Herd from Holliday
We’re getting ready to play an FIU team that has 15 starters who are seniors, so you have a veteran team. They have a lot of guys coming back. They have two really good linebackers. (Alex) McGough has been a four-year starter (at quarterback) and (Alex) Gardner is the leading rusher in the history of the program. They have a lot of players back who have played a lot of football and are extremely talented. They are off to a great start.
On relationship with Butch Davis:
Years ago when he was an assistant at Miami, we recruited against each other. He has always done a tremendous job and has always been a great talent evaluator. The old days at Miami, he would take a lot of kids that nobody else did and develop them. That is when Miami was really good in the 1980s and 90s. They took a lot of kids who weren’t heavily recruited that were excellent players.
On success on third down:
Getting off the field on third down defensively, we have been able to get pressure on the quarterback. On third and mediums and third and shorts, we have been able to get off the field. Offensively, we’ve been able to convert. We are making plays on third down on both sides of the ball and we are going to have to do the same against these guys.
On FIU’s linebackers Anthony Wint and Treyvon Williams:
We have seen a lot of them because they are both seniors. Both have played a lot of football. Wint has been an all-conference guy. They are extremely athletic. They both have good size and run to the football and are good tacklers in space. They’re good players.
On the Herd building confidence in strong defense:
We need to. It starts with playing great defense. Any time we have played well that is where it has started. We were number one in the league three-straight years there in total defense and we’re back to being a top defense right now. We are going to have to continue to do that and continue to play like we are.
On the closeness of the team:
We have a lot of guys who are [close and accepting their roles]. You look out there on special teams and you have guys like Chocolate Wilson and Eli Gates and their whole world is running down on kickoffs and punts and playing just 19 snaps a game on special teams and loving every minute of it. That is what good teams do. They have guys who accept their roles and understand them and when their number is called, they go in there and play really well. They are a fun bunch to be around right now and a fun bunch to coach because they do like each other. They hold each other accountable and they do a great job.
On players rallying around each other:
Yes. We talk all the time about feeding off each other whether it’s special teams, offense or defense. Somebody has to set the tone in that game and then hopefully we feed off each other and that has happened. Like I said, this is a tight group. They enjoy playing alongside each other just like the other successful teams that we have had around here were.
On the growth of FIU quarterback Alex McGough:
I think anytime you are a four-year starter, you get better. You see his improvement. He has tremendous arm-strength. He is making great decisions and the thing about him is he is such a competitor. You watch him and he is going to dive over people and do whatever it takes to try and win that football game. He is extremely tough, extremely physical and you can tell that he has great respect from his teammates by the way he plays the game. He will be a handful.
On playing against an experienced team:
You have to get pressure on them so you can get off the field on third down. I think we have done a good job of that, but [McGough] isn’t going to get rattled the same way a young kid is. At the end of the day you just have to find a way to get pressure on him and, of course, you have to stop the run. We have to be able to go in there and stop the run with [Alex] Gardner and, if we can do that, then hopefully we can get him into some third down situations and get some pressure on him.