Sept. 21, 2010
"Devonte Campbell is healthy, will be back this weekend. Justin Gilbert has an ACL tear and is out for the season. Daren Drakeford had an MRI on his shoulder and will be out for this weekend's game. Everybody else should be able to play [this weekend].
"As for FIU, they are 0-2 and probably should be 2-0. They were leading Rutgers going into the fourth quarter, and lost 14-19. Against Texas A&M, they were leading 20-6 going into the fourth quarter. They tied it with four minutes left in the game, pulled it out to 27-20. FIU ended the game on the three-yard line. They had a heck of a game against Texas A&M.
"Florida International has a very good defense. It is a defense which has great speed, which concerns me. They have a lot of pressure under their defense. Their defense is ranked 28th overall in the country, ranked 23rd in turnovers, ninth in tackles for loss, ranked 12th in the nation for sacks, sixth for pass efficiency and ninth in pass interceptions with five. They have faced two very strong teams and are ranked very high nationally.
"Some of their outstanding players they have on their defense are Aaron Davis. He's a very, very fast edge rusher - 6-foot-1, 245 pounds. Their linebacker, Anthony Gaitor, is a nickel kind of guy. Gaitor plays Sam linebacker and really plays out of the box with two interceptions under his belt. Gaitor is also extremely quick...he's a very, very good football player and he seems to always be around the football during the game. FIU's free safety - Jonathan Cyprien, 6-foot, 205 pounds - is really a hitter, very athletic and plays with great intensity. These are the defensive players that jump off the screen at you.
"Offensively, T.Y. Hilton is their wide receiver with great athletic ability, has great speed and is a very good punt and kick-off returner. He has nine catches with 10.7 per catch average. Their quarterback, Wesley Carroll, is averaging 141 yards per game and a 47 percent completion percentage. Wayne Younger has also played at quarterback. Their running back is Jeremiah Harden. He is 5-foot-9, 200 lbs, and is averaging 75 yards per game, a 4.0 average per rush. Harden and Hilton are great players. We need to be leery of these players."
"On special teams, Griffin is 2-for-3 in field goals - his best is over 40 yards. The punter for FIU is Josh Brisk. He has an average of 38.9 yards per kick. Their kickoff guy is Dylan Lynch. He has a 61-yard average. Hilton, on punt returns, is posting 11.5 yard per return.
On the importance of this weekend's game:
"This is a very, very important game on our schedule. It is very important for us to re-establish our momentum and really focus on whatever we need to do to win this football game."
On changes on the offensive line:
"What we will do is move R.J. Dill over to left tackle, promote Pete DeSouza to right tackle, and move (Max) Garcia over to second-team left tackle. That way we will have the ability to have (Paul) Pinegar at right tackle also."
On the significance of the loss of Justin Gilbert:
"Justin was playing very well for us. We have been very pleased with him and how he has been playing. By nature, there is concern losing an offensive lineman and moving in a redshirt freshmen.
"(Pete) Desouza has played and has played well. We have situations to place him in. Yesterday, we practiced these situations. We are going to have to make do with the best of our abilities.
"It is an opportunity in which we have great hope for (Max) Garcia. We think he is very athletic and simply a young kid. We know we can bring him along and hopefully he will mature and fit into the role we need him to fit in to."
On the quarterbacks:
"Both of them are nicked up. Both are anticipated to play. The best thing we can do for (Danny) O'Brien is rest him. He told me yesterday he was better than he was last Monday. We didn't know if that was going to be the case after Saturday. I take that as a positive. How long is it going to take for him to be 100 percent? I don't know that. It's a high-ankle sprain and they tell me that he could be ready to play but they don't know that yet. So we'll have to see. Hopefully he's better today than he was yesterday and we'll just progress as the week goes on."
On the West Virginia game:
"I don't think we played the way we're capable of playing, for whatever reason. That's my responsibility. I still have a lot of belief in this team. I would like for us to be able to push through in a game like that. I think that would tremendously help us. I don't know what else to do but to try and keep preparing them for those moments. We're going to have them coming up in the future. Hopefully we can take our experiences from this game and help us in future games, in loud places to play with big games on the line. The more you win the bigger those games get. That's why I think (the FIU) game is an important game for us. We have to re-establish ourselves, re-establish our confidence and get our momentum going in the direction we want it to go right now. I talked to our team and said `our goal is to win the next game.' You can't do anything about West Virginia. That's done. Let's focus on Florida International and if there's ever a time we have to pull together it's right now. I was very pleased the way we practiced last night. It was enthusiastic; I thought there was a renewed sense of energy and an attention to detail, really trying to get things done right. So we'll see how we do today."
Sophomore Defensive Lineman A.J. Francis
On FIU's play against Texas A&M last weekend:
"The week before that they did it to Rutgers. They are definitely a capable team of beating anybody on any given Saturday. I'm really looking forward to going out there and getting this loss out of the back of our heads."
