Nov. 10, 2003
After getting a chance to assess the game on Sunday, it was a very disappointing and frustrating loss at least from my standpoint. You're hoping sometime late in your season that your are playing your best football and, given the situation in that particular game, we had some opportunities to keep ourselves in the game with getting turnovers. If we eliminated the turnovers we made it would have been a totally different game. We're just not operating as well as we need to be. I think defensively, we've played well all season long. Offensively we are still trying to generate the continuity on that side of the ball and that has been a struggle as you know all season long and it continues to do so. A question was asked after the game about our quarterback position. I don't like to answer those types of questions dealing with personnel ten minutes after a football game. I don't think it's right to make any type of decision particularly a personnel decision right after a game that's been a frustrating loss. But contrary to what I did say on Saturday, we are going to make a change and we're going with Drew (Olson) this week. After all the evaluation that I did yesterday in watching our game, Matt has done some good things for us offensively, but he hasn't been as consistent as we would hope that position to be. Drew has, when the times he has been the starter, done some good things for us and we were winning quite a bit at that time too. So given the state of that position, and the comfort level that Drew has within our system right now, that's the direction we're going. Both kids knew that from yesterday and we're hoping to rebound and give ourselves a spark so to speak with these last two games left. With that being said I'd like to open up for questioning please.
Didn't you indicate you weren't going to make a change and you made a decision?
I made the decision after I evaluated the tape on a personnel issue on Sunday.
After watching the film, were there a couple of things with Matt in terms of holding the ball that led to this decision?
There are a lot of things when you assess a game. You know, sometimes it looks poor on a quarterback when it totally isn't his faults, which were some issues that happened in our Stanford game. So the obvious eyes just see the end result and that's not necessarily is an issue on the quarterback. It could have been other issues. So that's the reason why I do make those types of decisions a day later after you get a chance to watch the tape and evaluate the whole process of how things work and how they didn't work and that's why I arrived to that decision today.
How did the guys feel about it? How did they take the news?
I think Matt was understanding with where we're at. He is just as frustrated as anyone on our team about where we are at offensively and where we're at as a team. He understands the issues that are involved. He's gotten his opportunity to direct the offense like he did at the beginning of the season. Hindsight is always the crystal ball you know. In terms of if that was the right decision to make that change to begin with? Well, Matt was the starter at the beginning of the year and played well in that first quarter. So if given that situation again, and if we had a similar circumstance, I can't say that I probably wouldn't react in the same way. We need to do what is best for our team and for our offense.
In shotgun formation the center snap seems to be a little bit long getting back to the quarterback and that creates a problem in the passing. Is there anyway to resolve that?
It gets resolved by more repetition you know. It was something we really concentrated on doing last week - really for the first time all season long just to give ourselves a little bit better ability to throw the football. So it was Robert's first time doing that extensively and there were some that were high and some that just lofted not quite as swift as it should be. I think those things get resolved with the more repetition you do it.
Will you still continue to throw from the shotgun?
We'll still do that yes. We'll still continue to do that because it seemed like our protection was a lot better than it was the week before.
Would you say that Matt's problems were more in execution or in his knowledge of the offense?
It was probably just where he is at in the offense. I think Drew has a lot of starts and probably has a better feel of what we are trying to get accomplished on offense. Matt I think understands what we're doing, it's just the feel of what he's doing is not quite as natural at this time. He needs more reps himself and given the situation we're in, we want to make sure we're maximizing our potential to put the best product of offense on the field.
If Drew struggles, how quick is your hook with him?
Well, those are issues that you have to worry about when they come. Keep in mind that both quarterbacks were very, very similar to begin with. It wasn't like one was an all-American in the pre-season and the other one was a first-year player and there was such a discrepancy between them. Both of them are really capable players and the competition was so close all along. So, given the situation you just said, I can't rule out anything to be honest with you in terms of what we would do in the course of the game.
So right now, you're just going with who is playing better at the moment?
Having said that both quarterbacks are very similar and both are very capable, after one wins four games in a row, was that monumental at the time?
No, not really. I think we judged it by performance and how kids have played and when Matt was in the game, even though how brief it was, he played very well and did the things that we asked him to do.
Complete press conference can be accessed by clicking on the audio link at the top of the page.