"Our football team should be improved. Our objective is to get back where we were which was on the top and we haven't been there in ten years. We think we're heading in that direction. We made a slight improvement last year and we must make improvements this year. Offensively we have a bunch of them coming back and defensively we lost more heavily. Our biggest question mark will be in the secondary where we lost three out of four starters. If we stay healthy, I think we will be an improved football team."
Is Miami a game you would rather play later in the season?
"I think Miami would rather play that game another day. We had another game scheduled that day but ABC and the conference might have wanted the game and just insisted on that day so we both decided to play it. Playing Labor Day is a great opportunity for both. I think if you talk to both coaches you'd find they'd rather open with a team not as strong."
Is that game exciting for your fans?
"You know it's a great national game and that surprised me. It has really had a lot of exposure down through the years. I guess it was back in the late eighties and nineties when we were playing for the national championship that the winner of that game seven or eight times played for the national championship. The appeal of it is still there."
Talk about what the addition of Virginia Tech has meant to the conference.
"They've ended up at the top two of the last three or three of the last five? Frank Beamer has got a strong program. It's tougher now than when we first got in the conference. It's much tougher to get the crown than when we first got in."
Why would you say it's tougher now?
"Everybody has gotten better. They got Florida State in the ACC to improve the brand of football and I think every team in there has gotten better. We haven't had the success in the two thousands that we had in the nineties when we won more games than anybody in history for ten years. We haven't come close to that since then. I think a lot of it is not because we've gotten that bad, but the conference has gotten so much better."
Commissioner (John) Swofford mentioned that he thinks the conference is as good as any from top to bottom but they lack the marquee team to get national attention. Do you agree with that?
"We do. If Miami could get back where they were and if we could get back where we were, and if the other teams like Virginia Tech and Boston College keep doing like they're doing, our conference would be as strong as anybody's. Miami and we have not been the elite that we were the previous twenty years."
What do you attribute that to?
"To me, it's recruiting. When I look at us, I try to figure out why haven't we done as good as we did then? We haven't done a good job of evaluating personnel as we did back in those days. We're doing a better job right now. We're beginning to get the players now to put us back up there."
How important are your camps to get recruits?
"It's a good thing. We've had it three years. This year we've had over a hundred boys come. We had three or four commitments out of it. It's good. It has been good. It's been productive."
Are you resigned to losing the forfeited games?
"No, I'm still thinking that they will come to their senses. Somebody doesn't understand what's happening in this world. They're just going to kill a good dadgum competition. If they take those games away, that game is over. They don't have a darn thing right about it. They might do it. I hope they don't. In the past when they sentenced Oklahoma and Georgia Tech to that, they changed their mind. I'm hoping they'll do it again."
If they don't, how much will that bother you?
"It won't bother me one bit. I don't live and die on stuff like that. I'd love to have it. I'd love for my children and my grandchildren to be able to say that that's their old man. If it happens, I won't lose a second of sleep."