Sept. 10, 1996
Off The Practice Field…Coach Lou Holtz
COACH HOLTZ: First of all, seems like we’ve had an open datebecause seems like a long time since we practiced. We went through avery light workout on Saturday, very, very physical yesterday, physicalone again today.
Let me cover the injury situation. A’Jani Sanders is banged up a littlebit and won’t be able to practice again. Our secondary is banged up alittle bit.
Randy Kinder will not be available this week. He wasn’t going to beavailable anyway. I guess he aggravated a little bit yesterday. MalcomJohnson has a sore knee, and Emmett Mosley is beat up a little bit. Butother than that, we’re in pretty good condition physically.
You always worry about what’s going to happen in practice because thepractices will be a the bit more physical this week than we normallywill have them during the course of the year.
Let me reflect first back on Vanderbilt. I talked about this lastFriday, looked at the film again. You know, give Vanderbilt an awful lotof credit, but the opening game always scares you. More upsets the firsttwo weeks of the season than there are the rest of the season combined.
You look at some of the games that happened last week, I mean, you know,SMU upsetting Arkansas, Wake Forest upset Northwestern, Houston almostbeating LSU. You say why does this happen?
First of all, everybody’s attitude the first two weeks of the season isoptimistic. They feel they can go on and have a good season, et cetera,yet you make a few mistakes and you’re always prepared for the unknownand you overprepare your football team, cover too many things.Indecision creeps in, doubts, and basic mistakes.
But Vanderbilt played very, very well. We’re glad to come out of it towin. Our defense played exceptionally well. The fact that the footballteam put on a nice drive, overcame a 1st at 27 at a critical time wastwo of the most pleasing things that happened during the course of thefootball game.
We feel that defensively one game does not make a season. I think ourcoaches realized that. I think our players realized it. The thing thatwas encouraging defensively was the emotion we played and how well weplayed. We tackled pretty well, had very few missed assignments andplayed with an awful lot of emotion and heart, and of course football isan emotional football game.
Renaldo Wynn was really outstanding, as was Alton Maiden, excellent gameby Bert Berry, probably as good as he’s had since he been here. KoryMinor, Kinnon Tatum. Our secondary was very, very productive with theexception, only negative thing was the 3rd down and 38.
Kicking game I played the way Jim Sampson came in and kicked the ball.He had not done that in practice. Why we went with Jim Sanson was we hadnot kicked a ball well in practice. I mentioned that last week. I thinkwe’re like one in eight in field goals from the 20. All I want a kickerto do is kick it aggressively and hit it solid.
We gave Jim Sanson the opportunity and he did that. He kicked his fieldgoal solid, kicked the kickoff very well.
A little disappointed in our kicking game. I thought Hunter Smith puntedthe ball well. I didn’t think we did a particularly good job covering.We’re so concerned because Vanderbilt had blocked five punts last year,including one partially against Notre Dame. We worked very hard on that.
Didn’t get a chance to really evaluate our return game, but a chance toreturn one kickoff the entire day. That one was pretty well blocked withthe exception of one individual did not perform his task up to thecaliber we needed, but the other ten did very, very well.
What disappointed me the most was we let the punt bounce. They’repunting from their 13, you know, kicked the ball. We let it bounce,ended up being a 60-yard punt. Then the penalties. We were filled withvery, very poor field position the entire day. Our average fieldposition starting I think was a 21, Vanderbilt’s was a 41. That’s a bigdifference when you’re looking at 13 possessions during the course ofthe football game.
Offensively in evaluating, Mike Doughty played very, very well. Notbeing a big play football team, it’s going to be impossible to be thattype of team.
I think we can be a good, solid offensive football team, but we’re notgoing to be a big play team. Consequently that means we’re going have tobe far more disciplined and far more than we were against the Universityof Vanderbilt.
Going to the Purdue, anybody that’s covered the University of Purdue andNotre Dame over the years knows this is a war, so to speak. I rememberquite vividly the game last year. Why I remember it so vividly was thefact that I was going into the hospital the next day after the game inorder to have surgery on my spine. So nobody else knew it, but my wifeand I knew it.
