Nov. 11, 2017
Final Stats |
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Skip Holtz
Q. I look over these stats as you do, and if I covered up the score, you sat there and dominated, you look at the total yards and you look at the number of 1st downs, and it's one of those things, it's just hard to figure out today.
Skip Holtz: Yeah, we came in at halftime and had 24 more plays than them, and I thought this had the makings to be a really competitive football game, but some things happened in the first half that got us down a little bit. We gave up two big plays in man coverage, double pass on one of them. After the first half I think the game had all the makings to be a competitive game, but again, in the second half we just -- we moved the ball well, but again, we sputtered at times and were just very limited in what we were able to get done. It's hard without a running game, and that's what we've got to look at hard with what we're doing and giving our players a chance, but our players have got to take some responsibility on what we've got to do to get better in the running game, as well.
Q. You look at it all season, and today it just wasn't there. You had a coverage -- 100-yard touchdown run, you had two punts just really uncharacteristic of this special teams good play.
Skip Holtz: They've really played solid on special teams this season. He's a safety, and that's why you have safeties on the kickoff team. I hate it because our special teams has played really well, and then the punts just really, you're in the third quarter, and it just takes the wind out of your sails when you have a five-yard punt or whatever it was that we had there in the third quarter. It just takes some of the wind out of your sails. But, I was proud of the players. I was proud of the way that they continued to compete. I don't think there was any quit in them or give-up. We had two frustrating and uncharacteristic personal foul penalties on two wide receivers, which can't happen, which puts you in backed-up situations. But, I thought some players really competed tonight. Unfortunately, as a team we weren't able to get it done. There were some good things out there on the field, but when you look at the big plays we gave up and the lack of success in the red zone, it made it a long night.
Q. And then you've got your back against the wall, you talked about it all last week, about bowl eligibility where you've got to win two games.
Skip Holtz: Yeah, one game at a time. We've got to find a way with UTEP coming up this week. Coming out of this game, it hurts. I mean, yeah, you're trying to fight and everybody is trying to fight to get to six wins. To get there, we're going to have to win the next two. This was a long game. This was a physical game. I think Coach Kiffin has done a really nice job there. They made the big plays today, and we tried to load the box, stop the running game a little bit and lost our eyes in man. But we've got to get better at some of those things, and then we've just got to find a way to go win one game right now. When you're 4-6 right now, you can't start looking, we can't play two games this week. We've just got to find a way to play one, and we've got to find a way to kind of pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and get ready to go again. But with the character and leadership we have in that locker room right now, these players, they'll bounce back, and they want to compete. We've got to find a way to go win the game.
Louisiana Tech Quarterback J’Mar Smith
Q. J'Mar, just talk about especially the first half, just you guys not being able to punch the ball in while you guys were in the red zone?
J'Mar Smith: In order to win this game, you've got to score points. For us we got down there four times, I think, got 12 points, and we had a missed field goal. But we can't rely on anybody else as an offense. We've got to put the ball in the end zone in any way possible. Like I said last week, we've got to put the ball in the end zone. We can't allow three points to be enough. We've got to go down there and have the mindset to get six points.
Q. How difficult is it to get that close and then have to come off the field and give it to the special teams?
J'Mar Smith: It hurts. You work so hard to get down there, you fight, 1st, 2nd, 3rd down, you fight just to get the extra down. You don't want to get off the field. When we get down there, we have to have the mindset to put the ball in the end zone, and when we don't, it hurts the offense. But we know that we have another drive coming up, so we've got to erase that bad thought, get back on the field, and try to put us back on the board.
Q. The plays that kind of take about two seconds to develop, the pump fake, what are you seeing out there on the field that there might not just be something there?
J'Mar Smith: Just trying to move the safeties with my eyes, just trying to create lanes, trying to find holes for our receivers, and just get the ball to our receivers in the proper spots.
Q. What about having those three guys out there for what seems like may have been since the Mississippi State game that you've had Teddy out there, that you had Rhashid out there and you had Adrian out there all together? You were looking different directions, and I think it really helped the passing game tonight. Just talk about that.
J'Mar Smith: It feels good just having all our receivers, all our guys honestly as an offense and as a team. I know for me just trying to give our guys a chance just to catch the ball, it helps me and it helps the offense as a confidence level once we move the ball. It feels good just to throw the ball, see them complete and make plays for all our receivers.
Q. You guys have to win out to become bowl eligible. Is it kind of surprising that this team is at that point of the season?
J'Mar Smith: Yeah. You know, we've had a standard of making -- always making it at least to the Conference Championship, and we had a rough spot. Life brings different challenges, and we have a challenge right now. We've hit adversity, it's just how we're going to respond to it and if we're tough enough to just come together and just win these next two games.
Q. For you guys to not be in the Conference Championship picture at this point in the season, does that hurt you guys a little bit?
J'Mar Smith: Yeah, it does. It hurts me because the seniors, just want to put them out on a good note. We all had the mindset just to get to the Conference Championship, and right now we're in a tough spot, but we know we still have an opportunity to make the season great, so we just keep fighting and keep building the brotherhood and just stay together.
