Player press conference quotes: Sept. 10
S MARCUS GRIFFIN
On UCF running back Kevin Smith: Our main goal on defense is to stop the run and then try to force them to pass the ball. Having a good running game sets up the play-action field so we are really going to have to be sound with our defense and we’re really going to have to use our eyes.
On playing with confidence: We’ve always played with confidence, but right now I think we’re surer of ourselves. It’s just week two and we’re still searching for the identity of this defense.
On playing in the inaugural game at Bright House Networks Stadium: It’s another test for us, and I think it’s going to be a very good test for us. We just need to play good football. I know that Central Florida will be fired up hosting us in their new stadium, they’re coming off a big win at North Carolina State in week one, and they also had a bye week to prepare for us, so they should be fired up to play us.
On the UCF game: Today there is a lot of parody in college football. Coach (Duane) Akina had a good comment; he said a lot of people are matching schools up based on school history. People act like it’s going to be Texas’ history against Central Florida’s history, but it’s not about that. It is about two teams that are preparing for 2007.
On preparing for an away game: The past two weeks we’ve had the crowd with us, and this week we’re going on the road, and we’re going to be going to a hostile environment where our only crowd is only going to be on the sideline. We have to cheer for each other and become more of a team this week.
CB BRANDON FOSTER
On improvements since the first game: I think the big thing this week was that the secondary was more relaxed. We had a great week of practice; the whole team was full of energy, and I think that just carried on into Saturday.
On playing more on instinct in the second game: I definitely think so, and that just comes down to us being more relaxed. We let the plays happen instead of us trying to make the play. We kept the ball in front of us, we had a lot of energy, and a lot of pride was in that game. We had guys like (Brian) Orakpo on the sideline motivating us, and it just reminds you that this game can be easily taken away. To see (Brian Orakpo) on the sideline was just so helpful, and I really haven’t gotten a chance yet to thank him. It was great to see a guy that worked so hard in the summer, got hurt and was still there for his team. I give a lot of credit to (Brian) Orakpo because that was a big motivation for me personally, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the team felt the same way.
On the TCU win: I think it’s a great steppingstone, but we definitely have more work to do. We weren’t as satisfied as we wanted to be once we watched film, and Coach (Duane) Akina always tells us, “It’s never as good as you think, and it’s never as bad as you think.” It was definitely a great steppingstone for us, but we still have so much work to do.
On UCF’s quarterback Kyle Israel not throwing many career interceptions: I think that’s every quarterback’s goal not to throw any interceptions. But we’re going to go out there and be physical, play hard and play fast. I haven’t really gotten a chance to look at all the guys, but I looked at their roster and they have some big receivers and their quarterback seems pretty good. They’re going to be excited, they’ve got a new stadium, I’m pretty sure they’re looking forward to playing us, they beat N.C. State their first week, and they had an extra week to prepare for us. We’re definitely going to go out there with the mindset that they’re going to give us their best shot. We’re going to have a great practice tomorrow with a great energy like we had last week and we’re going to carry that into Saturday.
On preparing for an away game: Road games are definitely fun for me; it’s fun to go into unknown territory because we’ve never played in Florida. But (the preparation) isn’t that different, but we’re going to really be able to tell how our team is going to respond in a different environment besides home. I think it’s going to be a great experience for the whole team.
QB COLT McCOY
On the offensive line: I thought they did tremendous this week. TCU was blitzing probably two or three downs out of four. So they were coming after us, especially on run-downs. (TCU) was sending a lot of stuff on run-downs, and so we were trying to figure out their scheme and what they were trying to do. (TCU) did a good job of coming after us and putting pressure on us, but the offensive line hung in there and they allowed no sacks. I had to scramble some, but other than that, I though (the offensive line) did a really good job.
On connecting with WR Nate Jones for a 33-yard TD: It was just a matter of time. It took longer for us to get in rhythm than it should of. I felt like (TCU) did a good job of field position; we were backed up inside the 20 four or five times in the first half, having to come out from the 1-(yard line). There were a lot of things, and us not being able to convert on that left more pressure on our defense and kind of got them more down. So I knew it was our job in the second half to come out and score some points and get the offense rolling. So when it happened, it was a big third-down conversion and it scored a touchdown. I felt like at that point we had a grasp on (the game), we knew what they were doing to us and we pretty much rolled from then on.
