Florida Atlantic quotes
Aug. 31, 2008
On the things that made the difference tonight: I thought the interception in the end zone and the fumble they had when they were moving the ball were huge. The turnover game is huge for us and I am sure we won the explosive plays and we rushed for over 200 yards. I thought we did well in all of the things that make a difference in the game tonight.
On the negatives: We've got to go back and look at the explosives on third down, because there were too many, especially early on. And then, I thought we were out of some lines on kickoff coverage as well. But other than that, I thought we played a near perfect opener for us.
On Florida Atlantic: I've said this before, but I think this is the best team we've played in an opening game, including N.C. State. This team won eight games last season, their conference and a bowl game, and people don't usually play a team like that in their opener. They have eight seniors on defense, and their quarterback and some other guys will be playing on Sundays in the future. They are really good.
On starting off strongly: We played tonight like we did in the bowl game, so there's been a huge carryover from then. We just got after them. One of the points of interest was for us to start this year better than we did last year. We finished last year right, but we didn't start it right, at least in the first three or four games. I'm sure Florida Atlantic was excited after watching our Arkansas State game from last year and our Central Florida game. We just wanted to finish correctly tonight. There were some guys out there in the end of the ball game, which have never seen the field before and they were playing hard.
On Colt McCoy and John Chiles: Colt did a great job. We wanted John to throw it more and throw it better, and we wanted Colt to run it more. Both of those things were accomplished tonight. I thought that Colt played as good of a game as I have ever seen him play. He was just unbelievable. That's the way he's looked in the spring and that's the way he's looked during camp. So we're really excited about where he's at right now. He's very confident. John obviously started a lot better. He came in and made some plays with his feet, but when he starts throwing the ball, people will start spreading out a little bit and then it will be much easier for him to make plays with his feet.
On the young safeties: They listened and they got better and better. What a wonderful experience it must have been for [freshman safety] Blake Gideon, to start in his first collegiate football game for The University of Texas. We got a lot of young guys out there tonight that got a lot of experience, and they just have to continue with that next week.
On the defensive performance tonight: It's not always about a guy. It was four guys that did a great job preparing that defense. Will [Muschamp] meshed so well with the other three defensive coordinators. I think Duane Akina deserves a tremendous amount of credit. The defense blocked another kick, and that makes it 49 blocked kicks since 2000, I think. At the same time, Will is really good at what he does and he is doing what we asked him to do and what we hired him to do. He's smart and he is a guy that the kids believe in. He also meshed with the other three coaches so well. I think that's a key to coaching. You can't just walk in and take over and kick everybody out and say that it's your field. He's been a great staff person. I thought that a lot of the things Florida Atlantic did tonight, we do with our offense.
Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis
On producing in the end zone: We worked really hard in the red zone in the off-season and we were able to play a lot of people and that helps you down the road. James Kirkendoll had a big play at the end of the game thanks to a nice throw from John [Chiles]. Malcolm Williams played really well his first time out. So, the more people we get involved and gain some confidence, the more it helps you down the road.
On the quarterbacks running the ball: Colt is really fast and John Chiles is really fast. We're trying to get John to become more of a weapon and we'll continue to build with him. Vondrell runs a 4.3 and that is really fast for being 210 pounds. He carried it 12 times tonight, and every time he gets it, he's got a chance. Chris Ogbonnaya showed really good quickness and speed tonight. Fozzy [Whittaker] didn't get a chance to play tonight.
Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp
On Florida Atlantic's protection: What they do protection wise, they eliminate a lot of pressure, so you end up guessing a lot. I think what happened in the first half was that we pressured and they maxed it and their quarterback hit their top receiver several times. They were just shooting the ball to the 'X' receiver, so we stayed doubled on him for the rest of the game. So, from this side of the ball, we gave up one big play, but other than that in the second half, we just made some adjustments at halftime. They did a good job of executing. We just stayed out of the pressure because of protections and the single coverage on the 'X' receiver.
On the defensive mistakes in the game: Well, we were obviously going to make some mistakes and we knew that coming into the game. We told them the effort is on them and the execution is on us. We've got to do a better job coaching in tough situations. If we get into more of those situations and we don't execute, then it's on me. We'll be very technical when we watch the film. They say you make the most improvements going from game one to game two.
On the performance of the young receivers: There was Malcolm (Williams) out there, James (Kirkendoll), Montre (Webber), all those guys made huge catches. Dan (Buckner) looked really good. Our young guys looked really good. That's really promising. Again, we have a ways to go but we're happy with the way they started and we all started.
On his chemistry with QB Colt McCoy: We just talk amongst each other. I guess that's great chemistry we have amongst the team. Ship (Jordan Shipley), me, we've been with him for a little while so we know that the second he leaves that pocket, we know where he's looking and where his eyes are going so we try to get there. Unfortunately I didn't come down with one that I should have. We're going to keep doing it and hopefully it works out a lot better next time.
On the young receivers tonight: They did really well. They knew what to do. They blocked well. We all take pride in our blocking. We try to just be complete players. But again, it's a work in progress. It was a big win, especially knowing that we can still get better.
On Colt McCoy's running ability: I know what he's capable of. He's a great scrambler, I love when he does it. He ran well. He got hit a few times late, but he bounced back up and continued to do it, and that just shows his character. He's a baller. He's a gamer, so we don't expect any less.
