Oct. 28, 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 play of the team against Western Michigan, highlighting Khary Bailey-Smith and Lorenzo Woodley, and also talked about No. 17/21 Northern Illinois and team leader Jordan Lynch.
On Saturday's tough loss to Western Michigan and looking ahead to Northern Illinois:
Looking back at Saturday's game, we can see several areas of growth. First, I'm really proud with how our team battled right to the very end of the game. If you remember last year, we played Western Michigan and lost the game 52-14. We have certainly closed the gap on many of our MAC opponents and we're now playing them to a one-point game. It's disappointing, but obviously we're glad that we're making strides in that area. We're all disappointed that we only played a complete game once this year where all three phases graded out with a winning performance. This week, our offense took some real strides forward. We had an improved offensive performance and we scored the most points that we have this year. It was our second best total offense in terms of yards; we had zero turnovers and had our best yards per play. Looking at it, we see an improved offensive performance and great effort. These are the things we can build on going forward.
On the opening kickoff being returned for a touchdown by Khary Bailey-Smith:
It really got the crowd in the game and it was an excellent way to start a homecoming performance. Khary has had a number of big plays for us throughout the course of the season and we expect him to expand his role on our football team, not only defensively, but on special teams, going forward.
On how Lorenzo Woodley has progressed since being a highly touted recruit that got injured:
Lorenzo would be the first to tell you that he wasn't ready to assume a greater role offensively for us because his injury held him back in practice. There were things that he wasn't ready to do consistently on a game-to-game basis. We felt coming into this game that he was as mentally sharp as he has ever been. He was really locked in during practice and was making decisions in all aspects of the game that he had not demonstrated previously.
On if it makes it easier to move on from a heartbreaking loss with No. 17/21 Northern Illinois coming into town next week:
We cannot afford to spend too much time looking back. We have what might be the best team on our schedule in front of us this week, so it has gotten a lot of attention. We tried to close the book on Saturday's game as fast as we could and turned all of our preparations to Northern Illinois.
On what quarterback Jordan Lynch brings to the table and how much of a challenge is it to stop him running and passing:
He may be one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. Beyond the obvious physical skill set that he has, he's a great runner and above-average passer. He really is the brains behind their offense when he is out there on the field. He does it all; he's the unequivocal leader for their football team. Right now, he is the guy that they look to and he is the man who best summarizes Northern Illinois football. I had a chance to see him during the game last year when he whizzed by me on the sidelines and I was shocked to see how thick he was. He's really built like an NFL fullback. He reminds me of Danny Kendra when he played in high school and at Florida State.
On if he's seen Lynch develop more as a passer recently rather than tucking the ball and running:
When you say tuck it and run it, most of his runs are designed or read runs. Last year in the passing game, I thought he was undervalued. He is a better passer than people gave him credit for and looking at him this year; he seems to be even better than he was last season. He is just another year more comfortable in the job that he has to do. He doesn't force the ball and is a smart decision-maker.
On how he plans to use his stable of running backs:
I'm not sure even as we step on the field this afternoon if all three are 100% healthy, so we haven't had that luxury of determining where we can slot them. Our guys have to do it all; not only do they have to be the ball carrier for us most of the time in a one-back offense, but they have to be able to pass protect and catch to a degree. All three can do it, they have demonstrated that they can catch the ball and they have made some excellent decisions in blocking and the pass protection area.