Weekly Coach Walker Interview :: 09/21/10 You've had a couple of days to break down film after the UTEP game, what are your thoughts?
DeWayne Walker: It's a little disappointing, you never want to play that way in a rival game. I thought we showed some progress against San Diego State and thought we would be able to improve on it and it just didn't come to light like I thought it would. UTEP is probably better football team than we anticipated going in. They're going to win some games this year. Seeing a team, quarterback and offensive that have been together a little bit, they just outclassed us to a certain degree. We just have to not panic and not listen to the naysayers and try to stay on course. Defensively, what are some things that you saw from Saturday's game that you know you'll need to improve heading into the game against Kansas?
DW: Just not making mistakes. That's probably been the most frustrating. The first thing when you don't play well defensively, the first thing I'm always going to question is the scheme [offensive]. When we went back and watched the tape, they [UTEP] did everything that we practiced, they did everything that we thought they would do. We talked to the players and asked them and they said, "No coach, they did everything you guys thought they would do." So we just didn't execute. That's a problem I'm think we're having. We're younger on defense this year, we've got some new guys and we just have to figure out a way to cut the scheme down. The players don't think it's too much scheme, we've just got to be able to execute under pressure. Saturday you head into the game against Kansas and their offensive line has had trouble protecting their quarterback, they've given up 12 sacks in three games. Is that a situation that you think your defensive line can get some push and pressure on the quarterback?
DW: There's no question. We need to have some success, get some turnovers and get some sacks. Cut down on our mistakes which is killing us with the explosive plays. This could be a big confidence builder for our football team. On the other side of the ball, one of the bright spots for the offense so far this season, particularly on Saturday where you were playing with a depleted offensive line, your team has only given up one sack this season.
DW: Yeah, that's something that I think our guys have done a great job with. But at the same token, we've got to be able to run the ball a bit better too. I think that's been something we really haven't done a good job of in our first two games. I don't think we're going to be able to live off of Matt Christian's arm throughout this season. Even though that's definitely a positive, we're going to need to be able to be more balanced. On Saturday your offense has some good moments, you had two second quarter drives and at the end of the game you had the long drive that ended on the UTEP 5-yard line. That drive had to be encouraging showing that your kids hadn't given up despite the score.
DW: I think that's the one thing I do like about this football team. These kids have not quit on us. They play for four quarters and I know it's disheartening for them too. These guys have lost a lot, even since I've been here. I know that gets a little old but the one thing I will give the coaches and the players, they come to work everyday they work and I tell you, at some point this is going to have to turn but until it turns we just have to keep going through it. I know it's tough for fans and it's tough on everybody but all we can do is keep going and hopefully it'll change. How is the injury situation with your team? Do you expect to get Dwayne Barton back and are there any other injuries that were suffered on Saturday?
DW: Barton probably won't be back. I know we have some secondary guys that are a little beat up, House and Powell, which hopefully we'll have those guys back. We may have to give them a day or two this week to let them heal up a little bit. Other than that I think we're pretty healthy everywhere else. What are some things that you believe that you'll be able to do well on Saturday against Kansas?
DW: The one thing we have to do well is we have to play more consistent and we have to stop making mental mistakes, especially on the defensive side and offensively just to be able to play with more consistency and be able to move the ball more than one quarter or a quarter and a half. We need to be able to to be more consistent moving the ball for four quarters.