Marshall athletic director and head football coach Jake Griedl caught up with the Marshall News Messenger to discuss Friday night’s game in Carthage and look ahead to what’s next.
■ MNM: What did you learn about your team last night?
JG: Regardless of the situation and regardless of the outcome, our kids haven’t stopped fighting. We’ve got to do a better job as a coaching staff to put the right people on the field to allow the team to have the most success possible.
■ MNM: What are of your team needs the most improvement right now?
JG: We’ve got to make a decision at the quarterback position and just stick with it. Right now, we’ve kind of become a gadget offense so we need to figure out who we want back there. We’ve tried a couple different things and after two weeks of evaluating, we’ve got to make a decision that’s best for the team. If we feel like we can improve on it and continue to grow on it, then it will give us the best opportunities to reach our goals.
■ MNM: Are you leaning one way or the other?
JG: We are but I don’t necessarily speak on that until we look at the film and really look into the statistical side of everything and the numbers and everything else as well.
■ MNM: What were you most pleased with offensively?
JG: I think in the third quarter, we started to get close on the O-line. Carthage’s defensive line is a really talented bunch and they took it to us for a lot of the game. We challenged our kids to keep pushing up front and they really stepped up in the third quarter and answered that call. We made too many penalties. We get down in the red zone and turnovers also hurt us instead of punching it in, so that really put us in a bind.
■ MNM: What were you most pleased with defensively?
JG: We had some guys who were put into tough situations defensively. We had some little knick-knack injuries here and there but our kids played well. We thought our kids put forth a great effort and we’ve just got to continue to get better with the details of that defense. We know as a coaching staff that the 4-2-5 is a defense that can take a while to learn but once it’s learned, we know that it’s really difficult for offenses to move the ball. It’s hard to judge our defense right now and how good our defense right now and how good our defense should be just because we’re not giving our defense much of a break on the offensive side. The first half, we played 13 snaps on offense and the defense played 44 snaps. When we don’t sustain drives on offense, it puts the defense in a bind and I think a lot of times, our defense takes the brunt of that but our defense is a lot better than the naked eye sees. We’ve got to find a way to keep the ball on offense and keep our defense off the field.
■ MNM: What are you telling your kids at this point to get them to buy in and trust the process?
JG: We have two options. The first option is we let the doubt and disappointment sink in and we throw in the towel and see what happens, or we know we’ve got our backs against the wall and we’ve got to fight like heck to continue working to reach our goal. This group is a group of fighters and I think we’ll respond the right way and take charge in that second option. We’ve been dealt a tough situation. We’re having to rebuild an offense, not in the offseason, not in the summer but in the season. Because of that everyone has to pull their weight plus some until we kind of establish what that looks like.
■ MNM: Does this remind you of your first year (as an assistant coach) with the program where you had a slow start but once you started winning, you went on a large streak?
JG: Yeah it really does. Our first year here, we started 0-4 and then we won six straight and won a district championship. Obviously, we’re looking to win seven straight now but in order for us to do that, we’re going to have to answer some questions, mostly offensively to be able to continue to grow and get points on the board. It doesn’t matter how good our defense is if we can’t help out offensively.
■ MNM: Who would you say is your player of the week?
JG: Offensively, I think Savion Williams played really well. We threw him into a position that was a tough situation on the field. He handled himself really well and made some big plays and did some things that were really good. I haven’t watched enough defensive film yet but I’ll get to that.
■ MNM: How was the crowd support?
JG: I hate it for them because we have such a great support group and great fans. I hate that they’re having to go through this with us but if there’s a message I could send to them, it’s, “I appreciate your support. Our team appreciates your support. Just know that when this thing catches fire, it’s not going to stop. Hold down the fort with us, encourage us and we’re going to do everything we can do make sure Marshall has a good season.”
■ MNM: How did you come out of last night health-wise?
JG: We had a couple knick-knack injuries but especially with the bye week coming up, I don’t see anybody being out against Lindale.
■ MNM: How do you plan to spend the bye week?
JG: It’s not going to be much of a bye week. We’ve got to find a way to answer some big questions. That’s where our efforts are going to be. We’re going to strap it up, we’re going to get after it and we’re going to look to answer those questions.