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Todd Dodge Radio Show - 10/4


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George: Starting the show a little differently. Talking about stuffed jalapenos. They are hot at the Pourhouse. Now, we start by talking about Riley. Dad has to walk a line talking about him. But watching his effort on Saturday, leading the team down on the 91 yard drive only to have the extra point happen, then hearing today that he played 3 quarters with a broken left hand... Knowing what he went through and what type of young man he is, it doesn't matter if you've known him 10 years or a minute, it's all "sir" and he's classy, but the sight of him walking off at the end of the game to find out today what he played with... I don't know if there are enough words to describe the bravery, the competitiveness... what a great effort by him and the team.

TD: As a father, I'm very proud of Riley. It was a tough 24-48 hours prior to the game for the entire team, but him especially because of his relationship with Josh. They were teammates, worked together this summer, lifted together and worked out on Thursday. Josh was very much on his mind. He found out at 2 a.m. on Friday the extent of everything, didn't sleep at all. Went into the game and Friday very emotional. Him and the entire team. But at some point on Friday it got to a point where we pull together and focus in. After the hotel meeting, get ready to play the game. Just like the entire team, Riley wanted to dedicate the effort to Josh. Those who knew him and had a chance to be around him know that's the kind of game he'd have played. heart, hustle, unselfishness. It was one I'm very proud of as a father. Proud of my son. he has a tremendous passion for football and absolutely loves UNT. We've been through some tough times since we've been here. Out of HS he originally had the opportunity to play at Texas, a place that because of my background he sort of grew up in. As time went by he made teh decision to come play for me and be a part of what we were doing here. There are times I've wondered during our journey that I've wondered if he wishes he'd have gone to UT. But he's never said it, never regretted it. He loves this university, the friends he's made here, and that makes me very proud as a father.

George: He told you it was bothering him in the game, but when you heard the news... You run out of things re: all injuries, don't you?

TD: Yes you do. your message continues to be to the team that we may be making history here, but there's nothing we can do about it. Riley's hand started swelling in teh game, never any question, he was gonna play. I forgot about it. After the game, Dustin told me we have to check Riley's hand on Monday morning. Xray and MRI shows a fracture in the left wrist. He'll see another doctor later today to see whether they can cast it or if it needs surgery.

George: Chase is the starter on Saturday?

TD: Yes. Backup is Dotson with Teegarden working there. John is probably more prepared to be the #2 because of spring and 2 a days. Chase as of right now, as we prepare today and going into tuesday, that's the direction we're going. We're gonna put our faith in him. he's a guy where there's an opportunity there now. Have a lot of confidence in Chase, so here we go again. He's a good athlete, in our system, Canales has worked with him in Spring and Fall. As we stand now, with no more knowledge of Riley, we'll be preparing Chase to start against ASU.

George: Back to the ULL game. Fell behind, caught up, fell behind again, 4th qtr comeback. Penalties throughout. You said something interesting afterwards: Some were your fault, but you saw nobody picked up the bogus calls on false starts.

TD: YOu have to listen to your own players and communicate what's happening on the field to the officials. When anotehr team is barking out signals or those things, there were situations where, y'know, again... We can sit here and make excuses. It's not excuses, it's what was going on on the field. I'm not going to get into it about the officials, it's something our players said was going on. *stammering* It was part of 15 penalties for 107 yards. That big time got in the way of us winning the ball game.

George: how common is that (the barked signals)?

TD: It happens. You'll come across it once, twice every year. Once your players tell you, the officials generally warn the other side and usually it stops. I'm not saying every single one of our penalties was caused by that, but there has to be, you have to... I'm not in the box, but my players tell me we have to do something about this. When there's a snap called before the real one, you flinch! But we had too many overall. Early we had 3 15 yarders in the first drive of the game. One on the kickoff, 2 on the opening drive, so that's something... There were a lot of really good things that happened from a consistency standpoint that we can go forward with. There is a lot we can doom and gloom about, but we have anohter game coming up. Can't live in the world of negativity or 'oh my gosh another 1 point loss'. We have a job, and it's to prepare a football team that we feel, regardless of what anybody else thinks, can win. And that's what we plan on doing this week against Arkansas State.


