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Coach Herman Monmouth Presser Notes - August 28th, 2023

Only five days separate the Florida Atlantic football team from their season-opener against the Monmouth Hawks at Howard Schnellenberger Field. They recently finished their first mock game week, going through drills that would allow them to succeed during in-game situations.

Head coach Tom Herman (pictured) met with media on Monday to go over the current situation of the team and their approaches against Monmouth.

Below are some of the highlights from the session.

Opening statement on generating excitement from the students

"I thank them for supporting us and kind of communicated to them in a freshman pep rally that we're a bit old school in terms of the way that we believe. We are an extension of our student body and our alumni. That's what we're here for. We're here for six Saturdays a year to provide an opportunity for our students and our alumni to come home, to have a rallying cry, rallying point, if you will, and have a day where we come together in fellowship and celebrate the Owls with a ton of school spirit. That's what college football is. I know in this day and age, sometimes that gets lost but at the same time, I challenged our students too because everybody wants a winner. Well, they can directly impact wins and losses, like really directly impact wins and losses. So everybody says they want a winner, well, come help contribute to winning by making Schnellenberger Field at FAU stadium one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult to play in our conference."

Preparation against Monmouth

"This was a team that was second in their conference in scoring, first in their conference in rushing. They return FCS's leading rusher and 157 yards per game, over 1700 on the season. And they've got two wide receivers and three starters back on the offensive line. They did lose their quarterback but brought in a former three-year starter transfer from [Sacred Heart]. If he gives them the same kind of production that they did last year, I don't see a whole heck of a lot of drop off, that is a very potent offense. Then defensively, I think they were banged up a little bit last year. They kind of had to mix and match some parts throughout the year. I think if when and if they are at full speed, that's another side of the ball that's really potent and you know, has has shown that they can they can do some things on that. side of the ball. And we know in the Colonial Athletic Association for the last decade or so every year beats, I think on average, two FBS teams a year so I think our kids know just how good Monmouth is and can be and we are in no position in our program to take anybody regardless of FCS versus FBS for granted."

On the development of FCS football compared to FBS programs

"If you're going to go play Alabama, Ohio State, or Georgia, their talent level is going to be significantly in their favor. They're gonna have good players and I think what the transfer portal has done is it has allowed for an enormous amount of parity. Once you get past maybe the 5-7 seven big boys in all of college football, there is an enormous amount of parity because people are able to plug holes in and reinvent rosters, if you will, almost yearly. This is a team that didn't have to do a whole lot of that because they had, especially offensively, most of that crew back from last year that had played really well but you're right in the fact that the FCS, American Conference, Conference USA, I mean, there's not a whole lot of difference."

Update on players recovering from injury

"We're gonna give Kobe Lewis one more week off of that rib to let it heal completely. We feel like with Larry, Zuberi, Keyvon, or Robert Armes you know, that we'll be able to survive a game without Kobe and that way he won't be shooting that thing up a quarter zone every other week to just get through a season. Lajohntay is great. He's had some really good practices here throughout training camp. Tony's ankle, rolled his ankle missed some time last week, was out there full speed yesterday. He looked good. Larry, he's great; had no issues, knock on wood. Throughout training camp, he's taken really good care of his body. And then the rest are good to go. It was good to see we got Elijah Brown and Jackson Sumlin back to practice yesterday. They've missed a significant amount of time, but our hopes are that with a week of practice to get their sea legs under them this week, they can kind of be ready for more involvement in the offense next week. And the same would go for Morven Joseph on defense. He had an ankle sprain that kept him out about 10 days or so and gotten back to practice yesterday. Is being ready for this Saturday realistic or necessary? I don't know, we'll see with him towards the end of the week."

On the team responding to adversity

"As much as you try to manufacture it in practice and in training, we have not released real adversity. I tried to tell the guys yesterday on Sunday: "Newsflash, Moumouth is probably going to make a first down. We might have to pump in this game." So I want to see if we put our money where our mouth is in times of adversity because I know in years past, that had been closing games out in the fourth quarter responding to adversity. Those had been Achilles heels of FAU football and we're trying to flip the script on that but how do you simulate that? You really don't other than kind of address the old self-realization of who are we and who do we want to become and what do we got to do to take the steps necessary to get there. I think in game one, if we're playing really hard and physical and we're not beating ourselves, are we gonna have a holding penalty, we might; we might have a pass interference penalty, but you know, the false starts or delays, the games, the offside stuff like that, If we're going to commit some penalties, I get it, but if they're aggressive penalties, you can kind of live with it. But if we can avoid the pre-snap penalties, the procedural penalties, and not beat ourselves, those are the two things is effort and physicality. And then let's be as crisp as we can and buttoned up as we can procedurally throughout the course of the game."

Points of emphasis to the defense against the Hawks offense

"I hope when you're playing the nation's leading rusher, it maybe hits home a little bit more but we got to stop the run. That's gonna put some pressure on our secondary but especially with their two really good wide receivers, and all their tight ends are back as well. So we've got to do a good job of up front of stopping the run without having to commit a whole bunch of secondary support to that cause. Also then when they decide to pass, which they are even though they've got the leading rusher in the country returning, I think they also threw over 40 times a game as well last year too. So up front, we got to stop the run with an even box count, if you will. And then when they do decide to pass, we gotta get pressure on him knowing that they've got some real talent on the outside and as interested in stopping the run as we're going to be, that's going to put some pressure on on our guys in the secondary."

The Owls will be stepping onto the Schmidt Complex practice field on Tuesday morning with offensive coordinator Charlie Frye and requested offensive players being available for interviews.

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