Willy starts the press conference talking about how fast the players were. The players watched film from Tuesday’s practice and were very discouraged. Said they might have still had the Alabama game on their minds, but looked much better today.
With the starting defensive ends out, they might have to trim some things back. Robinson said that Steve Caldwell has done a really great job with the guys at that position. Trey Flowers has looked good and Chris Smith has some experience. They’ve given great effort this week.
Tremain Thomas has had a better week. He was very disappointed in his own performance, especially with this being the last time he would have a chance to play against Alabama. But Willy couldn’t let Thomas’ performance on the field to continue and pulled him from the game. “Everybody every once in a while has a bad day and I probably should have done it sooner.” Thomas knows he’s under fire and has to give more effort this week. Robinson said that if they pulled everyone that missed tackles, they’d have a completely new unit out there.
Robinson said the problem with tackling was that they didn’t do a good job of swarming to the ball. They talked before the game about how arm tackling wasn’t going to bring Trent Richardson down. One guy most likely wouldn’t either, without being dragged another five yards.
He said the one thing that he cannot stand is a defensive player who isn’t on his feet. Great football players are always on their feet. Make an interception, come down on your feet. Make a tackle, keep your feet. We had way too many players off their feet against Alabama. Too many guys ducking their heads making tackles…”that’s not the way we do it”. The coaching staff was very surprised by it. “You have to have courage to play defense.”
Junior Matt Marshall did a really good job filling in. Robinson said he might not field everything cleanly, but he’s always going to give great effort. He also commended his attitude saying Marshall didn’t wish anything to happen, he made things happen.
The defense will play a dramatically different offensive scheme this week. Talked a lot about after moving Tannehill to quarterback, they really accelerated what they are doing on offense. He has a lot of skills. The running backs are very talented in different ways…they have an experienced offensive line…and the wide receivers are very good. Our cornerbacks are going to have a challenge covering their tall wide receivers.
Willy had a lot of praise for senior Greg Gatson. He was also very surprised that Alabama didn’t test the corners with any deep balls, but he also said they didn’t have to with their running game working so well. But Gatson did a very good job in there, especially considering how much he has played.