LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Oct 30, 2011 12:01 AM

Joker Phillips' Post-Game Comments Following MSU Loss

October 29, 2011

An interview with:


COACH JOKER PHILLIPS


COACH PHILLIPS: The injury situation is Morgan Newton has a right shoulder and right ankle. Looks like it's a high ankle sprain. We'll take a look at it tomorrow. After the half, he thought he could go back in, but we were just afraid of him not being able to protect himself. So did not put him back in.
Anthony Mosley during the scuffle got punched in the diaphragm and missed the first half. It was after the first or second touchdown.
Then (Donte) Rumph has a left knee. That's the injury situation.
Hard fought game. Defensively three turnovers that they created, and no turnovers that we gave up offensively usually equals a win. I think we were like 5 0 when we hadn't turned the football over. We actually got three. You got to explain you're playing to win to your football team when you create that many turnovers and don't give up any and not win.
Well, it's easy. It's simple. Too many big plays that we gave up. It was three 80 yard drives. If you talk about the drive chart, we talked about that this week, it's hard for people to drive on anyone, and we gave up three of them today. A lot of them came with big plays. When you drive 80 yards, there's usually some big plays involved.
In one of the 80 yards, there were four plays, so it's got to be big plays. We gave up a big play, a big pass, touchdown in the end zone.
Then offensively we had a chance for short fields with the turnovers that the defense gave us, and we only got six points out of it. Then we got the ball down again in the second half and only got three, which gives us nine points.
Got to get the ball in the end zone, got to find some way to put it in the end zone. That's how we have to explain, when we're talking about playing to win, get turnovers, run the football. We rushed for 118 yards, which is better than we had been. But there were some clean runs. When you talk about playing to win, you got to explain why. The reason why was the things I just talked to you about.

Q. On quarterback Maxwell Smith...
COACH PHILLIPS: Played outstanding. He had 33 attempts, 26 completions. He took some big hits, picked himself off the ground, came back in, stood in there and made some other big throws.
Proud of him. That's what we talk about every day. When someone goes down, the next guy's got to step up and go in and compete, even if it's a freshman. He's one of those guys that's a freshman and he did a good job going in there and competing.
The spring helped him, giving him a chance to do that. Him being here in spring, fall camp. Also the opportunities that he's had to go in the game this year.

Q. Do you think Matt Roark's performance was a result of Maxwell Smith throwing a more catchable ball?
COACH PHILLIPS: I wouldn't say that. I mean, we threw the ball. One of our deals that we wanted to do, like I said, when you're struggling to get separations vertically down the field, is to throw more crossing routes, things where you can run away from people. We usually do that with his position. His position is usually the one that's running the crossing routes. We were able to hit some of those routes.

Q. Did Maxwell play his way into making a decision?
COACH PHILLIPS: We have to make some type of a decision, yes. He played good enough that we got to make a decision on that, right.


Q. On going for it, instead of kicking the third field goal...
COACH PHILLIPS: I did consider it. We needed some points, down 21 6. It was still early in the second half is the reason why we decided to kick the field goal, because it was early in the second half. We thought we'd have more opportunities.
The thing that happened to us is every time we scored, they would come back down and score touchdowns. We'd kick a field goal, get three. Got us to 7 3. They would come right back and get it 14 3. We would get another field goal, six. They would come right down the field and make it 21 6. The field goal, like I say, it was early in the second half, early enough in the second half we thought, Let's get away from here with some points. They come right down the field and get the score to 28 9.

Q. What about on that last drive? Were you thinking about going for two right there?
COACH PHILLIPS: The last one, it was 16 28. We were down 12. You need two touchdowns. We would have kicked the field goal to make it 23 28. We still needed a touchdown.

Q. Did you think about going for two at all when you scored the touchdown?
COACH PHILLIPS: No. We wanted to try to wait till we got in the fourth quarter to go for two.

Q. Did you find some play makers tonight?
COACH PHILLIPS: My backs ran good, made some plays for us. We didn't make as many plays down the field as we would have liked to. We did catch the ball and run for yardage which, again, we have to try to run away from people to try to get separation. Like I say, we haven't made many plays down the field vertically when people are playing man to man. We got to try to run away from them. Running away is across the field.

