Larry Scott on state of the team

Read on to see everything interim coach Larry Scott is saying about his team a few days before it hosts Georgia Tech.

Opening Statement
“Good afternoon. Obviously, I’ll start with last week. I’m very disappointed in our performance at North Carolina. We put together a pretty good week of preparation and practice. To get up there and go through a quick momentum swing in the second quarter did not bode well for us for the rest of the game. We went into a tailspin and couldn’t recover. With that being said, you get on the plane and come back and there’s a short period of time to self-evaluate everything with our players and there’s a quick turnaround to start getting ready for as different a scheme as Georgia Tech brings. You have to look at it real quick and make the changes you need to make to move forward. That’s what we did and I think the guys did a good job in the early preparation phases for Georgia Tech. We had a really good practice. They did a great job today and we are excited about the energy that they had.”

On motivating players
“I think the first and most important one starts with the individual. You must have a pride about your work, who you are and what you want to become. When things happen in life, you can’t just shut down. You have to find a way to scratch, claw and get out of it. It’s more than just about football. It’s about the person you’re developing into. The first question is a personal one for each player, coach and staff member to personally understand where we are and where we are going. You want to tap right into that. Then there is the commitment they have to each other. When you decided to become a Miami Hurricane you joined a team. As a team, you owe it to the guy on your left and the guy on your right to always make sure you’re giving it your best so that the team continues to grow and move. Those are the first two things we tried to tap into and number three is the bowl position. You’re a bowl team and you’ve worked your tail off. Now it’s about how do we become a seven-win team and then how do we become an eight-win team. It’s a daily approach for us and a game-by-game approach. We can’t get to eight without getting to seven. I think a very well positioned 8-4 Miami team would probably find itself in a good situation, but we can only control it one game at a time.”

What’s it like for a coach right now?
“It was a family decision when I got into this business. We’ve been around it and through it and kind of know what it entails when you get into this business. But if you keep the focus solely on why you got into it and your kids at home understand that Dad is a football coach and he loves developing and being around young people then they become part of it and are immersed in the culture. It’s a way of life for football coaches and families. It’s not just Dad’s job, it’s what we do as a family. They enjoy being around the players and the culture of college football. The biggest thing is that we are mentors of young people and that’s why we got into the business. Sometimes the business part of it plays a big piece to it, but if you keep focused on why you do what you do and the love you have for developing people and players it keeps you centered and balanced.”

On stopping Georgia Tech’s offense
“The option is such an assignment and alignment deal. When you know the option is coming, it’s about alignment and assignment football. There are not four verticals to defend, as well. There are not the pass concepts with posts, wheels and digs that you have to defend. When you can focus on assignment, alignment and details, it changes the whole dynamic. Sometimes defenses get caught unprepared for the speed option because you are having to defend the other 15 things they can do and it makes it a little bit more difficult. When you change the focus to just an option team, you keep the focus on what it needs to be an you’ll see different results.”

On bouncing back after the North Carolina game
“I wanted to shift the focus form games and teams to them. What do we have to do individually to handle adversity. When things aren’t going right, how do you handle it? There’s one common denominator in handling adversity. You have to come together. You have to pull together and remember the core commitment that you made to each other. We committed to always stay tight, always have each other’s back and always play together no matter what happens. We cannot fall apart and cannot become so engulfed where guys are getting frustrated and that’s what we did in the second half of that game. We want guys that are willing to fight for each other and willing to grow as a team. Now we want to try to take the focus off one particular thing and make it about handling adverse situations.”

Did you see that energy in practice today?
“I did and I saw it yesterday. You can always tell where guys’ hearts and minds are by whether they’re coming to treatments, whether they are coming to get the early installs, their body language and I sensed that we were all growing in those areas. We have a 20-hour rule in college football, so if you let stuff carry over then you’re losing time. We are moving on. We’ve got to go and that’s the message we are sending to this football team.”

On injuries after Saturday’s game
“Sunny [Odogwu] wasn’t the only guy out there in yellow, but that’s more precautionary. It’s just getting him through some soreness. It was to protect him. He has played a lot of snaps for us this year. We are coming down to the wire and we have to be smart with him. He’s going to be ready to go on Saturday.”

On the running game
“The running game has been kind of spotty for us. We are constantly addressing and trying to find the runs and surfaces where we can attack. The bottom line is to stay consistent and continuing to drive home the point to the guys up front that we are going to stick with it. I’ve been a part of games where we couldn’t move it a lick and late in the third and fourth quarter a couple runs start to pop. That’s something we are staying consistent with.”

On the struggles against North Carolina
“We have made some critical errors in areas that we shouldn’t against really good football teams. You can’t do that against a really good football team like them at 8-1. You snap the ball high over the quarterback’s head and give them a short field, you’re probably going to pay for that mistake. If you miss a field goal to put points on the board, you’re probably going to pay for that mistake. If you give up a punt return, you’re probably going to pay for that mistake. I don’t think it’s caving or giving in, I think it’s understanding that those critical errors can’t be made against really good football teams in those games.”

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