Oct. 22, 2013
University of Massachusetts football head coach Charley Molnar spoke with members of the media during the weekly MAC Teleconference on Monday morning. Molnar discussed the improved play of the defense over the last few weeks, the preparation for Western Michigan, and the importance of having a good start on Saturday during the call.
Molnar On The Buffalo Loss:
I'd like to first talk about our defense and the improved play that they've shown over the last several weeks. Our defense is playing better, but we need to be more consistent and that will come as we add more depth and our young players physically mature. Some of what happened during the game and over the last few weeks are real points that show that we are growing. The first is that we didn't allow a defensive touchdown until the fourth quarter. The second point is that our Red Zone defense continues to improve and is ranked 7th in the country. Finally, our third down conversions allowed over the last two weeks is 5-for-25. So I'm excited to see our defense continue to improve this week coming forward. The rest of our team is a work in progress. Our special teams have made some great strides. Our offense took a step back, but I believe that with a good week of practice we can get back to where we were.
Molnar On Preparations For The Western Michigan Game:
In terms of our preparations for Western Michigan, I think they are a team just like we are - a hungry football team which makes them a dangerous football team. The kids are playing hard regardless of their record. As I look at their offense, Tyler Van Tubbergen played against us last year and had one heck of a game. I think he is an outstanding talent. I know they are expecting big things from him. They have two pretty good running backs that they split time with in Dareyon Chance and Brian Fields. They are shifty and difficult to tackle with the ability to make you miss. Chance had a 100-yard game against Ball State helped by two long runs. When we look over at the defense, there are a couple of players who have stood out. Their defensive back Donald Celiscar already has three interceptions on the year. Their linebacker Johnnie Simon is outstanding alongside their WILL linebacker Mike Jones who leads them in tackles. They have some really good players who we have to be aware of every moment on the field.
Molnar On the importance of a good start and early momentum:
I think in every game it is important that you start off with success. If you look at our football team, when we came off the field [at Buffalo] our defense had played really well for three quarters, but we wore down really from a lack of depth. We allowed two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The defense really didn't come off the field at the end feeling as good as perhaps they did through the first three quarters. Offensively, we never got on track. We really need to get a good jolt of confidence and we need a fast start on both sides of the ball. That's something we're going to work on this week in practice.
Molnar On The Team's Resiliency:
I think the guys on this team are motivated to succeed. They work hard every day in practice. For example, we had 100% attendance this morning for our weight lifting session. I know our guys are in to it; I know our guys want to get better each and every day; I'm sure we'll come out today and have an excellent practice.
Molnar On Colter Johnson In Comparison To Last Season:
Colter had a minor surgery in the offseason which prevented his training to really take him to the next level. I know that he is disappointed at times by some of his punts. We expect great things from him and I believe that before this year is out that he will get back into his rhythm and become the punter that he wants to be. I think our protection is good and that is a high point for our special teams. He just needs to take the next step forward and I'm sure he will.
Molnar On The Pressure Of Facing A Winless Team:
We just love to go out and compete. We approach every game the same way regardless of the opponents record. We were in the same category just two short weeks ago where we were a winless opponent. Our approach is always the same and that is to go out and perform our best. We're hungry to win - not just one game a year but every game we play. I expect our guys to come out not feeling any external pressures but just the normal pressure they feel week in and week out to do their very best.