I remember the game quite vividly because we were fortunate to win. Ithink they came back and tied it up 28 all, and we got a good kickoffreturn, then on the first play, Randy Kinder broke a big play, 53 yardsfor the winning touchdown. We don’t have Randy Kinder this year butRandy ran very, very well last year.
We then kicked off and they went all the way down to approximately ournine yard line for 4th down, Bobby Howard made a critical stop about ayard short of a first down. Coming out of that football game, we won thefootball game, but have a lot of respect for Purdue.
I think when I heard the score of Purdue and Michigan State, looked atthe film. I couldn’t believe that was the score. I said to our coachesafter we studied the film, “How did Michigan State get that manypoints?” No disrespect to Michigan State, but they did not move the ballconsistently against the University of Purdue.
I don’t know how many 1st downs they had, but I was impressed withPurdue. I think Okeafor, I hope I’m pronouncing that right, he is anexcellent linebacker. He’s an exceptional football player, one of thecandidates for the Butkus award. Of course I think you always have tolook at John Krick, their defensive lineman. He’s a senior. They startquite a few seniors.
I think at their middle linebacker, Chris Koeppen, is playing very, verywell, plays emotionally. Doug Winston in their corner is awful, awfulgood. They return most of their defense from last year. I want to saythey returned nine starters from last year, although I believe the oneyoung man is out, No. 19, out of our football game, so they only haveeight starters back.
The last four games last year, breaking down the film, they held theiropponents to 300 yards, 12 points a game, which is impressive. I canunderstand why Purdue was optimistic coming into the game.
Offensively, they’ve always moved the ball very well. They moved it verywell against us last year, having well in excess of 400 yards. I knowthat Edwin Watson is their tailback, been playing fullback for them lastyear he rushed for almost 600 yards. Rick Trefzger, their quarterback,who started against us the last couple of years, been replaced by BillyDicken, another senior. You know, have you two veteran quarters there,you can go with which one has a hot hand. That’s always a positivething.
Wide receiver, Brian Alford, is an exceptional wide receiver. He does anawful lot of very, very good things. I don’t know how many records hehas of Purdue in the reception. Of course, most of their offensive lineis back, Chad Manning and Mark Fischer, along with Brian Nicley, EmmettZitelli. Most of those people started against us last year.
I think Jim Colletto does an excellent job coaching. I think his playersare well disciplined, and when we played Purdue, we know it will be avery, very difficult. I’ve explained that to our football players andwe’ve taken that approach.
The fact that they’ve had an open date is always a plus because now youcan go back to fundamentals, you can go back and change things, changean individual’s position, you can install your whole offense if you wantin two weeks. But those are things that we really can’t control. Webetter get used to a team having an open day, because I think six orseven times that’s going to be the case.
The reason I just walked in here at the last second totally unpreparedfor this is because John Heisler was kind enough to line up a schedulethat included interviews and press conferences and pictures andeverything else on top of one another. But I just came from the stadiumwhere the interview was conducted.
I never realized how many airplanes fly directly over our stadium untiltoday. I want to tell you, when you walk in that stadium, you are goingto be impressed. Those people have done a tremendous job. I think it’s atremendous improvement. When they get the new press box up, I think it’sreally going to be outstanding.
Three elevators in the new one. Right now we have one little elevator.We take the biggest usher we can find and have him man the elevator.Just the whole atmosphere.
What is going to be different is playing in front of a half emptystadium; never done that. I had no idea that that stadium would turn outas well as it appears to be. I’m talking about the improvements in a lotof areas from the press room to the dressing room to the training roomto the equipment room to the hot dog stand, the restrooms. I just wasawed by it. I really was. That doesn’t happen to me very many times.
What questions can I answer for you?
Q. You say that Kinder is out. What are your plans tailback-wise?Will we see some Edwards in there along with Denson or what are yourplans?
COACH HOLTZ: Well, we really are anxious to have Randy Kindercome back. Kinder was not injured during practice. I’m used to a guybeing down. You say, “Gee, I hope he isn’t hurt seriously.”
I found out Randy Kinder was injured in the office, when the trainersaid he pulled a hamstring muscle — quadriceps muscle. The reason whyyou’re slow to bring them back like that, Jack, according to thetrainer, is if you bring them back too early, you have run the danger ofa calcification on the quadriceps. When do you that, you’re looking atan eight or nine-month — eight or nine weeks to eight or nine monthsrecuperative period. They’re going very, very carefully.
