The following comments are from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's post-practice press briefing.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall
On any depth chart changes:
No, other than anyone that is hurt. Braden Hansen being the most significant right now. I anticipate 2-4 weeks. Could be a little less or a little more. But that’s probably the only thing that would have an impact on our depth from the last game. We’ve got guys beat up but should be ready by Saturday.
On offensive linemen injuries:
We felt really good about the depth going into fall. We’ve lost six players at that position now but you just keep going. You just keep going; it doesn’t do us any good to dwell on it or agonize over it. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and games to play, so we plug in the next player the best we can and keep going.
On whether there were any mistakes made with timeouts at Notre Dame:
No, I don’t think there was. With six and a half minutes to go we knew exactly when we wanted to use it and we were hopeful to use it after a third down stop. We had the third and five and were planning on using it then and then we got down to where we had to use it. So that’s what it was. You manage the game the best way you can. That didn’t make or break, win or lose, the game.
On if Georgia Tech’s offense is similar to Air Force:
Parts are similar. But parts are not. It’s about 500 yards a game and 37 points. They are very good. They run it really well. They do some unique things with the option and they throw it better than you’d think. So yeah, quite a challenge coming up.
On if missed tackles are a concern against a running team:
It is but it’s a different kind of running attack. I was really impressed with Notre Dame’s runners. They had three of them. We missed some the first and second plays of the games and I realized right then they were good. We worked hard to get extra players to the ball was really what we were working to do. They had quite a few yards after contact and broke a lot of tackles. To our guys’ credit, they were great in the blue zone and they held the points down to where we had a great chance to win. So I still thought they played well. They didn’t tackle well and gave up a crucial first down on third and five but other than that, when you compare our game versus anyone else they’ve played, we had as good a chance as anybody.
Are Paul Lasike’s fumble vs. Utah State and zero carries since correlated events?
Probably correlated somewhat but I don’t think you can underestimate Jamaal Williams’ role. I’m not sure how much you want to give to anybody else right now. He’s doing a really nice job.
On kickoff return rule:
Instructions were pretty clear: don’t return it unless you can get past the 25. That level of scrutiny has gone up.
On scheming for Georgia Tech’s option attack:
I am passionate about it. I like it a lot. I have good and bad days with defending the option. More good than bad, but when you’re playing well it’s very gratifying. When you’re not, you’re helpless. So there is an extra sense of urgency but I like the challenge.
On Jamaal Williams:
I’m really impressed from just the way he’s managing the settings he’s going in, the touches he gets and how he’s running he ball. He seems confident and I think he’s on the right track.
On Idaho firing Robb Akey:
I know him well. I am saddened and disappointed. Just a couple of years ago there was a bowl game for Idaho. Longevity for head coaches is not something that is recognized past 2 or 3 years. It’s hard to see friends not have the success others deem necessary to keep going. I think he’s a good man and a good coach.
On Riley Nelson’s performance from junior to senior years:
Injuries are a part of it, and strength of schedule is certainly a part of it. We’re really close. Our program intends to keep grinding out. There have been four really close games and tough losses. I still think we’re gaining momentum and making progress, and Riley is leading us while we do it. It might not be the prolific breakthrough that people want. But I still see us inching really close to breaking through.
On recent close loses:
They hurt more, knowing you’re right there – one, two or three plays are the difference. But we’re playing good teams and we’re playing them on the road. When I started this job to where it is now, expectations are even higher, schedule more demanding. We’re playing better football against better teams. That’s what’s coming next and I welcome it, but we have to execute at an even higher level.
On fan feedback:
I don’t hear many negative things; most are complimentary toward how we are playing. There will always be critics. I gauge what I see, and I think there is progress. I think the program is moving forward. I like the challenge and I like the places we’re playing.
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