Franscript: Talking Season Opener

Q. Fran, how, I guess, heartwarming or how good was it to see Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok play so well in their first game? 

COACH McCAFFERY:  I’ve been talking about how talented they both are.  I think everybody knows it.  Just to see them go out there in their Hawkeye uniform and play that way, it was a great feeling for all of us.  Their teammates are pulling for them.  We need it with Josh out, especially.  Those two guys are two of the guys with Clemmons that are going to step up and fulfill that role.

Uthoff is really an interesting player.  He affects the game in so many different ways,  his shot blocking, his rebounding in traffic.  He covers a lot of ground and then he can dribble, pass and shoot, so that’s a guy that he’s going to get to the freethrow line a lot.  You just let him play.  I keep encouraging him to be aggressive.

He turned a shot down in the corner and drove it, and I said, just shoot it.  When you’re open like that, the next time he caught the ball from three, he bangs one without hesitation.  So I’m thrilled with him, thrilled with Peter.  It’s great to see him hit that three early.

But I thought he did a lot of things.  He went off the dribble a little bit.  He finished in traffic.  Defensively he was solid.  Yeah, great night for both of them.

 

Q.  Did you think they were more relaxed tonight? 

COACH McCAFFERY:  Seemed to be, yeah.  No question.  They seemed to be much more relaxed.  Although, I thought Pete was a little more relaxed than Jarrod on Sunday.  I thought Jarrod was a little  you know, it’s funny.  I should say, when I watched the game on Sunday, I thought Jarrod was tentative.  When I watched it on film, he was way better than I thought.  He just didn’t come out firing, which is probably not a bad thing when you come off the bench to get some touches and get a sweat going before you got firing.

 

Q.  Last week you sounded a bit upset with the way your team played against Augustana; how do you feel now coming away with this?

COACH McCAFFERY:  Obviously, I’m thrilled with our defense.  Our defense really set the tone for everything that happened today.  I thought our mindset at the start of the game was substantially better.

This is a talented team.  You wouldn’t know that because I mean, I feel bad.  This is a team that is better than this and they shot the ball as poorly as they probably will all year.  Like to think we have something to do with it.  But those two wing guys are really good players and they shoot 1 for 19.  They were missing runners.  They were missing layups.  They were missing open threes, and those two kids are players that have produced at this level for more than a couple years.

So the fact that we were able to do that and challenge them at the rim the way we did I thought was a really good thing for our team.

 

Q.  Can you compare, contrast Gabe and Adam in the post?  I know especially in the first half Gabe had five blocks?

COACH McCAFFERY:  Gabe had five blocks.  The beautiful thing is they’re different.  You can play them  I can play them together, but if I play one behind the other, they present different problems for the opposition.  Adam Woodbury is a physical presence.  He rebounds in traffic.  He’s a really good passer out of the low post.  He’s a great passer out of the high post.

Gabe, he was flying tonight:  On the glass, blocking shots, running the floor, and you’re just going to see him getting more and more comfortable out there.

 

Q.  Biggest home opening crowd since 2001.  Just talk about the energy you guys got from the crowd? 

COACH McCAFFERY:  It’s amazing.  When I walked on to the floor on Sunday we had 15,400 for an exhibition game.  For a team that’s worked as hard as our team has worked, it’s a tremendous feeling to go walk out there and see that, and then again tonight.  They responded.  It’s like they responded on Sunday.  We weren’t as good on Sunday, but we were good at times, and when we were, they responded and when we needed them, they were there.

 

Q.  Did you have any kind of special conversation with either Jarrod or Peter coming into tonight, just kind of debuts for those guys? 

COACH McCAFFERY:  No, I did not.  What I have repeatedly done with those two guys is given them the green light.  I want you to shoot the ball.  I want to you drive the ball.  And what’s going to happen is occasionally we’re going to take a bad shot and occasionally they’re going to drive into a pack of people and make a mistake, but I don’t want them worried about that.  I want them playing aggressively at the offensive end, and boy they both did tonight.

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