Without Randy Kinder, Autry Denson will start at tailback. Marc Edwardsplay a little tailback, Joey Goodspeed play a little tailback. Also seeRobert Farmer. Our backs practiced better the last two days and we havein a long time. I think our backs are going to respond to the challengesthat have been given them, based on the way they practiced.
These are the only people we have and those are the ones we’ll go with:Denson and Farmer and Edwards.
Q. Lou, what things specifically have you tried to emphasize inpractice to try to eliminate what happened against Vanderbilt with theseven fumbles?
COACH HOLTZ: We run fumble drills. What really surprised me onthat was we hadn’t fumbled in practice, hadn’t fumbled in scrimmages.Then to go out there and have the ball on the ground seven times wasreally disappointing.
There isn’t anything you can really do other than the fact thatemphasize certain things. You don’t want to make too big a deal about itor else everybody gets paranoid, starts thinking negatively, et cetera.I think may have we’ve addressed some of the things.
Our fumbles weren’t on pitches or handoffs. We fumbled one handoff. Ourfumbles occurred because the ball was either knocked loose or takenloose, which just did not happen. Just say you take the ball, put it inthe proper position and you squeeze the ball until you hear the ball go”pshhh”. When you do, that you back off a little bit, not complicated.
Q. Lou, Bill Dicken is a drastically different quarterback thanRick Trefzger. How does that complicate your defensive strategy?
COACH HOLTZ: It presents some problems because, you know, they dodo some things a little bit differently. Billy Dicken had a great dealof success. They have two veteran quarterbacks, not like you say NotreDame, you have two quarterbacks, the talents lie in different areas, butthey’re both not experienced. One is right-handed, one is left-handed. Idon’t know exactly what they’re going to emphasize on it.
Once again, with an open date, we’re back to where we have been, andthat’s trying to defend ghosts. That’s what you hate about an open date,you defend ghosts. When you defend ghosts, your players get confused,bad things happen.
MR. HEISLER: Any of your people at Purdue have questions?
Q. We’re okay, John, thanks.
Q. Lou, how did Kinder injure himself in the office?
COACH HOLTZ: No, no, he didn’t injure himself in the office,Reggie. What I meant was I found out about it. Usually if an individualis injured, he will pull up lame in practice or be out of a team periodor something along that line.
I went into the office the next day not knowing that Randy Kinder wasinjured until he was on the injury report. It’s one of those where hehad a quadriceps strain and didn’t tell anybody. He pushed himself, thenall of a sudden it aggravated itself to the point where he just couldnot go any longer.
You know, as soon as the trainers found out about it, they do atremendous job in treating our athletes. I have great respect for JimRuss in the way he and our team of doctors handled things. It’s justthat I can’t talk about how he got injured or anything because I don’tknow anything about it.
The only thing I know is if you rush back the recuperative period andyou reinjure it again. There’s a chance of calcification on the muscle.If that occurs, then you’re looking at a very, very serious injury.
How long does it take him to come back? Quadriceps is much like thehamstring, you really can tell. When you have a pulled muscle, you don’tknow how far you can strain or push it.
Randy is anxious to come back, he wants to come back. Just on the injuryreport, I haven’t talked to Jim Russ, but he said he aggravated ityesterday by pushing himself a little bit too much.
Now, this is all things he was doing, he hadn’t been involved with theteam at all in ten days since he had this. When somebody is on theinjured list and they have a pulled muscle, you don’t sit there and say,”When is he going to be back?” When he’s healthy, he’ll come back. Untilthen, we got to play. We got to play and move on.
Q. Coach Holtz, Adam Crawford from One-On-One Sports. Justcurious if there’s a chance during a Purdue game that we might be ableto say Jarious Jackson or if you were considering putting him in anytime soon?
COACH HOLTZ: You know, we will play Jarious at the firstopportunity we can get that will enable us to win the football game. Icannot say when that’s going to be. We would like to get Jarious in thefootball game, but there is no definite plans at the present time to saywe’re going to go here, he’s going to play here, et cetera. We’ll dowhatever we have to in order to win or what gives us the best chance towin.
