“After dissecting the film from the game Saturday we really felt like as a team we played a complete game. We have a lot of room for improvement. We can be a lot better football team and so that’s a good thing to have a win like that and just to see on film that you know that you can still be much better. Our guys were able to see that. We try to be critical of ourselves in every game and then evaluate it and try to get better from it and the thing that I’m happy about is our team does seem to be progressing in each week and hopefully we will do the same this week against a very good Miami team playing at home.”
Was there a common thread as far as the penalties on Saturday?
“We had two consecutive punts where we leaned and basically fell forward and jumped offsides. We had a couple of pre-snap penalties there on the offense, but when you’re probably handling the cadence the way we’re handling it sometimes you’re going to have some issues like that. We’ve got to do a better job there. We’ve got to do a better job with our hands. We had too many holding calls and so our guys have got to play smarter. That’s all there is to it.”
How nice is it to have young players like Quinshad Davis, Sean Tapley and Eric Ebron step up on offense?
“It’s really big. You got two sophomores and a freshman who are making plays for you so it’s really important in this offense. Everybody talked about Gio [Bernard] in the beginning, but to be able to have an ‘X,’ where Quinshad is making plays for us over there, some teams can’t just roll up to the other side. They got to account for him, which now opens it up for Ebron through the middle or Tapley through the middle and then you also have Gio, [A.J.] Blue and Romar [Morris] who can run the ball anywhere.
“We got a few guys that are all contributing and making plays and just really taking what they’re giving us. Earlier on in the season, [Erik Highsmith] was making more plays, but they’re giving us other things other places right now and so I think that’s the one thing about the offense, when you can be balanced, as far as your run – pass and also how you spread the field, it makes it much tougher to defend.”
On Sean Tapley:
“Yeah he’s made a couple of big plays the last couple of weeks and you saw that in spring. He worked really hard through spring. He’s a kid that doesn’t talk a whole lot. He’s really kind of quiet. He just goes about his business every single day and works hard. You don’t ever have to worry about ‘Tap.’ He’s not a guy that you got to continue to push hard, because he’s preparing himself each week and it’s all paying off for him.”
This game has huge implications in the Coastal Division. What are your impressions on that?
“Miami is leading the Coastal division. 3-0 in the division so, again, now the way it sets up we got to go through Miami to get to where we want to be and we know that Al [Golden] is going to have his team prepared and they’re going to play well. They’re a young football team, but he’s got a lot of athletes let me tell you and they’re getting a lot of great experience and they are flying around.”
What is the significance of preparing for a road game considering the team lost their only two road games so far this season?
“It’s going to be all about our preparation. Again, that hasn’t changed and that won’t change. It’s still going to be about us and making sure we prepare the same way. Whether you’re at home or on the road really doesn’t matter to us as far as how we prepare. It’s just we’re going to be playing down there. Everything is the same and as soon as we truly understand that I think the better we will be. It doesn’t matter that we’re going to Miami. It’s still we prepare the same way whether you’re playing here or there, you got to prepare mentally the same way.”
What stands out about Miami?
“When you turn the film on, the most glaring thing is speed. They got guys that can run at every position. They have a lot of speed and you watch it whether it’s their special teams, their defense. You watch the first play of the game against Notre Dame the other day and the receivers just fly right by them and unfortunately they didn’t complete it, but there are guys wide open and I know guys from Notre Dame can run also, but these guys got some flat out speed.
“Scheme-wise, offensively, they’ve been able to run and throw it. Anytime you can be balanced, obviously you got to defend everything, so it makes it a lot tougher on you. Defensively, they’ve given up some in the running game and I think part of it has been just inconsistency, because they got guys that can really go. They got guys that can run, but, again, you’re seeing them play true freshmen, redshirt freshmen, sophomores in a lot of positions and then in their special teams speed alone gives you a great advantage there.”
Do you feel like you’re starting to build some depth along the offensive line?
“You saw [Landon Turner] come in and play a few snaps the other day giving Brennan Williams a little bit of a rest. We moved [Travis] Bond out to the tackle. Kiaro [Holts] played the entire game last week for James [Hurst]. I don’t know if he got in this week at all, but I would have to say you’re getting a few guys a few reps. Again, I think the reps think the reps that we got in the games like Elon and Idaho with Kiaro and Landon Turner obviously made them better the other day and it will pay off for us as we get into the second half of this season.”
On Bernard’s performance after seeing it on film:
“It’s not like I turned the film on and go ‘wow’, because it’s something I see all the time. We see it all the time, so it is a ‘wow’ and I guess, for us, it’s kind of old hat. That’s what he does. If you get him in to that second level and he can make that linebacker miss or the safety that’s getting down he’s got a chance for a big play and what it does for the other guys is those receivers know, ‘you know what? Even though that little timer is going off in my head that I may have blocked this guy long enough, if give just a little bit more our back has got a chance to take it the distance,’ and that’s what happened the other day on a couple of routine plays. You get a hole that pops open, somebody gets out of a gap because of tempo or because of formation or whatever and he can go and he can take it the distance or he can turn something that’s not there into something big and he did that also.”