On the teams attitude after the loss to West Virginia:
"We are pulling together; we realize that we didn't play to the best of our capabilities in the first half. We played a lot better in the second half but it was too late. We already destroyed our chances of winning that game by our play in the first half. We know that we have to come out and play the whole game like we did in the first two games of the season."
On what he saw happen in the first-half performance against West Virginia:
"It was just mental breakdowns. We were in a big game, the first big game of the year and guys were over-thinking what they had to do and it got to us a couple of times. Like Coach (Don) Brown said you take Noel Devine's 50-yard run out of the equation and he has 26 carries for 97 yards. Which for a running back like Noel Devine that's a good day holding him under 100 yards on 26 carries. We really just struggled early on with the mental part of the game."
On the similarities between FIU's and West Virginia's offenses:
"They run the same type of spread offense that West Virginia runs. Their offensive linemen seem to run it more lateral than West Virginia's linemen did. West Virginia had a lot of power. Florida International is really predicated on beating every man and cutting them off and creating gaps for the running back to cut up."
On Florida Internationals play so far:
"They have played two games so far and hung in there with some pretty good teams, Rutgers and Texas A&M. We watched some film on them yesterday and they are definitely better than people think.
On trying to regain some momentum that may have been lost in the West Virginia game:
"One of our team's goals is to win the next game, that's one thing that (Friedgen) talked about after the West Virginia game. After we watched the film it's just on to FIU and try to get back on track."
On the FIU offense:
"They have a lot of good skill players. T.Y. Hilton is extremely talented. The quarterback is pretty good and he can move a little bit too. They definitely have a lot of offensive threats for us to watch out for."
On the similarities between FIU's offense and West Virginia's:
"FIU will throw the ball a little more with there quarterback, just straight drop backs. But other than that they are pretty similar, they spread you out. Their offensive line has pretty big splits and they try to get the ball to their athletes just like West Virginia did."
On areas the defense can improve:
"One of the biggest things is tackling. We had a lot of missed tackles in the West Virginia game. That's going to be a big focus for us this week in practice so we can minimize the long runs."
On Florida International and their play so far this season:
"Not only this year but the last time we went down there was my freshmen year and they played us tough then. They have a team full of great athletes and they are fast, strong and physical so we need to come to play."
On the possibility of overlooking Florida International with ACC season starting soon:
"You can't overlook any opponent especially this team because if you do they will beat you and they will beat you bad."
On Maryland's current two quarterback situation:
"I kind of like it. Jamarr (Robinson) is two-dimensional and a good quarterback and also Danny (O'Brien) he's a young guy but he brings a lot to the table as well. They will both most likely play this Saturday and I'm excited for a good game."
On getting the running game started:
"We definitely want to get it started as well as the passing game but it goes hand-in-hand. We just have to have a good week of practice and prepare."
On the quarterback injury situation:
"They are banged up but its football. There aren't too many people who are 100 percent on Saturday. I feel like Jamarr is a tough guy and he will be able to grind it out and if not Danny's ankle will be able to hold up.
On FIU's play so far this season:
"They should have won both games. It's all about finishing. It's going to be a tough challenge for us and their record doesn't show you where they are as a team."
On Justin Gilbert's Injury:
"Gilbert is a tough loss for us, I'd say he is one of our better offensive lineman and he was starting to grow and mature the last few games. He has gotten better and better. Personally I'm going to miss him. I always used to joke with him in the huddle and our lockers are right across from each other so we talk every day. It's a blow for us but it's also an opportunity for Pete DeSouza to step up and show what he's worth. He's done a great job since camp getting better and better and he did a great job holding his own against West Virginia against their defensive line."
On FIU's defense:
"They are aggressive, have a downhill mentality, and tough. They always get to the ball and are a physical team. Their size may fool you a little bit they definitely play bigger than there numbers might show."
On Jamarr Robinson's growth and development as a quarterback and leader:
"I think he's developed quite a bit. Seeing his leadership skills and just seeing him take control of the games. He's developed into a great quarterback."
On the team's running game:
"I don't think anything is really missing. Coach (James) Franklin is just trying to establish the passing game. The line is more experienced now and protects a little bit better now. We just have to try to fix that and see how it goes."
On Pete DeSouza starting and if he is ready to handle the added pressure of starting:
"I feel comfortable. I've talked to him the past couple of days and he's trying to keep his head in it and get the game-plan down right. I told him to come to me if he needs any help with anything."
On what Justin Gilbert brought to the team:
"He was doing everything for us. He can protect and he can get out and block for us, he was a dull threat for us. He was helping us out wherever the game-plan was for the blocking scheme."
On FIU and what type of team they are:
"We definitely have to respect them, they are a great team. We watched them on film; they fly around to the ball and have some great athletes on the team. We just have to try to account for them and just trust the coaches and the plays that they call."