Do you spend a little extra time on punt return coverage this week than normal?
Yeah, we've made a big emphasis in it. Last week with us having a bye we were able to do some work on it.
It comes down to great kicking, and then tackling in space, bottling them up, making sure we have a nice pocket where when we come down the field we have outside-in and inside-out coverage.
Spend more time on trick plays?
In a rivalry game you're going to have to be sound in what you do. We expect them to have a double-pass of some kind, a reverse pass, a jet pass, or a throwback to the quarterback. They've shown all kinds of things as part of their offense.
I'm sure the same way for us. They are going to be making sure they cover all their bases.
How big is the red zone in this game?
Touchdowns are huge. Last year we kicked three or four field goals in that game and it was a very tight football game where those touchdown points would have mattered.
Anytime you get inside the 25 touchdowns are huge and you flip it around defensively, anytime you can keep them from getting a touchdown it's a huge swing in the game.
They've been scoring a lot of points each game. Do you feel like you have to score every time with your offense?
You'd always love to score every time you're on offense. That's your goal when you have the ball, to drive and score.
Defensively you have to do a great job of creating some takeaways and earning some possessions. Anytime you're playing an offense ranked the way theirs is, every possession is critical on both sides. The takeaways that we can gain and flip that, the times we can prevent ourselves from turning it over like they did last week at Duke.
You don't want to give a really good offense a short field.
Can you look at last year's film much when game-planning for Marquise Williams?
We watched last year's film, absolutely, but he's a better quarterback than he was a year ago.
I've said it multiple times, he's one of the most improved quarterbacks in our conference. He's playing extremely well. He runs hard he throws the ball well, and he has good talent around him. They have a good scheme.
Marquise is playing a at high level and we know that he's the guy that stirs the drink for them. We have to do a good job with that.
How important is it to be patient with the running game?
Balance is important to me in our offense... making sure those guys continue to do what they've done, averaging over five yards per carry and yards after contact is a big part of our offense.
How do you corral Marquise Williams?
Well it starts with your pursuit and the discipline of your d-line with their rush... then we pressure and have good rush and lane integrity and then also covering well enough so we'll have time to get to him.
Any traditions for Thanksgiving?
We're going to have a team meal today and we'll enjoy each other at this team. Then tomorrow the guys will be able to have an early morning practice and get home and eat with their families.
The out-of-state players can go home with the in-state players and the coaches. I believe in that. Anytime you can be with your family on Thanksgiving it's important.
Is this a game where you can throw everything at them?
I hope so.
Anytime the guys free their minds they free their feet. We are playing for a state title against these guys. That's important. They beat Duke so they are undefeated in the state against ACC teams, and we beat Wake so we're playing each other for that.
It's a big deal when you play against your rival in a scenario like that.
We're also playing for where we go bowl-wise. I think that matters to our guys.