How is the confidence of the team now?
"Good. We are just getting ready to go back to work and prepare for Houston. We need to put the past behind us because there is nothing you can do about that. We are coming off a good bye week and we are ready to go."
Have you heard any of the criticism recently of the team?
"Not really. I personally don't read the papers too much or watch too much of the local news. As far as blocking it out, I don't really surround myself with it. We need to set that stuff aside and focus on our goals."
The season is still not over for you, because the ACC Championship is still on the table, can you talk about that?
"There is still everything on the table left for us. We can still obtain an ACC Championship and go to a BCS Bowl Game. But, for us to get there, we need to take it one game at a time. We have to win Houston and go from there."
How important is it as a senior to keep the team focused?
"The seniors definitely have to keep all the guys minds in the right spot. We can't get ahead of ourselves and look to the games in future weeks down the line. This is the team we are playing this week, lets focus on them and go from there."
Do you think it is fair all the scrutiny Coker has come under recently?
"Do I think it's fair? That comes with the job. A lot of people out there are going to speculate on who is on the hot seat and who is doing good. Stuff like that you can't really control unless you play perfect. With every team in the country, there will be people nay-saying and at the drop of a hat, cheering them on the next week. It is not really fair, but you have to take it with a grain of salt and move on."
Does Coker's situation make you want to play harder for him?
"I think personally, I play with a lot of heart and as hard as I can. It makes no difference that he is in a tough spot. It adds a little bit, but to say play even harder is hard to imagine."
What would you attribute the team's problems during the second half to?
"So far, with the two division one teams we have played, we haven't done well in the second half. I think we just have to come out and stay fired up. We go into the locker not as fired up as in the beginning in the game. Against FSU and Louisville, we came out swinging and did pretty good in the beginning, but then just trickled off. Which is different than in the past because in the past we have had slow starts and then came around at the end. We have to figure out a way to come out swinging and keep swinging all the way through."
What goes on at halftime?
"At halftime, we go in the locker room and talk about what we did bad and what we did good, and different blitzes and plays. We just kind of summarize the second half and then game plan for the second half to see if we need to make any changes."
Do you make many adjustments at halftime?
"Not really. The changes have been tweaking things a little bit to what defenses have given us. We are not changing the game plan totally. It is hard to understand the problems in the second half when I am ready to go, but the team is not functioning how we want it to function. Me, Kyle, and Greg are trying to figure out the problem."
Could you have imagined how important this Houston game would be at the beginning of the season?
"Every game is important now. I hate to sound cliché, but every game is huge. We have to go out there and play our best and win."
Do you get concerned that the defense feeds off of the offense's inability to produce?
"I think we are both trying to feed off of each other. When we come back to the sideline after a three and out, we are going, damn, the defense is going back there again. We try to say, look, lets keep a drive going and keep the defense off the field and keep them rested. But, there is a change of emotion when the offense or defense is not doing well. Its like, come on guys, lets not let them down. It works both ways, there is a feeding off of each other."
It seemed like after the Louisville game in the locker room, you guys were mad. Do you still sense that from the team now?
"It was like the final straw. You hate to see a loss bring that out in a team. I see what you are saying, but on the other hand, the anger was due to the fact that we lost. I definitely hope that it is the final straw and that is it. Part of it was just a very upsetting time. I didn't really take too much in while in the locker room because I was too pissed off to be honest with you."
David Lake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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