bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Mumme Interview :: 10/11/07

bleedCrimson.net will be conducting weekly interviews with Aggie head football coach Hal Mumme during the 2007 season. This week Coach Mumme talks about last week's game against Boise State, the injury bug, a former All American's comments about J.J. McDermott and the upcoming game against Louisiana Tech.

bleedCrimson.net: Obviously losing any game is tough but is it harder mentally to deal with loss like Boise State where you get blown out or a close loss?
Hal Mumme: Well you would rather play better. I told the team on Monday, you've got a short week to get ready for La Tech. We watched the entire game film as team. I wanted them to see that everybody had mistakes. Boise State has done this to other people in the past, they're hard to beat on the blue turf. When you have eight starters out, they're probably gonna get you. Chris Nwoko and Jamar Cotton limped through first half. We finally had to sit them down. It killed us on the two punt blocks. Jamar tried to go on one them and then we had to pull him out.

I tried to preach that to them. They're not this bad, we've just gotta get people healthy.

When you've got a Davey O'Brien candidate quarterback, an NFL prospect tight end and a split end sitting on sideline, that's tough to deal with.

bc.net: Does having the short week help the team in terms of getting over the loss because you've got to immediately turn your focus to La. Tech?

HM: I suppose. I know there are some guys who are anxious to play. It really doesn't help with injuries. Basically we played from halfway through 1st quarter on Sunday without eight starters and we're only getting two back this weekend. So in that respect it's not good.

bc.net: The game against Boise State was your first game on artificial turf, how much of that was a factor in the speed we saw from Boise State?
HM: I think Boise State plays better on that surface. La Tech has same situation. I had that at Southeastern LA. We were better at home than on grass. You learn to practice on it. We've got our practice field, we practiced on it all week. We did stuff to prepare. But I wouldn't rate as factor. The biggest factor is not having those people I mentioned who were out injured.

bc.net: It looked like on a lot of the plays, the defensive players for the Aggies were in position to make a play but missed tackles really hurt them. Can you talk about that?

HM: If you look at most of those, they were guys, Chris Nwoko and Jamar Cotton, they literally limped through the first half. Chris played 2 1/2 quarters, Jamar played until halftime. They were limping to ball. We don't have that kind of depth to replace them. When you have a 4.4 40 outside linebacker that has to be replaced by a guy who runs a 5 flat, and you've got a 4.5 40 guy (Chris Nwoko) being replaced by a 5 flat guy it's gonna look like not getting there. Boise State is a fast physical team, we were not fast enough getting off blocks and in a position to make tackles.

bc.net: Can you talk about J.J.'s performance? What did you see from him that you liked and what did you see from him that you want him to improve on?
HM: As far as improvements, he had couple balls he shouldn't have thrown. I had one of my former All Americans who watched the entire game on t.v. call me and said he [J.J.] was going to be a great player. He's got a lot of courage. That was the worst game the offensive line and running backs have played. I don't have excuse for it, but Richie Bolin was not in the week before and didn't take a practice snap all week. Most of calls were poorly done. Our line and backs were a notch off andwhen you play a team as fast as Boise that shows up pretty quick. J.J. was 10-19 and he didn't make any big plays but he didn't have help. Add in the fact that A.J. and Nick Cleaver were out. I thought J.J. was courageous and stood in there.

bc.net: The special teams had a couple of punts blocked, can you talk about what happened on those two plays?
HM: It was one guy from Boise State, same position guy got both punts, we just didn't block him. It stems back to defense. We had injuries and were playing with backup spots, I tried one guy and he failed, I tried another guy and he failed. We went back to the starter on defense. We were trying to keep him off field because the defense was playing a lot of snaps. Chris Nwoko went into game hurt and didn't play on special teams. We figured we'd have to play his backup so we tried to keep him off special teams so you end up with guys on special teams who are pretty far down the depth chart.

bc.net: Can you talk about the catch that Chris Williams made in the first quarter where he got laid out by Marty Tadman? How was Chris able to hang onto the ball?
HM: Chris does that in almost every game, we just didn't get him the ball enough to make him a factor. Chris has really stepped up since Nick and A.J. went out. He's stepped up and beat double coverage. Chase threw it in there and Chris made a great catch. We didn't get to do that enough. Between the receiving corps and Chase, we've played the last 24 quarters short. 10 quarters without A.J., Nick, Jeremiah, that's 212 catches and 24 touchdowns last year. Basically that amounts to about 17 catches and two touchdowns per game. 10 quarters without those guys and the last 4 quarters without Chase. We've really been hit with the injury bug.

bc.net: One bright spot for the Aggies was that they were able to stop Boise State twice on fourth down, once right after an interception deep on the Aggie side of the field and then sniffing out the hook and lateral play early in the 2nd quarter.
HM: I thought the first stop was terrific. That came at a point in the game when we still had a chance to do things. Unfortunately, offensively we didn't do anything at all. It was terrific team defense.

bc.net: Can you talk about the decision to fake punt on fourth down deep in your own endzone?
HM: It's something I have done that in past. We knew it was there and we knew at that point J.J. was going to have to play. We didn't have a lot to lose, if we punt, Marty Tadman one of best return guys in nation, if punt to him, he's going to bring it back to our end of field anyway. Shepherd our punt coach did a good job coaching it and Wes Neiman and Jeremiah Williams did a good job executing.

bc.net: What's the injury status of the team heading into the game?
HM: Everyone's still out. We've got eight starters out last week and we going to get two of them back. The injuries are split 4 and 4 [offense, defense], we may get Brandon McKinney and Chris Woods back. All the rest are sitting out.

bc.net: What are the keys for the Aggies going into Louisiana Tech?
HM: We're going to have to be more conventional in our style play. We've got to play better on special teams. It's going to be have to more of a team concept to win. Most of the time we think we can go into games and outscore the other team. We can't put the game in the hands of freshman quarterback. We're going to have to be a lot more conventional in our style of attack. Run the ball on them. Hopefully play a lot better on special tems and defense.