Q. Late in the game, especially on that last scoring drive for you guys (indiscernible) 13-play drive to score, how do you build that confidence from that drive and take it into next week?
J'Mar Smith: Just go out there and have fun, just don't be so tight. You be tight, you start thinking too much. I know I had that problem earlier in the season, but just had a talk about the coaches, just go out there, play loose, play fast, just have fun. Just go out there and do your job and do what you know how to do.
Q. You had a career high tonight. I think you rolled up over 400 yards of total offense. So you had that positive, but yet you guys still unfortunately lose the game. How do you feel about the type of game that you had tonight? Is it good? Does it feel bad?
J'Mar Smith: No, it's bad. The numbers don't mean anything. Only thing that matters to me is the win, and we lost, so I still feel bad. The numbers are great and everything. I did my best just to put our team in the best situation to win, but we came out with a loss. I still have things to fix, and I know I've got to come in the film room and just watch my corrections and just try to get everything corrected.
Louisiana Tech Defensive End Deldrick Canty
Q. What's the confidence level of the team?
Deldrick Canty: The confidence level of the team is the highest because we work hard every day. We go to practice with a great mindset, a good game plan, and we just -- we really ball. We really put our all into this game. Win or lose, we're still together. We're a family. That's what really brings us together is the family atmosphere. That's the confidence level. We want to have our brother's back. Everybody is our brother's keepers. Everybody wants to be part of the family. That's how we keep our confidence level up.
Q. When you play against an offense that plays that quick of a tempo and gets back to your sets, how difficult is that as a defense, and did that play a role in tonight's game?
Deldrick Canty: It started off from the first day of practice from the start of the week. We knew what was coming in. We knew how the game was going to be. We knew how FAU was going to run the ball and pass the ball. We knew what tempo they were going to have, so we practiced mentally and physically the whole week, and we had the mindset of moving fast and faster getting the play called, and we're just communicating, and that was pretty much it to get ready for the high-tempo team, FAU.
Q. How do you stay positive right now? I know a bunch of tough losses, and you probably try to look past that and stay positive and then this happens today. How do you keep your heads up going into the last two weeks of the year?
Deldrick Canty: Back to the family part, we love each other too much just to quit on each other, so to keep it going, not even worry about the losses. We put the losses behind us every Sunday. We still go in there and watch the film and see our mistakes and get better and better, but this team can't break apart over no loss. Wins or losses, we never break apart. We're always building a brotherhood since day one of camp, and we built a brotherhood and stand together, and that was the mindset. Don't never let a team break us apart.
Florida Atlantic Head Coach Lane Kiffin
Q. What does it mean for the players and the coaching staff to be able to get six consecutive wins, a school record?
LANE KIFFIN: Well, I didn't know that, but I also didn't know there was 17 years without a kickoff return, either, until the last interview. You know, it's really enjoyable to watch these kids because they've worked really hard, not just when I got here, they worked hard before. The last coaching staff left us some really good players and some great work ethic. I'm just excited, as I said, we've been to a lot of bowl games and coaches, all that stuff. I'm just excited they're getting to do these things, and they're getting national recognition for their work.
Q. It seemed like two touchdowns in the first half were -- you were using the aggressiveness of the Tech defense against them with the little flea flicker play and also the fake screen for the touchdown. Was that something you saw coming into the game or a byproduct of what they were doing that you saw in the first half?
LANE KIFFIN: That was really -- I just felt that even if we missed them, we had to do that because everyone is just playing us down like this because of our run game. And these guys did exactly what we thought. They played man on us every snap in the first half with an extra guy in the box, so felt that if we took these and hit them -- but even if you miss them at least then they've got to back up a little bit and you can run the ball a little better later, which is what we did.
Q. Usually you're dependent on Singletary, but I thought Driskel really did a good job, especially on those two touchdown passes, but not only that, there were some other good balls he threw. Could you talk about his play tonight?
LANE KIFFIN: Yeah, he was 14 of 17. Really Kalib should have caught that one to make it 15-of-17 for a lot of yards. We need that because it's not about one game. You've got to look at your program as a whole; if you're going to be a championship program, you've got to get rid of your flaws as you go because they're going to come up. We're going to keep playing good teams and better teams, and if you go to Conference Championship and bowl game and those things, they're going to get better, so you need to get rid of those, so today was really good to be able to do that, get rid of the passing issue that we've had lately.
Q. Al-Shaair on the defensive side, two solos, another four assists. A sack, a tackle for a loss, pass breakup. Talk about the job he did and really just the defense as a whole?
LANE KIFFIN: Yeah, so he had 14 tackles, like I said, in three quarters. He really didn't play the fourth quarter. Tremendous player. We played our worst game of the year at Buffalo, which is the last time we played them we lost, and he did not play in the game, so I think that shows you his impact.
Q. Kerrith Whyte, the first kickoff return in school history. Could you just talk about that?
LANE KIFFIN: Yeah, it really was a great play by him. We didn't block a guy and the guy was right there, so that's not coaching, that's recruiting.