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George: Let's talk special teams. Many are focused on the final play, but we were commenting throughout that this was your best ST night. Covered, kicked, blocked a kick, good protection... Kokjohn had a good game snapping. Everything semed to go well.

TD: It did. It was our best night, started the past few weeks. There were kicks before the half, holding them inside the 20 on kicks. Back to back to back, keeping the opponent inside the 25 yard line. Bellazin, Forlando Johnson, Jamaal wilson, Gordon, Hilbert Jackson. These guys are starting to be a unit and play with some confidence. Pleased with our kick return unit. Chancellor takes one to the 39, unfortunately had a penalty there. Great return again the 2nd time they kick to us. Then they start to squib kick it, giving us position. Offense averaged, b/c of kick unit, the 38 yard line starting after kickoffs. Unit that was challenged the most was our punt team "pride unit". ULL was 4th in the nation over a 5 year period on blocked punts. They pride themselves on it, plan for it. We had one blocked last year that was part of the cause of a 4 point loss [24 hour rule?]. The guys up front protecting, Troy... When you get a punt blocked, usually it's a missed assignment/lack of focus. Punts... Didn't want to punt to Darius, which gave us position that was good for us.

George: Big play came up again defensively. Big pass, Spikes got lose on the sideline. Outside that and the personal fouls... Quality game of defense.

TD: Our keys to victory were 3: Stop the run. We did. 2. Keep them to 3 or less explosive plays. They had 6. 3rd, create turnovers. In the big picture, they didn't turn it over. I thought from the run stop standpoint, they had 41 yards. 2 weeks in a row, 97 and 41 yards. We lead the SBC in stopping the run. Gotta stop the explosives, though. 140 yards of their offense came on 2 plays. A screen and an RB wheel route.

George: Snap over riley's head, they return it for a TD.

TD: Fortenberry has done an outstanding job. Had a bad snap, a bad time, high and hot. When you get back on it, they scoop and score. It was a very very unfortunate play for us. They end up making the play.

George: What worked in the 4th quarter?

TD: We went into it, the biggest thing was let's bring everyone together and realize we can stop them, we can move the football, so please, let's not give up on this thing. Keep rolling. So we went in in the 4th quarter thinking we don't need to panic. Our players and coaches did a great job. All we can do is try to get it to a 1 score game. Then, don't worry about trying to win it right there, just get the tie and get it to overtime. Just didn't execute. (lost a little bit on the last few lines, sorry)


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George: Talk 4th quarter drives.

TD: At that point, felt we had enough time that we could stay within our offense. Different sets, get into the wildcat, it was probably more of Lance in the wildcat than James because of the injury. We're still not at a point where we have to throw every down. We can run, we can count on the defense to get a stop. That's exactly what happened. First one was a lot of Lance Dunbar. Now we've got plenty of time, defense goes out and gets the stop, and we get it with almost 5 minutes left. 91 yards away. That was a culmination of everyone making plays. Riley was 4 of 7. Carey made plays early, Lance, Jamal Jackson, Olawale making plays... That was one that, again, it's very disappointing that we came up short and didn't get the victory. But those couple of drives are gonna show that as we continue to go through the season, regardless of the QB, we're never out of things. We're gonna have a lot of close games, we're gonna have to have confidence to do those things late in ballgames.

George: Bad fumble reversed call, you hung on. Obvious one to look at. Where do you stand on replay?

