Coker Press Conference

Larry Coker addressed the media in his weekly press conference as the team prepares for Virginia Tech on Saturday. Coker discussed the play of Brock Berlin, the status of Santonio Thomas and more.

Opening statement:
"Good morning. It is good to be back in the routine. The week off came at a good time for us and we were able to rest our team a bit. We came back on Sunday and guys were moving around extremely well. We have a tough challenge Saturday against Virginia Tech who is playing extremely well. I think they are on a seven game winning streak. All of these statistics are being thrown around, but the ones I pay close attention to are scoring defense, scoring offense, and turnovers. Fortunately for us we are doing well in those categories also. There are certainly some fun matchups there. They are extremely well coached and this is my 11th time as a coach facing a Frank Beamer team. Without question they are very good. Will the off week help us? I think it will, but it depends on how we use it. When you are playing well sometimes you like to stay in rhythm, but we will know more Saturday if the off week helped us."

On the reason behind the improvement of QB Brock Berlin this year:
"The big thing is his personal makeup and his attitude. All of those type things add up. Had he not had the character he has he would have never made it through the tough times. I think we realized as a coaching staff that he was only a rookie last year playing only one year here. He did have some tough times, but we did win 10 games and the Orange Bowl. His work ethic and unselfishness has really paid off this year. I think we have seen a great deal of maturity and growth from Brock Berlin this year."

On Berlin as the potential ACC Player of the Year:
"I think he should be mentioned in that. I think Bryan Randall from Virginia Tech should be in there. I think there are several worthy candidates and I think Brock deserves to be amongst the top leaders. Certainly if you look at our team, he would get my vote."

On Brock not wanting to come out of games when hurt:
"He is a tough player and I think he knows we depend on him. I think Brett Favre is his idol and I think you see those characteristics of toughness that Favre has in Brock. I think he tries to emulate those things. Favre always talks about not letting his teammates down and I think Brock has that same mentality.

On Berlin being booed by Miami fans:
"I am really disappointed in the player because I know how hard they work. I see them every day in practice and I was really disappointed for him because I don't think he deserves that or any player. The coaches make those decisions. The fans aren't there every day and see every snap. That is why we have coaches and that is why they make those decisions. Not that the fans aren't right, they may be right. Again that is what we are there for. You don't want to be the will of the wisp. Get off of the fence. Make a decision. When you make a decision it is the right decision and make it right."

On athletic quarterbacks giving Miami problems in the past and facing Bryan Randall:
"He is pretty athletic, isn't he? He creates problems for a lot of people and he will create problems for us. We will have to swarm the football and work to contain him. He is playing very well right now. You look at his career and this is his fourth year in that offense. And he has done very well with it. There is no doubt about it that he will create a lot of problems. The thing you see too is his leadership ability. Their team has really rallied around him much like our team has with Brock Berlin."

On Virginia Tech giving Miami troubles over the years:
"There is no doubt about it. They have probably won more games than we have since I have been here. We have been on top lately winning two of the last three or three of the last four, or whatever it is. I know we lost last year. They have been a very, very difficult team to beat. The thing that has happened with Virginia Tech is they have built upon their success with special teams to be sound in all areas."

On if you have talked to the team about a revenge factor from last year:
"No we really don't. We have addressed the mistakes we made and how to correct them. Turnovers will be big in this game. If we turn the ball over like we did last year we will have a difficult time winning. If we drop touchdown passes we will have a tough time winning the game. I think we need to realize that could have been a 10-7 game at halftime last year. Not only the turnovers, but also the turnovers for touchdowns. The revenge factor is not there from what I am a aware of."

On if playing with revenge is beneficial:
"To me I don't think that is a good way to play. Revenge does not last long when you get into the course of a game. You get hit in the mouth and have you responsibilities you have to take care of. I don't think that is how we are going to play. We have to stay with the progress. It is going to be a long afternoon. I hope they don't even turn the scoreboard on. I don't even want to know the score. I just want to play until we win or they win. That is the way I want us to approach the game."

On young players filling in for injured players:
"We have some young players, but this is not a young time of the season. This is game number 11 so these guys have some experience. They are coming along. We will find out a lot about ourselves on Saturday because this is a tough football team. I expect Rocky McIntosh and Tavares Gooden both to be back. We wont use any excuses that we are young and still growing—although, hopefully we are still growing. It is not young any more, it is time to step up."

On the play of FS Anthony Reddick this season:
"He has done some good things. I like him because you can chew him out and he just smiles and says yes coach, then corrects it. He doesn't go in the tank and is a talented football player and I think he will be very good. Again he is a true freshman, but we treat him like a sophomore now. He has 10 games under his belt. I have been impressed with his attitude."

On the status of DT Santonio Thomas:
"We will know more today and tomorrow at practice. He wants to play badly and we would love to have him play. If he can help us for 6, 10, or 18 plays that would be a tremendous plus."

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

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