Q. Thank you.
COACH HOLTZ: Thank you.
Q. Lou, you talked about your offense not really having theability to be explosive. I was wondering why you wouldn’t want to put aguy like Allen Rossum back on kickoffs because he would give you thatexplosiveness. Is it because you can’t afford to lose him in thesecondary?
COACH HOLTZ: Well, we do have Allen Rossum back deep on kickoffsto start the game or to start the second half. He was back when theykicked it out of bounds. What we do not want to do is we do not want torun him the risk of being injured when he just played and they scoredand you got to go right there.
It’s a little bit different than, say, a Mosley or Autry Denson runningback a kickoff or a punt. They’re on the bench resting. But if you justgave up a touchdown, I don’t think you’re in the best frame of mind togo out on the field.
Now, too, say it was an eight-play drive, touchdown pass on 3rd and 38,you had to run to try to cover it. We felt we were better off to go withanother individual. That’s the way we had it set up right now, and onSaturday. Allen Rossum will go, then it depends on how much rest he’shad at other times. 524.
Q. I was curious to know how you’ve dealt with the Dee Coopersituation. He was outspoken about not playing, quoted in an Evansvillepaper. Did you sit down and talk with him? Did you speak with his fatherabout the situation?
COACH HOLTZ: Absolutely not, and I haven’t read it, and I don’tcare. I worry about the football team, period. We’re not here to pleasepeople. If you help us win, you will be on the field. If you practicethe proper way, do the things the proper way.
Dee Cooper is a wonderful young man, I imagine he’ll contribute in thefuture. Dee did not play because it did not give us the best chance towin, period.
Q. Coach, I think it was in the third quarter of the game whenJarious was warming up on the sideline. Was Ron hurting a little bit orwere you considering putting him in?
COACH HOLTZ: No. I really wasn’t. I wouldn’t have had any qualmsabout putting Jarious in. Ron had some cramps at that time. If he hadsome cramps and couldn’t go, then Jarious Jackson certainly would haveplayed.
Q. In years past your defense is end of the season strong, youroffense has always started the season strong. This year looks likedefense may be ahead of the offense. What are the reasons you think forthat?
COACH HOLTZ: I think if you’re going to have a successful season,you definitely have to be strong on defense. I think that’s an absolutenecessity. That was very, very encouraging.
Now, can we continue to do it? That’s always going to be the question.When do we get the offensive problems straighten away? I can’t guaranteethat. There’s no way you can. Will we continue to remain strong ondefense? I can’t guarantee that.
Every week it’s a different situation. If we have a good, solid kickinggame, good, solid defense, then we have a chance in every football game.
Q. The other thing is, one of the things Ron said after the gamewas that he may have been a little tentative and he may have been alittle nervous. Did you see anything that made you think that, and two,how does a quarterback, a senior quarterback, get nervous before a game?
COACH HOLTZ: I don’t think Ron was nervous during the game. Youknow, I’m sure he had anxieties and anxious to play. You always talkabout the unknowns.
Ron Powlus threw the ball 32 times. I can think of probably five passesthat he would normally complete that he did not complete. Yet they werenot passes that were wide open; they were passes where the guy was openmaybe by a yard or two. I think he has a talent that he could havedrilled those in under normal conditions and completed them.
At the same time, the thing that impressed me was he didn’t worry aboutstats or anything else. When he erred, he erred on the side ofconservatism and not turning the football over.
One of the things to have a successful team is you have an individualthat makes up his mind that he’s going to throw the ball and all heworries about is how many yards he gets and how many completions andwhat his stats are. If that was the case, he would have tried to jamsome of those passes, and he didn’t.
I have to take fault for it; great ball security, I think he did. Hethrew 32 passes. I don’t think anybody touched the ball on their side in32 attempts. I thought he did an excellent job for us.
Q. You weren’t too anxious to talk about this, but can you talkabout breaking Knute Rockne’s records, what it means to you, why it’sbeen so hard for other coaches to stay here? A. I think it’sperseverance. People are asking me about the question. I never preparedfor this. They started comparing you with Parseghian and with Rockne,with Leahy. I want to tell you something, come read my mail, just comeread my mail. You’re just thankful you have a job, period, at all.
