Todd Monken Weekly Press Conference

Todd Monken

Sep 2, 2013

Coach Monken All-Access | Coach Arroyo All-Access | Coach Duggan All-Access

Opening Statement...
"We've obviously moved on after Saturday (night's loss to Texas State). We've gotten it out of our system. Now it's time to turn on to Nebraska, a really good football team. I've worked before with Bo Pelini who is a tremendous football coach. They've been in either a Big 12 or Big 10 championship game three of the last five years. When you watch them on film, they're well coached. They play hard and it's going to be a tremendous challenge for us. I think we're going to see tremendous improvement from our team from the first week to the second week. We had a lot of young guys on offense playing for the first time and, obviously, we had some times in the game we were a little choppy. But we're looking forward to this week and taking our team up to Lincoln and taking another step forward."

On emergence of redshirt senior wide receiver Rickey Bradley...
"Well he started with us in the spring. He walked-on here and didn't play last year and we saw it in the spring. We said, `Can this guy be a guy that we can count on initially and then continue this?' Well then he got a little bit of a shoulder sprain in fall camp so he really has been in a green jersey for about three weeks .We just got him healthy a week beforehand ... You saw some flashes of what he can be. He's still not healed yet, but he showed some of the big-play potential and what we thought we had when we got here."

On the fact that Bradley is a walk-on playing without a scholarship...
"Does he deserve one? Yes. The problem with the way the situation works with the NCAA is we didn't know about him. He hasn't been here two years, so you're allowed 85 scholarships and 25 initials. We signed 25 guys last year so we don't have one to give. We have an overall but he doesn't fit in that category. A young man has to be here two years to get (an overall) scholarship. Has he earned it? He earned it before he had the catches the other night but we can't put him on scholarship because we don't have an initial. I don't know if that makes sense or not. You get 25, we signed 25. He hasn't been here two years so he can't count as an overall. At mid-semester we're planning on putting him on. Even though he'll be done, we'll try to take care of him ... But again, we didn't know about him because when we were recruiting he wasn't even with the program, hadn't even done spring ball yet ... a great story though, to be honest. And thank God we have him, let's put it that way."

On how team is responding to an opening-week loss to Texas State...
"At times I think coaches take it harder than the players do. All you ask your guys is to ... from an effort, attitude, body language, the energy level ... which they had. We had that Saturday night. Now you've got to ask them that, hey, it's one of the toughest things we do in this sport. You can do everything right from all those things and you still may not get the result you want. It's not guaranteed. And that's what I think is the hardest thing about what we do is then to move on. Ok, move on to the next game. And I think our players have done that. I think they're excited about going to Lincoln and seeing where we're at. I mean, I think we've got a good football team. We didn't show it, the consistency we want, in a number of phases. Not just offense, but also the special teams and some the `I' violations we had on defense."

On facing Bo Pelini, with whom Monken coached at LSU...
"Well, not only Bo is the head coach but John Papuchis is the defensive coordinator. He was at LSU with us. Terry Joseph was there. He is their secondary coach ... I know a number of the guys on their staff and he has a great staff. Bo does a great job, as good a coach as you'll find and I consider him a friend in the profession. I'm excited to see those guys. They've done a great job. I mean, let's say it like it is. They've done a great job. It's a place that's got great tradition and history so I'm excited to go up there and see where we're at, see how we improve. I think that's the biggest thing ... Where are we going and where can we be better? Obviously we can't turn the ball over six times and beat anybody."

On his excitement level following flashes of greatness by the team Saturday night versus Texas State save six turnovers...
"The first part is getting over that part of it (the turnovers) ... when you feel like you didn't give yourself every opportunity to win the game, by one phase. And that's one thing you try to tell your team is you can miss a block, you can drop a pass, you can have a missed assignment, we don't need a bunch of them, but if you turn it over, you're not going to win. There's just one part of the game that you will not win, I don't care who you play. And at the end of the day, it's sad ... I've never been anywhere we spent more time on it and obviously we didn't spend enough time on it because we didn't get it done and that's our fault and our players fault. We have to take ownership in that and we have to be better ... On the one hand, we had enough explosive plays to win the game. We didn't score enough touchdowns in the score zone. That's something we have to get fixed. We played well enough on defense to win. Would we have liked that last (touchdown drive by Texas State) back? Of course. And I know they are sick to their stomach about it but, at the end of the day, you are who you are and we earned that loss and we've got to move on."

