UTEP's Sean Kugler talks about Texas A&M loss, upcoming game against North Texas
Updated On: Nov 07 2013 02:23:16 PM CST
UTEP head coach Sean Kugler talked about North Texas and fixing the Miner offense in his weekly press gathering.
(On Saturday's loss at Texas A&M)
"I just want to say that they're a high quality program. They have a lot of great athletes there. After being on the field and watching their quarterback in person, I have a lot more respect for him as a coach. He is something special. The guy can make plays with his feet. He has an unbelievable arm. He has that knack for escaping and extending plays. He is a very unique quarterback and it was kind of a thrill to watch him play actually."
(On the defense's performance)
"I thought the defense competed well all night. There was a floodgate in the second quarter where we had three turnovers back to back to back. You can't give any team the ball three times, certainly a team with the capabilities of Texas A&M and how quickly they can score. Being a good team like they are, they took advantage of it and they scored every time. But it was our own fault. We had three turnovers and four overall, which is uncharacteristic. We played six games with six turnovers. We've had seven in the last two. We had a six-game period where we had 13 three and outs, which is really pretty good. We've had 12 in the last two games. We've been inefficient on offense and we're going to look into every avenue to try to correct that. We can't continue to give up turnovers and have three and outs. We have to remedy that quick because we can't put our defense in that situation. Watching the film from start to finish, I know there were a couple of busted plays in the secondary. We've got some extremely young guys back there. But they competed. They stopped the run better than they had other than the one run by Manziel. They put, in my mind, as good of a pressure as anybody has put on Manziel and got him to scramble around moreso than some other top quality teams. They really held 13 in check. He had a touchdown, but he was held to his lowest total as well. I was extremely pleased with the defense's effort. I think they really are taking steps towards improvement and I like the hustle. I thought the defensive line had its best game of the year from a run stopping standpoint as well as getting after the quarterback."
(On the explanation from the officials on the lack of a grounding call)
"He had already broken the pocket, came back in. It really wasn't the deepest of explanations. We weren't going to get that call."
(On the possibility of changing quarterbacks)
"We're going to look into that avenue this week. We're not going to pull any punches that will help us win games. We want to exhaust all avenues to give us our best chance to win. We can't have turnovers and three and outs. Obviously there's an issue and one that we need to address and address quickly. We're going to look at two options. We'll do it throughout practice and by mid-week we'll have an answer on that. But we're not going to sit status quo."
(On Jameill Showers' injury)
"Jameill has a third degree separation. His collarbone is kind of pointed in a little bit. It's still up in the air whether he will have surgery. I don't anticipate him coming back this year, barring some miracle recovery. I was really sick for that kid. You could tell how much he was loved at A&M by the support he got from the fans and the people pregame. He's such a great kid. The fact that he didn't get to play, I feel for the kid but I give him all the credit in the world. He held his head high the whole week and really tried to help the other quarterbacks. If he was hurt inside he didn't show it, which is the sign of a great quarterback."
(On the Miners' injured players)
"Jerel Watkins will still be a while. Daniels, even though he was in a backup role last week, he's healthier. He could be back in the mix. The lineup we had out there with Amdall at guard and Harper in his first start at tackle actually did a decent job. I know they had two sacks, but they had seven the previous week against an SEC team. A lot of our drives were stopped by interceptions and fumbles. I had two players suspended for in-house stuff, Jameel Erving and Nick Gathrite. They performed everything they needed to do to get back in the fold. They'll be back this week and we'll move forward with them. I'm hoping to get Adrian James back. He's working hard to get back. He's from that area and I would love to see him get a chance to play."
(On North Texas)
"They've done a great job. They're a senior based team especially on defense. They play really good defense. They stop the run effectively. They run the ball efficiently on offense. They don't make a lot of mistakes. The things that stand out to me when you watch them on film is they've got 28 turnovers on defense and they've only given up 19 on offense. They're plus nine [in turnover margin], and that's one a game. It's really the only stat that we talk about is turnovers. They're way ahead of the game in that area. And they play physical. They're built very similar to how we want to build this program. They struggled a couple of years ago. They were young. They kept playing those guys. Those guys are seniors now. They're good in both the offensive and defensive line and they're physical. Offensively they're very similar to what we do as far as running the ball. Their quarterback makes good decisions. He has a 67 percent completion percentage. They're very efficient at moving the ball down the field. Right now, with they're success, they're playing with great energy. They're probably playing the best football of anybody in our conference right now. They have an outstanding punt and kickoff returner who accounts for 170 yards a game. He's probably like the Watts kid at Tulsa. He's special."
(On keys to North Texas' turnaround)
"Hard work and recruiting. They've redshirted kids. They kept the same coaching staff intact for an extended period of time and they worked at it. They did it the right way. They built it the right way up front on both sides of the ball. They've got nine guys that can rotate on the defensive line. They've got five physical linemen up front on offense. They took an approach much like what we're trying to take here to recruit heavily on the offensive and defensive lines and try to develop high school talent. I look to our secondary where we're freshmen and sophomores across the board. One day those guys are going to be seniors. They're going to have three or four years of experience under their belt. I anticipate those guys being a quality unit. And then offensively and defensively, we've got to recruit bodies. We're behind the eight ball numbers wise at that position on both sides, and that's the focus of our recruiting class this upcoming year."
(On health issues of head coaches)
"Coaching is a stressful job. I look around at our staff here and we really encourage the staff to stay healthy and work out. We've got a lot of younger guys on the staff and even the older guys, we encourage them to exercise every day. I go out and try to get something every day just to relieve some stress. You put in a lot of hours. A lot of stress goes on during the game. I think pressure a lot of times is stuff you put on yourself. I try not to let things get to me, even if I'm down. I always try to bounce back. After a game, it's hard to bounce back in a day. But you owe it to the players and the coaches to bounce back and be ready to go for the next week. That's probably the hardest thing to do as a competitor and a coach. Sometimes you don't bounce back till Thursday but you can't let the players know that. You tend to focus so much on the season that you forget about exercise and eating right and doing all those things. You've got to maintain a healthy lifestyle to eliminate stress. Our staff does a good job and I'm probably the worst one."
(Is there a difference between the pressures of coaching in the NFL and college?)
"Not to me. Football is football. I get just as energized and feel the same butterflies here as I did in the NFL, and the same when I was coaching in high school as I did when I was coaching in college. I love the game of football and I love coaching it. I'm not the most emotional guy on the sidelines. I really think most of the work is done throughout the week. I really enjoy watching the kids play and watching the coaches work. I'll always be this way. I'm always going to let my coaches coach and allow them to work. My job on gameday is to manage things, make sure the clock is running efficiently, make sure we've got the right personnel out there, make sure we're moving in the right direction from an energy standpoint. I'm not real dramatic on the sidelines. Behind closed doors I'll get after the troops. But doing that on the sidelines on game day, I don't think that really motivates anybody."
(On the tight ends' absence from the offense at Texas A&M)
"It was probably a lot of things. But that's a good point and one I've made several times. We've got to get our tight ends involved in the passing game. I go back to the three and outs and the turnovers. If I'm looking at the UTEP offense, I'm expecting to see efficient runs, balanced offense and most of those being play action shots down the field or to the tight end. That hasn't been happening the last two weeks and it will be addressed. But point taken. We have to get the ball to our tight ends for this offense to be successful."
Source: UTEP Athletics