Coming off a solid 42-20 victory over Monmouth to begin the 2023 season, the Florida Atlantic football team now turn their attention to the Ohio Bobcats when they visit Boca Raton for Saturday's contest at Howard Schnellenberger Field. This will be a rematch for the Owls, losing 41-38 in heartbreaking fashion to the Bobcats at Athens last year.
Head coach Tom Herman (pictured) met with media on Monday to go over the current situation of the team and their approaches against Ohio.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Reflection on how the team performed against Monmouth
"We started fast, we responded to adversity, and we played a fairly clean game for a week one in terms of penalties and total complete busts or assignment errors. Now, we had a few but they weren't catastrophic. Negatives, obviously the last two drives one on offense, one on defense to the second quarter first half that I told our guys at halftime it proved to be a good lesson hopefully for us, but when you got somebody on the ropes, it takes a lot to knock him out, and you're gonna get tired and you're gonna keep swinging and your arms are gonna get fatigued and everything's gonna get sore. But the split second you let them off the ropes because you got tired or you got complacent, now you got to do it all over again. Now you got to do exactly what you did to to get them on the ropes in the first place."
"Hopefully, we learned a very valuable lesson that if we punch that drive in offensively and I hate to use this, but because football is what it is, but painting the picture for our guys. I firmly believe that if we go into halftime 35-7, then the second half is probably a lot less contested than it was and so it was a good learning experience. I wish it didn't happen. Obviously, you'd love to win 77-nothing and have everything go right, but I do think if we do learn from them, it could be something that helps us in the future."
Status update on Armani Eli-Adams
"Yeah, he is in concussion protocol right now. Yesterday was day one, if he stays symptom-free throughout the mandated protocol, then we're hoping to have him for practice Thursday and playing on Saturday. But a lot certainly could happen between now and then."
Status update on Kobe Lewis
"Yeah, we're expecting him back. He'll be a full go on Tuesday at practice, and assuming no setbacks, we're expecting him to play."
Preparation against Ohio
"There's a reason they were in the MAC championship game last year. There's a reason Rourke was the Offensive Player of the Year or maybe Player of the Year in the entire conference. They've got a receiver that was the Newcomer of the Year. This is a talented group. I think it does start with the quarterback offensively and we're gonna prepare as if he's playing this week. We haven't heard anything from an injury update to feel otherwise. But on defense, they've had one of the best defenses in that conference for many years. And they're physical, they're sound, and they're very well-coached. So this is going to be an extreme step up in quality of competition for us and I think our guys know that and we'll be ready."
Correcting mistakes from the Monmouth game
"It starts with fanatical effort, which we played with for the most part and I thought that was really good to see. Again, I go back to there's not a whole lot that is that becomes a saying in our culture or in sports, but I that happens to be true, but I do believe that, you know, having done this for 25 years, that teams do make the biggest improvement from week one to week two. And it's simply because you cannot simulate no matter the scrimmages, mock games, whatever it is, the amount of energy and exertion and emotion that is exhausted in those four hours on a Saturday. You cannot simulate it and so to have that one under our belt and to then learn from the things that we we did poorly, which wasn't a whole lot, but I think just the experience alone of having done some of those things in a game now and not in a controlled environment is going to pay dividends."
Having fans in the stands and keeping them active for the entire game
"It's going to be huge. I would be remiss publicly if I didn't thank our student body. Man, was I impressed with their turnout against Monmouth. They were excited, they were a big part of that win, and a big part, in my opinion, of why we started as well as we started in that game as well because they were in the seats early. They were loud, they were cheering, and really provided us an emotional lift. My challenge would be as we we as a team ratchet our competition level up, I think our student body and our fans need to ratchet up their investment in our wins and losses as well because they do."
"Anytime I talk to a fan group or our student body, I tell them you have a direct impact on wins and losses and everybody wants a winner and will come help us win then. If you want to see a winner, come help us win because homefield advantage is a real thing. When your crowd is loud when your crowd is disruptive when your crowd makes it difficult on your opponents, that's a real advantage for a home team. I felt like we had it certainly early in the game this past week against Monmouth, but we're going to need need even more of it when Ohio rolls into town."
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.