Coach Smith talks about Steven Threet's injury situation in detail – the how's, the why's, and the…
Steve Threet Speaks
Steven Threet: "Yeah, you know there is obviously some plays in the first half that should have turned out different, I guess you could say, some decisions that we should have made better. The thing I liked the most was that the offense kept on coming out, kept on grinding it out, just keep on struggling trying to get those yards to get some first downs and finally in the second half we were able to do that."
Question: Can you elaborate?
Steven Threet: "Yeah there are some things that are just habits that take a while. When you are in practice and coach is standing right there, it is a little bit easier to have those things corrected. When you get in the game and you are thinking more about the plays and the defense, as opposed to your mechanics. You go back to old habits. Just things that take time to get corrected."
Question: Can you elaborate?
Steven Threet: "Just my release. I think my release more than anything else is a big part of it and sometimes I take my drop and my feet get too wide and it just throws me off."
Question: Terrance Taylor talked about his big speech at halftime, did you take any of that personally?
Steven Threet: "No. Terrance is a senior and this is his last year. He obviously wants us to play well and that is how I took it. You can't take any of that personally, you can't take anybody criticizing you personally. They want to see the positive play, things like that. He is disappointed in the way that we started out, which I think everybody was."
Question: Do you have any theories on why through four games for the most part, the team plays better in the second half than the first half?
Steven Threet: "I don't know if I would say that we had any theories. I don't think that we get very tired during the games, which is a point toward our conditioning in practice as well as summer. I think for us it is about getting into a rhythm and we need to start doing that sooner."
Question: Is there any way you can get on getting in that rhythm sooner?
Steven Threet: "Not that I know of. We just have to come out and start a little bit better, start faster in the first quarter instead of waiting for halftime."
Question: You guys are going up against another team that runs the spread and I know that obviously you and Juice Williams are two entirely different players, but do you try to watch him or will you try to watch him on film at all this week to maybe try to pick up anything on what he does in the spread?
Steven Threet: "You know I might. I might look at their offense a little bit because I know they run a similar offense to us, but most of the time we spent watching their defense."
Question: Did you get any grief from getting caught from behind on that 58 yard run?
Steven Threet: "No actually, I was talking to some of the guys, because I went with the two hands over the ball just to make sure that I didn't fumble. So that was a positive I think, as opposed to getting a couple extra yards."
Question: Is there one or two things that the offense can do to get off to a faster start against Illinois, what would it be?
Steven Threet: "I think we got to get some early completions and get the run game started, but obviously that is easier said than done in recent games. That is just something that will take time and hopefully we can get that going."
Question: What has Kevin Koger been doing in practice to put himself in a position to catch such a big pass in the game?
Steven Threet: "You know he has been playing well in practice. He has been learning the system good; he has been working hard and trying to get better in his techniques, so he has been doing well."
Question: You and Greg Mathews seemed to be connecting a lot better in the second half, maybe than in past games, do you think it is a result of him coming back from the injury or working on it in practice?
Steven Threet: "I think working on it in practice, as well as making decisions. I mean we had open receivers there in the first half, just wasn't able to connect with them. Even some in the second half missing passes, but that is part of the game, so just got to go with it."
Question: How much more comfortable are you getting now that you are the starting quarterback? You are getting into a rhythm, aren't you?
Steven Threet: "Yeah, I think a little bit and that comes with time. I think it's not just being starter or what not, it comes with more reps in the game. You try as hard as you can to simulate games in practice. There are obviously a little difference though."
Question: You said about the offenses going to work on getting a rhythm and that is how you are going to get more success. Do you think that when the offense does work that way it should that it is going to be like turning on light bulb and it is going to be instantaneous or is it going to be a slow gradual effect over the course of a season?
Steven Threet: "I think what we are going for is kind of what you saw in the second half when were moving the ball a lot better. Not necessarily huge plays, but just chunks of yardage, positive yards on first down, getting us into more manageable second and third downs. Just giving ourselves a chance to keep drives going and get first downs. I think that is when we were most successful; we started getting a few first downs."
Question: Illinois has a got a great secondary led by Vontae Davis, how do you simulate him and what do you have to do on Saturday to work against a secondary of Illinois capabilities?
Steven Threet: "You have got to be conscious of that. You can't forget. You're playing against some very talented guys in their secondary; their whole defense. It is just something that you have got to be conscious of. Go out and execute the offense more than anything else."
Question: Do the constant changes in the offensive line because of injuries make it harder for you at all or is it pretty much just any five out their work?
Steven Threet: "No. I think the guys that we have on the O-line do a great job of making it work. You got to give the credit to them. They get in there, whoever it may be and they're fighting as hard as they can. They did a great job, especially in the second half. They came out; they really dominated the line of scrimmage for us there towards the end of the game and I think that that goes how hard they worked this summer and how they have been working at practice. They're conditioning set in and I know they weren't tired. They could have kept on going through overtime."
Question: Do you feel like you're pressing to make big plays on the field?
Steven Threet: "I wouldn't say pressing to make big plays. I felt like I was pressing a little bit in the second half, which as you know is one of the things that the coaches said to me at halftime, there is no need to press. Just execute the offense and we will be fine. I think I concentrated more on that in the second half."
Question: Do you ever step back and sort of look at what has happened in your career here? I mean a year ago at this time, most people would have thought Ryan Mallett would be the starting quarterback and obviously many things have transpired to put you in this position. Do you ever sort of pinch yourself?
Steven Threet: "No not really. To be honest with you, I was thinking about it when I was driving here from my apartment. I was thinking just how crazy this is. Two years ago, I was thinking if I wasn't playing, two years ago I would have been watching the game here probably. It is cool. It is a great time, but that is not something to think about right now. Right now thinking about Illinois and thinking about that game."
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