HEAD COACH MATT RHULE
Post-match press conference Friday, August 19, 2022 To see also : At 43, Muralles becomes the NFL’s oldest cheerleader.
MR: I appreciate you coming. I thought it was a good football game. We are really proud of a lot of our guys. I thought the two defenses came out early in the game and did a really good job against their own. Nice work. They have a lot of good players. Unfortunately, we gave up one explosive drive that led to a goal, and then we gave up other points outside of the short fields. One, clearly a Sullivan miss. Great job by the defense to get out and make a stop, keep them on a field goal and keep the game close.
After the pick-six, which Tae Hayes did well, the unfortunates – got a penalty and I gave them a short field. I thought there were a lot of things defensively that looked like we got better. I thought special teams looked like that. The offense couldn’t move the ball enough today. He struggled forward at the end of the game. So there is a lot of work to be done. With that, I’ll see what questions you have.
Q: Matt, you said a few weeks ago that after this game you would consider naming some starters. Now that this game is over, are you ready to name the starting quarterback?
MR: Not yet. You know, right now I’m not up for anything but watching this tape. As I’ve said all along, when we know, we know, and we’ll announce something when we need to. Right now, this moment is about the guys who played for me tonight.
Q: Can you tell us why you included PJ Walker in that last series?
MR: Yes, the Corral is down. He was injured. They stepped on his foot and they took him for an X-ray and he was out.
Q: I know you said you wanted to focus on the guys who played tonight, but are we supposed to read into Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield not playing tonight?
MR: No. They haven’t played and those guys are both competing to be with them, so we wanted to make sure they had a chance. We didn’t want to put one or two guys out there and play them behind the other offensive line. The second and third linebackers, actually the third and fourth, went there and played behind the second offensive line. Just like we held Derrick Brown who didn’t even play last week, we held most of them, except maybe Tommy Tremble just because we needed some tight ends. We are so thin in position at the moment.
Q: What did you find out about Corral tonight while he was there?
MR: I thought he looked sharp early on. I thought he’d run out of balls. I thought at the end in a lot of situations usually with four minutes left and timeouts, we probably run a draw or a screen or something, throw the ball and try to play defense. Those were invaluable reps for Matt to be down there. There’s going to come a time when they’re going to have to run a drive coming out of somebody else’s end zone with a crowd like that and rally those guys and make sure they get the right number of snaps and make sure we don’t get off to a false start. Even when he came off the field, I followed him a little bit about it. In a good way. These are teachable moments, right? What we don’t want to do is come out in these games and make it easy for guys because, hey, he’s a two, he’s a three. We want to give them opportunities to show that, hey, they can play for you. This is how we prepare them for their opportunity. I thought Matt did a lot of good things and there was a lot to learn from the tape.
Q: Not many rookies played, but Ickey and Christensen opened that game. Was it so much about giving those guys a chance to work together?
MR: Yeah, Ickey’s just young, and like I told you, a young left tackle. We have to make sure he’s ready for the season, so he needed these reps. Going against Judon, going against Deatrich Wise, those are excellent passers. Even when we were walking off the field together at the end of the game, because apparently he took a hit on the TE and then he took a sack. Hey, what happened and his thought process, and helping him learn from it so he could, hey, here’s what happened. I expected a bull; I went to this. Priceless, priceless work, same thing for Brady. So, you know, we wanted to get those guys some reps and we did.
Q: Jaycee Horn was reported to have started this game and was later removed. Can you tell us what happened there?
MR: Yes, I didn’t intend to play him. I told him, hey, get ready to play. We were lacking in some corners, so I wasn’t sure if I would need him or not. Duke Dawson couldn’t go. But he ended up getting a good workout in preseason and I felt good that Stan and those guys were going to be able to play. For me, he was a game-time decision. I wanted it warmed up and ready to go in case I needed it. Jaycee wanted to go, but at the end of the day we made the decision to just practice and pre-practice, let him run the conditioning and we knew the other guys would be able to play well. We’ve all seen some good things. Tae Hayes, obviously he plays every day, plays every day in practice, so it was a good opportunity for a lot of guys.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Tae Hayes. What did you see from him during camp and this week?
MR: A really good football player, he was with us a little last year. He absorbs knowledge. It’s weird because it’s preseason, but at one point we had our Mike playing defensive end. We had our willing fullback – we had all kinds of guys playing different positions. Daviyon Nixon is a three technique. He has to play on the other side. Tae Hayes just showed up, Wasson showed up. So it’s part of the pre-season and guys get a chance, but the thing about Tae is that he plays. Played last week in the game, couple of plays. He plays in training and he played today. He is challenging right now.
Q: Can you talk about what you saw from Brandon Smith?
MR: You know, Brandon really comes in for us. As for today, I saw him running around physical, striking. We know what a great athlete he is. It’s about his ability to play in the box and what he can do. I can’t wait to watch the footage and see more of the finer details, but we’re really excited for what he’s going to be, and these are worth replays for him right now. He’s got a room full of veterans in the linemen’s room, and those guys are helping to bring him up. Him and Mosby, they played a lot of football tonight, which was good.
Q: Did Terrace Marshall make anything worse again? What was the plan with him today?
MR: There wasn’t really a plan. I was hoping he would be able to play. Terrace worked out on Monday, finished, next day was in pain, felt like he couldn’t go. So I was hoping he would be ready for the game, but the medical staff and him, they were working on it and they couldn’t get ready for the game. So we need Terrace to start practicing. We need to step it up. Shi had a great camp, Higgs had a great camp. We currently have less income. Zylstra is out with the hammy; he is out with the hair. We need Terrace to come back, because he had a great camp until he got hurt.
