Head Coach Pat Shurmur
September 14, 2018
Opening Remarks: I’ll try to answer your questions. (Olivier Vernon) is out and (Tae Davis) is questionable. Other than that, everybody should be ready to go.
Q: What happened with (Janoris Jenkins) yesterday, anything you can tell us?
A: No, it’s just a family issue. Just give him his space on it. He’s fine. Janoris is fine.
Q: You expect him to play?
A: Yes, he was out here today and ready to go.
Q: With the snaps between (Lorenzo Carter) and (Connor Barwin), it looked like you used Carter mostly on passing downs. Is that how you view it?
A: No, that’s not how we view it. We will probably be able to use both players on first, second and third down.
Q: What made the distribution the way it was?
A: That’s just the way it worked out. We feel like both players can play on first, second and third down.
Q: Are you a coach that changes much week to week?
A: We game plan for our opponent and we try to put our players in the best position to beat the teams we’re playing. This week’s defense is different than last week’s, so there will be a few things we do differently.
Q: You talk a lot about the team’s energy and what you want to see. Do you see the requisite energy going into this game from your team in practice?
A: Yeah, the energy was good. They practiced well, and I thought it was good.
Q: (James Bettcher) said that he thought the defense’s Wednesday practice was better than the week before.
A: Yeah, those comparisons can be made certainly early in the year. The first preparation week, everybody’s going through that the first time, and so I notice incremental differences to the good this second week. I felt like Wednesday’s practice was better than last Wednesday, I felt like Thursday’s practice was better, and I actually felt like today’s practice was better than last Friday. That’s what you’re trying to get. When I talk about improvement from a team, you have to practice this game and if you’re fortunate to stay healthy, those are the improvements you look for and hopefully it translates into better play on Sunday.
Q: Any long-term concern about (Olivier Vernon) or do you think he should be back next week?
A: We are hopeful he’ll be back soon, so we’ll see. He did more this week and he got closer. We haven’t seen any setbacks in any way, so we will be hopeful for next week.
Q: When you go into a game, how much halftime adjustment do you make, or is just a tweak here and there?
A: Along the way, you’re making adjustments, that’s why we wear headsets. As things happen, you adjust and then certainly when you go in at halftime you talk about the adjustments you have been making and you get the players ready to go out for the second half. There’s a thing or two that you keep for the second half in every game, every team does that, and it looks a little bit new or different, but for the most part and that’s why I kind of say halftime adjustment is tongue and cheek – you’re adjusting constantly. That’s my view of it.
Q: Do you think the players get more comfortable or get used to the amount of adjustments you’re going to make in a game as you move on?
A: That’s part of working together. The longer you work together, the more comfortable everybody is with the little changes that happen during the game.
Q: You used Michael Thomas in the slot nickel more in the first game than I thought you did during the preseason games. Is that because he’s better against the run?
A: No, that’s just the way it played out by how they lined up. He actually did a good job. Again, we’re going to use the players that are up to their best of their ability, use their strengths and that’s one of his strengths, to play low.
Q: How do you approach the primetime game and handling players? Do you do anything different?
A: No, broadcast and then a game breaks out. That’s the way it works.
Q: You mentioned you practice a certain time because you wanted their bodies to be ready for the game. You don’t adjust for that for (primetime)?
A: We don’t worry about that. When you start playing night games, you spend time on the day of the game certainly, move them around, walk-throughs, those types of things. Really what changes only is the Sunday schedule leading up to the game. Typically for a 1 o’clock game, typically you don’t do much, but when you have 4 o’clock and night game type timeframes, you’ll do more with walk-throughs and such.
Q: Does your mantra is ‘if football’s on, I’m watching it’ still count on Sunday? Those 1 o’clock games come on-
A: Yes, I’ve always got it on in the background. I’m a football fan, so when there’s a game on I try to watch it, if I can stay awake.
Q: As far as Sunday goes during the day with your schedule, are there times when you may have the 1 o’clock games on?
A: Yes, we’re sitting around the hotel so we’ll be able to keep track of what’s going on just because we’re fans of the game.
Q: Can you watch Notre Dame-Vanderbilt game or will you be traveling?
A: I think we’re going to be flying. I’m going to try to find a way to get some updates. I’m certainly hoping that Vandy does well.
Q: You’ve played the Cowboys before, you’ve done this and been there, but what are your expectations? This is their home opener, a pretty big game for both teams.
A: Expectation is to go there, play well, and win. That’s what we expect. We had our home opener last week. We don’t really think too much about that. We get ready to play the Cowboys and we go down there and play the game.
Q: I meant more towards the atmosphere.
A: Really for a road team, the thing that affects you is the crowd noise, and we prepare for that regardless if we’re playing at night or during the day. That’s really the effect on the game and every away venue presents the challenge of overcoming crowd noise. We prepared for it and we’re ready to go.