Ted Roof Talks About Tennessee

Before his Blue Devils face off against the Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday, interim head coach Ted Roof met with the media.

Opening Comments:

We've got a heck of a challenge this week going into Knoxville to play a very explosive team. We've had a good week of preparation, and we need it because they are very big, very fast, very talented, and very well coached. Overall we're looking forward to a big challenge this weekend.

On last week's enthusiasm:

It's something we have to sustain to have a chance to win. We have to do that to have a chance to win, we don't have a choice when it comes to that.

On his audition for the head coaching job:

A lot of that process is out of my control, and I can't worry about it. What I can do is get my team ready to play, and that's what I am going to. This may sound very coachish, but that's how we are approaching this. We aren't going to focus on all the scenarios and ‘what ifs', because if we do that we'll drive ourselves bananas.

On Mike Schneider and his role this week:

Mike is doing fine, but the thing we need this weekend more than anything else is balance on the offense. We need to establish a run game and then pick our shots with the passing game in order to control the clock and keep their offense off the field.

On preparing the team for Neyland Stadium:

It's a great venue and an exciting atmosphere. We have to have our guys enjoy being in that kind of environment. We cannot worry about how many people they have in the stands, they aren't going to run, block, or tackle anyone. We have to worry about the guys in the white helmets with the T's on them.

On facing some of the nation's best quarterbacks:

We'll have faced three of the best after this weekend in Schab, Rivers, and Clausen. Clausen reminds me of Rivers because of his size. We've got to go in higher with him, because if we go low he can still deliver the ball because of his strength. The one common trait all three of those guys is that they are all terrific leaders who really rally their teams around them.

On young players who have caught Roof's eyes:

Chris Dapolito did a good job last week moving the ball around and taking care of it for us. Our tight end, Ben Patrick is also doing everything we ask of him. We think he's got a bright future ahead of him. John Talley, one of our cornerbacks played his best game of his career last week. We feel we've really got a good young nucleus here that we need to continue to bring along as the season rolls on.

On what he saw from Tennessee last week:

Their explosiveness – they can rack up points in a hurry and they've got big play potential. They can pound you on the ground when they need to pound you. Then when you put more people in the box to stop that, they can spread you out and throw it to their burners on the outside.

Defensively they see the ball well and attack it very fast. They also really run very well, which allows them to get after the passer very quickly. That's why we need to have balance this week. They also have a very good kicking game.

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