BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Not a lot of opening comments. We are cramming two days into one [due to game being played on Sunday and not Saturday and keeping preparation week the same]. There are no depth chart changes. There are no health updates. I will meet with the medical staff later today to get those updates, so no report there. The thing I can say is the effort is there. The breakthrough is going to happen. Obviously, we are frustrated and disappointed. The good thing is seeing our kids stick together, fight for each other and fighting to the end. It didn't work out the way we wanted yesterday, but the breakthrough is coming.
Marshall is our current focus, I'm limited in the amount of time, like I said cramming two days into one, in terms of how much film I have been able to watch on them, so my responses on that will be limited as well.
Have you had a chance to look at that last play?
I have. I'm proud that Kam [Kamrin Solomon] went up and got it. Depending on the angle you look at you see different things. In that moment we control the controllable. Like I said yesterday, they have to review every score, which they do. We just normally don't feel it and see it. It is happening as your PAT team is taking the field and you are getting ready for special teams. You hope you respond to whatever the call is with class and now we have to move on and get ready for Marshall.
Have you heard anything from the conference or did you contact the conference?
There is a procedure where you send in any calls that you have questions on or that you want clarifications on. So, we will go through the normal process and we usually hear by midweek.
Trey Hendrickson playing goal line packages. Did he initiate or did the coaches?
We initiated that with him. You saw the jersey switch, some of you may have caught it on the sideline. The way jerseys are made now, it is harder they are so tight, he just said I will wear 11 the rest of the game, use me when you need me. The plan was to use him on goal line situations and he said you have me if you need me on third down too. It is something we practiced through the course of the week. Again, he is a force to be reckoned with and anything we can do to help the team with him, we are going to do [it]
It says something and enforces what you have been saying about Trey's willingness to do anything to help the team. Is that what you are seeing?
It is and there are other plays in that package that we didn't get to yesterday. No doubt, he was just happy to go in there and block someone as hard as he possibly could and we got a touchdown out of it.
What made this week the right week to unveil that package?
Nothing, just the progress of the offense in terms of available plays and getting him in there to help us score a touchdown, when we were down in that moment. It is an evolution of the season.
He used to be a tight end, right?
He did. And, so did Nick Internicola.
How does Marshall look?
I haven't seen as much film as I normally would have coming into this meeting. I have been through some of the cutups and several of the games. They are athletic. I think Chase Litton is a good player. Their main back No. 24 [Keion Davis] is versatile. I think he is averaging five yards a carry. He can run it inside. He can run it outside. He is a good player. A lot of their O linemen are back. They are big. They are physical. Their record isn't what they wanted it to be right now but they are a better team than what their record shows. This is a game that our kids have always looked forward to. There is a lot of respect from us to Marshall. That garners a strong desire to win. Our kids will come back ready to practice tomorrow. By NCAA rule, they have a day off today, even with the Sunday game and all those things. A lot of our players are in here watching tape on their own from yesterday's game and moving onto Marshall.
How did your quarterbacks grade out?
They both did some good things. Like I said, there are no changes to the depth chart. We will evaluate through the course of the week whether Daniel [Parr] gets another chance there in the first and second half. We will take it as it goes. The way they graded out is such that the depth chart wouldn't change.
There is value now that you see giving Parr or the backup quarterback, whoever it is, that snap in game situation and not during garbage time just to get him ready.
There is. I do see value in that. In those moments, there are things that are hard to coach until game action comes. You do your best to simulate it out on the field and create pressure throughout the entire season so that you see their response, but there is nothing like game reps and it is valuable.
Is that a change in the philosophy? Is it the maturation of the season or a change in philosophy? At the beginning of the season you said you wanted to have one quarterback.
We feel like we have the same philosophy, it is just getting Daniel some reps in game action. You would hope at some point in the season to get him some game action at the end of games. That hasn't presented itself, so in order to get him some game action we are designating a series or two that we can get him in the game.
Did you see enough of him on Saturday that if something happened where Driskel had to miss, that you would feel comfortable with him going in there?
It gave us an opportunity to coach some things that he still needs to clean up in game action so that is extremely valuable. I'm confident [Daniel] Parr could go in and do some good things, but he still is not ready to be the starter at this point. Jason is our starter. Yes, if something were to go down, we can operate the offense with Daniel. It would be tweaked and adjusted in this way or that. Right now Jason is the starter.
How did Jason handle that?
Really, really well. I think it helped that Jason got the advantage of those opportunities last year and how much it helped him, so that helped him absorb why we were doing it.
