Can you give us a scouting report of Troy?
“When you first throw on tape, the first thing is they’re very aggressive. They’ve got some great athletes that can run. All across the board. The D-Tackles, the D-Ends, all their linebackers, of course their secondary. That’s the one thing they can do, run. They fly to the football, a very aggressive defense, and create a lot of turnovers. Just a very impressive defense, from what I’ve seen. I played Troy back when I was at Appalachian State back in 2000 in the playoffs, and they haven’t changed much. They’ve got some guys who can play. They’re a very aggressive team. And it’s always tough to play at their place.”
Their offense is No. 1 statistically in the league. Do you feel like you might have to win a shootout Saturday?
“Well, I have no idea. All we can control offensively is try to go out there and get first downs and touchdowns. We take it one play at a time, and see what happens. If it dictates where we have to score, just like last week against Monroe, we had to score 42 to win the game. If it takes 7 or it takes 47, we have to score as many as we need to win the game. I know this: In watching the film, if their opponents have to punt or turn it over, when you click back on the scoreboard, Troy’s already scored. You don’t want to get behind like that. We’ve got to take each possession that we have and at least get some points out of it.”
A lot of times, teams facing a high-octane offense will try control the clock. But that isn’t really the identity of this team, is it?
“No. And I don’t think you can worry about that, because some teams will score in a minute, minute and a half. Other teams will grind it out, six, seven, eight-minute drives. I think, offensively, you have to do what you do and try to get points. I just know a team averaging 33 points a game, they’re obviously going to get in the end zone some. We’ve got to take each possession and try to at least get points. We want to get touchdowns, but at least get three.”
Do you think your guys are playing as well offensively as they have all year?
“Well I think, offensively, we did last week. We ran the football well and made some big plays in the passing game. That’s kind of what we’d like to do. We were pretty balanced. We wouldn’t want to be lopsided, one side or the other. I think, in order for us to be effective offensively, we have to be able to run the football, but we have some guys that can make some plays in the passing game, so they’ve got to make some plays and score some big touchdowns. It happened finally last week. We got some big plays in the passing game, and got done what we needed to get done.”
When you’ve got a guy like T.Y. Hilton, it helps a little bit, doesn’t it?
“Yeah, he finally made some big plays for us. He’s made some plays for us in the passing game in some games and not gotten the whole way to the end zone. He had a good game at FAU, and we didn’t score though. We challenged him last week, ‘Hey, when you catch the football, you need to get in the end zone.’ He made some big plays for us, a couple of touchdowns in the passing game out here last Saturday. That’s what we expect out of him all year, and that’s what we’ve got to continue to get.”
There’s been a lot of conversation about deciding to throw late in the fourth quarter. What was the thinking on that play?
“We felt like we had to score some points throughout the whole game, and when you get in that situation right there, the ball’s on the right hash, we had just come out of a timeout and we were like, ‘Let’s take a shot right here.’ They had been playing a lot of man. It was a mesh route. If it was there, take it. If not, throw it out of bounds. They happened to drop a defensive end on the back end over there. Obviously, if we had to do it over it again, we would have ran the football and kicked it.’ But if we would have scored a touchdown on that play, everybody would have gone crazy, we would have won the game. But that’s football. You call the plays and kids have to execute them. Sometimes coaches mess up, sometimes players do. We’re just fortunate that our defense was able to make a pick and we were able to finish it. If nothing else, it builds character.”
What’s it like being part of this conference chase?
“I try not to look at the big part of it. I just look at trying to get a first down. That’s really all I try do. We’re preparing right now to do whatever we can do to get first downs on Troy. If you’re doing that every game, at the end of season, hopefully it’ll take care of itself and you’ll have a successful season. I don’t look at the overall picture is. I know how big it is, especially when you’re playing in this conference. I feel like this conference is as competitive as any, top to bottom. You can lose them all, you can win them all. Probably somewhere in between is where everybody lies. You have to take it in increments, step-by-step, game-by-game, play-by-play, and hopefully just do the best you can and hope your best is good enough.”
Q&A with FIU offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield
Can you give us a scouting report of Troy?