Coker Sunday Press Conference

Head Coach Larry Coker talked about the 31-21 victory against the Virginia Cavaliers yesterday.

Opening Statement
It was good to get the win. Our staff did a great job. They worked extremely hard. We were obviously down for a couple of weeks and to come back and beat somebody good. As I said we needed to beat somebody good and we beat somebody good last night and I am really pleased about that.

On offense certainly Gore and Parrish were huge contributors. Of course Gore having a career night against one of the top defenses in the league. It was good to see Talib Humphrey step, he's been injured in and out, and step up and have some huge plays for us and contribute.

Defensively we were pieced together. We had some guys that were out. Romeo Davis played a lot, Carlos Armour, Anthony Reddick, Jon Beason, and Devin Hester. A lot of really young inexperienced players. For the most part they played pretty well. The most disappointing thing defensively was with 3:00 minutes to go, the long quick drive where Hagans beat us down the boundary. That was a big play that we shouldn't have given up. We played hard with a lot of heart.

Can you talk about the 4th and 4 play at the end of the game?
Well the 4th and 4 we first called for a field goal and I was going to call a timeout. (My team) did not know I was going to call a timeout and that was a mistake. With the field goal coming up short and even if we throw an interception, if we tackle the guy time is going to lapse and stop with a change of possession anyway. Time wise that wasn't that big a factor. I felt strongly that Roscoe Parrish was going to get open, you can't cover the guy one on one. The other thing is you have flashback of experiences. I am the offensive coordinator and we have a conservative play called against an outstanding Penn State team, who has no timeouts and less than a minute, but they go 80 yards for a touchdown to win the game. It was one of those gut feelings I guess you'd say… The timeout was going to be called, the kick was not going to count. I was going to call a timeout before the ball was kicked.

Talk about Peattie's struggles this season
Well, we hit some last year and won games, we missed some this year and lost two. The wind was pretty strong coming off the hill in the opening and throughout the course of the game. But the wind died down (at the end) and I don't think the wind was really that big a factor. We had a great drive to start the game, we had the ball over ten minutes in the first and fourth quarter. It was a great drive, and that is demoralizing when you get a great drive like that and you get nothing out of it. Especially on the road against a good football team.

What about all the dropped passes?
Yeah that is somewhat uncharacteristic of us. I count seven dropped passes that were right on the money. One was in the two minute drill that probably would have allowed us to score late in the half. Of course Lances drop was an easy walk in touchdown. We've taken very strong steps forward with our receivers, but there was some steps back Saturday.

Do you give any credence to the notion that they had cold hands?
I don't think that is a factor at all. It really wasn't that cold out there, it was 53 at kickoff. If we are not tough enough to catch the ball in 50 degree weather than please. So I am not going to give any credence to that at all.

Talk about the impact Talib Humphrey had.
Well what I have seen all year is that he hasn't given up. It has been a tough time for him, he's had some injuries, but what I've seen from him is a guy who has practiced extremely well. If anyone has to take a cue on how to right your ship, just watch Roscoe Parrish. The guy is flying around in practice and making all kinds of unbelievable catches. So then what happens on Saturdays? I tell my team lets watch this guy play. Talib has been the same way. He has been a very solid player and has been a good blocker for us during the week in practice. He's got good hands, he really catches the ball well.

On the ACC battle for first place:
No doubt we need to win out and that is all we can worry about and control. We put ourselves in this situation. We are somewhat in the driver's seat. We are not driving a Bentley, but we are driving a Mercedes, or at least a Chevy Impala. We are in the driver's seat right now and the only thing we can control is what we do, we got to win out. That is not going to be easy, we know that.

On the secondary:
The secondary is all nicked up, yet they put their injuries aside and still went out there. Well I think the thing that we talked about is for us to win this game, we are going to have to be tough enough to win it, if we are not tough enough to win it, than let's not kid ourselves. We are not going to play injured players, but the guys need to step up. All those guys really stepped up and pieced themselves together and gave what they could.

With your backs catching 7 passes, was that anything designed in the offense?
It was designed because of their defense. The 3-4 defense, they do give you some of those creases. The thing we had to do was we felt like we had to make positive plays. We talked about the 3 and 4 yard runs, we talked about throwing completions to the backs. They play a lot of two deep zone, which they don't give you a lot of vertical passes down the field. If we can throw it to the backs and they make a 4 or 5 yard catch and turn it into a 7 or 8 yard gain… That was somewhat a design of what they give you on defense.

How did Beason and Romeo Davis play yester day?
I think they really took a step up. Romeo I think is going to be a really good player. I think Willie Williams, James Bryant, and Romeo have a chance to become really good players. Romeo did a very nice job yesterday. Beason is getting better with experience. He is just learning the position, I think he is very talented, it is just a matter of keeping on that learning curve.

With all the young players playing is it hard to not look at 2005 and see how good the team will be?
Well it's really not. We are not building for the future. We are going to try to beat Wake Forest. In reality when you look at it, there are some talented players and younger players that are going to be factors in the future. I think the program is in good hands with the players we have here and I think we will have an outstanding recruiting class this year.

Did you notice Frank Running more determined this week?
Frank is really starting to assert himself. In the Clemson game, when he took a shot on the knee, he talked to me about how structurally sound the knee was. He said his knees from two years ago wouldn't have held up. Structurally his knees are better now than they have ever been. He is finally getting into that rhythm, he understands that and feels better about that. He is a very determined runner and a phenomenal football player. He's starting to get back into it pretty good.

Did being the underdog help motivate this team?
I don't even know if they knew we were the underdog. We didn't talk about it. When the University of Miami has their backs to the wall, normally we come out swinging. I think that motivated them. We have been used to pretty good things being said about us. We wanted to get back on track and good feeling back of winning, the pride of the program and the pride of being who we can be. All those were motivators.

How did Devin Hester play at cornerback?
He played pretty well. He is getting better each week, just with the experience. Tim Walton has given us a good package that (Devin) feels good with. He has done a nice job here.

Why didn't Devin get in the game more on offense?
Well (we thought) lets give him a chance to be good at something. You have to prepare for that guy. I don't know what Virginia did throughout the week to prepare for number 4 out of the backfield, at wide receiver. But I am sure they spent some time on it. That accomplished something for us even if he didn't play any offense.

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