The Owls return to the road this Saturday to take on Old Dominion. Coach Kiffin held his weekly media teleconference Sunday evening. With all the officiating buzz aside, Coach Lane Kiffin did have some other notable comments during his weekly teleconference. Below are those highlights from that session.
Back and forth game, it almost had a feel like there late, whoever had it last was going to win if they had enough time. At the end of the day, we werenít consistent enough, had too many negative plays on offense. The seven sacks, even though five of the seven werenít even normal passes, just poor quarterback decisions. [They] were RPOs. They are named RPOs for a reason Ė Run/Pass Options, not run, pass, hold the ball Ė RPHO. Unfortunately, that cost us on offense and then we tackle as bad in the game, especially in the second half, as we ever have versus anybody. That was discouraging and very emotional game to take the lead twice and not hold on. Not a happy place around here.
With the repeated missed tackling do you think that is a product of how many times the defense has been bailed out by a turnover? I know we have talked about bending, but not breaking.
No, I think that we just tackled really poorly and theyíve got some really good players. I have always thought Marshall, to me, has the most talent of everybody in the league every year and (running back Brenden Knox) the back ran really good, really physical and elusive and we tackled really poor in the back end.
Do you have a total count for missed tackles?
I do not have that in front of me. It was a lot.
Is your team as a whole and not just on defense, playing physically enough for you and is it hampering the run game maybe if itís not physical enough up front?
We actually ran the ball better than it felt like because of all the quarterback lost yardage. Actually, the running backs on the pulled runs, out in the field had some pretty good numbers. It didnít feel like that during the game, but the negative runs by Chris, like I said just holding the ball on RPOís, which you canít do, you have to hand it off or you have to throw it on time. He takes another one where he runs out of bounds instead of throwing it out of bounds and it is a four-yard rushing loss. That really took a toll on the stats and made the numbers not very productive and he didnít play really well with a number of decisions. Threw the ball well at times and accurate. It was a frustrating game on a lot of fronts because it is a one-score game. When you have those games it takes one play or one anything to happen in the game to change the game. There was frustration with our play and obviously I was frustrated with the officials during the game. You probably saw that.
Is Saturdayís game against ODU, a team that has struggled all year, the type of matchup where you stress with the defense to take advantage?
Well, we have to work on ourselves, first, regardless of who we are playing. They are struggling in areas. We all have our struggles. We have to tackle. We have to play more physical and tackle better and we have got to run the ball more consistent. Hopefully, that happens this week.
If Robison struggles for a second consecutive week, is there any thought to giving [Nick] Tronti a few more snaps?
Not really because, Chris has, at times, played really well just like he did in that game. He threw for 360, or whatever it was, a lot of yards. It is frustrating with the decision-making on things, but he is taking care of the ball. We were in desperation mode obviously on the last play of the game, had it not been that, we were getting ready to go, I believe, two games in a row without a single turnover.