Sept. 19, 2009
We ran the ball well. Stephen played decent. We played pretty well in pass protection. Overall it was a good game for our team. We’re happy we won. We could’ve lost. We’ll regroup.
(We tell the team to) stay with it. It’s a long game. If it goes bad, keep playing. If it goes good, keep playing. That’s what we try to do.
The crowd was fine as usual. It looked like we were going to score pretty easily when the game started out. We got tight at halftime. One of the biggest plays was blocking the extra point. Do you realize how many teams lose with blocking the extra point? Just look at us (in the past). It was huge.
It would have been easy to have a down week in practice. It was good to get this one behind us and get ready for another SEC game Thursday in another national TV game. I know our crowd will be into that game. Our crowd was fine. We had early scoring and let (Florida Atlantic) get back in there. Give Florida Atlantic credit. They’re a pretty good team. They won two bowl games in a row and had winning seasons.
I’ve come to accept the fact that right now it’s going to be a dogfight, but I was happy we made three touchdowns in the third quarter. I always expect a dogfight no matter who we play, whether it’s Wofford or Furman or South Carolina State.
(Stephen Garcia) did OK. He had a couple of deep opportunities. He did OK. I wouldn’t call it a breakout performance with 220 yards passing, but he handled the ball well. We’re happy to get a victory, and we’ll be ready for Thursday night’s game.
(Stephon Gilmore’s) still learning. Akeem Aguste got the game ball. He was all over the place knocking down passes and making tackles. He was one of the defensive players that caught my eye and probably caught yours too. Stephon had some errant plays but lo and behold had some (great) plays in the second half.
We’re not there yet. Our pass protection was shaky early in the game. We were running around too much. We should be a little bit better than we’re doing – a lot better. We were hoping Jarvis could make long runs and he popped a few out of there. He went sideways right there at the end. Those are things hopefully our guys can learn from.
On his touchdown run
It was supposed to be a corner route and a flat route and it got a little congested so I started rolling left. Brian Maddox broke out and I was going to try to throw it to him, but I saw the safety go towards him. He made a great block and I just dove in the endzone.
On the Moe Brown reverse setting the tone for the offense
I think we ran for 287 yards so it’s the most we’ve had since I’ve been here. That (the reverse) definitely opened up the run game. We probably ran the same play close to 10 times today with Jarvis (Giles), Kenny Miles, and Brian Maddox. They were running the ball pretty well today. There were a bunch of holes for them, and it worked out pretty well.
On the help of the productive running game
It takes a lot of pressure off of me. When we run the ball like that, we’re going to be pretty tough to beat. We just have to keep going like that going into the Ole Miss game.
On the Ole Miss game
It’s going to be very special. It’s going to be fun playing against a top five team. It’s going to be a very good game. The fans here are going to be out of control I would imagine. We have practice tomorrow and we’re going to take it very seriously so we can go out there and beat them.
On the win
We came out and ran the ball very well tonight. We made a lot of improvements. It was a great night.
On the offensive production
We’re getting closer to where Coach Spurrier wants to be. We just have to keep working hard. There’s still stuff we need to work on. We need to fine tune things. We’re still doing little things that are costing us big possessions and getting in the endzone.
On the offensive line
Those guys did great tonight. They opened up some gaping holes. Coach Wolford has those guys prepared to play.
Feelings on first career home game
It was my first game at home. It felt great. The fans were out there going crazy. All I can say is there is no other atmosphere like it. When I heard 2001, I was shaking. I kept telling myself to calm down, but I had a really good time out there. It was like no other feeling.
On the touchdown
That was a whole other experience for me. I was out there in front of the student section. Everyone was out there going crazy. I was out there having a really good time. I just got lost in the moment. Hopefully I can touch that endzone a lot more this season.
On the defensive performance
We knew this was going to be a tough night for us. It did not surprise us one bit. They’re a pretty solid football team. Secondly, I knew this would be a tough evening for us with so many guys out. Every series in the second half ended up in a turnover on downs or with a punt.
They’re doing the best they can do. We’re out of bodies. Eric Norwood played about 25 snaps tonight. It’s frustrating because we have to cut back to a vanilla style of defense because of so many young players and so many players who haven’t practiced. We’re not good enough physically to overcome that right now. Hopefully we can get some of those guys back.
On preparing for Ole Miss
The biggest thing right now is trying to get them back on their legs. We’re going to be tired. We have limited numbers and we won’t do much contact. We’ll just get a good look at their schemes. We’ve seen them before. They’ll be a bit better on both sides of the ball than this crowd tonight. It’ll be a challenge. It’s a short week. It won’t be a problem for us mentally. It’ll be a problem physically.
