Opening statement: "We did what we had to do to win. No matter what you think or how you feel, that's still the most important stat. It's still the only one that really matters. All those yards and points (put up by Duke), that's a pride thing. We go out there and hold them to 54 yards in the first half and we start subbing players in and before you know it, they score a bunch of points and get a bunch of yards. But we dominated the situation battle. First downs we won 68 percent of the time and won 90 percent of the time in third down…67 percent in fourth down. So, that part of it was good even with the young kids playing so much. We created field position four times. We got possession of the football across the 50-yard line four times – one on the 17, 37, 25 and 27 (yard lines). We got two touchdowns, a field goal and then one time we missed a field goal and didn't get any points out of it. Anytime you do that to create a short field for your offense, that's a good thing defensively.
"We got two turnovers which was good because we had gone two weeks without it. We dropped another one or two that we should have had and then we had two fourth-down stops. They went for it three times, one being a fake on a punt. One thing that we didn't like was that we didn't force them to punt the ball as many times. We forced them into five punting situations and they kicked four and faked one. Of course we reacted on the fake) like we are supposed to. ( Roosevelt) Lawson kid came up and made a huge play. A walk-on from Miami makes a huge play there and that's like a turnover because you gain 40 yards with field position."
Q: What youngsters in your mind stuck out as having good games?
A: "Darius McClure played well in the secondary as a third-team rover. Kenny (Ingram) struggled a little bit. He had some nice plays and gave up some nice plays. (Duke) broke that long run (for 78 yards and a score) and we had a bust, naturally. We had a man out of a gap and safety out of position that should have made the tackle. We had two guys that missed tackles. We always say if you just can get them on the ground, let us line up on defense and we will keep them out of the endzone. We missed both tackles and those were very crucial tackles. We've got to make plays like that."
Q: What is Jae Thaxton's status?
A: "Yeah, I don't know when they are going to (clear him). You know, in that situation if they don't release him than there's no use thinking about playing him. We'll just play it by ear."
Q: How much has his absence hurt your kickoff coverage?
A: Well, we can correct a lot of it if we just kick the ball. It always starts with kicking the ball where it needs to be. We've had eight touchbacks all year while some teams in the conference have 20-something. So, we'll take a look at the freshman (Graham Gano) and see if he can kick the ball in to the endzone. If you kick it deep enough, they don't bring it out. We've got to improve there so we are going to open the door to see if the freshman can do it. But it's about coverage too. We've got people out of their lanes, running around blocks, undisciplined so we've got to coach better and play better.
Q: Can you just talk a little bit about the pass interference calls against some of your corners?
A: The first one was we got beat at the line of scrimmage in our bump and run so we reach out and grab a guy, which is defensive holding and was a good call. The next time we get a double cut from a bump and run alignment and we are in perfect shape, you can't coach it any different, there's not a pro or college player any different…he takes about two steps and throws the ball and we're jamming on that second cut. It's a great defensive play and we will take that everyday. The third one, (the referee) said that (the corner) didn't look for the ball. His official's rule book must be a little different from ours – I don't remember seeing anything that said you have to be looking for the ball. We contacted him, which he never said we did and that's different, but we never teach our kids to look for the ball when they are trying to catch up. Once they are in a coverage position, we don't play the ball. Officials are going to make mistakes just like I had a couple of calls that I wish I hadn't made. But in his mind it was a penalty so he threw the flag and we live with it.
Q: What does Maryland bring to the table?
A: With a Ralph Friedgen team, you know that you are going to be in for a battle because he always is going to put you in some bad situations. You've got to be ready for so much stuff and I think that's one of the things that makes it hard because there's different types of options and different formations and different sets you get with different personnel groupings. He creates a lot of problems for you.
Q: And they have one of the best tight ends in the country in Vernon Davis. What are some of the things that he does?
A: "He's a big ole kid that can run and catch a football. He runs faster than some of our DBs. We've struggled in the past with the things that we do in covering a great tight end."
Mickey Andrews Q & A
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