Oct. 21, 2013
They are getting better every week. Good offensive team, balanced—run-pass—hurt you both ways. Defensively, fast and very athletic and keep getting better. (It’s a) big challenge. (They) are the best team we have faced this year.
Easier to play a team coming off a big win?
I don’t know. I would have to know the team better and the staff better. I don’t know either. So, it is hard to say. It looks to me like they are making steady improvement, every week all year on both sides of the ball. So, when you usually see that on tape, that means one win or one loss usually isn’t going to affect their progress very much.
Bye Week Effect on FAU
The extra week helps against Auburn. They give you a lot offensively—a lot of formations and a lot of sets. They use their personnel in many unique ways. To have the extra week probably helped us, in terms of our defensive staff getting ready.
Have you seen a similar offense to Auburn and what you will face?
Ours. I would say out of all the teams that we have faced, what (Wright, FAU’s offensive coordinator) does offensively, I’m mean it is not exactly the same, but a lot of what we do mirrors a lot of what they do, especially in terms of the running game. What we had in the spring and in camp probably gives us something to draw on in terms of what we are going to see.
Bye Week. Did the player watch the game?
They (players) have been watching tape on them for a week, now. The focus for the staff is all on Auburn. For the players we have introduced them to some concepts. Last night’s (Sunday) practice was all Auburn. Last week’s practice was more fundamentals, playing fast, scrimmage type stuff. But, all the meetings and all film work has been on Auburn.
Health of the team with the bye week
I think we are healthier. I think we are fresher. I think we looked were pretty fast last night. They had a few days off. It helps, at this point of the year, to have a bye week.
How easy or hard is it to keep your team on an even keel, facing Auburn with the program’s recent success?
I will say this. Certainly, I was not surprised by the result of that game (Auburn last Saturday). Not one bit surprised. Having spent a week watching the previous games and looking at their improvement, I wasn’t surprised. They are still the team I thought they were going into Saturday.
Last year versus Alabama and Georgia and this year?
No, we are at a different place right now. We are better. I think we were still trying to teach our players the basic fundamentals of our offense and defense a year ago at that time. That’s why that was scary, playing the teams at that level. We are just more comfortable with who we are, I think. We will go in there and execute just fine…There wasn’t fear. I say scary more for coaches. What am I going to call? What can I call against these teams? They give you a lot of different offense. A lot of formations and we really weren’t sure the players were ready to handle that yet on that scale, especially on a stage like that. This year, minus the injuries, I feel pretty good about where we are and what we can match up with, get taught. I feel like we can actually, it is a difficult offense to face. It gives you a lot. It is almost like a Wing T/Wishbone style offense, in terms of giving you all the different sways and swipes, different fits and using the fullback and tight end creatively. But, I also feel like we can talk conceptually with our guys and draw on experience. We are going to do this like we did against this opponent and this like this like we did against this opponent and our guys will pick up on it. So, we are much better equipped to probably handle type of game, on both sides of the ball than we were at that time.
Strength of Auburn and where the team is at?
I will say this, I think it is important that we go up there and play our best game. I think if we do that everything will be fine. I really do. I just think we need to go up there and play our best. Not worry about where Auburn is ranked or what the crowd is going to be like or any of that. We just need to go up there and play our game. Let it all hang out and we will be just fine.
Much more comfortable position than a year ago?
It is. I don’t think I could have said that a year ago. To challenge, in a game like this, a year ago we would have had to play way over and above where we were, actually were. But, I have said that from the beginning, that is not who I want to be as a football program. I don’t want to be that football team that has that one big upset and then goes in the tank for three weeks. I want to play our best game every week and let the chips fall where they may.