Jonathan Vilma Q&A

Jonathan Vilma is a senior linebacker from Coral Gables High School. He is the leader of the defense and following a difficult loss to Virginia Tech he will be counted on even more. Vilma leads the team in tackles this year and has led the team in tackles the previous two seasons. He took time to discuss the Virginia Tech game, the mindset of the team, and the defense.

How important is your role as a leader right now?

It is very important. We don't want to get in a situation where everyone thinks ‘oh we lost one, it's over' and then lose three or four more games on top of that. I know there are only so many things that I can say, but I am going to do my best to keep the team together.

Is this a game that you have to keep in your mind or do you let it go?

We have already played and we just have to get it out of our mind as soon as possible. We have four games left and we are still not out of the championship hunt. We just have to let this game go and move on.

How would you explain the mood of the team right now?

The mood right now is hard to say. We have never been in that situation before. We'll see how it goes tomorrow when we have full pads on.

What do you anticipate the practices being like this week?

I anticipate them to be very intense. Its not a secret what we have to do. We have to go out and get ready.

Is there anything different from the loss following Virginia Tech compared to the loss in the Fiesta Bowl to Ohio State?

It's real different. With Ohio State, we had six or seven months to think about it, move on, forget about it, and go to our next back. This time I don't think we even had a day. By the time we got back it was six in the morning. I don't even know if we had a day to get over it. But we do have to get over it if we want to keep winning.

What are your thoughts on some of the cheap shots that your teammates took such as Kevin Beard and Santonio Thomas?

I saw both incidents and for whatever reason the refs didn't see it. That's it, no comment.

Will it be tough to play without defensive tackles Santonio Thomas and Orien Harris?

No we have Kareem Brown and Larry Anderson. Just because they have not played very much does not mean they are not good players. They have been practicing hard the whole time, but they just haven't been in the games to play. This is a chance for them to step up.

What are your thoughts on the pass defense holding teams to just 65 yards passing over the past two games?

Our pass defense has been great and remarkable. I would not want to pass on our secondary. We have great guys back there. They are getting the job done. As long as we get the job done up front, we are going to be all right.

Is there a concern that there is too much of a burden on the defense to carry the team?

No there is not a concern. We are supposed to be a good defense so that is how we are going to play. We can't worry about what the offense is doing. We are going to keep pushing and keep fighting and be a good defense.

Have you said anything to the offense because they feel responsible for the game's result on Saturday?

You have to think positively. We don't hold a grudge against them. That's not how our team works and that's not how our team operates. We know that we did some things wrong defensively, they did some things wrong on offense, and special teams did some things wrong. Across the board we have to keep going.

What are your thoughts on Florida State being ahead of Miami in the polls even though you beat them at their place?

That's life. We should not have lost. According to the polls you are only as good as your last game.

Is it frustrating to know that Pittsburgh controls its destiny for the Big East title?

It's not too frustrating. We still have to play Pittsburgh. No matter what happens, Virginia Tech has head-to-head with them also. They have to win against us to win the championship.

What are areas that you as a linebacker are concerned with against Tennessee?

Their running game. They will probably do the same thing that Virginia Tech did, just run the ball and run the ball. Their quarterback is a good passer so it's not going to be anything different.

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