Q. Despite the loss, do you see some improvements with the offense?
COACH PHILLIPS: We made some improvements. We showed some improvement offensively. Obviously not enough to win this game because we didn't get the ball in the end zone, had to kick three field goals. But it's something that we have to build off of.
We ran the ball at times efficient. But, like I say, we got to get the ball in the end zone. In this league, you can't settle for three field goals.

Q. Are the black jerseys gone forever?
COACH PHILLIPS: I don't think we need to see them next week.

Q. Did you think they could hurt you today passing the ball?
COACH PHILLIPS: No. We were so conscious of the run because that's what they had done against us. I think at the half they had 75 yards rushing but 170 something like that passing. Again, they took advantage of us loading the box up and then hurt us with the pass.

Q. Did you scale back the playbook for Maxwell Smith?
COACH PHILLIPS: A little bit, at first, until he got that deer in the headlight look in his eyes. Got hit a couple times. We just gave him more of it.

Q. Did they surprise you with their gameplan?
COACH PHILLIPS: No, no. I mean, they threw the ball vertically down the field a little bit. They're a big play action team. They're not a drop back team. They hit us with some play actions because they run the ball so well. Linebackers have to pay attention to the play fakes, how they get behind you with the tight ends and the wide receivers.

Q. Did Maxwell Smith struggle any picking up blitzes or calling protections at the line of scrimmage?
COACH PHILLIPS: You know, he struggled a little early with those things. He took a couple hits that are his hits. We just don't have enough people, didn't change the protection. But, again, he picked himself up and went back the next play, made big plays for us.
He's got to get better at that. And usually the backup quarterback, especially a young backup quarterback, he needs to get hit a couple times till he starts paying a little more attention, starts to prepare himself like he's a starter. I think Maxwell will do that because he's going to have an opportunity to compete for the start be job.

Q. How do you feel momentum wise going forward?
COACH PHILLIPS: Well, we lost the football game. So, you know, we saw a movie last night, something to do with the time. In football, time is precious because in this game of football, it's different than basketball where you can play basketball, pickup basketball until you're 40, 50 years old, same with baseball players, they go and play softball. At football, you don't have a lot of time. Time is precious in this game, very precious. You only get 60 minutes. We do get to get 60 minutes back on our clock that leads into the next week. We've got to take advantage of the time we have in this game.
Yes, we did improve. But there needs to be even more improvement for us to line up and win SEC games.

Q. Were you surprised with the lack of experience that Max (Smith) has that he played so well? Were you expecting this?
COACH PHILLIPS: Lack of experience? He hadn't played very well in the first couple games that he's gotten a chance to play. But this was a different game. He went in and competed, made some throws early. Gave him some easy throws, gave him some confidence. He threw some little quick screens. Once he got settled in, we were able to get into our drop back passing game.
We brought Max here because we thought he was a good player. So you expect it every time they go out. We just haven't seen it in the few games he's been in. We're glad to see it show up tonight.

Q. What did you think of Danny Trevathan's performance?
COACH PHILLIPS: Danny is a warrior. Danny shows up to play. He's a guy that shows up every week. He's a guy that hurts after every game because he puts so much into this game. He understands how precious the time is, football time is. That's why it hurts him so much. That's why he plays so hard, because he understands that you only get so many opportunities in this game.

Q. With Matt Roark, were you worried about his self esteem getting down?
COACH PHILLIPS: You know, you do worry about a kid's confidence when he's had some games like Matt has had. But you immediately turn to his special teams play. It hasn't affected him because of the way he's flying down the field on the special teams. The guy was always the first guy on the kickoff team. He's not the fastest guy out there either. Not the fastest guys on that team. He was always the first guy to get down there. He was always the first guy on the punt cover team.
So when you watch his special teams play, you knew that his self confidence was not down. We knew he had a chance to continue to help us this year.

Q. Do you think Morgan will be available next week?
COACH PHILLIPS: Don't know. Like I say, we got to check him out tomorrow. Again, he thought he could have went back in in the second half. We had him do some drop backs a little bit and throw the ball on the sideline. We were worrying about him being able to protect himself.
Thank you, guys.

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