As far as coaching more games than anybody else, that’s perseverance,just getting up and forcing yourself to go. I didn’t win more thananybody, I coached more.
Let’s say that Greg Norman played 73 rounds of golf this year. I played96, for example. Does that make me a better golfer than Greg Norman?
I’ve had great coaches, great players. I’ve had tremendous support fromgreat administrators, and I’ve been blessed. I don’t think I’vecontributed much to Notre Dame, but I can promise you, Notre Dame hascontributed greatly to Lou Holtz and his family.
Q. You seemed surprised after the game when you found out youthrew 32 passes. Have you talked to the guy calling the plays and have along talk with him about what he’s going to do this week?
COACH HOLTZ: We had a little meeting. I wasn’t aware it called 32passes. When I looked at that, I was surprised. We did talk a little bitabout calling plays, about play selection, et cetera. We tried this pastweek to analyze everything from top to bottom.
I feel very comfortable throwing the football as long as we don’t haveany sacks or turnovers, when which is when we had. We had one holdingpenalty that came at a very, very critical time.
I was pleased that we were able to throw the ball with some degree ofsuccess when we had to. I think we were 53 percent on 3rd down, whichisn’t what you like to be, but it’s well above average. We got tocontinue to be a balanced football team, and we aren’t going to be a bigplay team, so we better be consistent. We can’t afford a bad play. Wecan’t afford a penalty.
Q. At the start of the game, seemed like you had success going toChryplewicz. (Inaudible). Was there any rhyme or reason to that?
COACH HOLTZ: Just early in the ball game we called plays where hewas the primary receiver and he was open. You know, we played 89 playson offense. That’s a lot of plays. Peter Chryplewicz played far too manyplays, ran his routes very well. But just the situation came to suchwhere the tight end was not the primary sever later in the footballgame, but I don’t think that will be the case.
COACH HOLTZ: It was a lot of things. He’s experienced, wanted toget him the ball. Peter is going to have to be a very, very integralpart of our passing game in the future. I think Emmett Mosley did a verynice job, I thought Malcom Johnson did a very nice job. PeterChryplewicz, Marc Edwards, Autry Denson are going to have to catch theball well coming out of the back field.
Q. There was a time earlier in your career here where if arunningback had fumbling problems, you wouldn’t use him again, that wasbecause you had more bodies back then. Was it frustrating for you nowbecause scholarship numbers are down and injuries you’re put in aposition as a coach where you have to play that guy who makes mistakes?
COACH HOLTZ: I think it does put you in a situation where youdon’t have much choice in the matter. But I still am a firm believer ifyou fumble the ball, you should not play, you’re sometimes not having agood day. You also have to look at depth, experience, leadership, etcetera.
We moved Autry Denson to tailback, but Autry, not having worked theremuch, could not play the entire 89 plays. Marc Edwards, our captain,leader, protected the ball very well.
COACH HOLTZ: There has been a strong message sent that nobody isworth a fumble. I don’t know a back that’s worth a fumble. Just livewith it. I know Johnny Lattner fumbled five times in one game, or atleast according to Doyle’s history of Notre Dame. He was asked toconfess his five mortal sins.
COACH HOLTZ: I tell you what, they had a great defense. I tellyou what, if a back fumbles, and they understand this, I lose my poiseand my vocabulary is not the type it should be to represent theUniversity of Notre Dame, that is the fault of the guy fumbling and hehas to be held accountable for that sin. That’s not my sin; he caused meto sin.
Q. On that winning touchdown drive, you complete an 18-yard pass.Beyond that, when you saw that, did you reflect for a minute on howgames and seasons can turn on one play like that?
COACH HOLTZ: You know, when I reflect back on it now, I think Icould. At that time, I felt that drive would be as critical as any drivewe had. If we were going to do anything, that drive would tell us a lotabout our football team, what we’re capable of doing.
We came out and we completed a pass, then we get a holding penalty andwe’re 1st and 27. I did not think that was a critical play of the yearbecause the drive was not successful. You know, we still had a lot moreyardage to go.
Now that I reflect back, and we succeeded in scoring and ultimatelywinning the game with that drive, I think sometimes we may go back andsay, “Boy, you want to talk about a critical play.” I think you’d haveto go back and maybe look at that one.
