Oct. 1, 2013
“We’re looking forward to having a chance to get back out on Saturday and play. We were disappointed with our performance on Thursday night. There were so many things we can do better. It’s going to be a huge challenge this Saturday when go to Miami to play an undefeated and ranked Miami team. It’s the first time since the early to mid-90s that they’ve been 4-0. So there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of buzz around their program and this will be their ACC opener. They will be fully charged and ready to go, so we will have to play much better than we did last week. But we are looking forward to that opportunity.”
What do you expect from Miami’s defense and Denzel Perryman?
“He’s a good player and Miami always has good players. They’re very athletic and they can run. We had a crazy game with them last year. But he’s a quality player and you can see that. He creates big plays for them and creates turnovers. He’s played a lot of football for them.”
On Miami’s defensive improvement compared to recent years…
“They’re playing a whole lot of 3-4 and they were almost exclusively a 4-3 team in the last couple years. I’d say 70 percent of their snaps they are in an odd front. Now will they do that against us? Al [Golden] and I have played each other ever since he was at Temple and I was at Navy and they’ve always lined up the same way. So we’ll see. In fact, everyone that we’ve played this year has lined up the same way. Every team, including Virginia Tech. It’s kind of been the defense du jour.”
On Chris Milton’s availability…
“He was available. Last week he hadn’t practiced at all and Coach [Ted] Roof felt like Demond [Smith] and Dominique Noble had practiced every day and were better suited to play than Chris who hadn’t been able to get out there. But he was still able to play on special teams.”
What do you see from Stephen Morris?
“He’s a very talented guy. He’s your prototypical 6’5 or 6’6 pro-style quarterback and he’s got good wheels. He can run if he wants, but he doesn’t choose do that a lot. He’s a pocket guy who tries to stay in there and distribute the ball to their weapons. And they’ve got a lot of weapons. Duke Johnson is one of the better players in the country. They always have a large group of fast and talented wide receivers, usually a couple of tight ends who are pretty good, and a huge offensive line. I don’t think they’re ever lacking for players. They always have good players.”
On last year’s game against Miami…
“It’s an important game because it’s a conference game. But our guys haven’t said anything about “circle the wagons, this is it.” I mean 18-22 year olds sometimes can’t remember yesterday much less last year. They do know that Miami has a really good team and that it’s a challenge to go down there and play. It’s always exciting and fun to match up against them because they are good athletes. It’s a conference game and it’s a division game so it’s definitely important. No question about that, especially after we lost a division game last week.”
Do you have a good handle on your team after four games?
“I’ve got a handle on it, but I’m hoping and thinking that the game last Thursday was an enigma where we didn’t play very well. We’ve done that a couple of times against Virginia Tech, but you’ve got to give them credit. They caused some of it because we seem to self-destruct when we play them. But I think the team is changing. I mean you’re always getting better or worse, you never stay the same.”
On Justin Thomas’ prospects to play…
“He had a really good practice yesterday. He came out yesterday and was really focused, completely healthy and looked really good. The point being that if he continues to that then he gives us reason to give him a series or two in the game. Now Vad’s the starter and he has been since the start of the season and that’s not going to change this week. But when guys come out, work hard, practice hard and look good in practice, they earn playing time. If he continues to that, he will earn a couple series in the game.”
Do you anticipate making any changes on kickoffs without Jamal Golden?
“Well we may have to if we don’t have Broderick [Snoddy], I mean we will have to have somebody back there. It’s an ongoing tryout in practice this week. The chances are pretty good we will have two different guys with Broderick hurt and Jamal [Golden] not playing. It’s probably going to be a couple different guys out there. And it’s the same with punt return, we’ve got to have somebody out there to catch the ball.”
On improving the option…
“We’ve worked on it all year. What has happened recently and in practice yesterday, is that our guys worked at it with a little more urgency. Sometimes what happens is when you’re winning, you can talk about it, but they’re not listening. But if they watch it on tape, they hear you. They see that we’ve got to do better and we’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to coach the fundamental parts of it better. But we work on it all the time, every day. I mean 20 minutes of our practice every day is spent in an option drill.”
Does going on the road help re-focus the team?
“Well I think it always harder to play on the road than at home. I think when you play poorly players like coaches, like fans and like everybody want to play again really fast. You want to get that taste out of your mouth and you want to play better. Now it just so happens that we’re playing a team that’s undefeated, ranked and really good so we might and you may not know it. But I think our guys are excited to embrace the challenge because we believe that we are better than the way we played on Thursday night.”
On intensity at practice picking up…
“We really cut back last week. We didn’t hit in practice. But as I look back, practice wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible. And I’ve challenged them since fall camp to have a little more intensity in practice and a little more up tempo. And I saw that yesterday. So hopefully we will play better if we continue to practice like that the rest of this week. Sometimes when you get embarrassed, it makes you re-think where you are, what you have to do, and how you got there. I know I was embarrassed on Thursday and I think a lot of the guys who played were. We couldn’t stay on-sides. We couldn’t go on two.
“We couldn’t block the right guy. We couldn’t hang on to the ball. There were just so many things that we didn’t do well that we can do. It isn’t all ability. Anybody can go on two. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to run a 4.4 to be able to do that. It’s those kind of things that are self-inflicted.”
On Jemea Thomas’ progression…
“He was pretty highly recruited. It was just that nobody knew which happens a lot. Jemea’s a great example. Jemea committed to Georgia Tech and then got offers from Florida State and Georgia, but it’s kind of a ‘what would you do if we gave you a scholarship offer?’ and if you don’t say, ‘well, I would come’ then it becomes, ‘well, I’m not sure we got one.’ But if you say, ‘I would come’ then it’s ‘yeah we got one.’ So then it doesn’t get reported. But towards the end of the recruiting period he was a highly sought after kid. But early in the process he wasn’t, probably because of size. But I’d like to have a boatload of Jemea Thomas’s. He’s a great football player. He could play a bunch of spots. He’d be great at A-back, at corner or at safety. He’s a good football player and he loves to play. I also think the other guys respect his ability as a player. And if you really get to know him, he’s quiet if you don’t know him, but among his teammates his funny and pretty witty and they like hanging around him.”
On P.J. Davis’ play…
“P.J.’s got great transition and he loves to play the game. He’s got a natural instinct and he’s a good player. That’s another great example of recruiting. He didn’t fit the prototypes, but he was a good player. When we had him in camp he was one of the best players we had in camp. I believe in what I see. I’m not worried about some guy who assigns stars. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re not. And I think we were right on him. Most guys who can come in and start as a true freshman on this level are pretty good players. And he’s come in and played pretty well.”
How was Davis assigned No. 40?
“We just assign numbers and he got 40. I think he and Julian [Burnett] are very similar, but it wasn’t intentional. A lot of times we try to give them the numbers they ask for if we can. Sometimes in recruiting if there’s a number open and he asks for it we’ll give it to him. P.J. may very well have done that, but I don’t remember. There are a lot of similarities between him and Julian Burnett. No question.”