most part, it's a guy missing a block, or a route getting run short, or Ryan Kealy throwing to the corner that's off. We would have had a nice play to Ricky Boyer. He runs down the field and out of bounds. But, we lost two downs because they called it a live ball. It's rhythm that we need, and rhythm comes from everybody doing their job to a certain level at every snap. We're not getting that right now.
(ON THE RUNNING GAME): I think we are just going to let them do it. Our last few points were really wired into the running game. But, I don't think we are executing the running game as well either. In this last game, the fact that J.R. Redmond hurt his ankle early in the game influenced that a little bit. Losing Michael Martin in the third quarter affected it too. But, still, we are not running like we did in the game against Miami. In that game, there was some rhythm to our run offense. We don't quite have that right now.
(ON THE PROBLEMS WITH THE OFFENSE): Somebody holding somebody, or somebody sliding off a block either by technique or going to the wrong guy. Everybody is responsible. A missed block assignment almost caused us to lose the ball, but it was called down. The fumble on the short yards can hurt us. The ball has to be secure.
(ON THE PENALTIES VERSUS OREGON STATE): I have been in the business a long time. I don't think I have had five defensive holding penalties in a season, let alone one game. Where does that come from? If you have not had that as a problem, there is nothing you can work on at practice to correct it beforehand. So, we are not working on the problem, and we end up with five. So, that is out of the blue. There are some guys who are repeat holders. They are not athletically gifted enough to block a guy, or whatever, so they get off balance, and they start grabbing a guy. That kind of guy you just have to keep working with. You know he is going to do it, so you just have to keep working on his skills. But, the five defensive holding was a total surprise. I would say that we were holding too. People hold all the time, and they are not called like that. So, we just have to go back and tell the guys that the referees are going to be watching that. I was really surprised that the Matt Cercone one was called. First of all, it should have been a dead ball, and it shouldn't have been called. But, then there are others that they don't call. I am not necessarily complaining about it. But to work on penalty problems, you work on procedure and things that you can really drill like hand placements on blocking. In practice, you don't usually live block. So, all you can do is offer tapes and tell the players to not do that.