TD: That was one that, as I saw it unfold, he's laying on his back the play is over with and the play is over, next thing you know he's running down the sideline. Somebody blew a whistle, all of a sudden they didn't. I felt confident that would be looked at. The guy on my sideline said 'do you want to challenge', I said 'of course I do'. They start to look at it before they get a snap. I wouldn't have let them snap without calling timeout. In college, every play is reviewed. Not in the NFL where you have to challenge. The challenge that comes in college is if they haven't stopped play, or haven't told the official to stop it because they're looking at it, I have to call timeout to give them time to look at it. If they overturn, I get my timeout back. But thats one in my opinion that shouldn't ever have had to be looked at. But we knew it would be overturned, so we had time to get our plan together. Just missed the TD pass, then executed the shovel pass to perfection with Darius underneath. Last time we ran it, nate was flipping it to Lance. Same play, but Darius coming underneath from a wing position. 30 seconds left, we're in great shape.

George: Frustrating as another close loss is, did you look back and say we didn't play well in spots?

TD: No doubt we got in our own way too much. Penalties, to start with. That was the biggest thing as we went through. On our goal board, O/D/Kicking, we were as good as we've been. But from a penalty standpoint, we gave them too many chances. We should have won the football game. Expected to win, put ourselves in position to win. For Trent Deans, yes we didn't execute on the XP, but just like any football game that comes down to a close one, everyone remembers the last thing that happened. If we get them off the field on the 1st drive, they don't score. If we don't snap it over the head, they don't get a freebie. We had a lot of chances not to be in that position. Late, 2 drives in the 4th quarter to show the moxie and will of a football team, that's gonna bode real well for us. Real disappointing loss, but we've got another game coming this week, and we expect to win.

George: Commercial time

TD: Loud throat clear "Guh-UNGH-ughhughhh"

C'mon, soundman.

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Trivia question: For a free car wash. Celebrated the players of the 90's. He scored on a 98 yard TD run to beat Idaho State in 1995 at Fouts. Who was it?

George: You coached a number of those guys

TD: Yes I did. Saw familiar faces before and after. Had the opportunity to coach Mitch Maher. Several at the game. Redwine, David Brown, guys on that 92-93 team.

George: Let's talk Arkansas State.

TD: They are doing it a little differently on offense. When everyone has been in the spread, they've been a team that's wanting to press the run and play action pass [DICKEYBALL!]. Now they're in 4 and 5 wr sets and lead the conference in passing. Aplin played part of the time last year against us, dual threat. Many back from last year. Chunking it all over the lot, to be honest with you.

George: Many leading conference receivers. 10th and 3rd in the conference in receptions. Haven't seen much throwing lately

TD: We haven't played a true spread team throughout. Clemson was not, Rice was... I say that, but Rice was, but really probably wanted to run the ball more out of that. New OC at ASU, they've changed and done a nice job. 1-4 on the season, we have a common opponent in ULL. Since last night, we've been nose to the grindstone getting ready and planning for them. Defensively, they lost quite a few starters from last year's one of the top league defenses. I was asked on the SBC show what do you think about their D's struggles. Well, they played Auburn and Troy [which has NOT been very good, honestly] and that skews their numbers. As we go in, they're going to get some explosives. We've gotta limit those explosives. Can't let them get more than 3.

George: Tough to do comparative scores. But looking around the country, 1-aas knock off Big 12 and 10 and SEC teams. FAU played Mich state better than Wisconsin did. You never know what's gonna happen.

TD: One of the things with the age of spreading the field, matchups, whether it's 1-aa or a team that comes from a BCS conference, the skill athletes is so much higher in the ability to spread people out and put them in space is so much greater than it was. People who can forge these kinds of upsets because of the skilled athletes. One of the reasons we were able to get in the hunt vs. Clemson. A team like Michigan is probably the poster child through the ages of power football is now gone to the spread offense and dual threat QB. One of the leading Heisman candidates.

George: Talking about Josh Rake. Many just met him 3 weeks ago. Tell us about him.

