JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn.— Carson-Newman associate head football coach Mike Clowney held court in the Eagles' weekly press conference prior to Saturday's South Atlantic Conference game at Brevard in.
The following is a written transcript from the Mike Clowney press conference.
Clowney opening remarks: We appreciate all of you guys coming out here today. It was a tough football game on Saturday but the thing we are looking forward to the most is going out and playing the next one which is Brevard. We talk about it every week on how its not really about our opponent but its more about Carson-Newman becoming the football team it needs to be and to finish the football season the right way.
Q1: When you look at it, what is the biggest thing that needs to change following the L-R game?
Clowney: When you go and look at our schedule, one of the big things that we looked at this morning was that we opened up the season with a loss, then we got a win and another loss a win and a loss. There are points in time when we have played really good and we looked like a really good football team. There are other points in time where we haven't looked so good. The biggest thing we are doing right now is to try and find that consistency. We want to have more good plays than bad, obviously, but we want to be the best football team we can be every time the football team is snapped. Our biggest focus this week is to try and find that consistency and to do things the right way all of the time.
Q2: Last year you faced four triple option teams. This year, it's really only Brevard. What challenges do you face to prepare for the flex bone?
Clowney: The flex bone is unique because of all the motions and the moving around. They try to get you outnumbered and out of position. The good thing for us is that we see some form of the option every day, so we won't go into a game completely unprepared. The biggest thing is that our defense probably hasn't seen the offense on a weekly bases like we normally would. It will be a little more of a challenge for them to make sure they have their fits right and so forth. Our biggest plan is to stay simple and know how to execute.
Q3: There have been some pretty close games the past couple of times C-N has gone to Brevard. What kind of message do you send the team to not overlook a club that is going Division III next year and a team that has looked good at times this year?
Clowney: Our message goes back to being consistent and to figure out what kind of football team we want to be. It's not necessarily looking at Brevard and what has happened the past few years, its more or less about where we are right now and what we want to accomplish as a team.
Q4: obviously, I think the offense is a little frustrated right now but part of that is having to play a freshman quarterback in the second half. How do you think Derrick Evans handled himself?
Clowney: Overall, when you watch the film, I think Derrick did a good job. Now, there are some things that need to be corrected. Anytime you play a freshman quarterback, the big thing is to get everyone else around him moving in order to give him some help. That is what we didn't do well. I think the guys will come over today and see that's several times in the game he ended up on his back after throws and Derrick does need to do a better job of getting depth in his drops in order to help himself out. Overall, we need to do a better job of protecting him. It's not just Derrick it's more about getting the whole picture around him the way it's supposed to be. We were looking at it this morning and putting some clips together showing some things we did well and some of the things we didn't do so well. So many times when you watch the video we see that plus one. One guy that fails to do his job that really kind of puts us in a bad situation. If we can get that corrected, we have a chance to be a really good football team.
Q5: It seems like over the past few weeks the defense and special teams are beginning to make some plays. How big is that for this team?
Clowney: I think that is important as far as putting the full picture together. One of the scores we had this week was set up by a punt return. We had an interception on defense that gave us a short field. That is what we talk about when we say to finish the little things off. Those are the things that give us a chance to really turn the corner until we get back to the way we need to be offensively. We are really close to getting to where we want to go.
Clowney: Health wise, we are probably about where we started the year at. We are now able to get that three man rotation going again. We were able to get Jared Dillingham and Marcus Williams some reps over the last few weeks. The biggest thing is to be able to take some pressure off those guys in practice and do get other guys some reps in order to keep everyone fresh going into the game.
Q7: Last year, you rotated units against Brevard. Is that something that may happen this year?
Clowney: Coach Sparks will probably have to make that call [laughs] but I think the way things are going right now is to find that one group that can gel together. That is probably the biggest thing for us right now to get that consistency we are talking about.
Q8: Brevard's defense has improved greatly from last year. What sticks out to you about that 3-4 defense?
Clowney: They do a real good job of teaching the fundamentals. They have limited some of the things they do scheme wise. The have good stances and they run to the football. They are playing good sound football and that is what is giving them a chance to get better.
Q9: Jinsley John, an inside linebacker, leads the league in tackles. What sticks out to you about him?
Clowney: The way he fills the holes is impressive. He runs downhill and fills the running lanes and we need to make sure we do a good job of getting to the second level to get him sealed and contained.