Tuesday, September 27, 2005
"We obviously have a huge week of preparation ahead of us here. It should be an exciting week for us. We've got our preparation today, tomorrow and Thursday where we've got to get a lot of quality work done. This team we're facing is a very talented team: real good size, good speed. We're going to have our hands full in all three areas. Our coaches now are finishing up on our game plans. We're seeing a lot of different things from Florida. They're versatile in all three aspects, so we're going to have to really make sure our preparation is thorough.
"As far as our football team, we're probably as healthy as we've been in a while. We made it through the game in good shape. Hopefully we'll get some guys back like Terrence Jones this week and possibly Mark Sanders. We'll see how they do today and tomorrow in practice.
"It should be an exciting week for our kids and I think they're looking forward to a big game."
Mike, could you talk about the challenge you face offensively with the way they like to blitz very often, almost every down?
"They bring a lot of different blitzes. They bring linebackers, nickel; defensive backs; they bring corners; they bring safeties; and, like you said, they do it a lot. If they're not bringing it from one side, they're usually bringing it from the other. We've seen a lot of blitzing already this year in all types of situations. We've got to do a better job picking it up. Our receivers have a huge challenge this week against some very talented corners that like to play bump and run and aggressive style defense. But it'll be a big challenge for us and we just have to go out and play our game and do the things that we do well."
Mike, you've been a quarterback in games likes this in your college career. What does a quarterback have to do this week and especially on Saturday when competition goes up a notch like it does this week?
"I think the biggest thing mentally, more so than anything else is for Brodie (Croyle) is, don't feel like you have to win the game yourself. Make good decisions. Continue to do the things that you've been doing. And I think physically, we're going to have to adjust to a defense that's got more speed than we probably have ever seen. We saw a defense with pretty good speed last week, but I think overall the way they blitz with their linebackers and the way they cover in their secondary (he's) got to make sure that we're not trying to force things; we're not late with the football. And we need to continue to be accurate."
Coach, talk a little bit about this spread option offense that they run. It's a little bit of everything thrown there all at one time.
"Sure. Exactly. They give you a little bit of everything. Out of the shotgun they give you the running plays and then the misdirection off the running plays and then the option off a fake run and the misdirection with the option with the quarterback and a back coming out the back side. They've got misdirection passing game with their receivers they do a good job of getting certain guys open in all areas of the field. They'll throw it deep. They throw it short and underneath. They've got guys that when they catch it that they do a good job after the catch. So there are a lot of things for us to have to look at and cover. But again, defensively, we've got to make sure we play our game and don't try to do more than what our coaches are asking our players to do and yet be aggressive to the football and know that they're going to be some talented players carrying the ball."
Mike, watching Chad Jackson, how many teams have you noticed trying to single cover him? And, those teams that tried it, did they have much success?
"You see a little bit of everything. You see some teams playing zone, some teams trying not to give up the big play. You see other teams trying to blitz them and get pressure on their quarterback before they can get the ball out to guys like Chad. He's done a real good job. I think the best thing he does: he's got very good awareness. He's a good route runner, and against zones he's got very good awareness, so when you combine all that with his talent and speed, it makes him what he is."
Mike, how do you explain the success this team has had in the third quarter on both sides of the ball?
"It's hard to say. If you would have asked me that our first two weeks, I would have said after our first two weeks I would have said `possibly' because we saw some things that were different. We hadn't had any tape on the teams that we had played and we were able to make some adjustments based on what we hadn't seen going into the game. But I think our guys are just a little more relaxed and confident maybe if things don't go well in the first half. Sometimes they have and they haven't, they've been able to make adjustments without having whole sale changes. Maybe (it's) because of being around each other and know the systems a little bit better."