Q. Coach, can you touch on the role Tim Collins in the videodepartment has in your game preparation and how has the use of filmchanged over your years?
COACH HOLTZ: Are you referring to the actual game preparation orthe extracurricular?
Q. A little of both actually.
COACH HOLTZ: Boy, I tell you, it used to be where you had filmand you had to thread it, and the threads would get ripped, the thingswould jump up and down, then you had to splice it, the film wasn’t verygood quality. Once you spliced the film, you just had all kinds ofproblems with projectors. I was so glad when I became head coach, “Idon’t know how to splice films. Anybody know how to splice the films?”Like you didn’t know how.
Then you tried to make cut-ups. I remember when I coached the secondary,I would take the film, cut it, paste it up, put all the out cuts. Thatwas forever. Then you put it together, you found out you put the out orthe curl long, you came in and the tape dried, all laying on the floor.
Now I go home and they give me a film on the airplane back, it’s thewhole game in sequence, kicking game, offense, defense. You sit thereand you watch it.
Sunday morning they give me an offensive intercut. I get a side view ofthe game, then as soon as they run that play, they go to the same exactplay from the end zone. You get to see it from the side, you get to seeit the end. Same play.
You go through the whole game that way. It’s clear and it’s precise. Yousay to them, “Give me all the 3rd down defenses.” Next day, I don’t knowhow they do it, tooth fairy or something. They bring over the film, hereis third and twos, third and longs. Incredible.
Then you say we want to do this on Friday night for a game. It’sunbelievable. Tim Collins and Chuck, Tim Collins is in charge of it, andChuck contributes greatly over there, they’re incredible. I wish I didmy job half as well as they do their job.
We finish practice at 6:30. 7:00 the practice film is in my box ready towatch, offense, defense, kicking game, pass, seven on seven, all of themover different reels. The game has changed tremendously. We have beta.We made a decision to go to beta my first year here. It was a greatdecision, really was.
Q. Coach, did the play of the receivers make it easier to moveAutry back to tailback?
COACH HOLTZ: The play of the receivers, the way they practicedthe week before, made it easier. The fumbles made it easier. I justthink the loss of Randy Kinder made it easier. I think it was acombination of all three. We’ve moved him back there and he will have tostay there, he will be a runningback.
Q. First half Ron Powlus didn’t run the ball at all, second acouple times. Seemed to keep the linebackers a little honest. The playwas more open. Was that by design or would you like to see him run alittle bit more?
COACH HOLTZ: We felt, and I talked to Ron about this, when thisisn’t season is over, he has to average three yards a carry. He’s goingto have to average three yards a carry. He averaged four the othernight. That means he’s going to have to avoid the sack, get positiveyardage when he does scramble and run with the football.
If our quarterback will end up with positive yardage each and everyweek, I think it’s going to greatly enhance our chances to besuccessful.
In addition to that, when you’re not a big play football team, yourquarterback has to contribute with his arm, with his head and certainlywith his feet. If you’re a big play football team, and that have bigplay capabilities, that may not be as important.
I want to tell you, 1st and 27, that is a huge mountain for us to climb.We sure don’t want to try that very often.
Q. Kind of a follow-up to Tim’s point. Is there a lesson with theinjuries and the situations with reduced scholarships to some playersthat might have shown a little impatience earlier in their careers?
I mean, there’s a real chance that a Gus Ornstein, Clement Stokes mightbe getting some serious carries, those kinds of things. Kids come in alot of times, they’re fourth, fifth team.
COACH HOLTZ: I think that’s true. Not only the situation we face,but a situation that’s faced around the country. First of all, ClementStokes is at Notre Dame, he’s working on the scout squad, not eligiblethis year, but he plans on being here next fall. A guy like Gus OrnsteinI thought was a good quarterback prospect, came out of a small school,but I thought he had an awful lot of talent.
Now, why somebody transfers, you’re siting there with Krug and RonPowlus, and it looks like you may never get to play, but they’re allboth in the same class.
Everybody wants to be the editor in chief. I don’t know if you all feelthat way. I was talking to Skip on Friday. I called him before hesitategame. He played a game with Buffalo. I said, “How you doing?” He said,”Oh, woe is me.” I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “One of our playerswho is our first string long snapper, you know, decided that he wants totransfer.” This was the morning they were leaving, their long snapper.So the guy didn’t make the trip.
