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Monte and Clyde

By RICK STROUD

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001


Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin

On the Cowboys taking the pressure off rookie quarterback Quincy Carter:

"They have a tailback who's a future Hall of Famer. Actually, he did pretty well against us last year until we got ahead and got them out of their running game. It's not hard for a quarterback to turn around and hand it off. He doesn't have to drop back, throw it, (be) protected and read the coverage. I can play quarterback if all I do is hand off. And they've got two great receivers outside, (Joey) Galloway and (Rocket) Ismail."

On when Carter could be dangerous:

"This quarterback is the kind who is dangerous in a third and 3, just like a Daunte Culpepper or a Donovan McNabb. Then you throw in the option. They are running the option, one of the few times (you'll see that) in the pros. It's like you're playing Oklahoma and the wishbone. They're trying to make a statement now. They're trying to get back to winning, and moving the football."

On taking the Cowboys offense lightly:

"I think our guys know (not to) because we've talked about it. They have a real good offensive line and a real good offensive line coach in Hudson Houck. And (center) Mark Stepnoski is back. We really think they're really a good running football team. That really concerns us. We did a nice job stopping the run in the preseason and really emphasized it. Now we have to continue that through the regular season."

On the Cowboys defense:

"They're very similar to our defense in that they base it on not giving up big plays and hustling after the football. They seem more committed to stopping the big play and they may have given up a couple more yards running, but they're playing more cover-two and seven-man fronts and not taking quite as many chances. I think it helps (prepare), although a team like that is so sound you know it's going to take you 10 plays to score."

On the biggest concerns for his offense at Texas Stadium:

"I think it's going on the road and playing in the heat down there. It's the first time that your starters go a whole game. We should be prepared because of where we practice, but I don't think you ever feel completely comfortable with that. You have less people on the roster and you're going to ask people that are playing to double the snaps."

On whether he'll have butterflies in his stomach calling plays in his first regular-season NFL game as offensive coordinator:

"This thing has nothing to do with me. It's about the players and the Buccaneers. It's one of 16 games. It's one of 16 huge games we'll play this year. I don't know that I'm any higher for this one than I will be for Week 2, Week 8, Week 14 or 16. You've got to get up for every game. I'm anxious to see what we do over a 16-game season. It's a long haul. I think this unit will play better all season."

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