Assessment of starting quarterback Allan Bridgford, a redshirt senior transfer who has been on campus for only a month...
"What an unbelievable job Allan Bridgford did, when you think about a guy who wasn't here in the spring, wasn't here in the summer. He came a week before camp and then had just fall camp to really try to understand what we're doing and to move forward. I mean, that's a credit to him ... Did he make his mistakes? Of course he did. But that's to be understood. But for him to come out and really throw the ball accurately, to really, honestly run our offense the way he has is really almost unprecedented when you think about it."

On commitment to the run game...
"Well, like I said before, we couldn't run it (versus Texas State). We didn't try to run it enough. We've got to be a little more creative with it. We've got to find out if any of the tight ends we do have can block and can play. We've got to get our fullback play up to speed. Texas State had something to do with that but we have to be more balanced, obviously. We've got to put teams in more of a run-pass conflict. We're going to get (quarterback Allan Bridgford) killed if we don't. And obviously you are going to need to do it if you're winning a game in four-minute, short-yardage, goal-line, coming out, where you are going to have to try and score touchdowns. It's a work in progress. We're not there yet. Our O-line's a work in progress, with us being able to run the football and what we are (is a work in progress). We know we've got young skill guys. We're trying to still figure out and piece together what we have from our run sets, from our up-front guys and our tight ends and fullbacks. And we're not there yet but that's what we're paid to do is figure that out and keep moving forward. So we're not there yet but we're still working towards that."

On working with new staff in the first contest...
"It went smooth. I don't think there was anything that didn't go smoothly. Was it different? Of course it was different, from the moment of preparing for the week, then on game day taking the field, which I've never done. So, taking the field was weird. The sideline was obviously new because you're making every decision of when you take timeouts, special teams wise, then calling the offense. There will be some adjustments we make moving forward that will allow me to have more of a broad stroke of the whole program in general. But I thought it went fine."

On challenge of facing three straight road trips (Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State)...
"Well it's tough, there's no question but that's what it is. There's no reason to talk about it, it's not going to change. The reality is we have to look at ourselves and set our own standard. I mean, that's really the biggest thing ... How are we going to improve each day and then give us our best chance on Saturday. That's all you're trying to do and then figure out if it was good enough. That starts with not turning it over, creating turnovers. That's getting explosive plays, not getting explosive plays, still playing with great energy and attitude and body language. Those type of things, having the right attitude in practice, and then go up there and see where you're at. That's the greatest thing about what we do. Then you get to go and find out where you're at. Then you go from there. Like I said about going to play our first game, we'll find out where we're at. We found out some positives and we found out some negatives and we found out things that are going to keep you from winning. But at the end of the day it's a challenge, of course it is. They (Nebraska) are a good football team. It's going to be in front of a number of fans. And again, we'll have to play well to win but, at the end of the day, I think our guys are confident. I think they're confident they are going to improve."

On any surprises from his players in the season opener...
"I don't think I'd say anything took me by surprise ... It would be different if I'd been the head coach here for two or three years and I'd been around our players in that situation. I've never been in that situation. Forget just me as the head coach but our players. You can't simulate the games in practice. I think the defense in some spots I had a better idea of what to expect because you've seen it on film. There were so few guys on offense to know what you're going to expect. What do you expect? If you look back at the Nebraska game last year and you look at the guys who were playing, there's only a few guys that were playing the other night. I mean everybody's different. So what you think you're going to get you don't know `til you actually go play. And then you can assess from there, even special teams wise ... It's hard to say what I expected when we hadn't done it yet with this group of your current players. Anybody that's out there for the first time, you're hopeful that what you've done will carry over but you're not sure."

Coach Monken

Coach Arroyo

Coach Duggan

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