Oct. 27, 2009
10/27 Mark Snyder Press Conference
Opening Statement: Well, it was a good team win last week. Obviously there are some areas we can get better in, but I thought it was a solid team win. Moving on to UCF, it is a game on a national stage and it gives us a chance to go against a very good UCF football team. Coach O'Leary has done a great job. They are tough, well coached, and they don't beat themselves. They are very sound in the special teams. They have a big tailback and have some weapons out wide. Charlie Taaffe (offensive coordinator) has done a good job adding a couple elements that they haven't had in years past and it has opened up the offense. We have our work cut out for us, but I think our guys are excited and ready for the challenge. It should be a really good football game.
On the UCF front lines: This game is about both fronts. We said that way back when. With the teams that win, it starts up front. These are two pretty good fronts on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. The key is, who is going to win the line of scrimmage battle, and who is going to hold onto the ball. That's what this game is going to come down to.
On the youth of the UCF secondary: It is hard to exploit that because their front seven is so good. They do have some youth back there, but they are holding on because of their front seven.
On David Williams, DE: It would be like talking about Albert McClellan and not talking about Vinny Curry. There are a bunch of them up there, but he is definitely a really good player. You can just keep on going, there are about four of them. They bring in guys on third down and that come off the edge. They just create tremendous pass rush.
On the UCF home field advantage Sunday: It is going to be packed. We know that. It is tough to watch the end zone film there (because of the movement of the stadium). I likened it to Penn State and the crowd gets into it, you try to watch the end zone film and the whole thing is shaking. It is hard to watch the film. But this will be a fun environment. We have been in some hostile environments, but I really think our guys are ready to play.
Elaborating on the teams readiness to go play: It is just a different feeling. As good as the teams are that we are playing, our guys are ready to go play and let the best man win. That is where we are right now.
On getting at sixth win: I am sure it is in the back of their minds, everybody is human. But this is the most important game because it is the next game. I have said all along, I have been a part of a championship run where we wake up one day and we realize we are undefeated. It is a process where you just move on to the next week. You never look forward and you never look back. You live in the moment, then all of a sudden you wake up one morning and you are champions. That is what we are trying to do right now; live one day at a time, one practice at a time, and one game at a time. I think the kids have bought into that.
On winning on the road: These guys are to the point where they are listening, but it is just a confidence thing that good teams have. I have quit talking about it because I don't need to any more. I have brought up, "Hey, we have proven we can win on the road, it doesn't matter where we go, we can play well, we can win," all those kinds of things. There is no sense in bringing it up anymore because it is not an issue anymore with this group.
On the amount of MU players from Florida: We have 21 players from Florida, and don't forget about those Georgia boys. We have some Alabama boys, and a South Carolina guy or two. I was just asked about that at the Quarterback Club. All the heat isn't going to affect us. There are not many guys on our team from up north. I don't think it will bother most of our guys. Their head coach is a tropical guy, and I am looking forward to this.
On the players requesting tickets: They have been saving up for this game all year. The bartering that goes on during the season is comical, but for our Florida kids this Sunday is big.
Question: Do the players have revenge on their minds from losing to UCF in the past couple of years? That is a tough question to answer. I can't answer for our guys. I will get a better feel throughout the week. We gave them yesterday off. You guys (the media) have been with them more than we have.
On what UCF has done better in the past couple of weeks: They quit turning the football over. That's what hurt them in the beginning of the season. They made a change at quarterback. But they have been holding onto the ball for the most part.
On UCF's Quarterback Brett Hodges: He is managing their offense well. He doesn't make many mistakes.
On special teams: It is going to be huge. We can talk about the base fundamentals of football and they are going to be factors Sunday night. Kase Whitehead is going to be important. Craig Rantanamorn is going to be very important. The kickoff return team is important, the kickoff team, the punt team, the punt return team, they are all going to be important because points will be at a premium. Just like at West Virginia, points were at a premium. You have to come away with points every time you have the opportunity.
On what Charlie Taaffe has done with the UCF offense: He has added a little bit of option, which is his background. He has added the quarterback sweep that they are running now. They are taking more shots down the field. Those are the three things I can think of off the top of my head. It is a little bit different than what we saw last year. They are still going to pound the ball on the ground. They have a big back and a good offensive line. They are still UCF and George O'Leary will keep it that way. But they have indeed added a couple of new elements to their offense.
On protecting Brian Anderson: It is going to be crucial. It starts up front. We have to protect our quarterback and protect the football. We had some success rushing the football on them last year, but they are a year older, and so are we. So it should be interesting.
On UCF's defensive success against Miami: They got after Miami. That was the film that made me go "Wow." Unfortunately, that was the first film I turned on. I called my wife and said, "Oh boy, these guys are good."
On the national exposure of this game being on ESPN Sunday night at 8:15 p.m.: It is huge. I talked about this a few minutes ago. You talk about guys like Darius Marshall and Cody Slate who are on national award watch lists. We live in the little world of Huntington and Charleston, but nationally these guys are bringing a lot of prominence to our program. That helps you in recruiting, along with the national television. It used to be the Nike swoosh in recruiting. Now it is, "What can you do for me? Are there awards there? Can you get me to the NFL?" National television definitely helps, but these guys are bringing national exposure to this program. I don't know if you guys know that or not, but I get it every day. We are getting talked about across the country. That is something money can't buy. Plus they are good players and we are going to continue to give them the ball.
On the MU-UCF game being the only football game on Sunday night, because of the World Series: It is going to have a good rating. ESPN should be happy with the ratings for this one. We should have a good turn out down there too because of our alumni base in Florida. So we will have a nice showing in the stadium.
On how preparation changes for a Sunday night game: We get an extra day this week. I will cut down practice a little bit today, not a lot though. It is still early in the week, and you wonder what you are going to cut out, but we will cut it about 10 minutes short today. We will have two practices on Thursday, which is a rehearsal day for us. We won't turn the music up in the first Thursday practice. We will do some teaching. In the second practice we will crank up the music and get prepared for the wild crowd we will have on Sunday.
On travel schedule: Wheels up at one on Saturday. We will go to the stadium and do our thing there, a little special teams practice. Then go to dinner and chapel. Then we will put them to bed because we have a whole day on Sunday. 8:15 p.m. is a long time to wait, especially with the time change, so it really like 9:15 p.m. It is going to be a long day.