Quotes from Coach Crowe’s Press Conference
Courtesy of JSUGamecocksports.com
QUOTING HEAD COACH JACK CROWE
On Last Week’s Eastern Illinois Game
“We are recovering emotionally from a disappointing loss. I really don’t expect us not to recover. If we are what I think we are, we will come back stronger than before. The loss was a result of clearly one phase and that’s the kicking game. Some of it was our miscues and some of it was a result of plays made by Eastern Illinois that they deserve full credit for. They recover an onside kick after scoring. They blocked a punt. They returned a kickoff. EIU’s Lorence Ricks, if there was a better special teams player in the country I would be surprised. I didn’t think we played as good as we could play anywhere, but I thought we played good enough to win on offense and defense. But we didn’t do what it took to win in the fourth quarter, particularly on offense. We didn’t finish the game. We had four possessions in the fourth quarter and we failed to convert on a third and four and a third and five and then we threw an interception. We lost the ability to have a fourth possession because we fumbled a punt return, which was another kicking game miscue. I am giving full credit to Eastern Illinois. Coach (Bob) Spoo is a great coach and they were ready to play. They played somewhat of the underdog role and played it very well. They used the kicking game to position their offense on a short field. Their average starting field position was the minus-44 yard line. Our average starting field position was about 20 yards less than that. Those are statistics that will offset any kind of athletic advantage you got. As far as the responsibility for the mistakes that were made, I don’t think the open week helped particularly when you separate our team out in terms of maturity. For example on the punt block instead of a two-yard spacing between the center and guard there was almost a three-yard spacing. It is just attention to detail. But, you still have to give (Lorence) Ricks a lot of credit. He came around an edge with a lot of speed. It took a really quality athlete to do that and he got there with plenty of time too. And then in the coverage of the kickoff, which was Ricks again, we had some people that just did not separate from blocks very well. That is two weeks in a row for our kickoff coverage team. Obviously, there will be some adjustments in personnel and there will be some more experienced players covering kickoffs. I give credit to EIU’s quarterback. Jake Christianson is a quality player. I think we controlled him, but he did a lot things that were very impressive.”
On This Week’s Game At Austin Peay
“Austin Peay is a dangerous football team for anybody to play. In their last contest, which was Eastern Kentucky, they won the football game. Eastern Kentucky made some mistakes, but they did not give them the football game. Of the top six rushing games in the OVC this year, Austin Peay has all six of them with two different people. Ryan White there starting running back has three of them and their backup Terrance Holt has the other three. Both of them have had 100-yard rushing days. Holt is leading the nation in all-purpose yardage and is a great kick returner, who gave us fits last year. This is a team that positions itself to win. It will take a great effort. I think we are very capable, defensively, of handling the challenge, but I think we are going to have to get back on our game. We didn’t play poorly last week, defensively, but we could have played better obviously, and we have got to play better this week.
“Offensively, we continue to throw for more yards than we run for which is a Ryan Perrilloux affect. I thought Ryan had a good game but did not have his best game. I expect his game to improve and I expect us to get more out of our running game. Right now, we are a team that knows it is talented. We started off the year knowing the efficiency requirements of a talented team and have been on top of those efficiencies pretty well. But the last couple of games some of those things are starting to slip and we going to change our practice schedule to accommodate more intense practices in certain areas. I still have a lot of confidence in our team. I think we are fully capable of being a dominate team but you can not be, offensively and defensively, what we are and have the result of that productivity and lose the kicking game. I don’t expect if to happen again to be honest with you.
“If I could go back and do something different, I would probably go back and work differently during our time off. We would have done things for that group to continue to improve. We have got to come to a point in this program where we have 18-22 seniors every year. When you start seeing that happen this stuff won’t happen. It has been happening on regular basis. It is not enough from keeping us from being a credible team, but it is enough from keeping us from being a great football team.”