UT 24 UTEP 0: Jeremy Pruitt's press conference

UT 24 UTEP 0: Jeremy Pruitt's press conference

Football

UT 24 UTEP 0: Jeremy Pruitt's press conference

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Jeremy Pruitt met with media following Tennessee’s 24-0 victory over UTEP.

Opening Statement:

“We said for this game that one of our major goals was to find 11 guys that executed every single play, just one play at a time. I know that seems like that’s not much, but when you talk about a football team whether its offensively, defensively, or on special teams, you’d be shocked how many times you don’t find 11 guys that do it exactly right all the time, and that was our goal going into this game, for just one play. We wanted to do one play and then go on to the next play and then try to put a series of plays together, and then a quarter together and then a half together and then hopefully, eventually a full game together. When you look at it, you start with the offense, not nearly as many negative plays today, but we got a chop-blocking penalty on the goal line, and then we only ended up getting three points. We fumbled the ball on second-and-goal at the one. We really shot ourselves in the foot by getting penalties. We had a couple of breakdowns in protection, just really things that we should be able to get done. Give UTEP credit, their guys played really hard. Coach Dimel has a team that’s improving, very similarly to us; he and I talked about it before the game. When you look at it, 24 points is absolutely not where we want to be. Then you look at what was the (cause) of it, which was way too many penalties, turning the ball over. So, we have to improve on that. Defensively, we didn’t start the game the right way. There were way too many runners that were falling forward. I thought we controlled the quarterback a little better as the game went on. We had no turnovers on defense, and it’s going to be hard to win in the SEC moving forward if we’re not creating any turnovers. We’re going to have to be a team that creates a bunch of turnovers. There are balls hitting us in the head, in the hands, and we’re going to have to find guys that can play the ball and finish on the ball and then get the ball off of the quarterback and the runners. Special teams, we drop a punt, don’t field a punt, and that’s not what you want to be. I thought our kickers kicked the ball really well. Joe (Doyle) did a couple of punts; Paxton (Brooks) kicked the ball into the end zone. It’s another week. We’ve got to improve, but it’s a good lesson for our players because we didn’t practice very well this week. On Wednesday I think you guys could tell that I wasn’t happy with the way we performed. Most places that I’ve been, the way you practice is the way you play. You don’t practice badly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then play well on Saturday; that doesn’t happen. We have to improve practicing. We have to understand our expectations at practice, and I think that will help us grow as football players and as a football team. And we better, because now the real season starts.”

On Ty Chandler’s performance and his big play ability:

“Ty (Chandler) is a guy that is a pretty instinctive runner. He has good vision, but he (also) has good speed. So, he got out there and did a good job finishing that run, and it’s a good thing he did because I’m not sure that we wouldn’t have gotten another penalty before we got into the end zone, so I’m glad he got to the end zone.”

On Keller Chryst getting reps:

“We were going to play Keller (Chryst) regardless of the situation. We had missed a turn because we had missed fielding the ball with the punt, so we wanted to give him an opportunity.”

On what percentage of plays all eleven players did their job:

“Well, I can watch a couple of them, but I can’t watch all of them. I’ll have to wait until I’ve watched the film to have an idea. Ask me on Monday and I might give you a better idea.”

On what he saw from the running back unit:

“I saw the ball on the ground three times, so that’s not very good. We’ve got to take care of the ball. The first thing for a running back is taking care of the football, the second thing is you’ve got to be able to protect the quarterback. I think we have guys that are plenty capable. I like the way they work in practice, I like the way they compete, and I think it’s a good room, but on Wednesday, there were two balls on the ground. How many balls were on the ground today? Two more. So, it’s a good lesson for everybody involved.”

On his impressions of the defense over the past two games:

“I think our guys have worked hard. I didn’t think what we put on the field the first game was probably our best. I think the other team had something to do with that. We’ll see as we go from here. We have a long ways to go, but I think our guy are working. They’re trying to improve, but we have to do a better job creating some turnovers.”

On the team’s readiness for SEC competition:

“I don’t know, you don’t really have a choice in that. I would hope we’re ready. If you come to Tennessee, you came to play in the SEC, so I would hope they’re ready to play in the SEC. Are we ready as a football team? When you turn the ball over two times and don’t get any turnovers, make eight penalties – probably 10 if you count the ones they declined – it would be hard to beat anybody in the SEC playing like that.”

