A few final notes and quotes to help prepare for the Falcons' opener at Florida Saturday ...
- I asked OL Chip Robinson to talk about the offensive line -- in particular, I asked him to compare this year's group to last season. "I think we know each other better -- we've become better friends, and that has helped us," he said. "We're stronger, we're more focused, and we know what we have to do to win."
- I asked DT Chris Jones about the offensive line -- since he practiced against them all fall -- and he said, "They are very much improved. They are working well together. They communicate a lot better, in terms of getting their calls down and communicating who they want to block."
- At practice I noticed two players in "injured" jerseys, WR Heath Jackson and DE Ronnie Goble. coach Dave Clawson said both players are "questionable" for Saturday's contest. "They are out there working, but how much improvement they make between now and Saturday is the key," Clawson said. "If we were playing [Wednesday], they would not play."
- I asked coach Clawson about games such as the Florida contest, which are played in part because of the guarantees paid by the host schools. "It's a financial reality of our league that most every school in the conference plays one or two games like this. But that doesn't affect our approach to the game. We're going to prepare for every one. ... We try to focus on the things we can control. We can't control how many people are there, or what the weather is like, we don't control how loud it's going to be. We control our preparation, whether we get lined up correctly and whether we execute our assignments. When you play a team of this level, some of the one-on-one match-ups are challenging to win. But I have confidence that our team will go down there and fight and compete."
- Clawson said the Falcons "have not had a bad practice" this fall. "This team had an excellent camp. Some times you have the camps where there's a good practice here, an average one there -- we haven't had a bad practice. This group's capacity to work is really, really good. I'm proud of this team."