FAU Football handled UTSA and now has their most important contest of the regular season on tap with Southern Miss coming to Schnellenberger Field. To start the period, Coach Kiffin held his weekly media teleconference Sunday evening. Below are those highlights from that session.
On Saturday's Win at UTSA
We were playing really well. The game was 27-3, third quarter, then when we started putting some subs in early. I have always said that I try to get guys out early, it almost cost us. It got a little bit scary when it was a two-score game and we had to put them back in. I think that Tua (Tagovailoa from Alabama) thing was fresh on my mind because I had been getting questions about it all week and having known at halftime that Marshall had lost and the magnitude of this next game, I didn't want to get people hurt. I think that was part of why we played so poorly defensively there later in the game. Again, the guys that go in have got to make plays. Obviously, the tight end (Harrison Bryant) played unbelievable. The quarterback (Chris Robison) has played great for a couple of months in a row now Ö It is good to be playing this well, and at the right time. To run 84 plays from scrimmage and no offensive turnovers, you are going to win a lot of games.
You mentioned Marshall losing. How do you as a coach help the players balance the excitement about what happens with a win, to not get too excited leading up to Saturday?
The locker room was very calm. I think part of that is when you get up way early, early in games, you already feel like you won versus if you win right at the end. I think they realize the magnitude of the next game. I think they expected to win that game. It was good. They were ready to get onto the next one and try to win this thing.
When you say they were calm, was that in response to the Marshall loss?
No. I told them that at halftime. I just thought it would add some energy from being up at half. I just meant as far as a win. They were not wanting to sing the fight song three times. It was more, alright, let's get home and get on to the next one.
Did you expect to use BJ (Emmons) as much as you did going into the game? He led the team in carries with 10.
That's not a ton of work, with Larry (McCammon) being down. He played 24 snaps, James Charles played 28 and Malcolm (Davidson) played 24, but he got hurt. He (Malcolm) didn't play at all in the second half. He (BJ) was basically going to have the reps as the third guy.
Should Charlotte's coach, Will Healy, expect a Christmas card or a tweet from you?
That was great that happened for us. That's great for him. I guess it is the first time they have been to a bowl game, so he has done a great job.
The last couple of years you guys haven't played great on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We know what happened last year. Is there anything you would consider doing differently in practice this week or do you think that is not to blame?
I don't know, I haven't thought about that. Just like I guess we had not played good after a bye or something. We didn't change anything, go on the road and were up 27-3 before we started taking guys out.
How was Dante (Cousart) especially after that hit he took (Saturday) on the punt?
He was not able to return. They ruled him out. Hopefully, he will be back this week.