Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Clawson Presser---Stout Edition

Coach Clawson had his presser this week, where he discussed the Missouri game, the Marshall game, and the Mahone situation....

To take the most newsworthy portion first, Coach said he suspended PJ Mahone for breaking a team rule, which we knew yesterday. Obviously Coach refused to talk about what it was exactly he did. The real news here is that the "indefinite" suspension is serious. He won't be back "soon" and there is "a chance" he could play later in the year. There are things he has to do, and if he doesn't, "he won't play again."

He went on to say that Coaches don't suspend players, they suspend themselves by taking actions they know will have consequences. Coach says the players are given a policy manual at the beginning of the year and they review it page by page with the staff. He said that he is grandstanding or sending a message, merely enforcing a rule.

Keith Morgan will take his spot. Coach said that by playing two spread teams in the first two weeks, we used a lot of nickel and dime sets, so Morgan got a lot of snaps. Coach has confidence in him back there. He clarified that it will certainly hurt the team to lose Mahone (as it did Ream) but it is not an excuse.

He drew a distinction between being discouraged and disappointed. He said that the locker room in Columbia was disappointed because they had missed a chance to do something special-win a game @Missouri. And that chance will never come back again. However, the team is not discouraged. We are working to improve and win the next game. As he said, "teams that are discouraged don't get better."

There was considerable talk about playing in Huntington. It will be Clawson's first visit there. However, he laughed and said "they love their Herd." He talked about them having one of the best home records in the country. I didn't really get what the heck he was talking about, and it does appear to be unsupported by actual facts. They have been 3-3 at home 3 of the last 4 years, and are 39-13 over the past nine years, which is approximately as good as Toledo.

Marshall presents a unique offensive approach because of their heavy reliance on using their TE, Cody Slate, who is a true talent who has been very productive in his college career. He said that one of the reasons why he likes his teams to use a diverse offense, (including a tight end) is that the defense then gets to practice against diverse plays. Which, should help against Marshall.

He talked about Marshall being a physical football team, describing them twice as being "stout." Not sure precisely what that means or even if it is a compliment, but that's what he said. He noted that Marshall has a win over traditionally strong FCS team (Southern Illinois) and a loss to a really good Va Tech team.

He talked about Ray Hutson and Chris Wright, who played well at times and still need to get better. He said they got worn down by the number of plays they had to play in that environment on Saturday.

In an interesting comment, he said that you can't practice or condition to play in a game like that. The size of the crowd creates anxiety which takes more out of you, and you just have to be used to it.

He was happy with our running game, and said that it makes our team harder to prepare for when people see that we can run the ball.

Coach was asked about the eight penalties. Only three bothered him, two of which were false starts and one was an illegal motion. Some of the calls he did not agree with, including the personal foul for hitting out of bounds. He also said that the chop block call was just a player trying to make a good play only to run into some bad luck, and that he doesn't want to discourage plays like that.

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