Transcript: Mike Smith Press Conference

Opening Statement:

"In the game yesterday, we didn't finish the ballgame like we needed to.  I think it was a tale of two halves, especially on the offensive side of the ball.  We were not able to score any points in the second half, and I think that was a critical aspect of the game yesterday."

On Thomas DeCoud and Antone Smith:

"It was announced that Thomas DeCoud had a concussion, so he is in the League protocol.  He will have to go through a number of steps before he will be cleared to play.  The first one seeing the independent neurologists and going through the different stages they have in place.  Antone Smith had a knee injury and did not return to the ballgame.  He will be day-to-day.  We do not think that it is anything significant.  We anticipate that he will be able to join us for practices as the week goes on."* *

On Anonte Smith's knee injury being the reason he did not have any touches on offense:

"It was.  Yes.  Antone had a couple snaps when he was in on offense, but just did not give him the opportunity to touch the football.  He injured his knee on a special teams play."

On Coach Koetter interviewing for the Boise State position:

"I am aware that Dirk has spoken with the people at Boise State.  I don't believe it is in the best interest for us, or for Dirk, to comment any further on that.  I am aware that they have had conversations."

On what losing Coach Koetter would mean:

"Again, I don't play the what if game.  I'm not going to play that game.  I do know that they have had conversations and I'm not going to play that what if game, in terms of 'what if this happens?'  My focus and our focus and I know Dirk's focus is on cleaning up the game from yesterday, that is what they  are doing right now and moving onto the Washington Redskins."

On not having much action in the second half:

"I think that the weather, the field got frozen in the second half.  If you look at the numbers from both sides of the ball, the numbers went down in the second half.  The footing was much different in the second half of the football game than it was in the first half.  They have heaters under the ground and they keep it blown up.  When I say blown up, they keep a tarp over it and blow heat until about two hours before the game.  During the game, the ground did freeze, so I think it did change the footing a little bit.  We ran the ball a lot more effectively; we did everything a lot more effectively in the first half of the ballgame than the second half.  The first three drives of the second half were not efficient drives.  We had two three and outs, and the third one that started at the end of the third quarter, we got a first down and it ended up having a strip of the ball.  We did not handle the sudden change defensively with the score on the short field."

On Ryan Schraeder taking 71% of the snaps:

"We felt like there were a number of guys we wanted to see some significant playing time.  We felt like they've earned it, like I said before.  Instead of playing them in spot playing and getting them 15 or 20 snaps, we wanted to get Ryan some significant playing time to see how he handled the situation.  I thought that he did a good job for his first time under some difficult circumstances.  He stood in there for the most part and did a nice job.  Again, that evaluation process is going to continue through these last three weeks of the season."

On there being tension from trying to play younger guys:

"There is not tension.  Every decision that we make, is based on giving us the best chance to win the football game.  We felt that the guys that we played yesterday gave us the best chance to win the football game.  We're going to continue to have guys compete during the week.  If we feel like during the week that they deserve more playing time, then they are going to get more playing time.  Ultimately, we're judged as a football team and as the head coach, by wins and losses.  We're not going to make decisions that are going to be counter intuitive to helping us win football games."

On Zeke Motta:

"I thought that Zeke did a nice job.  Zeke had to go in to the injury of Thomas DeCoud.  He ended up playing 53 plays.  I thought he showed some physicality.  He had a couple of really nice tackles, had a pass breakup, so it was good to see him get some significant playing time.  I think we ended up playing the two rookie corners and the rookie safety for the majority of the game, so it was good experience for those young players."

On how different the rookie corners are from week 1 to now:

"They're not rookies any longer.  They've got enough snaps under their belt that they're able to be considered veteran players.  They basically have seen it all, that they can see.  I think that Desmond Trufant has matured and done a very good job of understanding what it takes to play in the NFL.  Robert Alford got his first significant straight through playing in the game yesterday, so it was good to see him handle that.  He made some good plays.  There were some learning experiences, and there is going to be.  In the double cut we gave up in the second series of the second half, it was great to see him recover.  You don't usually see guys get beat on those double moves recovering.  He was able to recover and get the guy on the ground, and we ended up holding them to a field goal in that situation.  The speed of him at the corner position, I think that increases our speed as a football team.  He is one of the fastest guys on our team."

On that showing that the team has not given up:

"This group doesn't give up.  We're playing hard; we're playing with a lot of energy.  We're just not very precise in our execution.  That is the thing that has hurt us the most, and it hurt us the most yesterday in the ballgame.  We had opportunities to make the plays in the ballgame to give us a chance to win, and we didn't execute them.  It is a fine line.  I say it all the time.  The difference of winning and losing in the NFL is a matter of inches, and I think that this was another prime example of that in the ballgame yesterday.  There were four or five plays that really made the difference in that ballgame, just not as precise as we need to be."

On Tony playing 100% of the snaps on offense:

"Tony gives us the best chance to win when he is playing at the TE position.  If that wasn't the case, than we would put someone else in there.  Levine played in our two tight end sets in the ballgame and I'm sure that is what you are alluding to, are we going to get Levine more snaps.  Again, I think there are certain guys that are head and shoulders above other players on our team, in terms of the playtime they should have.  Tony is one of them.  Tony wants to savor every snap that he has left.  We know that he has finite number of snaps left in this season, now that we know that there are just three more games.  There is no postseason.  I think that Tony wants to play as many snaps as he can.  He gives us the best chance to win when he's in there.  I would imagine Tony is going to play a lot of plays these last three games."

On the conditions of the game:

"The elements on an outdoor game are the same for both teams.  You can't use them as excuses.  I thought that our guys handled the elements fairly well.  They went out and played hard and executed.  Yes, it is a different ballgame when you are playing in whatever the temperature was yesterday, I just know it was cold.  I don't know what the temperature was, but it was cold.  Not like the happy confines of the Dome at 65 degrees.  You can't use them as excuses.  They were playing on the same field that we were, they had the same opportunities to make plays, and they made a couple more plays than we did."

On how Asante Samuel took not playing:

"Asante is a team player.  He is a mentor to these young guys, and he continues to be that.  I think Asante, like a lot of guys on this team, they understand the situation that we are in, and they understand that there are some guys that have worked hard that deserve an opportunity to play.  He was very good on the sideline helping the guys; he helps the guys in the meeting room.  Asante Samuel has been an integral part of the last two seasons in developing defensive backs."

On Paul Worrilow leading the team in tackles:

"If you would have told me that Paul Worrilow would be our leading tackler back in July, I would have not thought that at all.  It just speaks volumes about how hard he has worked.  We were playing yesterday with three rookies in the secondary, two rookies at the linebacker position and two defensive lineman that have significant playing time up front in Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga.  They are going to go through growing pains, we're going to go through growing pains, but long term I think it will be advantageous for us to get these players that work like they work in practice and deserve the opportunity to play in the game and get them as many snaps as we can."

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