Looking forward to playing at Louisville this week. We've had a great week of practice, and I expect our players to be very physical and do everything we can to put our best effort out there and make it a four-quarter game against a really, really good offense.
You know, to be six games in and be able to talk about scoring 52 points a game and 600 plus yards, Louisville has done a great job, and obviously that starts and ends with Lamar. Not that he doesn't have great players around him, he does; he's got a lot of people that complement him, but he's really special. I know our defense is excited about the challenge. Offensively playing against Coach Grantham and his crew, and they do it a lot and they do it well. They're sound.
Their D-line is much improved. They're really quick twitch. They play hard. They understand their leverages and how they do things. Their secondary is active. They're strong at linebacker. I know it'll be a good crowd, and so to have to be the only Division I team in college football that plays back-to-back road games against teams that get eight days to play us that are top 10, we're up to the challenge, and so looking forward to going down there and giving everything we've got.
Has the mood of the team this week coming off that tough loss, was there some sense of deflation or are guys using that as confidence that now they know they can hang with a good team like that?
No, there's just anger, disappointment, but ready to play, and if we could have played on Sunday, they would have played. I mean, they were really not happy at all, not taking a moral victory out of it, believed we were going to win when we went down there and played good enough to win and just didn't get it.
Those guys understand what they have to do to do it again, and we don't have any time to lick our wounds. We're playing, in my opinion, as good or better team this week. I think they're a really, really good football team.
Your defense has been stout, not just last week but for most of the year, but what did you particularly like about the defensive play last week that you're asking them to build upon this week?
The intensity we're playing with, the contact speed that we're playing with, the communication that's taking place. There's great experience there, so they're playing fast. We didn't just have four turnovers, we created four turnovers with contact last week, and that to me is what great defense is. It's a contact game, and our guys are playing physical. They're going to have to do it again because tackling Lamar and the running backs that they have at Louisville, you've got to wrap up and be physical when you do it.
When you look at what happened in the Louisville-Duke game, Duke didn't really slow them down but they kept the ball out of their hands with ball control. Is that something you can duplicate or would want to try to duplicate?
Yeah, I mean, that was their game plan obviously was to play keep-away, and it worked for them. We're not just going to sit there and wait until the clock runs down to 1, but I think we have to be conscious like we do in every game -- I mean, if our defense is on the field for 14 straight plays, we can't go out there and have a three-and-out playing fast.
You have to protect the tempo of the game and the number of plays that your guys are playing and give them enough time to not only catch their breath but make the ample corrections that are needed. We'll be conscientious of how many plays we're out there and we'll run our system, and we're going to play fast, too. That's what we believe in, but we have other ways to control the ball, and we've done that all year. If you can run the football on anybody, you can control the clock, and we've just got to be able to be physical and balanced.
Again, just watching your game on TV, it looked like at least towards the end, you guys were dominant up front. You had taken control of the line of scrimmage. Am I reading that right, or did you see that, too?
I felt the same way. I thought we were the most physical team in the stadium. It didn't mean we won, but we definitely were physical on both sides of the football. Gave ourselves the opportunity to win, and I think as a coach and as players, that's what you have to do each week. We did the same thing in the Notre Dame game, and we found a way to win that game with a blocked punt.
We didn't find a way to win in the Clemson game, and that's what you take out of it is we know the recipe for being there now, and we've just got to find a way to make that last play, no matter who it is or what it is, to get it done.
Is there anything that as a head coach you can do or your staff can do to bolster the confidence of Kyle Bambard?
Just put an arm around him and treat him like you'd treat your own son in a situation like that. I mean, like I said, it wasn't an intentional miss. He went out there with the intention of winning the game, and it's a kick that he made in practice. He had made a kick earlier in the game, and the one that was blocked was a good kick coming off his foot. It had good height.
Kyle was confident, and our team was confident in him, and you just go back to working through it. There's nothing magical that you can do other than being supportive and not pointing fingers at people.