Florida Atlantic Head Coach Lane Kiffin met with the media on Monday to discuss the Owls' win over MTSU, quarterback play, and Old Dominion.
Recapping Middle Tennessee
Basically, what we talked about after the game with you guys. Very clean game. Very few penalties. One on offense. One for five yards, which had been an issue. Turnovers, plus three in the game. You are going to win over 90 percent of the games when you do that. That was great. We played good in all three phases of the game. Passing game is probably still the thing that needs the most work. Itís three games in a row of running the ball really well and a lot of first downs. We are on the right track. Now we gotta do it two weeks in a row. A few games ago we did it and we didnít do it the next week. Have to learn how to handle success and go back to work and quit talking about the last game.
What was the mood like at practice?
Very upbeat, but at the same time too, they were the same way after Bethune. We talked to them. It is good to be upbeat. It is good to have energy, but at the same time, you have to have that same passion for preparation and practice that you did last week after being upset by the outcome of the game. Again, going back to handling
Is that one of the challenges of being a head coach, basically universally building that consistency?
Yeah, we talked about it today. When is the last time…these players have experienced two wins in a row? We have to learn how to do that. And, continue to get better.
Driskel, you said he managed the game well. In this type of offense, especially with the running backs
is the quarterback being a game manager ok and are you alright with that?
You want him to be the game manager. That is what your good quarterbacks do. Being a game manager doesnít
mean you are not a good quarterback outside of managing the game. Peyton Manning is a great game manager and
he is a great thrower. Learn guys to manage the game, play the position really well throwing the ball. We missed a couple of big plays in that game that he would love to have back. Post route touchdown to Willie (Wright) that was a big play. We got a third down and have an end route coming open, he speeds it up. If we are going to be a good team, we have to be good in all areas. Thatís an area, again mid-range to down field passing, we need to make those plays.
After your last win you changed quarterbacks. Is that still an option?
No, it is always a competition, but it is not a 50-50 right now. The reps are leaning towards Driskel. I would
imagine that he would be the starter.
If you were to open the competition would it have to be on a Monday or say could it change it and the
quarterbacks be ready to go?
It could. You always have to put the players in the best position to win. If that was the case, we would have to do that.
On Devin Singletary being a vocal guy behind the scenes
Not a lot. I think he is great at being focused, preparing and doing the important in meetings. He is not the one goofing around. He is the one always listening and trying to get better. I think he is a little bit similar to Azeez (AlShaair) that way. ďBuddyĒ (Gregory Howell, Jr.) is a little more vocal. Those two guys are more quiet until they need to be.
What was it like watching that performance, were you surprised?
I think he has been doing that stuff all year. At Wisconsin, there is a number of times that if we are not locking guys and a guy is free, he is making those guys miss. Those are obviously some really good players so nothing new. He does that stuff in scrimmages, practices and rarely does the first guy tackle him. You have to take care of the ball and keep getting better.
You have a unique vantage point, what was that like? Did you think he was going to have that?
I didnít know. It happens so fast, you are looking at it and you kinda have people in your way. Players in your way. So, I didnít realize it was as unique as it was until I saw it on the scoreboard. Unique play. We showed it today, not just because it was him. ďPicoĒ (Tavaris Harrison) is in there blocking all the way to the goal line. It takes everybody.
Is part of your coaching style not to sugar coat criticism when it comes to players? It seems like you call it as it is. If so, does that help get the message across to the players?
I think so. That is how I am with everything. I think players respect that when they come in, that you are not just going to tell them what they want to hear. I think if you do that then you are going to have problems because you never tell them why they arenít playing. We are very open that way. I just think that is the best way to manage players.
What do you think of Old Dominion?
They are a very well-coached team. Second year in a row with the least penalties in the conference. There is no
secret why they won 10 games. They are really well-coached. They led the conference in turnover margin. They led the conference in least penalties. They have really good defensive linemen, especially defensive ends. I know they have been banged up on offense, but the new quarterback seems to be a special player. Obviously, he will be playing in this league a long time. He is just a freshman. He was a great player in high school, 40 touchdowns as a junior in high school. Iím sure they are excited about him. We will have our hands full and it is a tough place to play. They went 6-0 at home last year.