On getting blitzed: I think a lot of times they blitz because our (offensive) linemen are pretty young and (our opponents) are just trying to throw a lot of stuff at them and see if they can handle it. But in the past two games, I feel like (the offensive line) has handled it, so we may see a little decrease in blitzing, but who knows. There are always different schemes against us, every team is going to do something different and we’ve just got to handle that.
On UCF: Coach (Greg) Davis told me before I got up here that Iowa State’s defensive coordinator last year is the defensive coordinator at UCF now. So I think they may be a lot like (Iowa State), and I’ll go back and watch a little film and see what they did to us last year. I think they’re tough, (coach Davis) said they’ve got a great defensive line and their secondary doesn’t make mistakes, so it’ll be a fun game.
On UCF’s secondary: We definitely have to be sharp. It’s our first road game, we need to make sure we stay focused and have a good week of practice. I’ve watched a little bit of film already, and their defensive line is big and quick and their secondary just kind of contains. They don’t give up very many big plays, they play hard, they’re fast and they’re just a good defense. We’re going to play tough people every week and this is just one more game.
On the attitude coming off the comeback against TCU: (The win) was big for us, it’s big for our attitude, but I think this team understands that we’re not where we need to be. We’re a work in progress and right now, we’re just continuing to get better, we’re continuing to make the changes that we need to make to get better and I think everybody is buying into that concept, and continuing to do that is really going to help us.
On UCF coming of a bye week: I think they’ll be fresh, they’ve had two weeks to practice for us and they’ve been focusing on us. It’s going to be a big game and I think they’ll be prepared. It’s their first game in their new stadium. So there are going to be a lot of things that are going to have them hyped up and ready, and we’re just going to have to handle that, handle the emotion and go out there and play our game.
On being in the shotgun or underneath: A lot of the stuff that we do can be run under the center or in the shotgun. I feel comfortable in both and whatever is going to help us run the football is what is going to work for this team. When we can run the ball, we can throw the ball. As far as being in the shotgun or being underneath, I think you’ll see a lot of both, and we’ll continue to do what it takes to win.
On taking a few hits in against TCU: I got hit a lot. As I watched the film, I really think we played all right in the first half. It wasn’t near as bad (as I thought). We had a tipped ball for an interception that’s just bad luck. And the ball that he picked and took the house, that’s exactly where I was supposed to go with the ball. They brought a blitz, they had brought a blitz on the series before that, and I had hit Limas (Sweed) on a hitch and that was going to be the same thing. We’ll have to change that up and fix some things, but that guy made a great play. I feel like we played okay in the first half, but we just came out in the second half and we scored quick, got the ball rolling and helped our defense out and went on from there.
On instant replay: We had no timeouts on that one play and I knew I was down, but there wasn’t anything we could do because we didn’t have any timeouts. My knee was down and I was standing back up when he stripped the ball. I felt like if they reviewed it they would overturn it and they did so that was fortunate for us.
On the offense: During the first two games, I feel like the other defenses have known that we have a lot of deep threats and have been kind of taking those away and those are big momentum-changing plays. Those are big plays that we live by so we’re going to try and work some of those in and chip away at them. During the first half, we moved the ball, we moved the ball, and then we had a few bad plays, and if we can take away those bad plays then that will help us overall.
OT TONY HILLS
On the intensity going into each game: You just have to make sure you go in and you enjoy the game. It wasn’t really hard to get up for this game. We have to do this as seniors, make sure we let the younger guys know to go out and play with passion every game because you never know when it could be your last play.
On UCF: They did a good job against N.C. State, so they’ll be ready to play. They’re opening up their stadium. They’re going to be pumped so we have to go in there and match their intensity and their emotion.
On keeping focus in Orlando: It’s just another business trip. We have to go in there and make sure we handle our business and we’re sitting where we want to be at the end of Saturday.
On what’s different about preparing for a road game: Probably the music choices. I listen to a variety of music, but I like to relax when I play away games. I might listen to a little Isley Brothers or something really smooth like that.
On the success of the running game as the game progressed: As the game went on, Jamaal got stronger. I think we just kept pushing and we got to see some big gains. You have to give credit to the defense we played, they blitzed us a lot, they made us throw the ball a lot. It’s just one of those things where you have to take what the defense gives you.
RB JAMAAL CHARLES
On being the first 100 yard rusher on TCU’s defense in a while: I didn’t know that until someone told me at home. I just felt good about it.
On how he feels getting ready for games: I feel comfortable starting. I’ve been looking forward to this and all of my hard work is paying off. I’m looking forward to this weekend. I just want to play better every week.