On what was missing this week in practice:

“For one, just sustaining. There’s parts of practice that are okay but just sustaining. It’s a little bit hot out there; maybe they don’t feel good. It’s the third week of the season, imagine how we’re going to feel in four more weeks. But you have to go practice, the only way that you’ll develop as a football player is to practice and prepare. Some of that is getting treatment, getting in the weight room, eating the right way, getting sleep, a lot of that goes into it and that can all contribute to how you perform. Our guys are learning our expectations doing that. And let me tell you, we have a lot of guys in our program that are trying to do it the right way, and I think we have very few guys in our program that are not. But, you have to help them along the way. Just like my three-year-old. He knows not to get over by the fireplace. But if the fire is on, the first thing he’s going to do when he walks into the room is look and see and then get as close as he can to the fire to see if I’m going to get onto him or not. So that’s just part of building a program.”

On Jeremy Banks’s fumble at the one-yard line:

“I guess the only time when it’s okay to do that is when it’s fourth down. Like I told him, if he doesn’t fumble the football, then the ball is going to be on the one-foot line, and we have two more downs that we can give it to him. It was a very poor decision. You see guys do it all the time. There’s no reason to do that. Just take the ball where it is and let’s play it again. So it’s something where he’s young, and he’ll learn from it. I talked to him about it on the field, and we’ll coach him and keep going.”

On Jarrett Guarantano’s performance through three games:

“Jarrett has played within the system, and he’s been pretty accurate. He’s done a good job trying to keep us out of negative plays, and he probably in the RPO game could throw the ball out on the perimeter a few more times. But you know what, if he throws it out there and they hit him, you know what I’m going to say? That he should be handing the ball off. So it’s easy for me to sit here and talk about it. He has to play with what he sees out there. I would like for our offensive line to do a little better job being more firm in the pocket and helping us push the ball down the field, because I think we have some wide receivers and a couple of quarterbacks that can do that. And when we have success running the football, I think we rushed for 345 yards today, you want to be able to have some play action shots off of that. So we need to do that.”

On lack of energy in practice:

“I don’t know what they did the last time they won a game around here, but I know what we’re going to do. We’re not going to change every week. We’re going to practice the same way, regardless of what happens on Saturday’s. We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to improve. We’ve got a long way to go, we’ve got guys that are willing, we just have to get them to go – get them to go to improve, that’s why we’re here. Am I disappointed in our guys? I’m not disappointed, I’m just telling you the truth.”

On Daniel Bituli’s performance:

“He made six tackles on the stat sheet, he’s improving as a player. He missed spring ball, which was a big deal for him. We had two linebackers that missed spring ball, and then you throw Quart’e (Sapp), who didn’t play today, because he had a bone bruise last week. He probably could’ve played today; it is the best he’s been all week. Based off of the way that Will Ignont and Shanon Reid have practiced this week, we wanted to give those guys a chance, and we felt it would give us an opportunity to make sure we could get Quart’e back.

“Going back to Bituli, because of these guys missing spring ball, you don’t really know what you have. Are they going to be MIKE (linebackers)? Are they going to be Money (linebackers)? Are they going to play on third-down as an off-the-line linebacker, or are they going to be pass rushers? With us just trying to figure it out, these guys have been patient with us. The linebacker group has tried what we have asked them to do – I think those guys have a chance to be good leaders in our program, so that’s good. They had a good day.”

On the pass rush today:

“I think we did get a little more pressure. Sometimes that means you are guarding them a little better on the back end. Sometimes, we were (close) to the quarterback and still didn’t get a hand on them. We’re going to have to find guys that can, we have to create a little more pass rush for sure.”

On Jauan Jennings’ performance:

“When you look at it, as far as playing on Saturday’s, Jauan is back. When you talk about the preparation in fall camp, he wasn’t back. You only take so many reps each day, so you are trying to build up as camp goes. Over the long haul, that’s a lot of reps that you miss. He wasn’t able to go in the spring, so I think Jauan has a really competitive spirit about him. When he gets to the game, he likes to compete. I think the more he gets to practice – as he is doing more and more each week, the closer he is getting to play all the time.”

On success of third-down defense:

“The down and distance. It’s a lot tougher to get off the field on third-and-three, to third-and-sixes or less. If you get them in third-and-longs, one time today, we had (UTEP) in third-and-long, and I made a bad call, that was my fault. We didn’t give them a chance, so that was one of the (third-downs) they converted. It might have been the first or second one of the game. Getting them long yardages gives them a chance to have success. First or second-down defense helps your third-down defense.”

 

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