JONESBORO (11/11/09) - Arkansas State held its weekly football press conference with head coach Steve Roberts Wednesday at the ASU Football Facility. Arkansas State continues Sun Belt Conference play this week, traveling to Boca Raton to face Florida Atlantic on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. (CT).
ASU, which plays three of its remaining four regular-season games away from ASU Stadium, starts a two-game road swing this weekend at Florida Atlantic. ASU has dropped its last two games, including a 21-18 setback last Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves two victories this season have been by a double-figure margin, while its last five losses have all come by eight points or less. Florida Atlantic has also dropped its last two games, most recently falling 56-29 at UAB. The Owls two victories this season both came against Sun Belt opponents, defeating Louisiana-Lafayette 51-29 and North Texas 44-40.
NOVEMBER 11, 2009
ARKANSAS STATE FOOTBALL WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE
HEAD COACH STEVE ROBERTS QUOTES
ON THE FAU GAME
It will obviously be a big challenge this week heading down to Florida to play FAU, a tremendous offensive football team—one of the top teams in the country and atop the league charts offensively.
ON FAU QUARTERBACK JEFF VAN CAMP
I am very impressed with the way their quarterback, Van Camp, came in and played last week against UAB. I’ve said several times to our team and individuals this week, if you turn on that film and you don’t know that Rusty Smith is not playing—it’s very, very difficult to tell. Van Camp is big, 6-5, and he’s been in that system now for four years. You can certainly see why they were so excited about him throughout the last couple of years when they talked about their back-up quarterback and the promise that he has. He played an outstanding game last week—threw the football extremely well, appears to have done a lot of checks and audibles at the line of scrimmage, got them out of some plays and into some good plays.
ON THE FAU TIGHT ENDS
He (Van Camp) has a lot of weapons around him, especially at the tight end position. They have big tight ends that are really more wide receivers, big wide receivers, than they are tight ends. They line them up as much as wide outs as they do in the tight end positions and try to create some mismatch problems on linebackers. They have great size and great play-making ability.
ON FAU RUNNING BACK ALFRED MORRIS
Alfred Morris is having a tremendous year as their tailback. He is running the football extremely effectively and he’s very, very physical. He’s a guy who has moved from fullback to tailback and has really done a good job in their offense.
ON THE FAU OFFENSIVE LINE
You look up front and they have four seniors and a junior starting on the offensive line. Those guys have played together for a long time and certainly are playing well offensively.
ON THE FAU DEFENSE
Defensively, sort of hit and miss with them as they’ve had some very good games. You look at the Middle Tennessee game in particular, where they played outstanding defensively and really kept Middle Tennessee in check. They (MTSU) had to block two punts for them to win the game 27-20, but FAU played really well defensively in that ballgame. They played well defensively against Louisiana-Lafayette down in Lafayette. Then, last week, obviously didn’t play well—so they’ve been inconsistent. I know they’re fairly inexperienced on the defensive side of the football, and sometimes with that comes some of the inconsistency they’ve experienced.
ON THE FAU SPECIAL TEAMS
Special teams wise, they are very good in their return games. They come after you and try to block a lot of punts and kicks.
ON EVALUATION OF ASU FOOTBALL TEAM
We’ve talked a lot this week just about the evaluation process, the challenges and the passion that we have to play with in order to be successful. We’ve certainly had our share of disappointments, challenges and adversity throughout the year, and it boils down to we have to play better and harder with more passion in order to have an opportunity to experience what we want—and that’s winning games. I am very proud of this team. They’re a great group of young men to coach, but we’ve got to find a way to get that extra play or two in order to have an opportunity to experience winning. So that’s what our goal is this week—lining up that first play and playing that first play with everything you have emotionally, physically and mentally, and then lining up and doing it again and looking up and seeing the results at the end of the game. So this game is going to be a big time challenge for us, but it’s something we’re certainly looking forward too.
IF IT IS DIFFICULT TO PREPARE FOR VAN CAMP DUE TO HIS LIMITED PLAYING TIME
In a lot of situations you would think so, but in this situation that’s not true at all. They run the same offense and they operate it sort of like clones. As I said earlier, you really can’t tell a difference in their production and what they’re trying to do at the quarterback position as far as what they ask him (Van Camp) to do from a check and adjustments stand point. So we’re preparing for FAU and what they do offensively because that’s what they’re going to do with or without Rusty Smith.
ON THE FAU OFFENSE
They do run some spread stuff. The thing that makes them difficult to prepare for is the different formations they use with the same personnel groups. All the opponents we face, if they want to go to four wide outs they take a tight end or fullback out of the game. You won’t see that as much with FAU. If they want to go four wide outs, then they have tight ends lining up as wide outs. As I said earlier, those guys are just as much big wide receivers just as they are tight ends.
They put you in a bind, because you don’t know what formation they’ll break the huddle with. It could be a pro-I formation where you like to have three linebackers in the game, or it could be four or five wide where you would like to have nickel in the game. We’ll do a combination of both, more based on down and distance that what personnel they have in the game.