Florida Atlantic Quotes

Florida Atlantic at Nebraska
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009
Memorial Stadium - Lincoln, Neb.

Opening Statement
"I wish we could have this press conference at halftime rather than at the end of the game. At halftime I talked to them in positive terms about how they had played the first half, even though the score was what it was. I called upon them to give a great effort in the second half so that we might demonstrate that our football program has gone a long way since we had a game like this, and we've had a lot of games like this, as you know if you've studied this at all. But this one's different, we were playing a very good team. I think it's a team that has about the best coach that I've been around lately. I think they have some very good players, but I don't think they're overly talented.

I think the sum of the parts is a lot greater than the individual talent they have, and that's a compliment, it's not to take anything away from them. They play hard, they run hard, they block hard, they tackle hard, and they're a very physical football team. I'm sure they went into halftime concerned about how they had looked against us. They put it into overdrive, and I asked our guys to put it into overdrive, and we didn't have enough juice in the tank. So it's a very bitter loss for us. It's the first one that I've had with this program that is tougher to handle than others, because I expected more out of this football team at this juncture. It doesn't mean that our season is ruined, it doesn't mean that we have bad kids, the only thing it means is that we have to practice harder, we have to study longer, we have to become more error-free, we've got to be able to tackle backs in the open field.

I hate to look at the stat that says yards after contact. I would guess out of the 400 they got, 300 were yards after contact. It means that it's tough to tackle a tough hard back in the open by yourself one-on-one. It means that our pursuit is not good enough to get two-on-one. When you get two-on-one you have a better chance to get him down. If you get three-on-one, then you can punish him a little bit, instead of being punished when you try to make the tackle. So those are the things that have me disappointed at this juncture. Rusty (Smith) was off his game, not nearly as much as it looks in the stats, but nevertheless he was off his game. Our receivers I think are better than what they demonstrated today. We have a hard time covering our receivers one-on-one. Our offense is predicated on the fact that we will not be covered man-to-man one-on-one, because if that can happen then we have no advantage in the passing game or the running game. We have been much better in beating one-on-one coverage than we were in this game. So we go back to Boca, get in there about five or six in the morning. I've instructed them to go home and get sleep, that's going to be their day off. My staff and I will go back and get enough sleep to carry us through the next two days, because the next two days are going to be very difficult for our football program. I'm certain my team is almost as disappointed as I and my staff are. I think they will respond positively, and this can be a trip to the woodshed that may be the thing we need most of all."

On being knocked over on the sidelines in the fourth quarter
"Well I have a great knack when I see that there's no escape route, and the adversary is a hell of a lot bigger, stronger and faster than I am. I go into a voluntary relax mode, and become a rag doll, and I can survive almost anything. I was born on a farm where they had a lot of possums around and learned the possum trick."

On quarterback Rusty Smith's play
"We just have to say Rusty was not at his best today, and it was the great defense that we were facing."

Quarterback Rusty Smith

On FAU’s collapse in the second half

“The reason why the second half was completely different was because the offense couldn’t keep our defense off the field. We couldn’t generate any kind of yardage. We can’t expect our defense to be out there the whole time, and expect them to keep stopping them and keep stopping them and keep stopping them. They’re going to wear down. They’re only humans, they’re not machines. It has nothing to do with what the defense did differently. It has everything to do with what we did. We couldn’t execute.”

On the reason they couldn’t execute

“I don’t want to take anything from Nebraska’s defense. They’re a great defense. They have some really, really great players, and they’re going to have a really good season. But we kept shooting ourselves in the foot on multiple plays. Two interceptions, fumbles, dropped passes, penalties, not converting on third or fourth down when we had the chance to. Those kind of things, you’re not going to be able to win any kind of football game. I don’t care who you’re playing."

On how he would grade his performance

“I’d give myself an F. Two interceptions, completely unacceptable. One of them was a bad decision. The first one I threw was a jump ball. I should never have even thought about throwing that football. To be honest with you, I don’t know why I threw it. I just know that I’m better than I played tonight.”


On why FAU’s offense couldn’t score points

“We are better than what we played tonight. Like I said, and it’s the story of tonight and the story of a couple of scrimmages we had earlier in the season, we shot ourselves in the foot too many times.”


On how the team can fix its problems

“It’s getting your mind right. If the snap count is on this, don’t jump. Or the ball hits you in the hands, you’re on scholarship to catch the ball, catch it. Or if a man is double-covered, don’t throw it. Stuff like that. You’ve got to get your mind right. It has nothing to do with our physical ability. It has everything to do with our mentality. We’re all fifth-year seniors. We shouldn’t be making these stupid mistakes that we’re making. And it starts with me.”


On what Howard Schnellenberger said after his fourth-quarter fall to make Smith laugh

“(Laughing) I can’t say what he said. It was funny though. The guy’s a character. I love him to death."

On if he was worried about Schnellenberger

“No, because he’s gone down quite a few times in games and in practices. He is probably, not probably, he is definitely the toughest guy that you will ever meet. Ever.”

Running Back Willie Rose

On the reason for the lopsided loss

“Lack of focus. We came to play, but in my opinion we didn’t come to play football today. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We did have high expectations and we felt confident that we were going to make things work, knowing the experience we had coming back and just working in practice the last few weeks, but it didn’t turn out the way we hoped. We’ll look at film tomorrow and see what we need to fix.”

On if he thought the offense was getting in gear after a 71-yard drive resulting in a field goal

“I knew from the beginning we could get into gear at any moment. We just needed something to spark it. I guess you could say it did a little more than the first two drives, but we left too many points out there.”

On if nerves played a factor

“No. We live to play in front of a crowd like that. That’s why we play the game.”


Defensive Lineman Josh Savidge

On Nebraska’s offensive line

“Their offensive front came to play, everything we expected. I think we played well. We just need to get better, probably play a little bit more aggressive. They just had our number tonight. We played hard. We’ve just got to get better. They’re a pretty good offensive line. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team go far this season.”


On what NU’s O-Line did well to protect Zac Lee

“Mainly just doubling us up. They weren’t really holding onto the ball or scrambling. That’s pretty much it.”

On Roy Helu’s third quarter runs

“I don’t think we hit him enough in the first half. I don’t think that would’ve been that way if we would’ve come out and got more pressure on him as a defense.”


On allowing NU to convert on fourth down twice

“We stopped them three plays in a row and they get it on the one-inch line...we gave it our all. It was frustrating. We should have stopped them, but we didn’t. We’ll work on that too.”


Linebacker Michael Lockley

On what went wrong in the second half

“Just executing as a whole, whether it was being in that right gap, being off a half a man or whether it was having your man and not playing to the middle of the field.”


On what to take for the game

“There’s going to be a lot of positives. Of course the obvious is the outcome, which is a negative. But in the course of a game, it could be five to six plays which cause those 49 points that happened, and all the other plays we could have played good. But it’s allowing big plays and allowing them to score when they’re in the red zone, which causes you to lose games, and that’s what happened tonight.”