Oct. 28, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Players Responding to Closing the Book and Moving Forward
I thought pretty well. They had a good practice last night. They came out looked sharp and moved on. We started our preparation for Tulane last night.
Are you glad the first stretch is over?
No, that is not how I think of it. It is one game at a time. You play the schedule as it goes, prepare for each team as best as you can, lay it all out there and see how it goes.
Were you shaken at all from what you saw of the game?
Shaken, no. Not shaken. I didn't think we played up to our potential, for whatever reason. It was a long stretch, six road games. Every team has that let down. It is hard to guard against. It just came on the wrong night for us against a very talented opponent, but certainly the want to is there for the players. Sometimes, you come out and you just aren't as sharp as you would like to be. Maybe, I could handle the bye week a little differently, this next time. A lot of things go into it. I don't think shaken is the word. Because I certainly have a lot of confidence that we can put that game behind us and that we will come out and put a good performance together, on Saturday.
Do you think the bye week factored into it?
I don't know. As a coach, you have to look at every different angle and see where you can improve - improve the preparation and get better.
They are good at everything. They do not hurt themselves. They play extremely hard on defense. They pursue well. Because of that, they do not give up a lot of big plays. I would compare them, what I see on tape defensively a lot to how we were playing defensively probably prior to the Auburn game: great effort, great pursuit. Offensively, they are physical, they execute their run game very well. They are really well schooled. They don't do a whole lot but they know how to do what they do. You don't see guys standing in the holes on block. They get a body on a body. They have a good running back and a quarterback who is running their offense well. They have some talented wide outs. They will take some deep shots and look for the big plays. Same thing on special teams, they do not hurt themselves and make plays on special teams. They are just one of those teams that execute in each phase of the game and because of that they have had some success this year.
Is it easier to approach one-game at a time when you have to win the next four games to be bowl eligible? Week at a time and game at a time.
The season itself can be overwhelming to a player if they start worrying about what is happening at the end of the season in terms of awards, bowl games and all those things. That is true of any team, any level of team and in any conference. I know it sounds like coach speak, but it is the only way. In fact, in a lot of ways if a college football player sits on Sunday and thinks about everything he has to get done that week: lifting, practice, meetings, school it can be overwhelming. Even in a lot of ways, I try to get our guys to think just day-to-day--the preparation of the day. Get through each day and then worry about the next day, then ultimately on Thursday and Friday you start thinking about game day. I tell our guys all the time, take it from experience it can be overwhelming when you start to think about that in chunks. You have to worry about it in segments. That is how you have to look at the season...I don't want them to prepare any differently for Tulane, than they did for Marshall, or Middle Tennessee, or Rice or any of those schools. I want them to prepare the same way. My hopes are that we prepare every week the same mindset that our backs are to the wall, whether we are 7-0 or 0-7 shouldn't matter in our mindset for that game.
Favored in the game which says you may be better than your record.
Our record is our record and our team is our team. They (Tulane) are a team that plays. They are winning all of their close games. They are in their games. They are getting it into the fourth quarter and they are finding a way to win. Sometimes when teams are winning that way the pundits aren't overly impressed by that. For me as a coach, that is a very impressive thing. I have a lot of respect for a team like Tulane because they figured it out. They know how to win, winning those close games. That is a sign of a very mature and well coached football team.
It is hard to say. We are a pretty banged up football team. Jeremy McKnight was back practicing again last night which helps with the secondary depth. It could be better. Vinny Davino is out for the season with a knee injury. Hakeem Ishmar is out for the season and he was very valuable guy to us in terms of playing on every special team and the depth that he gives us there. Everybody else is fairly day-to-day. We could get all of them back or we could get none of them back. We will just have to see how this week plays out.