HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
How do you think the rookies have handled the last 12 or so games?
“It’s decent. Nowadays, though, we probably need to go back and revisit that statement, because you look at the college game now, especially the Power 5 conferences, they’re all still playing bowl games and championship games and all of that. So, it is a long college season also. I think that our guys, for the most part, have done a nice job. When we feel like they need a rest or need to be spoken to a little bit about giving advice on how to deal with things, we do that, but I think overall they have done a good job.”
How has RB Lamar Miller looked in practice this week?
“He’s been full. He’s good to go.”
What is the process like when you are planning for the game this weekend but also looking ahead to the playoffs?
“That’s a good question. There are a number of different scenarios. So, you don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself. The No. 1 thing is the Jacksonville Jaguars. We are in. We understand that we’re in. We’re not denying that, but we are totally focused on one team and then we’ll figure out what to do after that game.”
With kicking, mental toughness is important. With it being K Ka’imi Fairbairn’s second full season, does that have an impact on the guys?
“Oh yeah. Absolutely. They get into a routine. Obviously, professional football – for any positon, but especially that position, it’s a totally different routine than college football at the kicking position. That includes taking care of your body, not just the schedule is different. Everything is different. I think the No. 1 character trait that helps him with all of that is his poise, his demeanor. He’s a very level-headed guy. He’s a very calm guy and he’s smart. He’s done a good job of understanding how to take care of himself, be ready to go. We have a schedule relative to how many times he kicks during the week and things like that. I think that’s helped him. He’s a good pro.”
When you talk about the schedule, is there more demand on the kickers?
“I would say relative to college, there’s probably a little bit more dead time. At college, you are going to class, you’re doing this, you’re doing that. Here, you’re meeting, you have meetings, you have this, but maybe you have a little bit more time on your own to get yourself ready whether it’s, like I said, maybe it’s a session in the weight room, a session in the training room, a session somewhere or it’s film, whatever it is. I think that he’s done a good job of budgeting his time very well over the last two years. He’s learned that very well.”
S TYRANN MATHIEU
What’s the attitude like in the locker room heading into the game on Sunday?
“Well, I think everything we ever asked for, really worked for, is right in front of us. I think the position we put ourselves in, especially after the 0-3 start, virtually going 10-2, I think this is a game you wanted to be in, playing for a division title. I think it means a lot to everybody in this locker room. I thought guys had a pretty decent work week. I thought today was perfect, saying that it was a Friday. Looks like we’re ready to roll.”
Do you have to compartmentalize the last few games as a defense after having success earlier in the season?
“You just try to take a step back, reassess everything. I’ll speak defensively. It hasn’t really been pretty for us probably for the last four or five weeks, but we’ve been finding ways to win. We have to get back to that, and then, obviously, taking away big plays, really giving our quarterback and our offense a chance to close out games like we’ve done on our nine-game win streak.”