September 14, 2010

Tues. practice report: O'Brien turns attention towards Cincinnati

After practice on Tuesday, coach Tom O'Brien met with the media to discuss the Pack's upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Thursday night. The coach talked about the team's practice schedule before the game, who the short week affects the most and gave a couple of quick scouting reports on the Bearcats.

The Bearcats enter the game with a 1-1 record after beating Indiana State last week and losing to Fresno State in the opener. Meanwhile, the Pack is 2-0 for the first time under O'Brien.

Are you guys going to practice tomorrow, do you know what the plan is yet?

No, when we get together tonight at the staff meeting, we'll figure out exactly what we are going to do. [We] probably won't practice, hopefully we'll walk through normally like the day.

Talk about Cincy's QB.

He's very elusive, he threw for a very high percentage last year, a great completion percentage. His passing efficiency was off the charts last year, and it looks like he's continued this year. He's similar to what we saw last week in Godfrey, he's similar to Russell in that he can beat you with his legs, he can beat you with his arm. He's a very confident kid and he runs around, makes a lot of plays.

How much better do you feel today about getting ready for Thursday?

I mean I didn't feel bad yesterday afternoon, it is what it is. It's the game schedule and we're going to do the best job we can to get out there and put our best foot forward so we can have a great game Thursday night.

Does the short turnaround affect the coaches or players more?

I think it affects the coaches more because of the short time to prepare, to get everything done that needs to be accomplished to get on the field. The team, they just show up, figure out what they're supposed to do and, hopefully, practice good. The preparation for the coaches is a little bit more difficult when you're in a short week.

What have you seen from the kick coverage and return that is different than last year?

We were better until Saturday night when we gave up a touchdown. Other than that, I think we got to continue to work and work hard. Special teams are a lot about individual efforts and that's more where individuals can show up and outwork the guy across from them. We are better athletically, I think on special teams, this year than last year so we just got to continue to get better.

Talk about the freshmen who are coming in and making an impact.

Yeah, they are but sometimes freshmen make mistakes, but they overcome them with enthusiasm and athletic ability. As they continue to play, they will continue to get better.

On UCF's reverse pas, was that the QB leaking out of the backfield?

No, that was the guy who came in motion, he leaked out of the backfield and down the boundary.

How important is it to you that the school has this military appreciation day?

I think it's huge. I don't think anybody can do enough for the men and women who serve our country. They put themselves in harm's way for us so anything that we can do, and any token of appreciation we can show, is tremendous. Like I've said before, I'm fortunate to be at a school that does it and really takes it serious because of the history of a lot of our graduates. Last night, I got another flag that was flown over Iraq or Afghanistan. It's the second one this year [from] NC State grads that are over there, watching us, thinking about us and appreciate the support that we give them.

Going back to the reverse pass, is that a play that might have fooled the defense a year ago?

Might have? It would have, absolutely.

How good is Cincy's defense up front?

They are very solid up front. In fact, they changed defense again, they have gone back to four down linemen. Their two tackles are really excellent inside and they play with three really good linebackers that have great speed and play downhill fast. That all contributes to them being able to stop the run. The amazing thing is a team like Fresno State that has run the ball so well throughout the years, they shut them down, too.

Is that going to be the biggest test for you guys: your offensive line against their defensive front?

It certainly will be.

Can you talk about how encouraging it was to see the team bail Russell Wilson out after he's done it so many times for the team during his career?

I don't think they had to bail Russell out, we played a football game. Guys contributed on both sides of the ball. You have to get contributions from all three phases of the game, that's what we're waiting for, that's the game we have to put together. We have to get all three of them to play the best game they can play.

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