Nov. 11, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Focus for the Bye Week
Well, we wanted to get better as a football team this week. So, we made sure that we went out, worked hard, got the practice in and the reps that we needed this week. But, we also wanted to come together as a team. We did a few activities outside of football to allow that to happen. I wanted them to see the coaches having fun as well and competing as well and we did that with a little kickball tournament on Friday at the end of practice. (I was) just trying to keep it fun and also get better, this week.
What else did you do?
We had a scout bowl on Thursday, it was. So, we let the young guys get a lot of work in at the stadium with the veteran guys cheering them on in the student section and they had some fun doing that. Again, it was a great opportunity for the young guys to be evaluated and have some fun playing football.
We ended practice with a field goal competition. We let our field goal kickers compete. Those guys did a great job. We split up the team offense and defense. Offense took one side and defense took the other side and we let our kickers compete, yesterday.
What have you learned about this team?
Just how resilient they are that they want to do something very special. They are a hungry group of men that want to finish the season with a great story. They have a lot to prove and they are on a mission to get that done. It has been very exciting to be a part of it.
How hard has it been to tamper the enthusiasm and not look ahead?
Well, it is just to continue to focus on the right now moment. We need to win the right now moment. We talk about winning the drill or winning the part of practice that we are in, or winning that day of practice, or going out and winning in the classroom that day. Just keeping them focused on the right now moment is all we have done with them and how we have approached it.
What do you mean by resilient?
Well, they are staying focused. They are doing what we ask them to do. So, when we say let’s stay in the moment. I feel like they are doing that. When I ask them to go out and compete, offense versus defense one another, they are doing that. When we are asking them to play smart, go out without full pads on and we are going to stay off the ground, we are going to take care of each other, but--yet we are going to play fast, they have gone out and done that. Everything we have asked them to do they have given great effort. It has been very positive.
What is different or what has been changed? Have you done something to put your signature on the program?
We have changed how we practice. We have changed the structure of practice. We have added some things. We added the scout bowl. We have added some competition at the end of practice. We have done some fun things. We have added some things into practice. There are some parts of it that are not going to change. There are still parts of the players routine that are not going to change, but we made a small change in the walk through the Friday before the Tulane game. We made a change on game day—we had a team walk. We have done some different things. There are some changes in there that I believe give us the best chance of winning and getting our guys ready. We brought in as many alumni—and we have had alumni speak to the team. So, there have been a lot of changes.
Are these things that you thought should be done all along or things you have held and wanted to do when you had your chance to be a head coach?
Some of the things are things that I always knew I would do given the opportunity. But, there are things too that I thought our team needed. I thought we needed to reach out to the alumni, right now at this point. So to me, it was just things that I thought our team needed at this moment and time.
Do you think the head coach has to be out there?
I think as the head coach it is your responsibility to keep the alumni connected, to keep boosters connected, to reach out to the community and get this community excited about Florida Atlantic football.
Was it being done before?
I’m not looking at the past. I’m looking at what we are doing right now and what I think we need right now.
On the defensive backs and their strength
I think they understand the scheme, defensively. And, we have some good football players back there also. The scheme is allowing them to play aggressively. Those guys have worked hard. Those guys have improved, gotten better and they have been able to do the same thing over and over now for a year and a half, defensively back there. They understand the system and playing fast.
What are the safeties doing to allow the corners to play so well?
The safeties are reading their keys and understanding the defense, allowing those guys to jump underneath routes and they are staying back. Depending on what the call is, it switches up, defensively, it allows those guys to go help with the run or stay back and help with the pass. I just think those guys are playing solid football back there—sound fundamental football and allow the corners to play aggressive.
On Damian Parms
Boy, I though going against him (Damian Parms) for a year and a half was really difficult. I thought he was really, really a tough football player back there, a really good football player back there. You don’t always hear his name. I don’t know that he gets all the credit that he deserves. He has been outstanding for us.
Is it difficult playing a team with nothing to lose?
Absolutely, if you look at them on film you would never think their record is what it is. They are a program that has a lot of tradition. They play better at home. They fly around, they play aggressive. They played Louisiana Tech very well, last week. I was really impressed with how hard they came out and played, regardless of record they came out and played extremely hard, all phases of the game. They were playing hard at the end of the game. Just two years ago this team was 11-2 and won a bowl game. They concern me.
On the slow starts and how are you trying to correct that?
We have changed practice all of last week. We have started practice with an up-tempo drill offense versus defense, right into team just to help that scenario. We have to come out and play better football, certainly on the offensive side at the beginning of game. We changed up practice for that reason.
On Southern Miss
We have told the defense they need to stop the run and you have to make them continue to drive the football. You have to try to make them play another play. We have to try to eliminate any kind of early momentum from them. Once they get some momentum they feed off of that like any college football team does. They get a momentum—they get a good crowd there. The crowd gets into it there. They really have a strong fan base there regardless of the record. We just have to jump out and have a good start. Another thing would be the big play on defense. They have created a turnover—I believe the stat is every game in the last two years they have created a turnover, defensively. Obviously, we have to hand the ball to the official on offense and not allow them the big momentum plays on that side of the ball as well.
We have made a change. We moved Coach Luke Meadows to offensive coordinator. He will help with our staff and our unit organization. He will have a lot of the same input that he has had. I’m still going to call the plays on game day. Our offensive staff has done a tremendous job, for the last two years, on putting a plan together, on assisting with the plays that are called. We will continue in that way, like we have. But, Coach Meadows will have more duty. He will have more responsibility with the game plan and I’m going to rely on him to get this offense ready.