Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Eagles head coach talks option offenses, tackling, WR coach Aaron Smith and receiver Alex Amidon.
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, we're out of conference. We're going up to Army. Out of conference, in conference, we're at a point where we need a victory, and it's going to be a hard‑fought game up there. We fully understand the problems that go with playing an academy, especially at their place.
With that, questions.
Q. To make that key switch from being the team that throws scares into people and hangs with people for so long to being the team that comes away with a victory, what's the key to making that switch?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, you know, once again, I don't know if we've thrown any scares. Are you talking about us throwing scares into people?
Q. Yeah, you've been hanging with people, hanging with people.
FRANK SPAZIANI: You know, and that is one way to look at it. But the way to look at it is that we've lost all three of them, and that's really the bottom line. I mean, they're L's and there will always be L's. We have to understand that that's who we are, what the reason is and why we haven't been able to turn those into W's, and that's what we're trying to do this week.
And there's always a fine line there, and I think we're making progress, but every week is different and unique, and there's certainly a lot of mental aspects to it.
Q. So what is the reason? What is the why? How do you jump over that fine line, I guess?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, once again, it's all about execution. We haven't been able to make the plays that will turn an L into a W, and it's about practicing, it's about commitment, it's about getting the guys in the right spots. It's multi‑layered. It's just not, okay, now we're going to do this. It's a process that has to be done. There's experience that comes into it. There's a lot of things, and certainly the way we're practicing has been better, but once again, we haven't done it yet, and we have to continue to work and it will happen.
Q. It seems like tackling in general has been a little down this season during college football. I was just wondering if you could address that and how much work you do on the art of tackling in practice.
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, you know, that's an excellent question. You know, we try to do as much as we can, and I think what has happened in football now is it's become really a multi‑layered type of game offensively. There's a lot of things coming at you, and there's‑‑ the tendency is to get away from your fundamentals and make sure you're in position to do certain things. And you have to balance that up with, well, you're in the right position but you've still got to fundamentally block and tackle. It always comes down to that.
We're no different than other people, and certainly ability has everything to do with it. But we spend a lot of time on tackling. Once again, once you're into the season, you're more Xs and Os as certainly the season goes on.
Q. Aaron Smith, he's from West Point, your wide receivers coach. What has he meant to your staff in the first year?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Oh, Aaron has done a great job for us. He's brought a little fresh approach to our wide outs, he's brought some toughness to them. He's been a breath of fresh air. He's a young, energetic coach, and it certainly has transpired and shown up in how the performance of those players have been over the first four games.
Q. How unique is Army's offense to prepare for this week?
FRANK SPAZIANI: It's as unique as it gets. I mean, there's only a few people in the country running that type of offense, and it presents a practice problem, execution with your scouts and try to get the proper look at it. But you can't really duplicate it, so it's a major problem and a major concern, which we've been through before, though.
Q. I wanted to ask you, pretty much every coach that plays Army talks about how they respect the Cadets and it's a great opportunity to play at West Point, but they also say how tough it is to prepare for Army and how difficult it is with the offense. Can you talk about how you balance that out when you make a schedule and decide you're going to play West Point or any of the academies? How do you balance the decision to play Army or any of the academies when the coaches and the players respect the chance to go to the academy and what all the kids are going through, but at the same time‑‑
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, I'll be honest with you. That is done on an administrative level. They give me the schedule and I play it. I certainly‑‑ having coached at an academy, I certainly understand exactly who the individuals are that we're playing, and I certainly understand the coaches there. The kids are kids, and they have a special interest. But the coaches are the guys that have always really impressed me at the academies because they do a fantastic job. Fantastic.
Q. You're talking about how unique the Army offense is. How similar is it to the one you'll see when you play Georgia Tech?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Similar. Similar. You know, it's similar. I mean, that's the best way‑‑ that's the only thing I can say. It's different; these guys have as‑‑ I don't know if you heard my answer to the last question. These guys have unique problems that they have to address, so they do some different things to help themselves and help their players. But it's very similar.
Q. I was just wondering, coaches always say having only one week to prepare for a unique offense like that is tough. Does playing Army now, will that help you two weeks down the road getting ready for Georgia Tech do you think?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Some of the aspects of it, yeah. We're not thinking like that, but once again, as I said, some of the plays are very similar, and some of the things we have to practice against are going to be the same. Yes, it helps.
Q. Alex Amidon just seems to be getting better as the season goes along. What are his best attributes as a receiver? He's obviously getting open and they're finding him.
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, this is his third year; that's the first thing. And he's made progress every year. He works extremely hard. He spends as much time as needed in the film room, and he works hard on the practice field. He obviously has a gift, and certainly Doug has done a great job of utilizing him and putting him in the right spots where Chase can get him the ball.
I don't know if he has any unique characteristic other than‑‑ well, he works harder than most football players, and he's got the ability. So that's usually an elixir for success.
Q. He's not the biggest guy, 5'11", 195, but obviously that doesn't hold him back any.
FRANK SPAZIANI: No, once again, he works hard. He's got speed. He's just really a neophyte who's just scratching the surface for his ability. We would have loved to have had the opportunity to red shirt him and have him only be a red‑shirted sophomore now, but that's not the case. His best football is ahead of him, and certainly the offensive scheme has helped him.
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