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Milanovich: "There's always pressure"


JACKSONVILLE – Scott Milanovich had a chance Thursday to share his philosophy.

Milanovich, the Jaguars' quarterbacks coach, wasn't being rude when he declined the opportunity while first meeting with the media for the first time since assuming play-calling duties this week. But he was evasive. With reason.

What do you believe in? What's your style?

Milanovich smiled at the questions

"We can talk about that a little more as the season goes along," Milanovich said as the Jaguars (3-8) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (6-5) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Hopefully, the Colts don't know that either, so I'm not going to announce that."

Such is Milanovich's position this week, having taken over play-calling duties in the wake of Nathaniel Hackett's dismissal Monday as offensive coordinator.

Yes, the 45-year-old Milanovich has clear ideas running an offense.

He just sees no reason to share them. Yet.

"I can throw out a million clichés for you; 'Everybody wants to be balanced …''' Milanovich said. "That's about as far as I'm going to go this week."

Here's what is known about Milanovich:

He joined the Jaguars as quarterbacks coach before the 2017 season after five seasons as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He played quarterback at the University of Maryland – and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-1999. Most pertinent in the short-term for the Jaguars is he was part of the changes Head Coach Doug Marrone made this week to spark the team's struggling passing offense.

The other change: replacing quarterback Blake Bortles with Cody Kessler.

The Jaguars will run the offensive system run by Hackett the last two seasons. Time doesn't permit such a change during the season. That doesn't mean the approach will remain the same.

"It's always going to be a difference," Marrone said Wednesday. "Obviously, we have the same system. We aren't going to be changing the terminology in a week. Cody played in this system and now he gets a full week of playing. Scott knows what Cody can do obviously; he was his position coach. We'll see when we get out there and see things during the week of what we're going to be able to use."

Kessler said while Hackett and Milanovich are "different people and personalities," the offense will be a lot of the "same reads and a lot of the same concepts."

"That makes it easier for me," Kessler said. "You can't really install a new offense in the middle of the season. … It will be exciting. We have a couple practices this week and then we get to the game. We will be on the same page with where we want to go with things."

Said Milanovich, "There will be some differences. You can't go mass new playbook. I think everybody understands that."

Milanovich said while he was more involved with the passing game than the running game in his role as quarterbacks coach, "I've coordinated run games before."

"It's been a little while," he said. "I did my best in the last year and a half to stay on top of all of that. When something like this happens and it's short notice – and you don't have an offseason to prepare – you have to trust you position coaches. I trust Flats (offensive line coach Pat Flaherty). I trust [tight ends coach] Ron [Middleton) and Wheat (running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley).

"I'm going to lean on them for those situations because I'm not as familiar as Nate would have been. I trust those guys and we'll lean on them and we'll go."

Milanovich discussed multiple issues Thursday, including Bortles' struggles this season after helping the Jaguars to the AFC South Championship Game last season.

"It's never just one guy," Milanovich said. "As a team – as a team – we didn't do enough. I think Blake understands that when that happens usually it's the head coach, the quarterbacks coach, the coordinator and the quarterback. That's the way the game's built."

Milanovich described his meeting with Marrone in which he was informed of the move "very brief and to the point."

"We talked for a few minutes and I was like, "Well, I've got to get to work,''' Milanovich said. "It was a five-minute conversation at most."

Milanovich said he's not thinking about using the ensuing five games as an audition for a future coordinator role. As for pressure in that role Sunday, he said didn't feel any in terms of pushing the offense in a particular direction.

"I don't feel any pressure," he said. "There's always pressure as a play-caller. I've got to call the game my way. I can't worry about calling it like anybody else wants it called. I think that's where you get into issues. I'll get a feel for the game. I'll get a feel for what they're doing, and what our guys are thinking and executing – and I'll call the game accordingly."

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