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September 28, 2011

David Cutcliffe

COACH CUTCLIFFE: I have been really pleased with the fact that we have gotten better over the last couple of weeks. Actually, we've gotten better each week all season, but started to play better.
The thing that I think pleases me the most is that we have gone right back out and had good Tuesday and Wednesday practices, and we demanded a lot from them and they have responded. Now we are getting ready to play quite possibly the fastest team that we have played. Might be the fastest team we play. A lot of speed on the field. Not just at receiver. They have got it at running back and they have got it at secondary and they have got it at linebacker and they have got it in their defensive front. That's why they have got 15 sacks.
This is a very good FIU football team. We are going to be very challenged and we are going to have to continue the mode of improving to have an opportunity to win this one on the road.

Q. Wanted to ask you about T.Y. Hilton on their team. With a guy like that that can make an impact at receiver and return game, what's best way to slow him down, and do see yourself kicking to him or away from him?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: We will kick it deep and cover kicks. He's a guy that can burn you. They are averaging 30 yards at return. We do have alternative kicks. We have got style kicks and script kicks. We try to use directional kicks and we'll try to pin him on a spot on the field and try to cover it. I think it you have to maintain your player's confidence.
I don't really want to give into having to kick it away from one but he's very special. He's very strong, not real big. Amazingly quick and fast, but extremely strong, and there are others besides him. Just a really talented football team they have got down there.

Q. I wanted to ask you, as well, about their speed. Wes was injured and the expectation is that he will play but their quarterbacks are decidedly different. Has that added to the difficulty of game planning?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: You know, you are always -- you have to work both. But they don't change all of the things they do. Certainly they get a little bit more physical at quarterback when Carroll is not in there. But he certainly knows how to use his weapons. He's a veteran and they get the ball to a lot of people. I think the biggest thing, the biggest problem we have is not who is at quarterback but to contain those weapons available to those quarterbacks, and that will prove to be difficult for anyone.
So they create tough matchups for you, and that's really been our biggest concern.

Q. You made a reference to that they put together a good team down there. How does a university that has only been playing football for just a few years, essentially, do that? How do they manage to put together a really highly-competitive team in a short amount of time?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Well, there's -- in Broward and Dade County, there's about 8 to 10 million people in those two counties and out of that, whatever that number is there, more big schools playing football in those two counties than maybe in our entire county -- excuse me, our entire state. They have got a coach that was a product of Dade County schools. As a head coach they have got other coaches on their staff that were products of Dade County schools.
So they are -- you can go into Dade and Broward County and dig in there hard, you will find a lot of football players and they have done that. That's the fastest way to a quick -- any program, is to be geographically strategically located, and they are.

Q. And their coaching staff obviously does a good job. That's come together quickly, as well it would seem.
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Well, they coach well. They all have good pedigrees and they have got a couple of additions that have helped them. But they just are well coached, they are well connected in the recruiting world.
It's just the perfect storm so to speak. When you are -- it would be interesting for anyone that has never done it just to go down there and try, to go to ten schools a day and you could do that easily with 30-minute stops or so at each school and how close the schools are, and there's going to be 3,000 or more students in those schools. It's literally almost one block to the next. It's just amazing.
When you get down there -- I had that area for 12 years as an assistant coach and I had a lot of great friends down there. It just a lot of fine football coaches at the high school level, and very hungry, competitive young men that have come out of there for years. That's what UM has made themselves -- they have given themselves a great tradition in recent history of college football on a lot of youngsters from south Florida. Obviously FIU as well, they go recruit other places and have done a nice job of that, but the core is right there.

Q. How important is it that you guys have won on the road already?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: It helps. You know, we are a young team. We have so many people making their first trip to Boston College. We reviewed all of our tribal procedures. It hit me then, I had not gone on a plane -- so I'm glad we got that out of the way and certainly very fortunate to win the game and play well.
You know, hopefully we can repeat that, and that's just part of this business. You know, we have got -- we feel like we have got a good routine. We have done this a long time and I like the routine and the way we go about our business and hopefully we'll always be a good road team. We generally have been.

Q. Watching these guys on film, the Florida International team, what jumps out to you why they are doing so well this year?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Receiving core, running back, quarterback on offense. They are good in both lines of scrimmage, better than I thought they might be. Defensive front is very active. Very, very competitive in the secondary.
So it's just speed. It's overall team athleticism, and they are getting deeper. They are a little bit like us. It's a relatively new program and they are fighting to build their depth like we are, too. But you can see where they have done that and they are starting to play more and more people, which certainly helps you as the season wears on. Something that we are really trying to do ourselves now.
You know, they have done a nice job.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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