The coaches really coached me up this week on going back and being aggressive and just catching the ball. I wanted to make sure I made the catch and got the yards after the catch. It helped our team get into position to score.
On the performance of the running game
It feels great because we are showing the country that we are very explosive and we can go off at any time. We went into halftime only up by one point, and in the second half, our defense shut them down and our offense just put points on the board. As long as we keep that up we’re going to be successful in the long run.
I’m learning playing against different receivers every game and how they play. I just look at film and read how they’re breaking their routes off. I think I’m adjusting all right. The defense has my back every play. The defensive line gets on the quarterback, making them throw it high and I just try and make a play on the ball.
On his first home game experience
It felt great. There’s nothing like it, especially to be doing it in front of 80,000 people. It was fun doing it at home. There’s nothing like it.
On increased competition among the running backs
Every running back always wants to be better than the next guy, and competition is always going to be heavy here. We have a nice group of running backs, so we’re all going to be competing (in practice) this week.
On tying the all-time sacks record
It feels good, but I still haven’t broken it yet. It’s great to be tied for first, but I want to break it and demolish it.
It’s just a matter of preparation. We have to go out to practice and act like we’re in a game. A lot of guys have to take the same approach at practice.
On Ole Miss’s quarterback
It’s the SEC. I’ve been doing it for three years and it doesn’t get any easier. We just have to go out there and make it happen. He’s a good quarterback. We got pressure on him last year, and I don’t see why we can’t do it this year.
We played a good South Carolina football team, and again we came up short. These last two games have proven that it is really difficult play top-of-the-line Division I football at this level with three players that have played hardly at all against collegiate level football. I look out there and see them missing tackles, being out-run, being out-faked and all of the things that happened to us tonight in this well played game by the Gamecocks. It was us coming up short against veteran defensive football players. It’s hard to put your finger on why we came up so short, but we will go back and look at that. I’m not trying to take away anything from Steve [Spurrier] and his fine football team. They were gracious because they probably could have scored more. I wasn’t trying to do anything except get some practice in with my second quarterback when we continued to throw it late in the game. I wasn’t trying to match him with his youngsters in there.
Rusty [Smith] had a mixed bag on his game. He did some good things, and he did some things that weren’t like him. That first interception in the second half was really the one that was the hardest for us on offense.
I told the kids we’re going to have to learn how to play football, and we’re going to have to learn to play it fast because we have an important game coming up against [Louisiana] Monroe this coming week. We don’t have any time or cause to not win this game coming up.
On what he said to the team after coming out for the second half
I warned them about our history coming out in the second half. Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut and let them go out and play on their own. They probably couldn’t have done any worse.
On the second half
The first half, I feel that the team played pretty good, pretty consistent. I can only speak of the offense, as of now. We put the ball in the end zone, which is better than we did last week. That is something that we wanted to do, and we played real good in the first half. We came out in the second half, and the first play of the drive, I throw an interception. That kills your momentum and puts your confidence level in the tank. From there, we made a couple of more turnovers, which is something that you can’t do. For a half there, we looked good, like we could hang with them, and then in the second half, we shot ourselves in the foot again. We have to stop doing that.
On the second half play
We know we are better than we put out there. They just hit some gaps, and we weren’t there. I don’t think they are a better team than us; we just beat ourselves. It is just one of those things. It is just frustrating, and we have to go back and look at film. We came out, and we have to learn on how to play second-half football. We have to come out and execute no matter how good we feel about it. We’ve just got to make plays, and that is what is comes down to. We need to have that momentum in the second half, and that is what hurt us today.
On the play of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia
We came into this game talking about we need to put more pressure on the quarterback. Playing against Nebraska, we were pretty tough, but we decided to make a change for this game. We would get him back there, but he is a pretty elusive guy, and we let him slip away two to three times.
On FAU’s run defense
The first four plays when they scored a touchdown, all of them were outside runs. So I figured we have been playing good and able to stop the middle, so they were going to try us on the outside. We went on the sideline and got it adjusted, but we just kept missing tackles. Coach [Kirk] Hoza talked to us on the sidelines telling us we need to get it fixed, and that’s what we did.
On FAU’s play to begin the second half
The third quarter, I believe we just got complacent. We were so excited to be sticking with these guys. We let three to four balls get thrown deep. We weren’t getting any pass rushing, we weren’t getting any pressure on Garcia, and he had all day to throw. And the wide receivers just kept going deep. We got complacent.