Having secured the victory over Tulsa in their conference opener this past Saturday, the Florida Atlantic football team is remaining in the state as they make their way up to Tampa for a key duel against USF on October 14th.
Head coach Tom Herman (pictured via FAU Athletics) met with media on Monday to go over the current condition of the team and their preparations against the Bulls.
Below are some of the highlights from the session.
Opening statement on how the team performed against Tulsa
"The biggest reward is certainly getting the conference win. If you want to win trophies, it starts in your conference and to be able to get a conference win in our first game was really important to going towards that goal. But I think in the grand scheme of this program's trajectory, growth, maturity, development, it was a big step in getting a win not just in our first game in the American Conference, but against an opponent that has been in this conference since its inception. I think a statement is probably too big of a word, but it makes sure that everybody knows that the six of us that are coming in from Conference USA, we'd like to think that we're going to have something to say about the conference championship this season."
Herman's on the team's strengths and weaknesses post-Tulsa
"We're playing pretty well in terms of situational defense. You look at the stats and they're not great, but we've held three out of our five opponents to 17 or fewer points and the fourth one being at Illinois where they scored 23. So at the end of the day, it's about how many points do they have on the board versus how many points that you add on the board, so we're keeping offenses off the scoreboard. I think that's a strength. I think we got to do better defensively on first and second down. We're making plays. We're fitting runs and all that and we're tackling guys for two to three yards, but you go three yards, three yards, three yards, that's fourth and 1 every drive. So we need some more big plays defensively, some sacks, TFLs, things like that to put the offense behind the sticks.
"And then I think the inverse is as true for our offense. We did a much better job staying in third and manageable in this previous game against Tulsa. We reaped the benefits of it so I think if we can lean on the running game the way that we did, then we'll be able to continue to do that on offense."
On Logan Lupo winning the American's Special Teams Player of the Week
"We won by three and he accounted for six of those points. So if you erase him from the planet, we lose by three. So that alone with him putting it through the uprights as many times as he did obviously was a big part of the game and then to be able to deliver when his best was needed at that moment, with three minutes to go, to rattle off a 71-yard punt was pretty cool."
Injury Update on WR Javion Posey
"He will continue to be in concussion protocol, Sunday being day one and today being day two, so we'll continue to update should anything change. But the protocol is what it is. I think it's five days so hopefully Thursday, we'll know whether he's cleared to play in the game or not."
Preparations against USF
"They've lost to Alabama and Western Kentucky out-of-conference and had beaten Florida A&M, a top-25 FCS team. Then prior to UAB, they were 2-0 in conference. So this is a really good football team. I don't know that anybody ever I think all of our fans should get used to, especially in the American Conference, I don't know why they wouldn't be already having been in Conference USA, but I don't think at our level non-conference records are really a good predictor of any kind of down the line success."
"You look at just FAU in our recent history. Both of our conference championships have started with three losses. So, we're going to play some really difficult out-of-conference opponents just like South Florida has done, but I don't think the results of those games have any bearing on the predictability of how we or they will fare against each other in conference play."
Herman on not underestimating teams like USF
"I don't think we're in any position to underestimate anybody. Now, I would like to point out that they're still on track to fulfill that preseason prognostication, but yeah, I don't feel we can take Boca high school easy right now. So I know that's the furthest thing from my mind. This is a really good football team. This is a team that's won conference championships and played in one New Year's Six bowl games in their history and in our players lifetime. I know they've struggled a little bit the last couple of years, but this is a very tradition-rich, strongly supported program."
"Just look at their facilities, look at their new indoor facility. The amenities that the players enjoy, it's a lot more than ours. I can tell you that and so I don't know why little brother would ever take big brother lightly. So I don't think that'll ever be the case. We don't have what they have. We don't train the way that they train. They've been in the American getting a full share of that TV money for 10 years, and we have not. So we're gonna go in with duct tape and bubble gum, and try to figure out a way to compete against them."
Exposing USF's QB Protection
"We got to do better than we did against Tulsa. We did not affect the quarterback significantly in our foreign three-man rushes. The one time we did in a three-man rush, he threw a pick to Jayden Williams, because Decarius Hawthorne got some good pressure on him and then we had to bring five at the end of the game to get some pressure on him. So definitely an area that we need to improve on, especially knowing that it is an area of concern for theirs, so we've got to do better. We've got to play and get after the passer much more like we did against Illinois than we did against Tulsa."
The Owls will be marching onto the Schmidt Complex practice field on Tuesday morning to begin their preparation against the Bulls.