Nov. 19, 2013
“This is a different week coming off of a Thursday game. We have a head start on the next opponent, Alabama A&M. We’re glad to be back home and have our final two regular season games at home. That’s always a plus. We’re looking forward to getting back out there on Saturday and correcting some of the things we didn’t do well on Thursday night.”
What do you expect from Alabama A&M’s defense?
“They’re physical. When you talk to the coaches in that league and we’ve talked to a lot of them, they’ve said that their front seven is the most physical of anybody in that conference. I think back about the Southwestern Athletic Conference and they’ve had some really good players and put some players in the NFL. They’ve had good individual players and I’m sure Alabama A&M will have some good players as well. They’re very multiple defensively. They do a lot of things and play a lot of defenses. It will be a good test for us.”
What were your thoughts on the kick return game last week?
“One of the big things about the kick return game is that you never let the ball hit the ground. We talk about that a lot. The thing’s not round and it doesn’t bounce straight up. So you have to get yourself in a position to catch the ball. Now we’ve got to help them. I mean we had the guy two or three yards deep in the end zone off of where they had kicked all year. Then when they line drived or knuckle balled them short our guys didn’t judge the ball very well and come up and catch it. They let the ball hit the ground. When that happens, they don’t get it secured. Any time you struggle in an area you’re looking at ways to try and fix it. Because of injury and being in game 10 or 11, we aren’t going to magically find somebody else to put back there. We’ve just got to a better job of coaching up the guys that are back there.
Are you frustrated that you are still correcting mistakes in Game 10 of the season?
“I don’t think that’s all that unusual. If you ask a lot of coaches that, I think they will tell you the same thing, if they’re honest. You’re constantly working and trying to improve on what you do. I mean they’re four or five undefeated teams that could tell you that they don’t have anything to work on. I think everyone can get better in what they do. What I was talking about was fundamentals and just getting back to basics. This is a good week to do that. To give you an example, lining up on the line of scrimmage on a punt. We’ve got seven guys up on the line and we do it two times and the third time we don’t do it. Just things like that. The concentration level and working to make sure we are dialed in on those types of issues.”
Do you expect to have some players get more playing time than usual this week?
“Our goal is to get win number seven on Saturday. That’s the push. Depending on how the game unfolds and what happens, we’d like to play everyone who can play – if we can do that. But I don’t think we’re going in with that mindset because when you do that is when you get in trouble. I don’t have that mindset and I hope our players don’t have that mindset. I have challenged the guys this week by saying this is as much about Georgia Tech as it is about who we’re playing. Let’s focus and dial in and make sure we are playing up to our capabilities. Let’s play up to our level and see what happens. That’s really what you want to do every game. You want to play as good as you can play and let the score be what it is.”
Could you have predicted Duke’s success this season after beating them early in the year?
“Probably not. I’m not a very good predictor. You can’t ever compare teams I don’t think. Different teams match up differently. That’s why some teams have success against certain teams. After all, a lot of it is matchups. If you could do that, people would make a lot of money doing it. And there is still a lot of football left for those guys. There are still a lot of teams in our league with two league games left. This thing’s not over yet.”
Can you give a rundown on who is redshirting and rehabbing?
“Most of the freshman class is redshirting. At this point of the year, they are almost all playing on the scout team. Jamal Golden and Anthony Autry is rehabbing and Isaiah Johnson is rehabbing. All three of those guys should be back next year.”
How important is it to have Ray Beno back on the field?
“It’ll be good get Ray back, but he’s a little rusty as you can imagine having been out for three weeks. He’s trying to feel his way through the injury. But anytime you get a guy back who has played in a lot of games and started a lot of games, that’s always a plus especially up on the offensive line. Especially considering we’ve lost Chase for a bit. I don’t think there’s any way he could get back this week. Hopefully we’ve got a chance to get him back for the Georgia game, but there’s no way he will play this week.”
What does the team need to improve on before the Georgia game?
“We need to improve on things that we can control ourselves. Like I said, the self-inflicted wounds. We need to do away with those. That’d be a great place to start. We did an okay job of not turning the ball over in the Clemson game – we had the one fumble. But that’s always keys. One thing we have to do a better job of is getting turnovers. We just haven’t gotten any. If you look at the last four games, we’ve probably gotten one a game and a couple of them have been at the end of the game on the last possession. That’s an area that we talk about a lot and Coach Roof and the defensive staff work on a lot, but we just haven’t gotten any turnovers. And that’s key. For us to win our last two games, we need to be better in special teams and we need to do better in that area. We will need to get some turnovers.”