Looking forward to playing our last road game of the year, and playing against a very good football team in Boston College, very physical team, best running back that we've seen on the season and statistically leads the league in about every offensive category a rusher can.
The number of touches he gets, but what he does after contact, you can tell that they're playing hard as a football team. It's going to be a great challenge for us.
We've come off of a game that we played extremely well in until a very short period of time. It was a crazy finish. We were up 20-17 in the fourth quarter, and then 21 points go up on the board without our defense on the field. So a lot of our position groups did improve in the game, but turnovers and special teams play cost us. So there were some good things to take off the tape, and obviously the finish is the thing that we've got to improve upon.
Our seniors have come back and led our team in practice this week. We've had a good week of preparation and look forward to the challenge when we go to Chestnut Hill.
I was curious. You mentioned the seniors, but the mentality of the team overall? You guys can still get to a Bowl game. There are still definitely things to play for. Are you concerned at all that they're down before they're out?
Not at all. In the locker room, I mean, look, we play Duke who is a really good team. I think everyone would agree they're having a very good season. We've played them as good as we could up until those plays I mentioned coming off of a tough loss to our rival. We forced four turnovers on defense. We returned the punt for a touchdown, ran for 180 yards and we lost. There are a lot of good things that happened in that game, and it's just the finish in the fourth quarter.
Our guys know how close we are. Every loss but one, the Florida State game, we were either tied, ahead by a field goal or just behind by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. We just haven't finished games. A lot of that has been our quarterback problems we've had from a health standpoint. I mean, Pete had his shoulder thing. Brandon had his foot thing, just the continuity.
Our guys know, and nobody's pointing fingers at them. We're supporting them. We know they're trying to do everything they can to help us finish the game.
You mentioned the health problems at quarterback. How about on the defensive line? What's that look like going into this week?
: Well, Cato's back. He's been playing and playing well for us. A.J. Ferguson still remains out with the knee, and we hope to get him back for Senior Day.
Forrest West was back. He practiced all week for us, so we'll have him back.
And Carlos had a family emergency last week. Unfortunately his brother back home was shot, so we did not have him last week, Carlos Gray, so he flew home during the weekend, and he's back with us. His brother is in stable condition. So we've had a lot of things going on.
Knicks and bumps and an off-the-field thing there that took Carlos out of the rotation. We should have everybody back with the exception of A.J. for our game.
You mentioned that you're going to see a heavy dose of Andre Williams.
: You bet.
How do you get your defense ready for a back with that kind of power and surprising speed when he gets open too?
: Well, the tough thing about him is he's better as the game goes on. So you can get a false sense of security that you're playing him well and then he busts one out on you in the late third early fourth quarter. Last week his last two drives he played his best football.
You challenge him, and obviously the tape doesn't lie. So we're seeing him on film, and the schemes you run regardless whether you're playing a 4-3, 3-4 or up front, you've got to get guys off blocks and get multiple hats to the football because a lot of times the first or second guy doesn't get him down.
Have you seen anybody that you've played against this season who is similar in any respects or is he kind of unique?
: He's unique because of how many times they feed the ball to him. It's amazing how healthy he is with the carries he's had. It says a lot about his training.
But Louisiana Tech the first game of the year they had a tremendous tailback. Since then it's really been more of a by-committee season at that position. He's been by far head and shoulders the best tailback we've played.
I just you played Duke last week on Senior Day for them this is Senior Day at Boston College. As "Coach of the Year", that's obviously emotional times for home teams. Does that make it tougher?
: Oh, I don't know. I try not to worry about the things I can't control. You know they're sitting there in that locker room talking about finishing at home for their seniors and that's a rallying cry for every team in the country on that day. It just adds to the emotion. They're playing for a Bowl game.
They're playing for the seniors. So, I mean, I'm sure that helps from a motivational standpoint where, as a coach, you don't have to say much in weeks like that because the seniors, it's kind of a rallying cry regardless of your record.