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Buffalo Bulls vs Kent State Golden Flashes football: Lance Leipold Press Conference

On Kent State - Start with their defense?

They've had an excellent year. ... As a whole defensively, when you put it together, their nonconference schedule of two Big Ten teams and Marshall. I think they've definitely been tested and still to be ranking as high as they do in the conference says a lot.

Another front four that rotates even much alike we've been doing. They haven't quite as much maybe the last couple games, but they're going ten deep in a couple areas and able to keep bodies in there. So that front seven definitely is impressive and I think they're getting good safety play, they've got a corner that's up there in interceptions, one guy leads the league in sacks, so again they're making a lot of plays, there.

They blitz (name) a lot?
One thing they've done a nice job of, Mark, is they're sometimes in a four-man front, sometimes they're in a three-man front, it's not by down and distance as much sometimes. They give you a lot of different looks that can confuse you and cause disruption along with just the quality of play.

[some back and forth]

Impressed with how they've played, but yet also how they've caused some confusion.

On Anthone Taylor and Jordan Johnson

Yea, Jordan Johnson has really stepped us for us, getting a lot of carries and being productive I think especially in the second half. Anthone's moving a lot better, getting closer and closer to 100%. A good problem to have, but we're gonna need both these guys down the stretch. Finding ways to use them both is definitely a good problem to have

Kent has a good rush defense

It's gonna be our ability to be consistent running the ball, it's something we've been very up and down with and it's gonna be one of those games were gonna have to find ways to get tough yards and establish the running game. It's definitely gonna be a key to this game.

On Kotelnicki and the running game sticking through unproductivity

We've found even at our last stop, late in the seasons, game 15 and things like that against quality opponents, that abandoning a running game is really making yourself one dimensional. Sometimes it may not be statistically pretty but showing that you haven't abandoned it is something we believe in that's gonna pay off sometimes in games as long as the game is still in reach or haven't been decided.

It's probably on me a little bit last week; six, seven minutes to go, up by two scores. You're trying to shorten that game up. It wasn't necessarily just run the clock out, it's just shortening the game. At 35, 39 seconds between snaps at six minutes, if you can just ...get one first down and we weren't able to do that. Getting the ball back doesn't mean you're gonna stop that philosophy

Again on Taylor and Johnson

It hasn't been series, it hasn't been carries or play. We're gonna find situations to use both. The thing is maybe who's got the hot hand sometimes, and I think both guys have handled that well. It's not necessarily like rotating quarterbacks, but I think there's also a point you gotta let backs get into rhythm too, to understand the flow of the game. I think a game like this is one you're going to need this.

On Joe "getting back to being Joe"

Note: Lance hated this question.

I'm not quite sure what exactly you mean, by what part of the year he wasn't Joe but [interrupted... "he seems to be really locked in."]

I think so, at the same time- why'd you throw an interception for a touchdown? Joe's been steady, I haven't seen him waver in this offense or have doubt of what he's doing or what we're doing. He handles things well.

I don't know if I've been around a guy who stays in a pocket, like Andy says, almost to a fault sometimes. He takes some shots, he still gets up. I've never seen him get discouraged with himself, his teammates, playcalling, whatever. I think that's what makes him such a great leader in what we're doing. I think he's comfortable in what's happening and what's being asked of him.

We're gonna need that here Thursday and the other three games.

On Kent's run defense
I think we've been... solid. Would I like it better? Yeah. I always do. I think our consistency of late, I guess, if you're talking last game ... but I thought it was outstanding against Ohio. We've evaluated a little of the rotation, it's not just a clear, especially early part of the game, sometimes that can be weather, can be whatever if we feel some guys can play more snaps ... and just like on the other side of the ball it gives you a little more continuity and flow of the game, too

On 9 guys all averaging more than 20% of the snaps on DL
I think we will [stick to that]. Rotations still held, ... I look at total snaps, and when you get a DL above 45 in a game whether it be a 65 snap or a 90 you've gotta have concerns about how long they're out there. That can be misleading ....
When they're out there for those long drives and you leave them out there that's when that guy tires and he doesn't have the same for the 4th quarter. But yea, we're gonna still try to rotate at least eight, and then Kyril will be used in situational, usually passing situations.

On Thursday night games
More importantly we're back to seven days. Days of the week we just kinda get confused what day we're supposed to take out the garbage and go to church. You're back to seven days and how you normally go about those things. It's when you're working on a shorter schedule that you're trying to compact things.

On Kent's offense
Yea, I'm still impressed though with their young skill... out in space, and they're playing a redshirt freshman quarterback sometimes with that there's flows of that. Again you look at some of the schools I said who they played against they've played a lot of good football teams. They've had two weeks to prepare for this game, so again statistically don't get too caught up in that as much, because we're still gonna need to play well, and they've had the extra time to prepare and analyze us.

On a different attitude lately
I think there's definitely in all of us a little different air than there was ... from these last two weeks after Central and Bowling Green for sure. There's a level of confidence that if we can put some things together. I've learned quickly in this conference it's a matter how you match up, it's one at a time type of thing, because everyone matches up slightly differently strengths and weaknesses.
... So we need to make sure we're ready. But I think our confidence level as a whole has continued to rise.