Tom O'Brien Talks To The BIG EAST Press
Sept. 5, 2000
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - A transcript of Tom O'Brien's comments on the weekly BIG EAST Conference teleconference, Monday, Sept. 4, 2000
Can you give some general thoughts on the West Virginia game?
We didn't respond on offense. We had a lot of young kids play for us on defense. We lost our best player in the first play of the game and actually played nine or 10 guys who played in their first college football game on defense. But those kids, under a lot of adverse situations hung in there. We got the game back under control somewhere in the fourth quarter and then we ended up losing it by throwing a couple interceptions. But that's behind us.
Now we have to go to West Point. We know that their offense changed from the wishbone and it seems from all the talk that they're in a spread offense and throwing the ball, which is not what they've been in the past. They're in an eight-man style front defense, aggressive, a lot of blitzing and things like that. We haven't had a chance to take a look at them. We will be like everyone else who is going to be watching the game today at 4:30 this afternoon, I guess.
What is the status of Antonio Garay and D.J. Sutton? What were the MRIs and what did they say?
The MRI came back on Garay. He ended up with a sprained knee, so it's probably a minimum of two weeks. (Josh) Ott played Saturday after a two-week sprained knee and so did (Marc) Colombo. He's not going to have to have surgery. It's not as clear on Sutton, exactly what the MRI reading is.
Sometimes opening games are a real good barometer and teams are able to do some things after that and make up for some problems they might have seen. How much tougher was that opening game against a BIG EAST team that you were picked to roughly finish near the same spot in the conference?
Well, it's always tough to open with a conference game and put all that importance on that game so early in the season. In our mental makeup coming in, rebuilding the whole defense and losing two linebackers going into that game, then losing our best player on that first play of the game, it was tough on us. But we created our own problems by not playing hard on offense.
How do you rebound from that?
Go back to the practice field and get back to work. That's the only thing I know how to do.
Were you holding your breath that the news would be good on Antonio after what happened?
There were two situations, and that was one of them. The other one was surgery. Surgery might even be faster on this. It depends on how fast he heals and what his toughness factor is.
Do you expect that you'll have to ease him back into it?
I don't know. Two weeks from now we're in an open week before the Navy game. The off week after Army comes at a pretty good time for us so he has the chance to miss just one game instead of more than one.
And D.J. (Sutton) you said is a little bit longer?
I don't know that. The MRI reading wasn't as clear or as defined (as Antonio Garay's). They're still doing some things with his knee.
Will they have to take another one?
I don't know that.
Can you talk a little about Scott Bradley's performance on the defense?
I think he got involved and made a couple of sacks, which we expect out of him. He played excellent. The only negative I saw out of him was that twice he ended up in a position where he could make a sack on the quarterback and couldn't contain him. We have to get that out of him. He also got his hand on that fumbled ball (and didn't come up with it). Four times on defense Saturday, we got our hands on the football and didn't make a play. Any of those four could have helped us. He did a good job pass rushing. We put him down on the nickel defense and made a pass rusher out of him and I think he can help us create more havoc.
How much harder is it preparing for Army considering they didn't play Saturday, they're playing this afternoon (Monday)?
Only because they haven't played a game, we're treating it like an opener until we've seen them play. I would hope they have a bigger problem playing today and coming back and playing Saturday than we do. But, our trip from West Virginia wasn't the easiest in the world so we're happy to be home and able to practice.
What do you do in the meantime? What did you do last night Sunday night?
We spend time, just like we do for an opener, and go off last year's tape and in this case, Illinois State where Coach (Todd) Berry was before.