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Butch Davis's Sunday Press Conference

Oct. 22, 2000





“(We’re) happy to win, even more happy to escape (the game) without any more serious injuries. That’s always a concern when you play on the Astroturf there at Veterans Stadium. I think the bright spot from the game was that it was Santana (Moss’s) breakout game with 241 all-purpose yards and a touchdown on a punt return and a touchdown on a long pass. He also ran a reverse and got us some key yards on several catches. He made some big plays and got in the end zone and that certainly has to be good for his confidence. I thought that James Jackson and Najeh Davenport played well. I thought Najeh, despite of his fumble, put together his best performance as a running back. He ran hard and punished tacklers like we had seen in the past and it was good to see that. D.J. Williams did an excellent job. His blocking is getting better each week and he caught a touchdown pass out of the backfield.

“Probably the guy who had one of his best games ever was Martin Bibla. He really did an outstanding job. We were concerned about their two interior defensive tackles and Martin really did an outstanding job limiting their effectiveness. On the defensive side, the guy that really stood out and had his best game thus far is Chris Campbell. He had two tackles behind the line for 21 yards (in losses) and two sacks. He really was a force yesterday, had great penetration and did an excellent job. Danny (Morgan) was spectacular, as always, with 17 tackles and forced a fumble. A guy who excelled where we needed someone was Cornelius Green at left defensive end. He really played well. He strung out a lot of plays, had some pressures, really did a phenomenal job. He and William Joseph (right end), collectively, on the trick play where they did a throwback to the quarterback off a reverse, those two defensive linemen ran it down. They were absolutely phenomenal. Their awareness and their ability run down plays.

“Ed Reed (safety) was outstanding. His poise and his focus in the secondary was good. He gave us another big interception. (Punter) Freddie (Capshaw) had a 45 or 46-yard punting average yesterday which was really encouraging. Obviously, a lot more bright spots with the victory.

“It’s a concern when you turn the ball over the way we did. I hate that. When you’re looking at things that you don’t want to become an Achilles heel for a team, it’s turning the ball over. You can overcome it against some teams but, obviously, against some teams it can really be your demise. We’ve got to work on protecting the football better.”


“We called a few things differently (defensively) than we did before, but we really honed our kids in on the things they (Temple) like to do to get (Sharps) the ball. We played our defense, but we did a few minor things differently. We were bound and determined that we weren’t going to let him get off to a hot start and really have a lot of success running the ball.”


“I think it reassures any athlete to know that if they stay patient and continue to do things the way they have been successful in the past – not to press – that things will work out. We’ve had conversations throughout the last 6 years at different times – Edgerrin (James) back in ’98 – was just really pressing, wanted every run to be a touchdown and he had a tough game against Virginia Tech where he fumbled several times. After that he settled down and just continued playing and big plays came. It’s kind of the same thing with Santana. If you want every punt return to be a touchdown, it’s not going to be. Realistically, it’s not going to be. But they’ll come. Just do your job and let the other guys who are blocking and holding off the pursuit do their job and be efficient with the ball and it will happen. Other than the one he broke, he was a whisper away from breaking another one. That forced them to do something that I think is somewhat fundamentally unsound, that is to kick away from him. On four consecutive kicks they tried to directionally kick it. I think they had four punts where they chose not to kick him the ball and they gave up almost 80 yards in field position because they ended up with some short kicks and that’s almost like getting a great return.”


“I thought, in light of a lot of guys playing different positions and a lot of guys playing who had never played, we had an excellent day. Larry Anderson played yesterday, Brian Stinson played quite a bit, Santonio Thomas got his most extensive playing time. We felt that Jamaal (Green) would go out and play well, we knew Matt (Walters) would play well, William (Joseph) would play well. Those three guys always play well together. We were concerned about Cornelius Green switching from right side to left side, how much of an adjustment it would be, but he played well and made some excellent plays.”


“When you take the group of guys we have injured along with the people we want to redshirt, you’re talking about approximately 30 people who you aren’t counting on playing. That means you end up with approximately 55 guys available to play for you. You don’t have 85 guys. We need to start getting some of our injured guys back. We have a shot at getting (cornerback) Leonard Myers back, at getting (defensive tackle) Damione Lewis back, a good shot of possibly this week or next week getting (running back) Clinton Portis back. He started jogging the other day and we’ll see how that progresses. Hopefully, (defensive end) Quincy Hipps and (end) Jevon Rhodes will get back into the mix, maybe as soon as this week. We don’t know for sure.”


“Their performance at Auburn last night definitely should get everyone’s attention. They lost, 38-28, but they played tough in a tough place to play. They’ve won some impressive games in the recent past. They beat Alabama on the road last year. They’re used to going on the road as the underdog, but they have a system and they know how to run it. They will throw the ball 60 times a game and they make it tough on you defensively because they can control the tempo of the game with their no-huddle offense. It will be a unique challenge to us, particularly on defense. They have a young quarterback who is maturing rapidly and they are a team that is used to winning. We know we’re a target for them. We have to be prepared for a challenge this week.”