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Highlights from Rhett Lashlee (pre-Maryland) show

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Highlights from Rhett Lashlee (pre-Maryland) show

Postby PonyPride » Thu Sep 15, 2022 2:28 am

Cornerbacks / Pass Game (Defensive) Coordinator RICKEY HUNLEY, JR.

• Won't say DBs are "back on the right track" yet — only two games in.

• No. 1 (priority) is limiting explosive plays.

• Sam (Westfall) is consistent.He's going to come to work every day, to practice every day, he's going to do what is asked of him from a technique standpoint, from a defensive standpoint.But he also possesses good athleticism (and) top-end speed, which if you're playing on the outside, you've got to have. Probably the biggest thing with Sam is just him taking advantage of the opportunity. Sometimes, when there coaching transition, when there's staff transition, there are guys that are able to take advantage of opportunities that maybe they didn't have before, for whatever reason. He was a guy that came in and said he wanted the job, the proved that he deserved the job.

• (KD Hall) has been awesome — probably moreso not just from an on-the-field standpoint, but he also brings an edge to the room. You've got to be a confident guy, you have to play with a high level of ability, but also resolve. Things aren't always going to go the way that you want (them) to in the secondary, or at corner, and you've got to be able to bounce back and have a short memory, and that's one thing KD does a really good job of. He also brings a physicality, at times, that we need in that room. So ... had a relationship with him before, that worked out that we were in position when he decided that this is where he wanted to be.

• (Nick Roberts) has been awesome. He's probably the guy that you look at right now and you say "we're glad that we have him." We pursued him at Liberty, when he went in the transfer portal before, the first time, (but) things didn't work out. So when we saw that name pop up again in the transfer portal, we knew that was really a guy that we wanted to go all in and get him here, and you can see why in the way that he plays, and also just in the way that he carries himself off the field.

• (Facing Maryland) It's going to be different, in that it's our first true away game. We played at North Texas, but that's right up the road, not too far. Now you literally get on a plane, you stay overnight, you get prepared for the game and go out and execute. We try not to make any game bigger than any other. But it's the biggest game because it's the next one, (and) we're excited about that. We're excited about the challenge that Maryland possesses on both sides of the ball, particularly from an offensive standpoint for them, and us defensively. So we go back to "who are we? What do we do well? Let's go do it."


• (What he took from Saturday's win over Lamar after reviewing the game) A couple of things: one, on the field, it was good for things not just to be easy at all times. I thought our team was in control of the game the whole time. We got some opportunistic early turnovers by our defense ... we were able to punch them in. We failed to score a touchdown we probably should have — we kicked a field goal, so they got to 17-7. It wasn't smooth sailing, and I just loved the way our guys just stayed who they are — nobody got frustrated, nobody changed who they were.

The thing that was probably disappointing was the turnovers in the second half — that's stuff that has to get cleaned up. But I felt like if it wasn't for that, we did what we needed to do, and I think, secondly, it was great being in our home stadium,

• (On Tanner Mordecai, who had three touchdown passes) ... and it should have been four — we had one that should have been a pretty easy one. I thought Tanner played great. I think some of the plays that go unnoticed were ... he had two or three, early on in the red zone, plays that ... they did some unique things, that we hadn't seen, and he threw the ball away, so it goes as an incompletion in the stat column, but we ended up scoring touchdowns on both of those drives, so that's what an experienced guy does — he doesn't force the ball, he doesn't turn the ball over, doesn't take a sack. The interception: that was my fault — I should have given him a better play — and then our right tackle got beat, and (Mordecai) didn't have time to step up and drive into the throw. But that's part of being a quarterback, though. Everybody always blames you, but it's not always all on you.But I thought Tanner was very solid.

• I thought (Velton Gardner) looked good — he's played a lot of ball, looked explosive at times, and obviously added a lot of spark to our run game.

• Our goal this week is to get through warm-ups with our backfield, to get to the game. Tre (Siggers) had just had a nagging groin, and got out in warm-ups and just didn't feel right, so we held him, and Camar (Wheaton) tweaked his ankle, (but) he's practiced every day this week, so if we can get through warm-ups, I think we should be good this week.

• The thing about all of running backs, from Tre to T.J. (McDaniel) to Velton, to Tyler Lavine to Camar is they all do a good job of falling forward. Some running backs dance — you know, they hit some big runs, but then they lose 8 (yards). We've done a good job up front with the O-line, but then a lot of the credit goes to our running backs. We've only had two negative-yardage plays in the first two games, and they were both like a minus-1. That (gives) a lot of credit to our line, but also to our backs, as well.

• I thought (Preston Stone) did a good job. First drive in, leads us on a scoring drive. He pulls it and dives in — you could tell he was really excited. That's what you forget: guys who were the guy in high school, then they redshirt ... he's in his second year. It's been a year and a half since he's really played-played, so I know he was excited to do that. (He) made some nice throws. The interception ... go back and look at the film, it was really just a freak deal. He made a good decision, but that stuff happens.

• There's going to be games — it may be this weekend — where we're going to need other people to step up, because (opponents) will start rolling coverage here or there, but to start a season and have your leader perform the way (Rashee Rice) he did ... I think the reason it's happening is because of the way he's practiced. He's bought in to that James Proché mentality — you know, his last year here, James was just an incredible leader, worker. You saw the numbers he put up. Rashee's gone in to doing that. At SMU, that's what we want to have: receivers that are playmakers.

