After an intense Tuesday practice bouncing back after a loss, the team has “a calmer attitude about us” with a lot more emphasis on fundamentals after resorting back to bad habits during Saturday’s game. Part of that could be attributed to the solidified depth chart that no longer contains any OR’s. It could be a change in Quarterbacks. After losing to WKU, Max Smith acknowledges that, “we aren’t as good as we thought we were”, with the team staying focused on improving themselves rather than worrying too much about the other team. Max went on to say, “Obviously Miami has a chip on their shoulder just like we have one on ours…really this week it’s all about US getting better, not really about what they’re doing but about what we’re doing.”
Max actually didn’t get informed by the coaching staff that he was starting until Brown called him Monday evening, but before that, “I guess Twitter let me know.” Coach Stoops didn’t want to praise Max too highly but, “he made less mistakes, and he did some of the basic things that we’re looking for correctly and distributed the ball where we need to.” Neal Brown liked his composure and productivity even more, “He made some more plays. I thought he did a better job handling the environment.” When Max was asked what thought made him stand out, he wasn’t too eager to answer knowing that there’s plenty of room to improve.
The rushing offense looked better than it has in recent memory, racking up over 200 yards on the ground. It was one of the few high points for Neal Brown, but he was EXTREMELY disappointed with how they ran it on first down, “I was not pleased with how we ran the ball on first down. I really think that’s what hurt us. If we could’ve got going on first down a little bit more, we would’ve ran more plays, we would’ve had a chance to get them more fatigued, and really set the pace that we wanted to play with.” Brown doesn’t expect the ground game to take a huge hit by removing the running QB from the game. It may change exactly what he calls with Max at the helm, but Brown likes the production from the offensive line and guys like Raymond Sanders and Jojo Kemp.
For Neal Brown, turning the offense into what he wants to see is quite simple, “If we can pay attention to details, and we can get more physical, we can play winning football on our side of the football.”
More Practice Notes
– After going through just one game, there are a significant amount of players working to be healthy enough to play vs. Miami. Without much depth at any position on the field, it’s a tough balance for the Coach to move forward without setting the team back even further with more injuries.
“It’s one of those issues where you’re constantly trying to balance moving forward as a program and where that line is drawn, because we need SO much work. We could sit out here all day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays- we need all the reps we can get, but we also need to try and win games. There’s a fine line there, continuing to move forward with your program and getting guys healthy enough to win games, because we obviously can’t afford to lose many guys.”
– After coining the term “it’s a process” as Stoops’ go-to saying, he backed off using it for about 3 weeks, until today. For the young talented wide receivers, most of them never had to block in high school, “That’s correct. Ya that’s going to be- I hate to use it- but it’s a process.” The process may need to be sped up after looking fairly pathetic on multiple screen plays. Coach Mainord has put an extra emphasis on raising physicality this week to improve their blocking abilities,with Ryan Timmons saying, “We’ve been doing work, mainly just getting more physical with our hands.” Timmons spent his career at Franklin County making opponents look like fools via finesse. Becoming a physical WR may take some time, but he, along with the rest of the WRs, aren’t shying away from the challenge.
– In Ryan Timmons‘ debut he had an up and up down performance, carrying the ball nearly 40 yards down the field before committing a crucial fumble. A key mistake would put a lot of freshmen down, but Timmons isn’t like a lot of freshman, “You can’t let one play affect more plays. Once I fumbled, if I just kept thinking about it then I’m just going to hurt my team. You just got to forget about it and make up for it by making more plays.”