By Gray Gardner.
Wide receiver Jaron Brown met with members of the media Monday morning to discuss the team’s recent loss and the offense’s continued woes in the red zone.
You had a couple of big third down catches. When you’re making those plays, are you thinking, “We’re going to win this thing?”
JB: It’s really just a one-play mentality. I want to make the most of every play. I want to put the team in a position to win.
What’s the feeling like when you guys get in the red zone? Are there extra pressures added when you get into the red zone and have the troubles you’ve had the last couple of weeks?
JB: Yeah, I mean when you get in the red zone you want to score and you want to score touchdowns. Not being in a good position to kick field goals, that’s definitely an added emphasis we focus on every week.
Was this game kind of a breakthrough game for you and the other receivers considering some of the big catches you made?
JB: As a position group, we didn’t play too well. We had a couple of big catches but I mean as far as run blocking – we didn’t block real well downfield on the second level. So I think that’s something we need to continue to work on and improve at. As well as just playing without the ball.
How much time do you spend on that in practice every week?
JB: Everyday. Everyday we spend a great amount of time on it. It’s a real big emphasis, as it’s been throughout the season.
Really that was probably the poorest performance we’ve had as far as run blocking goes. We just have to improve in practice.
Was that more so because of some of the athletes you were going up against or in hindsight was that you guys just not doing your job?
JB: More on the effort side. We just have to play with better second effort. I’ve seen several plays where I got beat or took the wrong angle. It just comes down to players’ effort.
What do you think you guys need to do when you get in the red zone to be more efficient?
JB: Better focus, more focus and more sense of urgency. We just really need to capitalize when the plays are there.
The receivers are being more involved in the passing game. Do you think you have gained more trust from the coaching staff?
JB: Yeah, definitely. We tend to be a balanced team, but we’ve gained their confidence and trust throughout practice. I think as we continue to work hard in practice we’ll see more of those play calls in the game.
How do you feel like your own development, how you’ve come along this year?
JB: Pretty good, I mean, there’s still a lot of things I need to improve on. That was my first game back since my injury so it just felt good to get back out there and improve and get better.
This is your third year in the program so you’ve been in a lot of locker rooms after games – how was the locker room after this one?
JB: As you imagine a lot of guys were down. We really wanted that game and it was a really important game. The main thing is we just have to keep fighting. I’m still optimistic about the future so we just have to focus on this next game. That game is over. We just have to focus on Wake (Forest) and try to get bowl eligible.
You guys talk about moving forward all the time, whether to the next play or the next game. But being human, how can you go out and practice this week without thinking about this loss?
JB: You just have to look at things ahead. You really can’t reflect and stay on things in the past. If you’re just going to think about the past you’re just going to keep on dwelling and moping. That’s when the leadership has to step up on the team and motivate the players to play. We still have some things to accomplish.
All of the five losses have been pretty winnable games – does that make it even more disappointing?
JB: Not really. I’m a ball player, so we just really got to have that focus to go out at practice and – we’re not where we want to be, obviously – but we just got to have that focus to keep on fighting. There’s really nothing we can do about it, the games we’ve lost and the way the season’s gone. But there’s still a lot to fight for. We still got to beat Wake Forest.
Was there any frustration from the defense as they were out there making some stops Saturday while the offense could not get in the end zone?
JB: Oh yeah, it’s a team game; there are definitely some frustrations probably. From offensive standpoint we’re frustrated too, you know, when you get that close and are not able to capitalize. That’s just something we’ve got to work on. That’s what practice is for. We just really weren’t able to capitalize on a lot of opportunities. There were a lot of missed opportunities in the game.
Kyle Parker’s quarterback rating is much lower in the red zone than it is elsewhere. What’s going on in the passing game when you get close to the end zone?
JB: Like I said, it comes down to just really not capitalizing. I feel like a lot of the times plays were there but we just really haven’t had luck swing our way. That’s just one thing we have to focus on – red zone scoring. I mean you want to score touchdowns.
Do you think players have been too tense in the red zone?
JB: I mean not really. Typically when you get in the red zone you want to kind of be aggressive if the plays are there. But there’s not really such a timid aspect there. I feel like when you get in the red zone that’s when you get pumped up and are ready to score.
This team is 5-10 away from home under Dabo Swinney. What do you draw from that?
JB: Really just not capitalizing on opportunities. That’s really what it comes down to. There’s really a lot of plays where we’re driving then it might be a fumble or interception or whatever – just a lot of mishaps and not capitalizing.
Does the offensive game plan change much when you get into the red zone?
JB: Definitely. I mean you have different play calls for the open field and for the red zone.
Do you think some of the lack of success in the red zone is due to changing the plays that got you down there?
JB: No, not at all. I mean, the plays are there. It’s just up to the players to make them.