Your name has been circulating as one of those being considered for the Syracuse job. Care to comment on that?"My mother must be writing the blog. Next."
Would you be interested in them if they were interested in you?"My goal is to become a head coach at a Division I college level. If that opportunity arose, I would certainly look into it at any school that I thought had a great opportunity to win."
Would that be a school you feel you would have an opportunity to win at?"I don't know enough about University of Syracuse football. All my focus is on helping our team to get its seventh win and send our seniors out the right way."
How much more difficult is it to win without No. 3 out there?"Well, you know, you try to build your depth as you go through the whole season. We have a lot of guys who have played multiple positions during the course of a game. I thought Robby Parris stepped up real nicely on Saturday and did a nice job. We played a lot of guys at different spots in practice to build ourselves to have a chance in case somebody broke a shoelace during the game and we had to put somebody in. Unfortunately Michael (Floyd) won't be out there, but we have some other guys that are looking forward to stepping up, and I am anticipating them playing well."
How is Michael handling his injury?"You know, he has been fine. He has been doing everything the trainers ask him to do. He's in our meetings and he's attentive. I just told him that he has to take my receivers' test on Friday like he did every week, and he just looked at me like – why? Because you are. He's fine and he's into it. Everything you go through is a learning experience."
He got hurt blocking or trying to block?"He got hurt trying to block on the third play of the game. If he had blocked his man, he wouldn't have got hurt and he knows that clearly."
What is your receivers' test?"All of the positions give their players a test on Friday. The receivers' test consists of some questions they fill in about coverages and personnel and things like that. Then I give them pages of things they have to fill in; routes they have to fill in. I'll fill in some things they have to block. I fill in some things where they are blitzing and they have to tell me whether they have to sight-adjust or not; things of that nature. All positions give a test and my guys complain my tests are too long, but that's okay. That's what we do every Friday and then I go over it with them before the game. If several guys got one thing wrong, it's probably on me because I haven't explained it clearly. But if a couple guys get a couple of things that are not quite as clear and they are responsible for drawing in every receiver position - if they are an X, they have to draw an X. If they are a Z, they have to draw a Z; and the F; and everything. We have guys like (David) Grimes who will draw in the backs and the tight-ends also, just for fun."
Do you have a body to replace Floyd? Are you adding anybody to the mix?"No, we're not adding anybody who has not been with us all along."
So the workload just spreads out then?"You know, you are dealing with some guys, Duval (Kamara), Robby (Parris), and David (Grimes) who have been here. Duval is second year; Robby is third; and David is fourth and they can play multiple positions. And Golden (Tate) is growing every week."
How important is it to have David back and healthy?"I think it is a huge positive for our team because David provides great leadership. You just watch that one play in the first quarter where he caught that ball in the flat; ran 17 over. He didn't show any signs of any injuries. He just went and got it and got the first down. Those are tangible things when a guy has been nicked up. That gives you some momentum. That gives you some juice. And those are some very positive things. We are counting on David and he's excited about playing his last home game and being a member of this football team and football program. Our plan as receivers is to play our best game and send him out in the right way."
You have been able to move Golden around in different spots. How are you able to do that now?"Well, now you are going into week 11 of your second year so you have now played in your 23rd ballgame. So you hope as you grow you can do multiple things. We hope he can do that and we expect him to do things every week and he should be improving. As you improve and grow, you can handle more."
Do you talk to Golden about teams paying more attention to him now?"I really haven't talked to him about that. I'm just talking to him about what we have to do in our role in the passing game against the challenges that Syracuse presents. That's all we're talking about. When David got injured, we used the term ‘pick up the flag.' When David got injured somebody had to ‘pick up the flag' for him. Now Michael is injured and we have to ‘pick up the flag' for him. That's what we have talked about when guys have gotten hurt. As in the movie, Glory, if you have ever seen that, when they are running up the hill and they are picking up that flag. So we use that example in our room and our team is going to do the same thing this week."
Do you know if many of your players have seen that movie?"They have seen that segment because we watched it as a group."
How has Robby handled his role, especially with a freshman coming in and him moving down on the depth chart?"I'm really proud of Robby. Robby was having a very good training camp until he got nicked up. He has done everything we have asked him to do and here you are as you go into a game like Saturday, he has no commitment from our staff as to how many plays he will play. And from the third play of the game, he was playing just about every snap and he did a very nice job. I'm really proud of him. He's been very positive in our room. He works his butt off in practice every day."
In a situation like that, do you have to tend to him throughout the year because he is not getting any time or do you just assume that he is going to stick with it?"I think with all of your players, no matter what position you coach, your job as a coach is to know which ones need - just like a plant - which ones need watering and what not. You have to make sure you are staying with your players. Some guys have some things when maybe they didn't practice as well or play as well. Some guys might not be playing as much as they want. But in our room, I have seen a very unselfish attitude towards being a pretty good group. We threw the ball 19 times last week and we blocked very well, I thought, for the most part in the game. There have been games where we have thrown it 40 times or more, so we didn't worry about if we were throwing it or not throwing it. We were just worrying about trying to win the game. I think the receiver group as a whole has demonstrated an unselfishness, at least to me. You want guys in your room who want to play every snap, because if a guy is not trying hard to play every snap, he's not the competitive person you want to try to get where you want to go with the program. You also want guys who accept their role and understand that and I think we have guys to do that also."
Does Robby's size help mitigate losing Michael?"I think Robby's size is an advantage for him. It helps him. Robby has very good hands and is a good route-runner so I think his size obviously helps him and helps his game and helps him in what he does as a receiver."
He brings an ample amount of personality to the position. Does he not?"He does. He does have an unique personality. I have a lot of unique personalities in my room. It's not short on personalities; that's for sure. I might be the most boring personality in my room. That's good and that's fun. I don't discourage the personalities. I just let them know when it's time to go to work. The receivers' meeting room is my classroom. So when they come in there, it's like now we have to go to work. We have to concentrate on the pass game, the running game, the video, and we have to clean up yesterday's practice and go through video on them, which is important. So there's a certain amount of seriousness that has to go on in that room. I've been known to have a bit of sense of humor myself, so I think we've found a good balance."
You are seeing more coverage 2 now. How do you adjust to that?"We have to be assignment-sound first of all. And secondly we have to be route-technique-sound. If you are supposed to run a route at 12 yards or 14 yards, you can't fudge on that because you push the coverage to a depth or get behind people. So I think what we have learned through our experiences here is that fundamental part of the game, which is, you are supposed to do your job and you are supposed to be at a certain depth, and what is that? Let's go ahead and take care of that."