Miles’ weekly press conference: Jacksonville State

Opening Statement:
“We’re very excited to play again this weekend. We are still in a changing of culture change. After kind of a lot of soul searching and thinking about it…we’ve thought a lot about it and talked to the team…yesterday about it and we’re still in the process of teaching these guys how to be an FBS player. Not just from execution, but from the time and the commitment that they put in.”

“I’ve been asking players little things like, ‘How much time have you come in to watch film of your opponent on your own?’ and we’ve had very few guys come in watching film on their own. I talked to our quarterbacks, ‘How much time have you come in and spent in?’ and I asked them, ‘How much time do you think A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray of Georgia are in their coach’s office, voluntarily, to watch film?’ Those are the things that you have to do on your own to be at any level, really. Whether its FCS or FBS successful player, and we’re in the process of trying to get them to understand how to do that.”

“I came to the realization this morning- they don’t know, they don’t understand that…so that’s where we’re at. So before we can ever win a football game, we’ve got to learn how to work and be committed to be a winning football program. And that means through our execution, that means through our commitment to get things done. That means by coming in and doing extra on your own to study your opponent and watch game film.

“Do you think Tom Brady is just didn’t show up and work? Every day at Green Bay, Brett Farve was the first one in the office to look at film on his opponent…There’s a certain commitment that you have to make, and we’re in a process of getting this kids to understand that and start making that commitment and doing it, and when we get that, then we’ll be better at execution, then we’ll be better at some of the other things that allow you to win.

“I’ll say this about Jacksonville State: they’re a very fast football team. They’re very talented, they’re undefeated. They will come in here big and strong and fast, and we’ll have to find a way to commitment and find that commitment and work at it this week to be a D-1 program and execute to even stay on the field.”

How is the team physically?
“We have one major injury to report. We have lost Bill Teknipp, our starting tight-end for the season. He has a torn ACL. Don’t know when it happened. He’s played in every game and started every game and played against West Virginia – played the whole game and no problems. [He] actually told the trainers that he felt really good on Sunday, better than he’s felt, but the MRI came in and found he’s got a torn meniscus and a torn ACL. We assume that he did it in two-a-days. But, he’s played through it, and did a great job. My hat’s off to that young man, and fortunately its a 12 game season and he’s only played in three games so he is gonna be able to redshirt.”

What does this do to the depth chart?
“That kind of puts us in a funny situation. We don’t have a lot of bodies at tight-end right now, so we’ll see.”

Will Mackendy Cheridor move back to tight-end?
“No, we will not do that with Mackendy. Mackendy will stay at at defensive-end. He’s getting better and better there and actually performed better at West Virginia and we want to keep his progress on that side of the ball.”

Thoughts on new offensive line after players leaving the team last week?
“Its really helped us. Our young men are out there really wanting to be out there, and obviously we had the best rushing performance we did of the year. We’re going to get Mark Ruskell back. He’s been practicing more and more each day, and we took him on the trip but didn’t play him so he’s getting back in a position to be able to help us out. We’re tweaking whether or not we’re going to be playing Brandon Pertile at guard. Yesterday, we moved Brandon Pertile out to tackle and moved A.J. Kaplan into guard because that’s A.J. Kaplan’s natural spot. And, pretty soon in the future, we’re gonna get Grant King back, so we’re still going to play Brandon Pertile and he’s a true freshman so he’s already played so we’re gonna play him but now our options are better as long as we stay healthy.” 

What do you think about where your team is defensively?
“Where we are defensively is we are 0-3. Coach Minter will be the first to tell you that, so will Robert. We’re not happy. There is no such thing as moral victories. For anyone to say ‘Well, your defense played better and they did this and they did that.’ They lost. Now, I’m not dumb, there’s some things we did well, and there’s some things we did better. The end result was we lost the football game. Whereas if we had executed and did some of the things we were supposed to do, we would have had a chance in the fourth quarter. I can’t guarantee a victory, but we would have had a chance in the fourth quarter.”

Will Bell start at quarterback?
“That is the plan right now. We’ll see…he’s got to perform in practice. I’m a guy that believes you’ve got to practice well…how you practice, how you prepare for a game is how your gonna play. There’s things that happened on Saturday that happened exactly the same way during the week…the things that go on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday [and] Thursday are the things that lead up to give you a chance to win a football game, or not a chance to win a game.”

What position is Ruskell working out in?
“Offensive line – guard and center. He’s not a tackle. He’s a guard and center.”

How’s Matt Hubbard coming along with his directional kicking?
“First couple kicks he struggled, but after that, man, there were a couple of them that were beautiful. He was 40-something yards deep and pinned right on the sideline…he’s got to get used to it and keep working at it.”

Thoughts on Keith Rucker?
“He has done a phenomenal job, man. Here’s a true freshman that’s come in and hasn’t missed a beat. He plays tight-end, he’s played fullback, he’s been the move guy. I mean he is a winner, and those are the types of guys we want to recruit.”