Head coach Matt Wells, defensive tackle Broderick Washington, and running back Armand Shyne all spoke with the media on Monday.
As a quick aside, the opening statement was quite lengthy, I don’t recall Kliff Kingsbury really ever being about the opening statement. Wells goes into pretty good detail about UTEP, and what he thought about the team’s performance against Montana State after maybe having some time to review the film. He’s pretty specific about who played well and that’s certainly interesting.
This was a pretty fantastic exchange, one where Wells is asked about whether or not the game was out of hand, the reporter asking the question, was Don Williams and it was presumptous at best and I’m guessing that Wells took it as being presumptuous as well.
Q. You played your starters until pretty late in the game. Had the game in hand. Did you want to get more reps for your ones and twos?
MATT WELLS: No, the game was not in hand. We had a fourth down — third-and-nine stop. We forced a missed kick. Three or four plays later Xavier goes for a touchdown, and that made it 38-7. At that point I thought the game was checkmate, to be real honest with you.
If they score at that point with 12 minutes to go in the game, it’s 31-14. I’m going to say they make the extra point. That’s a two-possession ballgame. 12 minutes to go. Don’t think my mind wasn’t racing at how many possessions are left in the football game. Is that on-side kick coming? That game was not in hand until that point in the game.
At that point in the game we did start seven, though, where we went up 38-7.
I think Wells is right here, the last thing he wants to do is blow the game and I also thought it was interesting that he was so quick to answer, like he had thought about where he was in the game. Definitely an interesting thought.
Wells was also asked about having Adam Beck essentially playing the entire game and said that this is really maybe a match-up situation with defensive coordinator Keith Patterson:
MATT WELLS: I think Adam Beck, Rambo, Xavier Benson at the other outside backer spot, Kosi Eldridge, we’re trying to figure out where everybody’s best spot is. Rambo, 6’5″, 220 pound kid, is he better rushing on the edge, inside box, Willie. Depends on the formation the offense gives you exactly where those guys line up. Week-to-week, I think how they practice, where they fit in that week’s scheme.
I think that Coach P has a few moves to make every single week. I think you’ll see a bunch of those guys move around, so… Not one thing in particular led to him playing more.
Wells was also asked about how quarterback Alan Bowman did and mentioned how he’s going to earn the ability to more or less call the offense:
MATT WELLS: I think the first thing you look at is your touchdown-to-interception ratio will always be I think a key stat. Completion percentage can be misleading at times because we’re going to throw a bunch of bubbles and (indiscernible). Your completion percentage on bubbles and screens should be 95%.
You’re looking at your accuracy in terms of drop-back passes, those kind of things, RPOs. Alan was pretty accurate. You’re looking for command of the offense. The more leniency or rope that Coach Yost gives him in terms of checking, he will call a little bit to a decent amount of the game because Coach Yost will gain confidence and more confidence in Alan, and Alan will be able to call the game, put a few of our guys in better positions.
I think we look at some of those kind of things.
And last, but not least, but Wells somewhat goes into how he prepares and gets ready for each opponent and how he needs the team to buy into preparing for just that next practice, and hten take the next day.
Q. How do you approach this week playing a FCS team, Power 5 school the next week, are you eager to get the better competition later in the year or are you excited to fine-tune a few things coming up this week?
MATT WELLS: Play it as it lies. You don’t get any bumps in the fairway or the rough. You play the schedule as it lies. It’s all about us. Everything is about us. It’s what we do, how we do it. The respect for your opponent will be there every single week.
I think you respect your opponent by your preparation. I’m trying to teach our guys how to do that. Our staff is trying to teach our guys how to do that. The investment you put into preparation, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is on Saturday, whether it’s a league game or non-league game, whether it’s at home or on the road, you don’t leave. You don’t leave victory to chance on Saturday. You prepare the same way, you invest the same way. That’s how you respect your opponent.
I 100% respect UTEP. We’ll have to play better than we did Saturday to win the game this week. Our guys have to understand that. I believe in how we’re going to practice on Monday. This afternoon is the most important thing I’m worried about right now. The rest of the preparation, as soon as I get out of here, start continuing to game plan. But the preparation this afternoon and the practice is all I’m worried about, then tomorrow morning 6:30 game plan, install meeting. That’s all that’s on my mind. All that needs to be on the players’ minds.
We have to instill that as an attitude to them, it’s all about us, what we do, how we prepare. You don’t just wing it on game day and roll the ball out and win. That doesn’t happen, I don’t believe. I don’t believe you can do that once we get to this league. Everything we do has to be the same or equal or more investment every single week.