Coker Sunday Press Conference

On Sunday morning Larry Coker met with the media to discuss yesterday's victory over Wake Forest. The Hurricanes are now 8-2 on the season and ranked 9th in the coaches poll. They enjoy a bye week this week before returning to action December 4 against Virginia Tech.

On the timing of the bye week:
I think the bye week is at a good time for us. I do think we are playing awfully right now and getting better. I think the players are looking forward to it. With the erratic schedule that we have had. I think we will come back refreshed, energized and will play the best we can for a very good Virginia Tech team.

On if the Florida State loss will affect the team:
I don't know. I would think it would. We will meet today and practice today. That pretty much defines everything now. It does put things under our control instead of having a lot of what ifs. I think it puts things right where we want it, actually.

On getting the team back on track:
The other irony is Boston College is having a good year in our old league. It is a bit or irony.

On not playing QB Kyle Wright:
The reason why we didn't play him yesterday was that he was not full-speed. I think from the standpoint of he hasn't practiced that much. To put him in and he has to scramble and then we lose him for Virginia Tech. We will be playing with two quarterbacks. If Brock gets hurt, then you'd only have one. So we really need to have three and that was the bottom-line decision for us. I feel very confident in Derrick. He has been terrific this year and I would like to see him go out on a positive not this year.

On if DT Santonio Thomas will be ready for Virginia Tech:
I believe he will be ready for Virginia Tech. He wanted to play and be cleared to play this week. He wasn't cleared to play and hopefully we get him back. People don't really realize how much he means to our football team. He is a good football player and a very steady leader. Plus, we had to move Baraka inside from defensive end. Virginia Tech is a very physical team. They are a big, powerful team and we need some people that can stand up inside.

On if playing a familiar team is an advantage:
Like we had against Virginia, we had never played them before. Also, having them at home can be a plus for us. All of these things we have to make them be advantages for us. It depends how we handle our business this week, how we study them, how we handle our weight room duties, and all of those things. We have to handle our business and do things well. Just to go through extra time wont help us, we have to take advantage of the time.

On the wide receivers stepping up after dropping a number of passes last week:
It bothered me and it was a disappointment. More importantly, it bothered them. They felt bad and asked, what are we going to do about it? They took it personally. I don't know if they did anything a lot different other than focus and concentrate more. They did do a lot of after hours work and stayed on their own. I think the protection helped out too to allow us to throw the ball.

On the seasons of RB Andrew Johnson and RB Charlie Jones:
I think they both will be good. Also, Derron who we redshirted this year. The thing in deciding if they would play this year was if they would help us on special teams and would we have to use guys if we had only two guys. We really like their speed. Frank has really came on and played well and we didn't know what he could do this year. What we didn't want to happen is if we were five games into the season and if someone gets hurt and we had to throw someone in there. Also, the decision if they play four years and have that great career and are out in three. If they can play an additional year we will play them.

On QB Brock Berlin not having any near interceptions yesterday:
No there wasn't really. Dan Werner and the offensive coaches really had a good plan against Wake Forest. Plans are real nice, but you have to execute and Brock did that yesterday. He has a lot of confidence and trusting his protection more. There weren't any near misses yesterday.

On taking off a redshirt at this point in the season:
He really was. When Sinorice is healthy he is our fastest receiver. He really is starting to come into his own. I think he gets some coaching from his brother about how handle himself and handle the game. For Brock I think the worst throw of his day was the first throw of the game to Sinorice against the wind. Sinorice came back to make a nice play on the ball. Sinorice is one of those players, like Santana, that just loves playing. He does everything with a smile on his face saying lets go play. That is a lot like Philip Buchanon when he was here. I think Antrel Rolle has that attitude and you really like that.

On the status of the five year eligibility rule:
I really haven't heard anything on that or the status on that. That is a situation for him because we had the assumption it was a done deal. My understanding is that basketball was strongly in favor of it and when basketball is strongly in favor of it, it is probably going to happen. But now they have backed off a bit and not as in favor of it. That will be interesting to see how that shakes out.

On the defense controlling games the last two weeks:
The one thing is that we have played better as a team. Our offense was making first downs and now our defense is getting better. The thing that is standing out is their discipline. I don't know the stats, but the all of the runs, misdirections, sweeps—all of those things work on a undisciplined defense. If you get isolated in one-on-one situations, you have to do that. Randy had a good plan in this game because we always had somebody free to tackle and allowed to pursue the guy. It is the discipline and players doing their job. I'll say this. We have pounded these guys pretty good in practice and I think we have developed a mentality they need to have. And they are playing hard. Very, very hard.

On where you watched the Florida State/Florida game and your thoughts:
I was at home. I just felt like the game was one of those games that was in the air. It was in doubt until the final interception. The thing I saw when Florida State had the really good kickoff return, I thought they were right in this thing. I know they have the players to win the game. It wasn't really an anti-Florida State thing. I was happy for Ron Zook and his staff to be quite honest because of the tough situation. I was probable more pleased with what he has gone through than probably myself. I am very happy for our team. I think it clarifies things. When somebody beats us or we beat them, that is what it comes down to. We had beat a very fine Florida State team. We are really where we need to be.

On if it easier to focus on the game when you don't have to worry about outside influences:
It puts the perspective back on the University of Miami where it always seems to be. Where you are playing a big game for high stakes. That has what it has boiled down to and that is what we want it to come down to. We had to win in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech to go to the national championship game. Last year we were in Pittsburgh, in the frozen tundra. If we lose the game, they win the league and if we win, we go to the Orange Bowl. It is where we want to be.

On the play of the linebackers yesterday:
I think Leon made some nice plays yesterday. Also, Jon Beason continues to get better. Those are two guys that I am happy for. Roger McIntosh did not play yesterday. I was concerned about our linebackers yesterday. Rocky is one of our better athletes and we didn't have him in. The effort was outstanding and their discipline was much, much better.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com.

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