Q. How do you feel about your tight end position right now?
MR: Well, we’re a little beat up. Ian is down, Colin is down. I think it’s a shame that Sully fumbled that one ball because I really thought he had a great week. Caught the ball well and blocked it well. I think he had at least one more doorknob across the middle. So he made that play and I was like he was ready to go and then put the ball on the ground. We’ll have to keep working with Sully. I’m very excited for him. Gio had another shot again. Excellent special teams player. So I feel like we don’t have that one, hey, this is our only tight end that we’re going to go to all the time. We have a bunch of guys that we feel can get open and catch the football that are versatile and can block. It allows us to play with multiple groups. We’re still pretty vanilla right now. There is no reason to show teams exactly what we are going to do at the beginning of the year. We love the versatility of Tommy and Sully. What I like about the offense, now obviously we didn’t put up a ton of points and we fought for everything we had, but I like the fact that the ball is going to so many people and it’s not just being put through one person.
Q: When you finished in Spartanburg, you mentioned how you think this team bonded in a way that it hadn’t in years past. Did you learn anything new about this group of guys after this trip?
MR: Yes. This was amazing. This was great for us, we go to dinner together, hang out together, exercise together. If I were you — I’m not telling you what to do — I’d ask the JJs and the Shaqs, you know, how close this team is. I think at the end of the day we worked really hard this week. This is a really good team, isn’t it, and we’ve been practicing against them. Even the way our vets are on the sidelines. They watch the game the whole game. They are locked. They celebrated. I told them if they got a six to have some fun. Penalties were given to guys who don’t have jerseys. If you have a jersey on, you’re fine. It was the same with all the other guys, so they all kind of walked next to me. But we have a fun team and a good group. This was a really great time for us. It was a good job against a great, great organization.
QUARTERBACK PJ WALKER
Post-match press conference Friday, August 19, 2022 To see also : Proviso East Cheerleaders Earn All-American Designation At State Camp.
Q: PJ, you go out there tonight and find out you’re starting. What did you want to improve on this occasion tonight?
PW: Personally, just move the ball, score points, be effective on offense. Sometimes we managed to do that, but I don’t think the end result was what we wanted. For me, it’s just getting back to what I’m doing. Let’s just go back to what we do as a team and figure it out and try to get better.
Q: You were visibly frustrated when you left the field, understandably so. Tell us what was going through your head.
PW: Just two bad throws that escaped me. You know, in the situation I’m in, I can’t afford those bad shows. I can’t let those two bad throws get away from me.
Q: Would you like to be traded or released by this team for a chance elsewhere?
PW: Personally, it’s not my decision. I’ll just go there and work. I’m here, that’s all. I am present here.
Tae Hayes, CB
“We were under people watch and they started something they’d been doing all night. This may interest you : Clarinda will host a mini cheerleader camp in September. I saw it coming and I played on it.”
“I was just out there playing ball. I have a sense of play anyway, that’s something I do. I kind of worked on my technique, I was disciplined. When you do those things, it just works for you. And it really worked for me.”
(About the celebration in the end zone)
“It was cool, I’ve never had an interception before. It was my first pick six, so it was cool. The fans were more excited than me. I mean, I was excited, but when I saw the fans, I thought it’s really cool to see how excited they looked when I had that pick-six.”
(After returning this year in the fight for a place)
“That’s why it was so cool when all the guys came running off the bench like that. Because I was here last year and I left. To come back and just have them accept me and appreciate my play. I thought that was cool. The guys could say, ‘ I don’t want to see him do –’ so I appreciate that. That’s what a good team does, they cheer each other on.”
“Today was my birthday, so it was a good birthday present.”
John Lovett, RB
“I’m getting better every week and every day with this team. I’m excited about the future with this team and the direction we’re going.”
“I think the training sessions together are really good. I like the strategy behind them. You’re going against different colored jerseys, everyone comes with their A game so you get the best of the best. I feel like we’ve gotten stronger as a team as we’ve traveled here and spent a week. I think we’re getting better.”
Frankie Luvu, LB
(About joint trainings and games)
“I feel like we’re learning as a team. It’s been very rewarding. Just going against somebody else. Seeing a different look and then seeing guys step up and execute. The team is coming together. We’ve got a lot of improvement to work on.”
Julian Stanford, LB
“I think I played pretty well overall. I’m just trying to do my job. I’m one of the eleven. Obviously you go back and check the tape because there’s always things you can learn from and things you could do better. There are a couple of plays I wish that I can come back, like always. It’s all part of the recovery process.”
“It was very beneficial. It gave us a chance to play against someone in a different color jersey, see different schemes and other players. Sharpen our blades and just get better.”
Donte Jackson, CB
“Tae [Hayes] has been doing it and he’s had great weeks in camp since the day he got here. It doesn’t surprise any of us. He’s been doing it all camp and he knows his job and he’s been going out there and executing.”
(About exceptions from the week)
“It’s just football and this is a football town. They’re passionate about their ball from the players to the fans. We just went out and tried to match the intensity.”
(Did they successfully match the intensity)
“Definitely, we did some good things. We have to play against a striker who is constantly at the top of the table. I think we did a lot of good things and left with our heads in the right direction.”
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