Even though it is a holiday, the Big East held its weekly football teleconference. Each of the eight coaches made a brief statement and took questions about last week's games and their upcoming matchups. Here are some shorthand notes from each of the eight coaches. I apologize if they're a bit choppy as I tried to type them as the coaches were talking. I will add a link to the transcript when it is made available by the Big East.
Greg Schiano - Glad to win the game and play a lot of people. Big step up in competition. One of the more talented teams in the country. Offensive line played "ok". Still a lot of room for improvement. Had some protection breakdowns. Thought they ran the ball "ok". Need a big improvement. Defensive front is as good as there is. Reminds him of the defensive personnel at Miami in 1999-2000. From a talent standpoint, one of the most talented teams in America. Still uncertain on the running back rotation. Great for the league to start 8-0 but conclusions about the strength of the league can't be drawn yet. Schiano says Butch Davis is a mentor of his that he'd trust his sons to play for. Says Huggins is a special talent. Was a huge recruiting win for the program.
Charlie Strong - Great to get a win, felt like the game was a tale of two halves. Disappointed the team allowed over 100 yards rushing. FIU is a talented team, returning 16 starters. Asked about TY Hilton, Strong said he's an outstanding football player. Must find a way to corral him and tackle him. Asked about young cornerbacks, said Andrew Johnson and Anthony Conner played pretty well. Asked about Will Stein, his performance and health, said he played well and just needs to manage the game. Said he is not afraid to take chances. Stein sprained his ankle but should be able to play without any effect come Friday night. Teddy Bridgewater will play in Friday night's game as well. Dunn, Butler, and Benavides will not play. Scruggs played some against FIU and will play this week.
Todd Graham - About what he expected in week one. Happy few penalties and avoided penalties. Loved the atmosphere around the game. Asked about the Big East going undefeated, said he was impressed with what he saw. Very happy for Lou Holtz. Also watched West Virginia and was impressed. Often the offense didn't resemble what they wanted to do, but, was encouraged that the offense improved in the second half. Says nervous energy kept the offense from hitting four touchdown passes. Must improve the mistakes in the kicking game. Sunseri was just a little too keyed up for the game but will be fine. Relieved about the snaps from center in a new offense. Fundamentally, the tackles did not play well but the issues can be corrected. Asked about playing an FCS program, Graham said every week is a challenge, regardless of the level of competition. Says FCS opponents come in knowing they have a chance to make their season if they beat you. "If you're not humble in how you prepare, you'll get humbled."
Dana Holgorsen - Disappointed didn't convert on a 4th and short. No turnovers. Special teams he felt was solid except for the punt return. Atmosphere was loud and rambunctious. Said he watched all eight teams in the conference play. Asked about Buie, said he took a good shot that "welcomed him to college football". Asked about the offensive line. Said they played "just ok". Not bad, just ok. Said Marshall played with a lot of energy. Said Marshall did some things schematically that they didn't see coming. Andrew Buie will be back, the timeframe for that is unknown. He will be evaluated day to day. Said scoring on five of eight possessions is pretty good. Said the offense didn't do a good jon taking what the defense was giving him. Didn't throw the ball over the top of the defense because the defense was getting very deep and wouldn't allow it. Smith's decisions to tuck and run were the right decision.
Paul Pasqualoni - Said there were a lot of positives coming out of the game. Said the team must play a smart game to go win at Vanderbilt. Said South Florida was very impressive in its win. Was happy with the way the defense played. Said the defensive line was expected to dominate and they did what they were supposed to do. Optimistic that DJ Shoemate will be ready to play on Saturday. Asked about the quarterback rotation, he said they will continue with the rotation until "its clear who the quarterback should be."
Doug Marrone - Happy to win the opener in back to back years and to end the recent struggles against ACC teams. Felt that while they did give up some big plays, he was really happy with the red zone defense. Said the issues with the secondary are more about communication than anything else. Said the secondary played a lot of different and new players and some missed communication is bound to happen. Said he was disappointed that the offense didn't start a lot hotter.
Skip Holtz - Was a weekend of highs and lows. From the high of winning the big game to the low of the death of Lee Roy Selmon. Said Selmon was the one beating people's doors down to rally to the support of South Florida football. Thought the Notre Dame administration did a fine job managing the weather delay. Said the league being 8-0 speaks volumes of the parity and coaching in the league. Said Selmon sold him on a vision of Tampa as competitive with the other big football teams in the state of Florida. Said the next step in the progression of the program is to start competing for Big East titles. Said the best conference record the Bulls have had is 4-3 and must improve. He felt the team didn't play particularly well in some facets and still have a lot of room for improvement. Holtz said the first time they found out the game was back on was when someone told them "Hey, Notre Dame is already back out there." Said he was happy with the maturity and development of BJ Daniels in this game as compared to a year ago at the Florida game. Said Daniels not only avoided throwing an interception, he didn't put the ball in danger.
Butch Jones - Said the level of competition increases greatly this week as the team prepares to travel to Tennessee. Said he was concerned with the tackling on defense and overall fundamentals. Jones said that he liked the way the team "conducted its business". Said this game will be a better judge of the team and where they need to improve. Said the team practices with "controlled chaos" and does use some artificial crowd noise in practice. Said the team will also rely on upperclassmen that have played in some big games in big venues.