Blakeney holds first press conference since UAB loss

Blakeney holds first press conference since UAB loss

Trojans now begin preparations for Duke.
Opening Statement…
I think we need to address the last game first. It was certainly a disappointing loss that proved that we have a lot of work to do at a lot of different positions. We thought we had a chance to win that game and certainly it didn’t turn out that way. Our special teams did perform well against UAB. We did miss one field goal, but everything else was pretty good, good enough to have a chance if we would have executed well in other areas of the game. UAB is behind us, and it’s a disappointing loss and it’s one that we always want to win badly and this one we were unable to win this one.

Duke
I’m telling you, I watched part of the championship game last year with FSU and they are very prolific. They know exactly what they want to do and their kids are smart and play hard. We had a chance to get them last year up there, but we had a call that called a touchdown back late in the game that would have at least tied it. David Cutcliffe is one of the top men in our game. He is also a top coach in our game, in my opinion. He has found a home at Duke and he has a situation there where the administration wants to keep him there for a lifetime. He has proven that he is the right guy for that program, and he has probably been the right guy for a couple more programs. Cutcliffe and I go back to our Birmingham days coaching high school football. We still want to beat Duke and find a way to beat Duke. We will have to have a great plan and we will have to execute it. It’s a home game, a 6 p.m. kick, and we’re excited about it.

On the most critical place Troy has to improve…
We rushed for 71 yards, and that is not enough. We are going to try and get to where we can run the football. I think that is somewhere that we can be better at with our offensive line and tight ends and our backs. We have some guys that can run north and south. We cannot fumble. That was the first fumble of (Jordan) Chunn’s career. I think some of our guys get out in that grass and they start looking at the width instead of north and south. We can coach that better and I think we will have a better understanding when we get back to the rest of the game. We need to be better rushing the football. I know our offensive coaches feel the same way. You cannot just throw it all the time and you cannot just run it all the time. Of course, UAB did a good job of just running it the other day.

On injuries…
As far as I know we came out pretty good. I don’t think there is anyone that will miss this game coming up. We came out very good.

On Brandon Silvers and Dontreal Pruitt…
Both of them had their moments, both good and bad. I didn’t think the quarterbacks played bad. We probably have been putting a lot on them. The quarterback is sort of a fickle position, because if you lose you are not worth a dog and if you win, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. If we had won the game, we would have been talking about how good the both of them are. They understand and their coaches understand that those 11 guys on offense have to play better. The quarterbacks will play better if the other 10 do. We have to find a way to be better for them and give them better opportunities.

On keeping starters in longer…
Well, it depends on how hot it is. It was pretty warm up there. I don’t know how many, but I think our starters played at least 40 snaps. That’s a lot of snaps for guys that are fighting for their life on every snap against some 320-pounders. We do try and alternate. I do think our alternation was good. We weren’t good enough as far as those guys that were playing against the guys on the other side of the ball. As far as getting guys ready and keeping guys fresh, we did what we had to do.

On getting the guys to know each other…
Well, the criteria for getting to know each other is probably time and some of the guys have been here a long time. I think knowing and caring and giving it everything you have, every day and making sure you take care of your own business, but at the same time helping your teammate is what is takes. We are not perfect. We are all humans. We got woodshedded. When that happens, it isn’t any fun the next week. It’s not really any fun until you win. So, we’re going to try to do everything we can to put our arms around each other and see if we can figure out how to play this game again.


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