Hope this finds you well. I am doing pretty well. I had shrimp tacos for lunch. That makes almost any day a win.
A note or two and then some blurbs from the Bill Curry press conference. Practice was a little chippy Tuesday morning, as hockey folks like to say, which I think you’d have to take as a good sign. I think the themes of the week for the Panthers are running the ball and forcing turnovers. Georgia State had actually been on a little run with takeaways – four each in the three games prior to Old Dominion – but I would say that the attention to it becomes more heightened after not having any takeaways Saturday and also playing a team that is plus-11 (South Alabama).
As for running the ball, you likely know the story. I talked to tackle Clyde Yandell and line coach Mike Riddle, who say they’re getting close. I suppose it’s the only answer you can give – I think my jaw would have dropped if either had said, “Yeah, we’re not even close to being a good running team” – but I think they believe it to be the case. I’m planning on a story about it for Saturday.
- “I realize now that we are practicing harder now than we ever have. I’m disappointed both in the team and the staff that it took a loss to wake us up to see we need to get busier.”
- Curry said he was impressed by USA’s turnover margin of plus-11, the defense’s third-down conversion rate of 24 percent and its cumulative 68-0 score in the fourth quarter. “I don’t care who you play,” he said. “That’s hard to do.”
- Jaguars play a lot of man defense. Curry said it is “important for us to employ things that let us get off of man coverage.”
- “The thing that is the biggest disappointment to me about our team is the running game,” he said. “I’m a little bit surprised and I take responsibility for it, along with the rest of the offensive staff.”
Rest assured that offensive coordinator John Bond and Riddle are well aware of Curry’s displeasure.
“There’s really no excuse for us to be where we are in the running game, and we will get it better,” Curry said.
- Linebacker Mark Hogan on stripping the football, which he said has had a renewed emphasis this week after the Panthers had no turnovers Saturday: “It’s a combination of a lot of different things. It’s want-to and effort and also strength and a little bit of technique, as well as finding the weak spots of where the offensive player is holding the ball and just going for it.”
- Bill Curry’s word of the week, in an answer about copying plays, schemes from other teams: “We see things every week. There are no ideas that are inviolate.” (pure, sacred)
- The team is taking the bus to Mobile, about a 5- or 6-hour ride. Curry said that once you figure in the time to go to the airport, go to security, load the plane, etc., it’s more or less a wash. Plus, it’s cheaper.
- Interesting story in the Boston Globe about UMass considering using football to boost the school’s profile.
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