Travis Ford's Weekly Teleconference
Feb. 4, 2008
AMHERST, MASS. - Ford on playing a team [St. Louis] that wants to get into a half court game:
It's not easy that's for sure. It's difficult to change over night especially on one day's preparation. We had to take Thursday off because of the one day off a week. We had to go from Duquesne to St. Louis and so our guys were in hotels for four-five days. It was tough. When we came out Saturday, you could tell our guys were not their normal selves as far as the energy level that needed to be had in that game. The game was different than the Duquesne game, but the game went up and down actually a little more than I anticipated. I don't think St. Louis is a slow-down team. They've got some guys that don't mind getting it up and down. They just play really good defense and I think that's the reason they hold their opponents to some low scores. But it's difficult, it's not easy. It was two extremes, there's no question, when you have Duquesne who's going to run around and trap you a lot and try to make the game as fast as possible. We like that as well and then you go into it more. A half court defensive basketball team is really going to take away driving gains like that. It was definitely a change of pace for us.
Ford on going from a power team to a running team:
It's what I've usually done in the past. My first two years here, we were blessed to have some really, really good big men inside with Stephane Lasme and Rashaun Freeman. These were basically two-five men who we had to play with. We had to, not necessarily slow it down, but we ran a whole lot more sets and we were more particular about who got the basketball. Then obviously we lose about 75% of our scoring off last year's team and all of our rebounding and everything. This year's team, we knew that it was a year that I don't think a whole lot was expected out of us. So it was a good time to change gears back to the way I wanted to play. Plus it fit this group and that's the main thing. That's the number one priority for me and it always has been. This team in built more for speed and versatility.
Ford on going flat out:
Yes. There's no question. Again, we think we've got a pretty quick point guard who can get the ball up and down the court. We have some other guys who can really flourish in this style of basketball, but they're still learning it. There's no question. A lot of these guys are still trying to figure it out, it's a little late, but it hasn't become habit yet, which you would have hoped it would by this time. It's not a habit. It's not great that you're still trying to figure a few things out in February, but that's what we're still doing. This is the way I knew from the last game we played last year, I knew I was preparing for this. There's no question we wanted to play this way.
Ford on whether the team is trying to figure less things out:
Yea I don't know. We've got some guys who don't understand the mentality you have to play with when you play this style of basketball. We're still developing that habit of the mental part of it. A lot of those are young kids, guys who in the past have not had the expectations that we're putting on them right now as far as guys having to step up and play a different role they've had to in the past as far as just not role players. That's difficult for a team and we've lost a lot from last year. At this time of year when it gets kind of a little more at stake when it starts coming down to the end, guys need to step up. Some of these guys have not been in this position before.
Ford on the most overlooked aspect of the team:
Most over looked aspect of our basketball team...that's a good question. I don't know, I don't have a good answer for that. We'd be here for a while. I don't know what the most overlooked aspect would be of our team. For me, my coaching staff reminds me that we've very, very young. We've got some veteran starters, but from that point we're pretty much all freshman. I forget that at times and we haven't been able to go as deep into our bench as we would like at times, even though I'm playing eight, nine, ten guys. We need to play more guys, more minutes. But again, we have a lot of freshman that we're trying to get better very, very quickly.
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