Q&A with Randy Shannon

Read on to see what head coach Randy Shannon is saying just a few days after the Wake Forest game and a few days before the Virginia game.

Opening statements…
We have a twelve o'clock game this weekend. It's our Homecoming [game] against Virginia and another conference game. We need to come out and play very well due to the fact that Virginia is a team that plays hard. In the red zone, they are not giving up touchdowns. They're giving up field goals. We need to capitalize and score touchdowns. Offensively, they have some weapons. Even though they have been banged up at quarterback, I think they do a good enough job to give themselves a chance to stay in games. For us, we have to get better as a whole unit. We have some injuries right now, but it's a part of the game. We're not the same team that we were in the first four games of the season. We had a lot of guys then that were healthy like Ryan Hill, Pat Hill, JoJo Nicolas, Eric Moncur, Ray Armstrong, Sean Spence and Jordan Futch and right now those guys are out. We have some guys on the team that need to step up. As coaches, we are going to keep grinding the other guys to step up. We are teachers and need to teach them every day and that is one thing we will do every day to finish out the season strong.

On the practice time changing [from 5:45 a.m. on Tuesday to 3 p.m.]…
For now, we are just going to practice one hour. We'll keep them fresh and right now it's all mental. There are only so many things you can see. We are going to run those same things, but we are going to go faster but a shorter practice. We did it in the NFL. Last year at this point, I thought more reps would be better, but now that we are a year older I think it will help us out to be fresher from a mental standpoint going into games.

On the injuries…
We have some guys out with injuries that take a while to come back from. We have five guys out that whenever the body wants to heal. They'll be back. For now, you don't know when they'll be back. We won't let a young man go out there that is not fully ready to go.

On fullback Pat Hill…
We'd love to have him back, but he is not ready right now.

On Virginia's starting 0-3 and going 3-2 in the last five games…
They've changed their offense from the beginning of the season. Right now, they are back to smash mouth football and some play action … a lot of short passes. That is what you'll see form them. Defensively, they do a lot of 8-man fronts. Sometimes, they'll play man coverage the whole game.

On young guys stepping up to play more…
It depends where the injuries are and what position. Everybody is stepping up. We have seen Jeremy Lewis, Curtis Porter and Micanor Regis - a true freshman and two true sophomores. The only way they'll get better is by playing. They're not where they're supposed to be, but we are going to keep coaching them to get them there.

On the linebackers and pass coverage…
We don't have a lot of linebackers right now. We have three on the roster that are playing. It's not the linebackers fault. It's everybody. Depending on the package, we can have more defensive backs in, and I was pleased with how that went Saturday.

On linebacker Ramon Buchanan
He did okay. He knows he is working to get where he needs to be. He filled in and made some tackles and some plays, but we want a lot more out of him. He knows that and that's a reason why he came to the University of Miami.

On the tight ends and Tervaris Johnson
They have been doing a great job. If that tight end [Tervaris Johnson] did not protect the way he did on that fourth down play, we would have lost the game. It isn't always catching the ball, but what they do to help us win the game. On the rushing touchdown, he hit the defensive end then came off and hit the linebacker. Sometimes they may be catching the ball, but this game it was time to block and they did a great job. Tervaris is a surprise. He's a big guy that is fast. It took him time to develop and grow. He was probably the MVP of last game. With his catch, his block and his protection that got us 21 points. He has done a great job and also had great spirit on the field.

On the pass protection…
It's everybody not just the offensive line.

On Virginia's quarterback situation…
[Jameel Sewell] has been hurt a lot. If he is feeling healthy, he'll play. He can hurt you with his feet, so you need to know what they want to do scheme wise.

On giving up so many yards…
I'm more concerned about points. Seven points in the second half gives you a chance to win.

On the wide receivers, specifically Thearon Collier
That is probably the one position that is healthiest and that is also the most productive. Every one of those four or five guys has been making plays. Thearon is making plays when he gets his opportunities.

On running back Damien Berry
He's been a good goal-line and short yardage runner for us. When he gets his opportunities, he capitalizes. I'm not surprised by his performance.


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