This week's opponent is Florida State. We're back at home after a month on the road. It's always good when you come back from the road and play a team like Florida State, it keeps the team's attention. This game is going to be tough and physical.
When you watch Florida State on film, they are the same Florida State who wants to run the football and try to get the opportunity to let the quarterback throw 25-28 times per game when they can control the game. They are very physical upfront because if I'm not mistaken, they've played together for like the last three years. They've been building their program back up recruiting guys and coach [Rick] Trickett – the offensive line coach – does a wonderful job. They run a lot of zone plays reminding me of West Virginia when coach Trickett was at West Virginia. You'll see a lot of things like the Denver Broncos trying to reach everybody and try to cut the guys on the backside and hit them low. We have to work on that in practice. We have to continue [having] our defensive line getting off blocks and getting up field trying to create havoc. Ponder does a nice job at quarterback of organizing. They do a nice job in the passing game trying to stretch the field as much as they can. They have three running backs that they use all the time. That keeps guys fresh and wears guys down in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, coach [Mark] Stoops – a guy I've worked with here and is a friend of mine has done a great job at Florida State. They are young on defense. They line up in different fronts and know how to make the adjustments and corrections. When you have a team like that on defense, it can give you some problems. They are very athletic up front leading the country in sacks. It's going to be a big challenge on the offensive front to control those things. It's going to be a tough game on Saturday night.
On special teams they have a great returner in [Greg] Reid who is very exciting – small guy – but very exciting, fast and energetic. We have to do a great job with our flyers and our punt team of covering the field. We have to do a great job with our kick team of getting down the field. This is going to be one of our biggest challenges on special teams of trying to control Reid and the things that he does. We're excited about it but have to go into it like a road game. Whenever you play Florida State, there is going to be a lot of Florida State fans here and a lot of University of Miami fans here. We have to have the mentality of a road game in having the demeanor of what we have been doing of playing hard, starting fast, staying focus, and not looking for any support. But we are going to get support being at home. The one thing we can't fall in the trap of is that because its home and everything is going to be easy, but it's not going to be easy. We have to go into the game like it's going to be tough.
On the fair catch penalties
I'll blame that on me. We have never had that happen before. Streeter is our fifth flyer and you never go through five flyers in one game. The first one is one of those rules. It was a fair catch and the ball popped out of his hands and right into Streeter's hands. The rule says that if it's a fair catch and the only time you can recover it is if the ball hits the ground. It's just a normal reaction. The other ones you have to see the fair catch, but we worked on it in practice so now he understands it and everything else.
On what to expect from FSU
Just playing better as a defense and as an offense. They've honed in on some running plays and [they're] doing a great job on defense too. They are going to line up with these fronts and these coverages, but we have to go out and execute.
On the defense
We had some busts on defense against Clemson. We had too many including the big long run which was a huge bust. Anytime you have busts, bad things happen so like anything else we have to work to get better. We did a better job in the second half of shutting down the running game and playing hard to keep us in the game. And responding to a tough time when the offense wasn't moving the ball. We can improve on getting to the quarterback more. The more that you can create havoc on defense the better opportunities you get in field position on offense.
On defense at home
When you come home you get excited and want to make big hits instead of playing the game like you're supposed to. We have to continue to stay focused.
On not seeing Bobby Bowden on the sidelines
I don't really think about because I've known Jimbo [Fisher] for a long time through media days and head coaches meetings. You just move on from it. It's part of it.
On UM's offense
This team is kind of different. We've disappointed at times, but on the positive side the offense showed we can knock time off the clock the last eight minutes. Every time we come off the football field we are happy and excited that we won, but like anything we want to get better every week.
On Leonard Hankerson
You guys are hyping on Leonard Hankerson, but there are a lot of guys who have caught footballs on this team. Hankerson had the big plays because he had the one-on-one. Believe it or not, Richard Gordon was tripled team. Nobody expected that, I didn't expect it. They wanted to take Gordon out, leaving one-on-one for Mike James on a linebacker and we get a touchdown on it. We get Hankerson on a one–on-one and we get a touchdown. When we played Pitt, Hank was not involved; it was LaRon Byrd and Travis [Benjamin]. I continue to say it, I cannot tell you each week who is going to show up. It depends on what they are doing to us on defense. We have to take advantage of who is doing what. Each week it is going to change.
On FSU rivalry
With these types of games, each team might be 0-10 and you may get a high scoring game, it might be a last second field goal game. You can throw everything out the window when you play Florida State. It's two teams who are going to play hard and get after each other. It's also a respect factor. It's a rivalry, but we respect them and they respect us and we play that way. I can't tell you what will happen, but it's a game that you watch and there's a reason the TV networks put it on primetime. They see two teams that are fairly even and it's a state game with old time tradition.