• (Defense) all starts with stopping the run. It doesn't matter what kind of defense you run or what kind of opponent you play ... like this week, (the Terrapins) throw the ball really well, but you've still got to stop the run, and we've done a good job of that in the first two games.

• (On what he wants to see corrected or improved against Maryland): On offense, I think we've got to value the football a lot better than we have in the first two games. Defensively, we've got to strain to get lined up. Maryland plays with tempo, just like we do, because when we're lined up, when we're properly aligned, we're pretty solid right now.

• I had the fortune of knowing Turner (Coxe) when I was here before, because he played for like 100 years, but he would have been going in to his sixth year. Right after I got the job, he came in and we met, and he was like, "I don't know if I want to do it," and after a few weeks of being around the staff, he was like, "man, I want to play." We went ahead and had his shoulder operated on, and he missed the spring. Came back, tried to go the first day of camp, just didn't feel totally right, and you know, when you play five years, as much as he played — I think he was only seven sacks from the all-time school record there — he was very productive, gave so much to our program. His body could only take so much. He just didn't feel right, he took some time to try to get to where he felt better about it, but I think ultimately he just decided as much as he loves SMU and this time, it was time to start worrying about the next chapter in life, and we fully support him and are just really grateful for everything he gave to SMU.

• (On DeVere Levelston): Don't get me started on the rule that doesn't let him play in the first half, but we can't wait for him to play the first play of the second half... Obviously, you lose a player that's a potential all-conference player like DeVere ... it's going to hurt for the first half.

• (On 2023 trip to Oklahoma) We want to go up to Norman and play on the big stage, with the best teams in the country. But they're coming to Dallas a few years later (in 2027). It's a one-for-one, they're playing in ... at that time, it will be our newly renovated stadium ... We have the same problem: they were set to play Georgia, and we were set to play North Texas, and then the conferences change and all of a sudden you have a hole in your schedule. Games are scheduled so far in advance, and we're looking at it, going "we need a Week 2 game" and it worked out for both of us. I think it shows, the way our school is viewed ... for a program like Oklahoma to say "yeah, we'll come to Dallas."

• (Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa) is a really talented player. I knew his brother, because we recruited him when I was at Auburn. Everybody knows who Tua is, but Taulia played at Thompson High School outside of Birmingham, really good player, was winning state championships in high school. So he's a winner, he's really talented, he can make plays with his feet — which is always scary, because you can have the perfect call on defense, and those guys ... we call them "erasers" — they can really make it right — and he's throwing the ball at a really, really high clip with some big weapons on the outside right now.

• (On the most difficult part of game-planning for Maryland): Well, there's a lot. They're really explosive on offense. They've got three or four wide receivers — not one, not two — they've got three or four, they've got two young running backs, their line is like 6-5, 6-6 (and) 305 across the board, and they've got the thing that matters most: a quarterback that's playing at a high level and can extend plays with his feet. On defense, they've got a lot of guys back. They won their bowl game, like 54-10 against Virginia Tech last year, and had the best year they've had in a while. I think they've got some of the most returning starters of anyone in the country, and you can tell they're playing with a lot of confidence on defense — their linebackers are as good as I've seen in a long time. They're really long on the back end, they've got the No. 1 corner in the country (Jakorian Bennett) right now by PFF rating, and they're eight-deep on the defensive line, so there's reason for concern.

• (On Maryland): It has nothing to do with what conference they're in — they're a really good opponent. We don't worry about what conference people are in. We just worry about who we're playing. They're really good. We kind of knew that over the summer. (Maryland head coach) Mike Locksley has been there before — he knows Maryland well, he knows how to recruit to Maryland, he's come back to stabilize a program that over the years has won a lot. He's got a great roster — really talented team. Going into their home environment — they've got a lot of momentum, playing at a really high level — that's really what's got our attention, more than anything... I coached against Virginia Tech last year when I was at Miami, and we beat 'em, but we didn't beat 'em like (Maryland) did. For them to beat (Virginia Tech) the way they did in that bowl game really springboarded their program into the offseason. Again, I don't know the number — if it's 15, 16, 17 returning starters — at all the key spots: quarterback, wideout, O-line, defensive line, corner, linebacker. It's a good team ... they've been playing together now for two, three, four years, and they're pretty good.

• (Taulia Tagovailoa) can really throw the football — he's accurate. I've been able to coach guys like D'Eriq King ... it didn't bother (Tua Tagovailoa) either. I'm not worried about his (lack of) height — sometimes that helps him be a little more elusive. Again, he can throw it, he can run it, he's smart — you can tell. He had a really good high school coach ... and now to be with Mike (Locksley) and (Maryland offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach) Dan Enos — guys that have done a really good job with quarterbacks — they've put him in a really good position. You can tell when you watch guys that are really comfortable running the system they're running: it's almost effortless, and that's how it looks when he's running it.
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Re: Highlights from Rhett Lashlee (pre-Maryland) show

Postby SmooBoy » Thu Sep 15, 2022 8:32 am

Thanks for the detailed notes. Maryland is getting a ton of respect. Rhett will have them ready.
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Re: Highlights from Rhett Lashlee (pre-Maryland) show

Postby PonyPower » Thu Sep 15, 2022 4:17 pm

Thanks for taking the time to transcribe all of that
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