Coach Freeze met with the media Monday afternoon for his weekly press conference, this time standing up during the interview session for the first time since suffering from back spasms and a staph infection.


“Obviously disappointed in some of the things that happened Saturday night. We’re at a point right now, I think, in our program where the little things matter so much. They drastically have an impact on the games that we are playing. When you look at our injury report and we are without a certain number of players and the depth on the team is not what Louisiana Lafayette’s is or Syracuse’s is, it matters. Three of those long runs they had, Elijah Benton makes those plays. We’re without him last week and it matters. Then, we have two defensive tackles go out early in the game with injuries. That’s no excuse. We first have to look at our coaching staff. We tried to do too many things defensively on 3rd down, particularly once we had to rotate in some subs. Offensively there’s a disconnect right now with Buckshot. I’m determined to get that fixed. There’s not an ounce of discouragement at all. That game the other night could have been a lot closer. The better team won on that night.”


“I’ve missed 23 practices and I’m sick of it. I’ve had enough of that. I’ve got to do whatever I can to get back out there and get on the sideline. I’m kind of tired of having to ask (our administration) to accomodate me in any way, ready to get back to full speed. I am getting better. I showered myself this morning, I know my wife is glad of that. She’s had to do things that have been very humbling to me. I’m grateful to have her as my partner and my soulmate. I’m ready to get back to normal and I’m getting closer. I certainly don’t want to be setback, I want to be healthy, but I’ve about had enough of sitting at home.”


“We’ve got a very difficult opponent this week in Buffalo. Watched their game last night against Penn State, and I was really, really impressed, particularly for the first half. When you watch a team play and you see every play is played with passion and its played hard and fundamentally sound and their guys are in the right spots, you know they are very well coached. Coach Leipold has done a phenomenal job everywhere he has been. It’s no different here. They play extremely hard, they’re in the right spots, they’re not going to make very many mistakes at all. It’s a tall challenge, I’m glad we have them at home. We need our fans to show up, support this football team as we continue our move into playing some of the top group of 5 schools in the nation.”


“We desperately need to get some people healthy to have a chance to be in this game in the 4th quarter and have a chance to win. Obviously, (WR) Noah (Frith) is still out. In the receiver room, I think we’ve got everybody (else) back there. Defensively is really where the challenges are. Big (DT) Ralf (Rusins) had just one heck of a game against Syracuse, and his first quarter they other night he really was a factor. Losing him to a high ankle sprain really hurt us. Obviously, he is day by day now. Same thing happened to (DT) Elisha Mitchell. Two high ankle sprains there so they’ll be day-to-day. Hopefully, (S) Elijah (Benton) will be back from the concussion because we started the protocol last week and the symptoms are way down. (LB) Waylen (Cozad) was playing pretty good also and went out with a concussion in the 2nd quarter. He’ll be day-to-day. (S) Rion Davis the same thing, concussion. (S) JaVon Scruggs had an AC sprain. (LB Brandon) Tillmon has a high ankle sprain. Those are the issues we are facing defensively and we’re already thin at some of those spots. Offensively, we’re pretty healthy. We lost (RB) Peytton (Pickett) the other night before the game. He had a sickness at the hotel and just was so dehydrated, but he was fine yesterday.”


“I went through that whole first drive with him like 3 times. ‘This is what we’re doing. This is what we’re doing on the first drive.’ And it looked like clockwork, but I can’t do that for the whole game unless I get on that sideline and then I can do some more of that, but it’s very hard. He knows it, that’s the frustrating thing. We’ve got to get through. He knows it. I think it will help if I can get down there and before we take the field say, ‘here’s the things I’m thinking about. Let’s talk through them real quick.’ We haven’t progressed exactly as far as I would have hoped in that regard yet, but I believe in him. I told him that last night. ‘I believe in you.’ He’s a little distracted by pressure. We’ve got to fix some protection issues. It’s not all on him by any means. We’ve got to continue to work on him.”


“It’s too early for me to say that. I’m not ready at all to say that that’s the case. We will continue to prepare him in practice. There’s some things that I hope to see out of Buckshot this week that could start changing that in my mind. When it’s 3rd-and-4 and protection breaks down and you have a clear lane to get us a first down and get a new set of downs, you have to do that. You don’t have to force some throw somewhere for whatever reason. That mindset’s gotta change, but way too early for us to say. He’s our guy.”


“Lack of awareness of game situation. I think that starts with us as coaches. Just managing the game and being in the right spot. You’re going to miss tackles. I get really upset with selfish penalties. I’ve never coached a kid who I thought wanted to go out there in front of mom, dad, and everyone else and mess up. So, you’re going to miss tackles, but be in the right spot, get the right call, understand it’s 3rd and 8 and you don’t give a 12 yard cushion. Understand the situation of what football is every down. It’s not just about getting a call and playing that call. It’s about the situation that’s going on right now within this game that will have an outcome on the football game.”


“We’re going to make a move with Tank this week to another position defensively to that nickel spot and see how that goes and open up a little competition. I wish he was a little bigger, but I also wish Michael Hilton was a little bigger when I recruited him. He started for me for 4 years and started for the Pittsburgh Steelers and he’s 5’8″ and 1-quarter and was the best tackler I ever coached.”