MINI BOBBY BOWDEN Q&A WITH THE MEDIA
Opening statement: "We had a goal line scrimmage down there and they tied offense versus the defense. The offense scored twice and the defense stopped them twice. Pretty intense…we play that intense Saturday we ought to be alright. Pretty good practice today."
Q: With all the games that Virginia has lost and the injuries, is this a kind of game that might be taken for granted?
A: "That's the way you get upset. That's exactly why you get upset. I nearly would rather play someone coming in off a win than to have a loss because the one way they can make up for it is by beating us. They've done that once in the past so I expect to get their best shot. Where we are right now, we better play our best game Saturday or we'll be asking for trouble. Wake Forest is a darn good example of that…we could never shake them, could never shake them. Virginia is about good or better than Wake Forest."
Q: Do you take some comfort in the fact that Drew (Weatherford) has had to make key plays in practically every game that he has played?
A: "You have to say that he's had good preparation. You'd have to say that he's been exposed to some very good problems and he's come out on top…we have come out on top. You will see more and more and more. Just like Wake Forest, I don't think they've run hardly any two-back offense until they played us the other day. So you see something every game. A lot of people put in stuff that they haven't done before to confuse you so he's seen a lot of different looks and they are capable of more. Their defense is different from anybody we have played yet in style."
Q: Were Ernie (Sims) and Trevor (Ford) able to go through all of practice today?
A: "No, they were there and did some running but did not take part in any of the contact."
Q: Do you know their status yet for Saturday?
A: "I don't know yet. I would think Ernie would be ready but the other I am not sure about."
Q: With the offensive line now missing Matt (Meinrod) are you down to your bare minimum of guys?
A: "Well, there's other shifts that you could make but you sure would not like to make them. You'd hate to have to make them. You're in to your reserves now, your in to your backups. You just have to hope that you stay healthy the rest of the way."
LEWIS READY TO HAVE HIS NUMBER CALLED
As reported yesterday, offensive line coach Mark McHale said that he hopes to give redshirt freshman Cornelius Lewis some extra playing time behind new starting right guard John Frady. McHale has been pleased with the development of the Jacksonville native and wants to reward him with a more prominent role now that the team has suffered a hit to the depth of the unit.
Lewis maintains that preparation for his new role is the same but the fact that you are definitely heading into the ballgame Saturday makes the mental aspect of practice that much more important.
"It's the same preparation," Lewis said. "I am preparing like I was starting, but you do take practice a little more seriously now. You have to try even harder to get everything right at practice."
So far this season, the 6-foot-4 athlete has been a mainstay as the Tribe's second team RG. With the injury sustained to Meinrod, however, Frady was moved into the starting spot from his LG position.
The swapping of positions may seem to be a knock on Lewis, but that's not the case at all as McHale wants to go with experience first.
"Before his injury I was supposed to be second team and Frady was at left guard and backing up the center," Lewis said. "But when Meinrod went down (Coach McHale) wanted to get someone in there with some game time experience. That's the reason that Frady is starting but coach told me that he's going to get me in there every third series so I am excited about that."
-Ernie Sims stated after practice that his left knee that has been bothering him was injured not by contact but rather by running on it funny. He said he fully expects to play on Saturday.
- Defensive end Anthony Kelly sat out for the second day. He will not be playing this weekend with a bad hip.
Long before G Matt Meinrod was sidelined by a broken fibula and dislocated ankle, offensive ling coach Mark McHale had a contingency plan in place.
The same is true for every other position on the line.
"I did that in the spring," McHale said. "I wanted to find out who could play what."
With reserve C John Frady, who cross-trained at right guard during spring practice, moving to the guard slot vacated by Meinrod, redshirt freshman C Dumaka Atkins will back-up starter David Castillo.
If something were to happen to Castillo, Frady would remain at right guard while Atkins was rotated into the first-string.
"I think (McHale) has done a real good job of brining (Atkins) along," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "(McHale) brought him real slow and now it looks like (Atkins) is pretty much healed."
In the off-season, Atkins underwent a series of shoulder surgeries that limited his involvement in practice and games. McHale said they didn't want to accelerate Atkins return because of the fear that he might aggravate his shoulder again.
"After I got through those first snaps against the Citadel, I felt a lot better," Atkins said. "I can still fire it, but (I don't have) the same endurance in that shoulder."
Injured players Ernie Sims (knee sprain) and Trevor Ford (neck) practiced lightly with the team Tuesday, able to participate mostly in conditioning.
Bowden said he expects Sims to be ready for Saturday's game at Virginia, but he's uncertain on whether Ford will be available.
SIGNS OF PROMISE
Quarterback Drew Weatherford has Bowden resting easy.
Either battling from behind or holding a lead, Weatherford has shown a knack for doing what's asked of him.
Weatherford has faced different looks from nearly every defense he's played against, and in most cases he's made the proper adjustments to manage the game.
"He's had good preparation," Bowden said. "He's been exposed to some very good problems and he's come out on top. We've come out on top."
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