Todd Monken Weekly Press Conference

Head Coach Todd Monken

Sept. 23, 2013

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

Opening Statement as Southern Miss prepares for game with Boise State...
"Well we're looking forward, coming off a bye week where we focused primarily on ourselves - alignment, assignment, our effort, our energy, our body language - and now we're looking forward to this Saturday going out and playing a tremendous football team. A team that obviously is well-coached, well prepared. They play hard. They play for each other. That's evident on film, obviously, the standard for which a lot of programs will set themselves and gauge themselves on. Again, it will be a tremendous challenge for us, because I think they're a good football team and we're going to be a good football team. We're looking forward to it."

On facing the Boise State defense...
"They've played some pretty good offensive teams and the more teams go to this spread style of offense, and you're running a number of plays, I think it's hard to measure defense anymore like you used to. It still comes down to turnovers and not giving up big plays, holding them to field goals in the score zone, lost-yardage plays and, again, third-down conversions ... The yardage really doesn't matter. Last week against Fresno they probably gave up more explosives than they'd like, obviously at times would have like to have held them to more field goals, and I don't remember many turnovers that they created. To me, I see a team defensively that plays really hard. The more teams are spacing defenses out, the more you're going to get exposed. Defensively, we haven't had that as much. We had some teams that were more tightened down. So, you're just going to see that as football evolves."

On self-scouting his team and addressing cause of turnovers in first three contests...
"The first week, was primarily the fumbles. That was the consecutive drives we had where we fumbled. Now we haven't had that issue. One of those the first game was at the end of the game that was insignificant. Then Nebraska was some mistakes, a drop and then there was another one late in the game that was a fourth-down play that was insignificant. And then last week, the first series of the game was a blown protection, then a tipped ball. The second one was a poor decision by the quarterback. So, there's enough to go around. We've done a better job the last couple of weeks of protecting the football. What we thought we emphasized was enough, obviously wasn't. But we have to continue to do what we do. We just have to do it better. We can't go into a shell. There's just no way we can go into a shell and fear every time we throw the ball we think it's going to be a turnover or every time we run it we're going to fumble it. We have to do what we do. We just have to do it better."

On improvements in the running game versus Arkansas...
"Well a few things improved. One, our emphasis with it. I thought our guys played a little bit better up front. Our backs, the guys we gave the ball to, ran downhill. And they gave us those looks. We should have run for what we run for. If we're really good and we're cooking, we would have run for a heck of a lot more for the numbers that they gave us in the box. But I think the emphasis of running downhill. I think we have to find a way to take the pressure off our quarterback to comfortably turn around and hand the ball off, which we did a better job of. Rarely in last game did we see our running backs go backwards. Where we got hit, we fell forward. We just got our pad level down and that's where we were much better. We were much better up front and the looks were better."

On increased use of redshirt senior tailback Kendrick Hardy...
"Well Kendrick fits (our offense) as a downhill runner. The problem is he was banged up in the summer (of 2012) and he came in the spring (of 2013) and was banged up again and it's just trying to get him healthy. I still don't think he's 100 percent healthy. So we're not there yet with him. We're constantly trying to get him in. Last week was good for him. But his strength is as a downhill runner, that's for sure. So the more we can get him pistoled and the more where we can get where we're running the ball downhill, the more he factors."

On adjusting to a later-than-normal start time at Boise State...
"(You adjust) as best you can. Obviously, when we get out there, we'll do a few things differently. But it's always tough because you make that decision. Do you get out of your normal routine to change for just a few hours later? There's a few things you tweak but ... once we've set our schedule with our classwork with our student athletes, you can't waiver too much from it. But then from there you can do some things that you think will help you and we'll move forward with that."

On preparing for the up-tempo Boise State offense that ran more than 100 plays versus Fresno State...
"Well, it's a concern, and that's what you're going to get when you have a team like Fresno who went no huddle. They were running a whole bunch of plays and Boise was having success and I think we're in the same boat. We're trying to create tempo and create a speed of the game, so you're going to see a number of plays. Now, I think that's not normal. I don't care even if you go no huddle. There were years at Oklahoma State we averaged 80. So, I don't anticipate that we'll get to (100 plays) but it can happen. You just try to avoid the sequences that lead to long drives. I think that's where it becomes taxing is when you're out there a long time and you're trying to sub in and out. But we can only control what we can control and that's moving the ball and scoring points and then what they do is what they do. Obviously, us moving the football will help that."

On benefit of last week's bye week...
"It helps. Not only the three-game road trip, but the 4 ½ weeks you have camp. It was 7 ½ weeks where really we were grinding pretty good. So I think it was a nice break. Obviously, with where we were at in the schedule, it gave us some time to kind of look at what we're doing, get some guys healthy that we didn't have at Arkansas that we think we'll have this week. So I think any time you can get a break, especially in that 7-8 week area, I think is critical. If you get it a little too much later, you're getting beat up ... The guys haven't had a break, especially with all the young guys we're playing. I'm not sure they were ready for being thrust into the role they have now. So it's good for them to be able to get home, relax just a little bit. I could feel it last night with those guys. They were a little reenergized."

On potential uses of sophomore tailback Jalen Richard...
"Well, I'm not going to get into who we're going to play and who we're not going to play but the reality is as we've moved forward each game we've been able to assess our players and to assess who gives us the best chance to win and Jalen's a good football player."

On how he spent his bye week Saturday...
"Watched football for the most part. We had the staff over and critiqued what other coaches did wrong like we get critiqued. So it was perfect. We just sat around and ate and watched football and enjoyed each other's company and spent time with all of our kids who were at the house. So it was good. It's good for us as well. After we went recruiting on Friday and got a chance to relax a little on Saturday and then come back in and refocus on Boise."

Head Coach Monken

Coach Arroyo

Coach Duggan

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