TE Blaine Irby
On the amount of action he saw tonight: It did kind of surprise me a little bit, but it was a great win, we all played well. It was a good win to start the season.
On his relationship with Colt McCoy: We developed (our relationship) last spring and during the summer and all of camp, and it just came down to this game. After practice, we're throwing routes with all the receivers.
On Colt McCoy's running ability helping receivers get open: It keeps the defense on their toes all the time. A lot of people underestimate Colt's ability to run the ball. Last year, he did a lot of during the Holiday Bowl, and this game, I think he had over 100 yards, so it definitely keeps the defense on their toes.
QB Colt McCoy
On what the team focused on for the game: Honestly, we were just focused on ourselves to get better. We know the talent that we have and I know we have a lot of young guys. We were just focused on executing and just coming out and playing. Offensively, for sure, that was what we did.
On how the offense clicked tonight: We made some mistakes, but we also did a lot of good things. So, I like what we did, but we just have to keep getting better.
On the couple of late hits: I compete really hard, so when I'm running out-of-bounds, I don't really know what is going on. I just want to get back on the field and keep going. I guess if Vince [Young] was right there, he probably had my back.
On the passing game and protection: Offensively, the offensive line did a tremendous job tonight. Some of our receivers got stranded because they dropped so many guys deep. I just kept moving my feet. But, give credit to our receivers, they've worked really hard and they executed well tonight.
RB Vondrell McGee
On getting the start tonight: It was good, getting to start the game, getting loose, getting into it at the beginning of the game instead of sitting on the sideline, coming in on short yardage.
On the atmosphere tonight: It was good. The crowd was loud. We kept them hyped. The sideline was hyped.
On what he is most pleased with about his performance: I think picking up the blitzes. I don't think we missed a blitz at all tonight.
LB Roddrick Muckelroy
On defensive coordinator Will Muschamp at halftime: He was calm. He came in and told us a few adjustments we needed to make, which we did. We made those adjustments to the best of our abilities.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya
On Colt McCoy and the offense: Colt's just Colt McCoy. He makes plays outside of the pocket, he can move, he's got great feet, great vision downfield, and I think that he trusts us up front. We've worked so much together. While we haven't maybe jelled to where we can be as a unit, we're a work in progress and we're proud of how we ended camp and how did during camp. I think that the way Colt performed today is just a testament of how far we've come and how far we can go.
On Colt McCoy's demeanor on the field: Colt's always focused in the huddle. We all carry the same type of focus because we're trying to execute out there. When we get on the sideline after there's been a good play and we can actually have a little bit of time to relax, he'll loosen up a little bit. I would say 95 percent of the time Colt is in game mode, focused, trying to figure out where he made a mistake, what he saw out there, and what he's going to come back and relate to.
On Colt McCoy's rushing performance: I was giving him a hard time about that tonight. I was just saying, `You're running for all those yards, man, you can give them to Vondrell (McGee) or Cody (Johnson) or something.' We were just joking, me and Colt are close. What he did tonight was great. As long as we're getting wins, I can't complain. We just want to be the best this year, be the best at everything we can do and finish and start fast.
DE Brian Orakpo
WR Jordan Shipley
On the importance of a solid season opener: It was really important to us to come out in the second half strong. Against Arkansas State last year, we didn't finish as well as we wanted to, and it was good tonight to finish the game.
On the team's confidence: I think we've got a lot of confident guys, and that's one thing you have to have if you're going to be successful. You have to know that you can go out there and get the job done. We have a whole lot of guys that feel that way.
S Earl Thomas
On how it felt to block a punt: It was just exciting. I'm just trying to do everything I can do to help the team.
On the emphasis on special teams in practice: We've been working on it all week. We've been practicing hard, just working on special teams. Coach teaches special teams very well, so we just try to do what he tells us to do.
On how it felt to play his first game at Texas: At first I needed somebody to pinch me or something. It was just overall a good feeling just to get my feet wet and get ready for upcoming games.
On if Florida Atlantic showed him any looks he wasn't prepared for: Overall I think we did a pretty good job over the week preparing for the game. It was not that much, just a couple of situations.
On the most difficult part of Saturday's game: Just getting the calls in, the crowd was loud, the atmosphere was different.
On his chemistry with Blake Gideon: We're both young. He's a fast learner. He helps me out a lot.
CB Ryan Palmer
On his interception: It was good to finally get one. I haven't had one in a while. It was all thanks to my teammates. I don't take any credit. They tipped the ball for me; I just stayed there and caught it.
On the defense's performance in the first game under Will Muschamp: I think the defense played well. We made some mistakes, but it's the first game with a new defense. We still have a lot more room to grow, that's what the good thing is about it.
DT Roy Miller
On what the team will do next: As one of the leaders on the team and knowing my guys, we can do better. We can work on things. We can fix a lot of things. I'm just looking for any kind of way to get better, as a team, as an individual, we've just got to keep working.
On what the team can improve: It was a good game. The guys did real good. Guys played well but at the end of the day there are still things we can work on. Obviously those things happen when you do good in the game. Just knowing our guys, when you're real with yourself, you know you can change some things with your team. I know my team. I know who we can be. Obviously we can work on our communication a little bit better. There were times when we had a couple mental errors. It's just not acceptable. It's not acceptable in practice. It's not acceptable at any time.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC COACHES AND PLAYERS
QB Rusty Smith