Q & A with John Leake

"I feel like this team is a lot more mentally tough than last year. No matter what happens though, we are taking it one game at a time. If something happens will get over it and we just have to improve week to week. It's like a 7-game playoff now, and we've just got to win all of them," said Leake.

LB John Leake Profile

Are you looking forward to this week's game at Virginia, especially after they snuck up on you last season at home in last few seconds?
Leake: Yeah, we have a new defensive coordinator now and I don't even think he knew we lost in the last second until the other day. You know after watching film of last year's game there are so many areas where we can improve. We are just looking forward to being perfect this year, especially on defense. The offense is rolling, we just need to get better on special teams and everything will take care of itself.

Would you agree that there seemed to be a lot of breakdowns defensively last year against Virginia?
Leake: We just weren't playing sound football last season and weren't all together as a group, but we are this year. We plan to turn the tables and beat them this year.

The defense just seems to be playing with more energy and enthusiasm this season, would you agree with that?
Leake: We have more energy than you can think of. Our offense and special teams do too. We'll get the problems on special teams fixed. As a defense we need to fit our gaps better and tackle better. Our offense is playing great, and we just plan to correct everything this week against Virginia.

Is this team more mentally tough than they were last season?
Leake: I feel like this team is a lot more mentally tough. No matter what happens though, we are taking it one game at a time. If something happens will get over it and we just have to improve week to week. It's like a 7-game playoff now, and we've just got to win all of them. I think last year we pointed a lot of fingers last year when we played them. This year we aren't pointing any fingers whatsoever (after the FSU loss), we are just trying to get over it and get ready to play Virginia.

You still have a lot to play for, the team just views this as one ACC loss, right?
Leake: It's not how you begin, it's how you finish. That's what I've always been taught. We've got 7 more games, and hopefully a bowl and right now we are just thinking about going 11-2.

Was the defense a little tired after being out there for so long last Thursday?
Leake: I don't think we were tired, maybe a couple of us were. We just had bad fundamentals. The play at the end of the first half I thought I had a better angle at him, so when I ended up trying to push him out of bounds, bu instead I just pushed him in the back. It started up front a little bit some bad tackling, but we plan on improving that this week, I'm not worried about that.

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