I didn’t get it on direct TV, it was on Channel 313. But my son Kevin,who is in Orlando, works for the Orlando Cubs baseball team as part ofVince’s major league team, live in Orlando, have direct TV down there,he’s watches the game. He’s calling me. First time they punt, back upcenter snaps the ball over the punter’s head. Didn’t find out till themorning they were leaving that the guy wasn’t going.
What happens is you can make any decision you want when the season’sover. I can respect that. But it’s when people make a decision justbefore the season or two a days, a little bit unfair to the footballteam.
Patience isn’t a virtue, not of coaches either. Coaches always want itone way. Coaches always want a contract where nobody can break it ontheir part, but they want an open end on theirs. You know, we all have atendency to look at, “What’s in it for me? What’s my interest? How am Igoing to benefit from it?”
I think that’s just sort of a case that we find in athletics and we findin society more and more. I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox on thisthing, but I think we as coaches are wrong.
I mentioned last Saturday, Friday at the press conference, right at theend, that we blame players. “He fumbled the ball.” It’s not all thatplayer’s fault. I think we all have to take responsibility and share init when things don’t go well. That’s certainly true with the amount ofturnover the we have.
Q. Last week you said you were pretty happy with the way MikeRosenthal was playing. You called Rosenthal and Ron Powlus the twosmartest players you ever coached. Please talk about them, especiallyRosenthal, and why you chose those two?
COACH HOLTZ: I think Ron Powlus is one of the smartest footballplayers I ever coached as far as intelligence. He learns the game plan,has great football knowledge. Some people are blessed with that. It doesnot have a single thing to do with native intelligence.
I mean, there have been some quarterbacks that have had just naturalfootball intelligence and make good decisions. You tell Ron Powlus thisdefense, this coverage, recognize he has good peripheral vision, youonly have to tell him something one time.
I think Mike Rosenthal is very similar to that, although I think whenyou say more intelligent players, sometimes you have to understand I doget carried away.
You see, if I ever make a good golf shot, I say, “I’m going to do thatthe rest of my life.” But he is a very smart football player, MikeRosenthal, particularly with the amount of calls and everything else.
It would be a little bit unfair to a Rick Kaczenski who really makes allthe calls in there. But make no mistake bit, Mike Rosenthal is a veryintelligent football player.
Q. Lou, I think Vanderbilt took four defensive time-outs. Escapesme how many were Blarney sets. How many were in your memory and is thatone of the intended consequences of that? A. I did notice this,mentioned it to out staff on Friday, all three time-outs in the secondhalf were used by Vanderbilt’s defense, I do know that.
I think that has something to do with the different formations we run,the fact that we don’t substitute, and they may end up with somebody outof position, et cetera, for whatever the case may be. That means in thelast two games, the team is allotted 12 time-outs, and ten of them Iknow for sure have been used by the defense in the last two games.
Do I expect that trend to continue? No. As players get more experienceand get used to go against us, I think that will not be the case. Makeno mistake about it, late in the football game, that did not gounnoticed at all. Their time-outs were used by the defense.
Q. You used four defensive backs the entire night. AgainstVanderbilt maybe that was okay. (Inaudible). What do you plan to do on3rd down with more defensive backs, and specifically who?
COACH HOLTZ: We did only play four defensive backs. I think weonly played 44 plays during the course of the game on defense, somethinglike that. We weren’t in very many 3rd down and long situations. Theywere two and ten on 3rd down, 3rd down and eight they ran the backshort, swung the tight end in behind him and hit him for about 14 yardsand a first down, then they hit the 3rd and 38.
The one back that would go into a game in certain situations, and wetalked about going to the defense, is Hunter Smith. Hunter Smith wouldgo in and play a corner or safety man in long yardage situations. Otherthan that, I think Benny Guilbeaux, Ty Goode you’re going to see on thefield. We have to go from there. Four defensive backs are playing well,have practiced well, and seemed to play well last week.
Q. Any or questions from anybody on the telephone?
COACH HOLTZ: Thank you, gentlemen.