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Head Coach Butch Davis Talks About Miami's Win over FSU

Oct. 8, 2000

Miami Head Football Coach Butch Davis

Comments from his Sunday morning press conference

October 8, 2000

General comments about the win over Florida State:

“It’s hard to describe in words how you feel when good things happen to you. I’m just really happy for the players. Really proud of them. We’ve really been challenged the last couple years to live up to and challenge the expectations developed in the past and, sometimes, that’s a hard assignment. Sometimes, I think, it’s a little bit unrealistic. Yesterday was as close to a total team-type of a win than any I’ve been associated with. We’ve had wins before where we’ve been dominating defensively or offensively, but for all three phases to be challenged like they were . . . we couldn’t allow it to be a one-dimensional game. We couldn’t challenge Florida State doing just one thing all the time.

“The offensive line did an outstanding job blocking. The success we had running clearly makes a difference in the passing game because it allowed success using play-action passes, opening up your backs and tight ends. Their plan, as it was the second half of last year, was to take the wide receivers out of the game. Double covering them in man and double covering them in zone and, if you can’t win with the D.J. Williamses, the Najeh Davenports, the Ivan Mercers and the Jeremy Shockeys . . . if those guys can’t beat their safeties or linebackers you’re going to have a great struggle. The offensive line did a great job giving Kenny time to operate and to throw. In times past, we’ve had trouble with protection and we’ve had to use backs and tight ends to help. If those guys are in protection, they’re not running routes. The plan really fit together. Offensive line guys did an outstanding job.

“Defensively, we created turnovers, went in to some adverse situations and made some stops on fourth downs. Big plays: playmakers have to step up and make plays. Looking across the board, they did. Dan Morgan made an interception. Morgan forced a fumble. Morgan made 15 tackles. Damione Lewis played good. All the guys we needed to play well did play well.

“We challenged our special teams. Freddie Capshaw did a great job keeping the ball out of play, he averaged 41.7 yards per punt. Todd Sievers making his field goals and kicking off, keeping them from getting a return or kicking it deep enough with hang time to allow our coverage teams to keep them at least inside the 25, if not inside the 20, keeping them from making big plays in the kicking game. You’re living in danger if you let them play on a short field. There wasn’t anybody who didn’t contribute to the success yesterday.”

What were the keys to the success of the running game?

“For one, the mindset of James Jackson was outstanding. He really was determined. That was a big factor. Najeh and D.J. did a good job. The offensive line being able to prevent their ends from making plays was huge. Our receivers did a great job of blocking.”

From a personal standpoint, is this your most satisfying win since you’ve been here?

“Certainly. It has to be. Yesterday’s game didn’t happen suddenly. It was the by-product of years of several factors: recruiting of athletes four years ago, the conditioning of the athletes, the running in the sandpit and running twice a day. Without that, there’s no way we survive the fourth quarter. We had guys on I.V’s coming back in the fourth quarter. Still, depth is something they had over us. They could rotate players at several positions that we couldn’t match. The courage and commitment of your kids makes a victory like that even sweeter because you know the work they’ve put into it.”

What more can you say about Ken Dorsey?

“He is a very, very confident and mature young man. His greatest redeeming quality has to be his ability to maintain his composure. To play the game within himself and control his emotions and play smart. That’s an intangible you look for in any quarterback. The great ones have it and the others don’t and they struggle and their team struggles as a result. He doesn’t allow things to bother him, he knows he has to focus on the next play. He made some throws yesterday that were incomplete that were brilliant.”

How does this win affect your outlook for the season?

“As a football team, we had better put this game behind us. It’s a great win but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Winning this game makes each game considerably bigger. Every game now takes on more magnitude.”