BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Monday with FAU Head Coach Lane Kiffin
A couple of things before we start. As we got off the field, we learned about Mike Locksley (assistant coach at Alabama) and the loss of his son today. From my family and our staff, our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his wife Kia. Obviously, a horrible thing.
On players, unfortunately (Ray) Ellis’ knee is pretty bad. Anticipation would be that he would probably be out for the year. Same knee as before. So unfortunately, bad story. (He) really battled his way back. It really started to look really good as he got healthier and healthier. Tough deal on him and the loss of a really good player. One of those things of playing those guys (Navy). I joked about and you guys asked me if I would have scheduled them. In talking to other coaches, that is always an issue. Guys getting hurt on defense with their knees because of the style of play.
The other thing: Kalib Woods is on our roster. He was admitted back into school. He has been in school whatever it has been, two/three weeks, two weeks into school. They (University) punished him. We obviously we will follow that punishment. We also, on top of that, we removed his scholarship. So, in order to play, he had to pay for school and come back on the team as a walk-on. He has agreed to do that. Again, we don’t discuss punishment publically, but as we know you will continue to figure out what that is.
Back to the game, since we haven’t really had a chance to talk since we watched the film. I have said it before really as you digest it over a couple of days, just really feel bad for our fans, for our school because there was so much energy in this game, excitement, the third biggest crowd ever. Loud early and a lot of energy. Then we come out and don’t play the way that we expect to play, especially at home to play that way on offense especially is very frustrating after watching it a few times. I know you are going to look at the score and think that we didn’t play very well defensively, but we did some really good things defensively and then fell apart at times. Remember those guys (Navy) scored in the 40s last year, 50s, 60s, even 70s one time. That is one of the best scoring offenses in all of football. I think if we would have done better on offense, had some drives instead of being so big/little. We did have some big plays but so many bad plays that we put our defense in bad positions early. They basically had three sudden changes with the on-side kick, not getting it, and the two turnovers. They handled those situations really well. On special teams, we kinda split down the middle. No really significant plays either way, as far as big returns or coverage things. I thought our guys played really hard there. Obviously, Greg (Joseph) had a long field goal which was great. Good protection on that. So, as frustrated as we are with the score of the game, there were some good things in there. The way the defense played for most of the game and our special teams played really well. We just played really, really bad on offense versus what statistically is one of the worst defenses in the country. Big concerns. It has been a concern in every scrimmage and every mock game and everything we have had so it came to get us on the real stage.
Will you re-evaluate the quarterbacks? Will (Daniel) Parr start against Wisconsin this week?
There will be an evaluation. It started today already at practice. We gave all three guys some reps today. So, we will continue to evaluate after watching it. He (Daniel Parr) did do some good things. His numbers weren’t bad. Again, we were not playing against the greatest defense in football so we would have liked to have been even more productive. There are some missed things in there that you can’t really tell live when you are watching it, about where the ball is supposed to go or checks, stuff like that. But again, it was his first game starting for a young kid so it could have been a lot worse (of an) opener.
DeAndre (Johnson) brought a different dimension. Any value in playing both guys?
And that was the plan. And, I think had he (Johnson) been healthier, there would have been more of him playing and probably earlier. His health was not 100 percent. You could see it when he went to throw the ball. That really could have been an easy touchdown if he throws it out there, one-on-one post, but he underthrows it for an interception. So, as much as I’m sure like always the backup quarterback, everyone wants to see the backup quarterback especially when he comes in and runs around and stuff. But, there is more to it than just that. So, hopefully he will continue to get healthy.
How will (Kalib) Woods’ ongoing legal stuff affect his status on the team?
I can’t talk about that.
How long do you think it will take him (Kalib Woods) to get into game shape?
I don’t know. Because I haven’t seen enough to know where he’s at really with that. So, we will figure that out. As I mentioned, we don’t discuss discipline, but obviously if there is a discipline that has to do with game time, then that won’t be that important.
Were you always expecting to get him back?
When did you start to think you would get him back?
About a week or two ago. Right at the beginning of school.
Why now (adding him) as opposed to a week or two ago?
Fair question. A couple of things: one, because of the timing of it. When the school made their decision and got all their information together, just felt like you know (it) may be a distraction at that point which was a week before the game or whatever that was. I think it was probably about a week and a half before the opener. And, also to figure out exactly what we were going to do on top of what they did.
Is DeAndre’s (Johnson) heath a concern it has had this a couple of weeks?
It is. But, I’m not going into much detail about that. We have had some other evaluations done on it as well to see if we can figure out what is going on and how we can help it.
What did you see from the centers today in practice?
I saw the ball snapped to the quarterback (smile). That probably, as you broke down the game and looked at it, where did we play well enough to win if the other positions played well? I thought that at running back we were fine. I thought O-Line, which had been an issue in camp, I thought we did ok. Besides the snaps as far as guys coming free and missed assignments there wasn’t much of that. But, the snaps were so damaging. I think it was 43 yards in snaps. Those are explosive plays. You are always trying to make it a 15-yard play, that’s three explosive plays. It just sucks the life out of you too. That opening drive, there was some energy going and all the sudden here we go again. It is frustrating too because it is something that we worked so much on because it had been happening. We have a plan for that and we will see on Saturday if it works.
What is the balance between your strengths on offense versus the defense’s weaknesses?
In general or last week?
Last week and moving forward
People have different philosophies on that. I think in general Kendal (Briles, FAU’s offensive coordinator) and their philosophy over time is more we do what we do and you have to prepare for it. Not as much moving people around on stuff like that. I have kinda always been more move guys around for matchups, specific guys get the ball and stuff. It doesn’t mean which way is right or wrong. When you do that, you play a little bit slower. When you move them around and stuff. This system is built more on playing fast and not moving guys as much and specific things for specific guys. More that, tempo is the biggest thing, and you don’t get out of tempo.
Do you want to get the running backs more touches this week?
Yeah, I will always talk about that. In fairness to Kendal, it is not always that easy during the game because you don’t always know where it’s going and what coverages dictate where the balls go and things like that. But, we talked about all that at halftime. We breakdown where the balls were going and really what we talked about doing going in. It is hard as a playcaller because you call this and they give you this, and the quarterback checks to that or they take that guy away because of coverage. As you guys know from hearing me talk, we obviously want No. 5 (Devin Singletary) to touch the ball and Willie (Wright) to get the ball and No. 6 (Kerrith Whyte, Jr. and (No.) 9 (Gregory Howell, Jr. has his role, but unfortunately for Willie he gets hurt on the first play of the game. He actually looks like he gets rolled up. Looks like it could have been a lot worse than it was. He only played 25 snaps and was still the player of the game on offense, the only one, and we usually have two or three, but we played so bad and we only had one and it was him. He only played 25 snaps. It would have been interesting had he not gotten hurt, how explosive of a game it would have been/could have been for him. We have backups going in for him when he was hurt. Like the double pass, the guy stops running. If he keeps running and there is not a penalty on us that’s another huge play. That is actually Willie on that play, catching that, if he was healthy.