TD: I have gone through my own grief process over the last 3 or 4 days. I remember Josh in 4th grade, coming to Dragon football camp with his twin brother. Then they come into our program in 7th grade. They were tearing up 7th grade league. Fine little athletes. Knew as they were coming through, great freshman years, just full of effort. Unselfish, always a smile on his face. Versatile. Played QB, played WR on the 06 championship team and returned punts as a sophomore. Just tough. Absolute toughness. As riley said many times on Friday, just a great teammate. Unselfish. Loyal. He played baseball out of high school at a local CC, said I still have a passion for football and can I walk on? I said absolutely. He was with us from about Sept 1st. Just watching him week on and off, usually walk ons are timid at first. Josh wasn't. Doing whatever he can to help our football team. Many may not have gotten to know him personally, but they knew who he was. Asked him about school, he said it's going well. Living in Kerr. That's the best dining hall on campus, he was loving the food. Very excited about suiting up on Saturday. Told him when you first got here you'd suit up OCt 2nd. Couldn't vs. Rice because of compliance issues. When I got home, I got a message from Denton PD saying one of my players was in an accident. Heart drops. Elizabeth and I get the call, she and I next to Carla and Doug (his parents) were the first ones at the hospital. Heartbreaking scene. He was a fine young christian man. I know where he is now. he's in a great place. As a parent, I can't even imagine what the family is going through. Funeral is on Thursday, still waiting for more details on times and we'll get that out to all of the mean green fans. Just heartbreaking.

George: We talked as dads, I feel like I've known Josh. People speaking so highly of him... It's a reminder that you're here learning about life. No promise of tomorrow. Awful, hard lesson at our age. Can only imagine what it's like for folks 19-20 years old to deal with.

TD: Regardless of how well they knew him, bottom line he's a teammate and it's a tragic loss for all of us. Prayers with the family that their hearts be healed as quickly as possible. I'll always remember him. I'll miss him.


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George: Trivia question is still out there. Who scored the 98 yard TD run to beat Idaho State?

TD: Our mental approach is just like we talked about after the game. I said I can sit here and browbeat you, hash over the reasons we got beat. I think you all know how. Let's be excited about the next opportunity we get. Let's be men enough to look at our mistakes. Starting with me, look at the things we need to do to improve. Go for a win against ASU. Craig Robertson, tremendous. Brandon McCoy, block. Apunku with 6 pressures. We stopped the run. You've got a choice: Wrap around the negative or the positive. We're going positive.

George: Other injuries?

TD: James and his foot. Not sure where we are with that right now. Micah can be practicing this week. Think he'll be back to play against FIU. Ford, if at all, will be back the last 3 weeks of the season. Those 2 were injured with a possibility of coming back.

George: 14 players in sweatsuits. that's not right.

TD: We started with 105 in camp, we're below 90 in practice each week. The message to each other is that there are circumstances that have been put on us. Things in your life you have no control over. Handle the things you can, and that's how we prepare for Arkansas State. Tragedy puts things in perspective. We plan on going and representing our university well. Have had a lot of injuries, but the loss of Josh puts a lot of that into perspective.

George: Seeing those players cheering and trying to get you through. They still try to carry it forward.

TD: Charr has his group, if you've got a broken leg you work the upper body. We're still rolling, and we still plan on winning.

Nobody gets a car wash. That's the show.

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It's really great that you provide these recaps. With the show moving to Noon it effectively cut out anyone coming other than those from Denton. Since the Dept. put a halt to the once a month Dallas area gatherings and with 7 PM weekday starts on BB you have to assume that as Neamis (sp.?) related they should do that the dept. has focused on Denton for support and has pretty much taken any activity in the DFW metroplex out of the picture. The " bunker" mentality of losing again has to be the reason for a low profile.

Edited by DallasGreen
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It's really great that you provide these recaps. With the show moving to Noon it effectively cut out anyone coming other than those from Denton. Since the Dept. put a halt to the once a month Dallas area gatherings and with 7 PM weekday starts on BB you have to assume that as Neamis (sp.?) related they should do that the dept. has focused on Denton for support and has pretty much taken any activity in the DFW metroplex out of the picture. The " bunker" mentality of losing again has to be the reason for a low profile.

Disagree. Nobody in Dallas showed up either to make it worthwhile. Forget counting the athletic department people at these things, they have to be there.

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