Bulldog HC Sonny Cumbie talks week 3 against NSU

Sonny Cumbie and the Bulldogs will host Northwestern State Saturday at 6 p.m.

Courtesy of Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

Bulldog head coach Sonny Cumbie met with local media members Tuesday and talked about this weekend’s contest against Northwestern State. Kickoff at Joe Aillet Stadium set for 6 p.m.

Opening Statement…
“We are looking forward to getting back on the field this week against a good Northwestern State football team who is an in-state rival. Our team is determined to bounce back and we have a lot of improvement to make from last week’s game and this morning’s practice as well. I am encouraged with our team and how they took correction and how our team and coaches reviewed the film and learned from it. Hopefully we can grow from there. This week is a good challenge with Northwestern State. Coach (Brad) Laird has a huge history here in the city of Ruston. I have a lot of respect for him and his program and what he has done at Northwestern State. There is a lot of kids on his team that know our kids. Anytime you have an in-state rivalry, in particular Louisiana it takes on another meaning because of the passion and culture of this state. The passion the high school players have in this state for their schools and also what football means to all of us here. It is going to be a big challenge and great opportunity for us to get back on the field and improve as a football team.”

On SMU game…
“The thing that we took away watching film whether it was the first quarter or the third quarter was at the end of the game you ask yourself was it really anything they did or was it a lack of execution from our standpoint which is what we found plenty of times. They played really hard and harder than we did but our execution has got to be better and the play calling has to be better in certain situations as well.”

On offensive improvement moving forward…
“Getting easy completions for Hank (Bachmeier) and getting first downs is the big thing. When you get into a game not only at quarterback but also other positions is that when you fall behind there is a tendency to try to score 17 points in one play. You have to think about getting the next first down one play at a time which allows us to get into a rhythm. Playing with some tempo would help as well. The biggest thing for us to get in a rhythm is to get completions and have efficient run plays on first down so we are not in second and long situations.”

On running back situation…
“Tyre (Shelton) is probably questionable this week… Charvis (Thornton) is fighting through what he is dealing with. He is one of the toughest kids we have… He is a player that needs to get reps over the course of the week to get himself prepared and give us a chance. Tyre was out there today. We will see how he feels moving forward. It would be nice to be able to get him back, at least in a limited role to give us a shot in the arm.”

On improving the run game…
“Some of the ways that we attack the run game from a scheme standpoint we have to be a bit better to cater to the strengths of our personnel. We saw what Charvis (Thornton) can do at 100% so we just have to get him back there to that mode. From a scheme standpoint, trying to attack a defense. You want a defense to be able to defend you north and south but also horizontally. From a scheme standpoint we need to play to our strengths more and get those guys out in spacing a bit.”

On defensive line…
“They affected Preston Stone and made hits on him. Ezekiel Durham-Campbell got a big hit on him in the third quarter. When they threw the ball down the field they protected with seven guys which makes it hard to create a pass rush. I am encouraged by them. I am encouraged by their ability to get off blocks. J’Dan Burnett flashed a lot. If he continues to do that it is no surprise really because those are the practice habits that we have and that is what he does in practice. We have to continue to generate that pass rush. We saw David Blay get into the game late and make some plays in the run game. We have to continue to establish depth in that position. That was the question mark going into the season. From a depth standpoint we are stronger but now it is just finding out who can do what in that position, whether it is on the edge or inside. We have to have those guys continue to come on and have quality productive reps because it helps the starters if they do not have to play 70 snaps a game to continue to bring those guys along to make them better players in the run game and put pressure on the passer.”

On offensive line and offense as a whole…
“Improvement has been a huge emphasis and was a big emphasis today at practice. If we want to be an experienced group there that has a lot of talent or be a group that has a lot of potential then we will just not practice well. If we want to be a group that lives up to our potential we will have great practice habits. Practice execution is our game day reality … The bottom line is we have to practice better. You have to have a sense of pride in protecting the passer and I have to call the game smarter. The defensive line is really good. They were very active and long. When you play a defensive line like that you have to be smart in how you call the game. There is plenty of room to improve on all parts. From a practice execution, we have to get better and take a sense of pride in those things.”

On Michael Richard
“Michael did a phenomenal job. That is why you try to get a high school kid to come in the spring. They get a lot of valuable reps. When you watched him play in the spring he was like a deer in the headlights but in the summer and through fall camp he gives us a ton of position flexibility in terms of what he can do in the nickel and can help us out at safety. I am not surprised by the plays that he made. The guy has a ton of courage. When you look at measurables and this and that the bottom line is the dude is a football player that makes plays. There are things that he has to clean up from a technical standpoint but if you put him in man coverage he does a good job there and makes plays in the run game. He has to leverage the screen a little bit better a couple times but I am really encouraged by how he has played and his progression in the secondary.”

On quarterback game planning…
“Fortunately with PFF you have a lot of film. So you try to break down the tendency of a defensive player individually. From a defensive standpoint, are there any tells of him off the pass or from a snap count. Then you just get a feel for the kid watching how he did previously. We were able to have the game last week. It has been big being able to see that. On offense and defense, you only have one game to go off of so you are hoping that is what they are going to do so you never know. They might come out and do something completely different so we have to adapt and adjust if that is the case.”