On what he thinks Earl Campbell and others see in him: I think that they see I have a good head on my shoulders and I stay out of trouble. I also like to work hard and be the best at whatever I like to do.
On the offensive line: Our linemen are getting better and better everyday and every game. They have a couple of guys banged up, but that’s when the new guys come in and step up. Our linemen are doing well, they open up holes and sometimes they make mistakes, but they’re young guys so some times they’ll make those. Overall, I think the line is doing real well.
On what the offense wants to work on: We want to have passion and to make sure we finish on every play.
DT FRANK OKAM
On younger guys stepping up during the TCU game: It was great. That was something I have really wanted to look at. I think Eddie Jones and Lamarr Houston did a great job of stepping up. Lamarr forcing the big fumble at a critical moment of the game. It’s great knowing that they’re going to step in, so when Orakpo does come back, we’ll have a solid rotation at defensive end.
On the road trip: I hear it’s going to be pretty humid down there. Playing them for the first game in their new stadium is definitely an honor. It’s something that we’re definitely preparing for and we want to go down there and do well.
On what’s important to accomplish after the first games: I think as a football team you want to not only practice to get better, but also to not become complacent. When you [become complacent] is when you get bitten or caught. In watching the film, there is stuff that we can still do better, including myself. I feel like as a player and as a team, getting better is a challenge that we have to take upon ourselves.
On the differences of coming off a bye week to a game: To me when you have a chance to look at an opponent for two weeks in a row then you have a week off to rest up for it, it’s probably an advantage for them. For us, we definitely want to use the momentum from last week’s game. It’s give and take on either side. It depends on how you look at it. I think both teams will try to use it to their advantage.
WR QUAN COSBY
On playing on the road: It’s a whole different atmosphere and adversity that you have to overcome. I’ve never been apart of anything that’s been able to overcome it and embrace it as well as we have here.
On dealing with opposing fans: Usually they’re there a lot earlier yelling at us, talking bad. Of course, they make comments about me being 40 or something. But it’s fun, it’s that atmosphere that you really embrace and love about the game of football.
On his advice to younger players about playing on the road: Really, not to prepare any differently, but at the same time to prepare a little differently. You have to deal with jet lag from flying to Florida, (while) continuing to be on time. If you can, not to listen to people in the stands and focus the entire time you’re there.
On UCF: They’re really good, after seeing them play against N.C. State. Week in, week out we’re playing some really good defenses. It’s going to be a challenge, but we hope to go out there and do some good things and come back with a win.
On the difference in attitude between games: I think it was something different all over. We gave our fans more to cheer about. It was a total team effort, off the field and on, of rising to the occasion and overcoming adversity opposed to just being in the situation. Everybody took it upon themselves to create energy and excitement, and it worked for us.
LB SCOTT DERRY
On his interception: It was pretty fun to end the game like that, but more importantly we were able to get the defense off the field and we were able to run the clock out.
On if a road game reveals more about the team than a home game: I think it may, especially going to a place like Florida where it’s hot and humid. I think we’ll be playing in their new stadium for the first time so that will give them something to look forward to. I definitely think that leadership will show in a game like that.
On if the team has matured: I think we have. Coming from the previous week we knew we had to grow up and right the wrongs. I think during the week we did that and we were able to put a good game plan together against TCU to come out on top.
On helping the new guys out during a road trip: A lot of the young guys haven’t been on a road trip, so they don’t know what it’s like yet. A lot of the seniors will step up and show them the way. We tell them to treat it like any other game and that it will be fun. Coming back after a win it’s even more fun on the plane. We tell them to get ready to play hard and to keep doing what you’re doing.
WR NATE JONES
On the young receivers: The young receivers are working hard. They are making sure that they staying the film room and that they’re doing everything right during practice. Brandon Collins and James Kirkendoll are really staying focused and we’re making sure that we help them out.
On what the team proved in the second half of the game: We proved that we could be a dominate offense. Scoring 34 points in the second half is tremendous and we just have to carry that on to the next game and that we stay focused.
DT DEREK LOKEY
On the defensive mindset at halftime against TCU: When you’re down like that at halftime, you want to make sure when you go out and get your first series of the second half that you get a three-and-out. We got in at halftime and said ‘You know what, we’re giving the offense the ball quickly. We’re not going to let them drive.’ That’s always the goal at halftime when you’re down is to make the other team’s offense go three-and-out on the first series, and we were able to accomplish that.