You said you decided you were going to go with the two of them in the beginning of the week. How did the practice reps split up between the two of them?
It didn't change a whole a lot, because again we get an appropriate amount of reps to our "ones" and our "twos." Usually about two-thirds to a third. That really didn't change. We got a couple more reps with Daniel and the "ones," but the majority of the reps were with the twos and that really matched what he ended up getting in the game in terms of rep numbers.
So, it will pretty much be the same this week?
With that kind of loss does it become more challenging to motivate?
It certainly is a test to all of us. Because we are competitors and we came to win. We are three possessions away, everyone knows we are three possessions away from being 4-2. That is not an easy pill to swallow. But, we are competitors and again we will come back to work tomorrow and get ready to play a big game against Marshall and empty our tanks. We have a bye week after that, that we can back off and get some kids healthier for the following week. It is challenging, but I'm proud of the kids because they love each other. They love the coaches and that is what carries you through challenging times and we are going to have a breakthrough. And, all the pain that everyone tied into this program is feeling right now, we will have that moment. We look at each other and go, alright here we go, there it is.
Does it feel like the world is conspiring against you right now? To lose a game on an overturned TD?
I wish I had the time or the emotional depth to even go there. I don't. I have 119 young men and coaches and families and everyone to keep moving forward, to even go there is kind of your job, a fan response, so we have got to come back and get ready for it tomorrow.
You had lofty aspirations and it hasn't gone like what you wanted. Have you personally been through this before?
It would take me to honestly process all of the seasons I have been through. I have been coaching since `95. I'm sure I have. I'm not avoiding your question. I'm locked into getting two days into today and getting ready for Marshall.
Is there anyone you can lean on, other coaches in getting ready for a short week?
There are coaches that I talk to every week. Dave Doren who is now 4-1 and beat Notre Dame, Saturday. I talk to him every week. Chris Ash, who is fighting his rebuild at Rutgers. I talk to Brett [Bielema] every week. I talk to Barry Alvarez every other couple of weeks. There is a lot of people in my past that I lean on and will continue to. There are a lot of programs - you look at how close Colorado was getting and now you see what they are doing. They are having their breakthrough moments. We are going to have ours soon. The only way to get through to that breakthrough moment is to just keep coming back and sticking together and going to work.
Playing in front of big crowds and then to come home to an empty stadium is that a factor?
Honestly, with all the things that happened: Rescheduling to noon on Sunday, us being transplanted to Tampa for a couple of days, I'm grateful for every single person that was in that stadium. When the catch was made, regardless of what it was, the ball was caught, the noise from the fans that were there was as energized as anybody. Loved ones were there. The people that could be there were there. We control the controllable and I'm grateful for everyone that comes in that stadium. As our breakthrough moments come, those that were with us the whole time will enjoy it and we will enjoy bringing additional fans back.
Do you have to remind the players that there is still half a season left?
Not at all. They know. Everyone knows that there are six games left and what we need to do moving forward. To go into those realms, again, it goes past what we really believe in and that is, we have to get ready for Marshall. You have to get better at some things from film and we have a game plan to put in and execute and to get ready to play a good football team in Marshall University.
Is that last play the only one you will submit or will there be some spot plays throughout?
There are always a few plays. We usually submit 3-7, 3-6 plays we usually submit. And, it may be `why did you or didn't you call holding' on any given play. These are just plays that everybody sees.
Marshall and recruiting in south Florida. Does that put more importance on the game even more than other conference teams?
No more than another game. Doc [Holiday] has always recruited down here. He did it at West Virginia, NC State, obviously the Gators, and Marshall. Doc has been one of the better recruiters down here for a long, long time and he can coach football. They have really done a nice job at Marshall over the years. Certainly, at least since I have been here. Again, their record isn't where they want it to be but it is not an indicator of where their team really is. We are just getting ready to play a game against Marshall this week because it is this week's game.
Offensive line got some cohesion the last couple of weeks. How have they graded out and it has been a lot of different guys?
Yes, we saw improvement from Jakobi [Smith]. Saw significant improvement from Bryan Beck. So, I'm excited to see that. Dillon [DeBoer] is doing what we expect him to do which is positive. We lost Roman [Fernandez] there for a little bit in the third quarter because he was getting looked at by medical. He came back in and played solid football and [Antonyo] Woods did some good things. So, like you said you are starting to see some consistency and cohesion toward the offensive linemen. They are playing better.