I asked a single question (this first one) during the televised Big 12 coaching pressers of the legendary Bill Snyder and then some additional questions during the breakout. I’ll list the single question first and then the breakout discussion we had before offering my own commentary.
What tactical changes have your new coordinator hires brought to the program?
Not really. We have a system in place, been in place a long time. There’s a lot to it. We’ve got a notebook, playbook, that’s about that thick (gestures to indicate something approximately the size of a Harry Potter novel). So there’s not much that exists in the game of football that isn’t in there. It’s all in there, let me put it that way. We move around. The important thing is going to be what our players can do.
So we can’t do all of it, but we can pull from our collection of offenses, those things that our players are most capable of doing. We’ve experienced a good deal of it over the course of the spring and the fall, preseason, 25 workouts…we’ll define for sure what our players are most capable of. There’s a tweak here and there, but not anything that, you’ll recognize the offense when you see it, let me put it that way.
Coach in your offense does the highest ceiling come from having a great runner at QB or a great passer?
Well, I mean that’s just part of our offense. I mean, you have a job description for every position to to speak and that’s part of the job description for our quarterbacks.
Running you mean?
We are going to have a running QB, that’s part of it.
Has either QB separated himself from the other in that specific part of the job description?
No, and there’s a lot of thoughts that one of them throws it and the other one runs it. We can’t be successful in our program if we have a quarterback that can only do one thing. Both can do it and both do it almost equally well, so there’s not really any major separation at all, if any, between the two in regards to who can run it the best and who can throw it the best.
On your defense it looks like this may be, just guessing, this might be one of the faster units you’ve had at the last few years. Particularly at linebacker and in the back seven, do you feel that way? Is that a result of planning and adjustment or is it incidental?
Well, I mean you like to have speed at every position we have so you’re always looking at that as one of the factors in the people you bring into your program. I think you’re reasonably accurate about that but, you know I think it’s isolated. You mentioned at the linebacker position, we will in all likelihood, if the faster guys are the ones that are on the field, then we’ll be faster at that position.
Around the league many of the other teams have started playing just dime personnel, getting a sixth defensive back down in the box, is that something you’ve looked at in terms of making an adjustment or do you feel that what you have is going to work and you just need to get the right guys in position?
Well we can play, we can play with six defensive backs, we can play with seven. I’ve said so many times, our notebooks are (gesturing a large volume) that thick. There isn’t much in the game of football that we don’t have…
I feel like I’ve never seen you guys play six defensive backs…
Well, uh, again what I indicated before and we have played six defensive backs but I want to do what we can do best and what our players can do best so that substitute for another position, can he do what is needed better than…well we can do it and if he can’t then we’re not gonna do it. If we don’t have the defenders to play those five positions, six positions, seven positions, whatever it is, then we won’t do it. If we do then, well, we can put it on the board.
In our conference, you know, you gotta play with five and many times that’s 10 personnel with four slash five receivers in the game, sometimes, it is meaningful to be able to have additional defensive backs instead of a linebacker that gets out of the box BUT, because of all the zone-read stuff that people are running right now you better have a guy that has the capacity to play the run as well as the pass. That’s why people, well one of the reasons people spread you out is so that they have a cleaner box to run onto. Their philosophy impacts what we will do with our backers and our secondary players.
Is that something that you think Kendall Adams can do or do you like him back just in the boundary safety spot he’s been playing.
Well, you know he’s gotta have the ability to defend against the run and you know he has been uh, so, obviously we want to get better at the things we do and he can as well but he can play the run. And I think, you know, Denzel Goolsby is getting better and better at being able to do it. Elijah Walker has been very good at defending the run so I think, I feel, that at our safety positions which when we get to the additional secondary players more often than not, it is going to be a safety position at least to get us to five, to get us to six, and beyond that it’d probably be a corner in all likelihood.
My goal with the first question was to assume in my question that tactical changes had occurred to see how he’d respond to that wording. His response was predictable, “not really, we’re basically just doing what we’ve always done.” Whether that’s totally true or not is hard to tell but you assume it’s largely true since Snyder didn’t promote former players so that he could revolutionize Wildcat football at the end of his career.
My goal with the second question was to see if he’d tip his hand at all about either QB but he saw right through that garbage attempt and swatted me away like Dikembe Mutombo.
Finally I went with the dime question and he just laid out the philosophy on when and how they get into sub-packages. I’m sure he’s right that they have a dime package and a dollar package or whatever they call the seven DB set but I don’t recall ever seeing them play a dime package in any instance where a running play was remotely likely.
He confirmed that Kendall Adams, Denzel Goolsby, or Elijah Walker (outta the doghouse?) would be the guy that replaced a LB (or DE maybe, although I’ve never seen that from them) in their dime package and that in a seven DB set they’d insert an additional CB.
Between our agreement that they are likely to be pretty quick at LB and his insistence on building good run Ds, I don’t think the base dime is in the cards for the Wildcats this season.