Coach O'Brien's opening statement
We certainly need to get back on the practice field this week. There are a lot of things that we've got to get corrected. We'll spend a lot of time on fundamentals. Hopefully we can come out of next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as a better football team.
On Rashard Smith's injury
Its exactly the same injury that Russell had. His knee drove into the turf in the second quarter when he knocked the ball down on a deep pass. He actually played the rest of the game after that and didn't tell anybody, which could have jeopardized his whole knee. It's a 12-week rehab period. Hopefully he'll be back by spring practice. Certainly its a setback for us. After starting 6 different groups in the secondary through seven games, we thought we would have a group set back there. Next week we need to work through and see where we are going to go and what we are going to do in the secondary now.
On the bye week
We have some guys that aren't on the field this week because of some bumps and bruises, and we hope that they'll be ready for practice next week. The mental part is big for this team right now. Over the past two weeks we haven't mentally been where we were the first 5 weeks. It's something we have to get back as coaches. I've got to get them back out there flying around. We've had effort, but there hasn't been that 'spark.' Mentally we need to get away from it and start our second season on Sunday as we prepare for Florida State.
The coaches have been recruiting this Monday and Tuesday and they will be back out there recruiting on Friday as well. They will get a day off on Saturday. We understand the situation we are in and we know we have to get this thing turned around. With that being said, they need some time off to spend with their family, and we will come back and get things started on Sunday and see what we can do in the second half of the year.
On having a good track record of winning after bye-weeks
I'm not sure. Hopefully we do a good job going back over the fundamentals and getting things structured. Every year is different. We still are in flux down here of getting things solidified with consistency. Our first year we didn't know the personnel, and we were trying to put square pieces in round holes. Last year we were trying to get everyone healthy. This year we are coaching the freshmen the same way that we would the starters. We've given everyone equal opportunity. The philosophy is that you "play for the day" but your also "playing for the future" every time you step on the practice field. This year, instead of people coming back around this time, now we have guys getting hurt. You would never have expected that we would have 9 guys out for the season this year, with 5 of those guys definitely being players who would make an impact. You also have to remember the two players that left the team before Spring practice, with one of them projecting as a starter in the secondary. He could have really helped solidify the secondary.
How big is an open date for recruiting?
We're working on this years class. We are excited about the direction that recruiting is going right now, but there are still some holes that need to be filled.