Florida Atlantic University Football head Coach Charlie Partridge held his weekly press conference today in lieu of the team's pending visit to local foe Miami on Saturday, September 10th at 6:00 PM. Below are some notable highlights from the session.
“No major injuries to us Saturday night. That is good news on that front. We had a really productive Sunday, yesterday. We went through corrections from the game. We went through a scouting report. We took some time on our fundamentals or our combat weapons and got back to our developmental, which I really missed last year. We played so many freshmen last year. We take a lot of pride on Sunday taking time with our guys who don’t get as many reps or don’t get reps, we scrimmage them Sunday, like their game day, and it was really fun. It was good.”
“I think anybody could see this [Brad] Kaaya was on [Saturday night]. Kaaya is a heck of a football player and you can see his growth. Multiple playmakers all over the field. You see new faces showing up. You can see what appears to be a commitment to balance. I know the game got out of hand pretty quick, but you can see a commitment to balance. They used the run to set up some big plays on the throw game. Defensively, I know Manny Diaz. We have met each other many times over the years in recruiting and we have talked defense over the years. His aggressive style showed up just in the way the front plays and some of the things they do defensively. It was kinda what I expected. Special teams, their punt was extremely productive with a block and a punt return. They are aggressive in nature as well so we have work to do there. Their kickoff team did a great job pinning people down. That [UM] is a good football team.”
Does preparation for Miami differ from Southern Illinois?
"It doesn’t. It is the same process. Today we are putting our game plan in for first and second down. If we get ahead tonight, we will touch on third down and tomorrow’s practice we will focus on first and second down. Punt and kickoff preparation is the same."
How hard is it to get a feel for what Miami does based on Saturday’s game?
"It is hard. The thing that does come out of it is every guy that came in for Miami really ran to the ball. I know they started three freshmen linebackers. Those kids really played hard. That is the thing that jumps out to you. They are really snap to whistle playing very physical, very fast and very confident. It is not easy to evaluate them. You go back to some Mississippi State films and Georgia film. The spring game was on TV so you take peek at that stuff and you try to piece it all together and you look at plays and defensive schemes that tie into what they are that maybe hurt us. That they might try and use on Saturday night."
What are the challenges in playing a “Big Time” program in Miami?
“I want to say this respectfully. I really mean it is a big this week because it is big this week. Some of the challenges we had on Saturday night against Southern Illinois, some of the things that didn’t go our way, was because they [FAU’s football team] were so emotional to play Southern Illinois. They were locked in. Emotionally, they were ready to go. As a freshman, they were trying to do things outside of what we ask them to do technically. It is a great opportunity to coach that. No, it doesn’t create something extra. Are we excited to play Miami? Of course we are. It is a great opportunity but we will have the same excitement level in week three, four and five when we are facing those. It’s different now. We are focused on Miami because Miami is the mission.”
On controlling the team’s emotions
“Again, it is going back to how you [the players] have been trained. Do what we have coached you to do. Do what you have proven you can do. Use the technique that you know you are good at. You saw it show up in the third quarter. Some of the tackling up shoulder high bounce off that happened in the second quarter, which is technique. It has nothing to do with talent and ability. It is technique. As they calm themselves down and execute the technique, we started making better tackles in the second half. So now, you play that teaching moment back for them. Yes this is an emotional game but you can’t go so far with it that you lose your technique. A couple of those guys, Andrew Soroh it was his first start and he would tell you that his emotions got to him and that led him to not do what he knows he can do. By the time we got into late second quarter and early third quarter, he was doing it.”