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September 14, 2011

Q&A: Mike Archer will not make excuses

Defensive coordinator Mike Archer was not very pleased with his defense following Saturday's loss to Wake Forest.

Despite the loss of two starters on the defensive line - J.R. Sweezy and Jeff Rieskamp - and another key reserve missing the game with an injury - Thomas Teal - Archer expects more out of his defense. Archer said the unit, as a whole, must play better this weekend against South Alabama.

A full transcript of what the coach had to say is below:

Can you talk about what concerns you most after the first two weeks of the season?

Obviously the big plays, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure that out. It doesn't make a difference who you play against, you have to eliminate the big plays and we allowed too many.

Anything specific that you think the defense needs to improve on?

I think our whole defense [needs to improve]. We had opportunities to get the quarterback on the ground and sack him, but we missed him and gave up the big play. We blitz and we come clean on a blitz, but we miss the quarterback. It's a combination, it's not any one particular group, it's all three. It's the pressure, it's the coverage that we have to get better at. We were able to do those things before but right now we aren't executing so that's where we have to get better.

In the first game, the defense caused some turnovers. What contributed to that?

I think we were around the football, we ran to the football. When you hustle to the ball, good things happen. [Wake Forest] did a good job last week, they did a nice job preparing for us, game planning us. They threw the ball quick, we had one turnover; we had an opportunity on the first drive, we knock the ball loose on a blitz, it doesn't go our way. Part of it is the way the ball bounces, too. We got to keep working at it and hopefully we'll get our share of turnovers this week.

How much do you think the injuries up front are contributing to the lack of pressure?

I'm not making excuses, the ones we've got have to play. That's football. We've got some young guys who are learning the game - the pace of the game, the intensity of the game and how hard you have to play.

You think some of that inexperience may have showed up last week?

I'm not making any excuses. We have to be better there and that's not the only area, we have to be better everywhere.

Can you talk about what you see out of the South Alabama offense?

We looked at them in the offseason last year and they really tried to throw the football. Right now, they're running the ball more then they're throwing the ball. In their two wins, they're running the ball about 75 percent of the time. Is that going to continue Saturday? We don't know but we have to be prepared for not only their running game but when they go empty and spread the field. We've got to be ready on both ends.

They look like they've got a lot of speed. Can you talk about that?

They've got good athletes. They've got kids that can run, guys that can throw it, guys that can catch it. They've got some young men who have transferred from some division I schools and they've got some good football players. We have to go into this game with the idea that we have to play a lot better than we did last week if we want to have a chance to win. As you find out every Saturday, if you aren't ready to play, you're going to get beat. It's been proven so far this year by schools that maybe aren't BCS school, they've gotten beat.

Can you talk Art Norman stepping into the lineup. Have you been pleased with his play over the past two weeks?

He's given us great effort. He's getting an opportunity with [Jeff] Rieskamp's injury and he's going to get better with each and every snap as he gets experience. This is his first go-around, he's going to make mistakes but, yeah, so far after two weeks [I've been pleased]. He played a lot of snaps last week and he's not the biggest guy in the world so we've got to get him some rest, but he'll be fine.


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