AUDIO: Dave Doeren Press Conference
Excited to get home here and play back to back weeks at home and look forward to our homecoming week this week with Boston College. Playing a very physical, hard-nosed football team. One of the top defenses in the country if not ... They're first in the ACC in total defense second in the ACC in rushing defense. They're in the top 10 in the nation in both of those. Giving up the fewest number of first downs in our conference so they're very stingy. They play hard. They're tough. They're well coached on the defensive side of the ball.
They're kick off return's second in the league. They're kick off coverage is third in the league. They're punt return's fourth in the league. Statistically they're doing some really good things special teams wise and defensively.
Offense, their ball control, offense it's always been physical. Coach Daggio has always done a nice job creating different surface areas and extra tight ends or extra tackles or wings and running. Different power schemes. Their lead draw. Their stretch. They're a little bit more creative with their jet schemes now and different offensive coordinator but a lot of the same stuff that they've been doing.
Pass-game wise, they have a receiver averaging over 17 yards a catch, Jeff Smith. They were trying to get the ball to him last week. He played a little Wildcat. They used him on reverse. They had him on some deep balls down the field. He's a former quarterback so we know that obviously he could throw the ball in any of those plays as well.
Quarterback looked like he hurt his hamstring toward the end of the game with Syracuse and had a really nice run in that game 70 yard touchdown run. Big guy. 253 pounds and 6'5". Isn't really off to a great start, I guess you'd say, from a completion rate standpoint but he's a tough kid. He plays really hard. He's not turning the football over and he is mobile. Four rushing touchdowns. They're running backs and they're playing a lot of different backs but their big, tough kids that run hard and tough to bring down they use multiple tight ends in and out of the formations.
They really test all your different rules that you have from a coverage and leverage standpoint. They're going to make you go through it. They'll huddle and come out and put a bunch of guys on one side of the formation. Shift them back over. Motion somebody back over. There's a lot of shift trade motion that goes on, much like we've seen from them every year we've played them.
Chance to get back and the way we're talking to our guys just get back to work. We have a 5 game season left and taking them one at a time, knowing that we got 3 home games and 2 on the road. This one being the most important because it's next.
You had just mentioned some of your finer trades, because you know will the media, fans will dismiss them after your previous two opponents. Do you need to explain to them, your players, that these guys are pretty good despite their record?
Oh yeah. A lot of our guys have played against BC and they understand how hard those games are to win with them. They're going to play you hard. They're not going to give you anything. Definitely. There's not the media talk about how good BC is probably like there was the last two weeks or three weeks but you can turn on the film and see Harold Landry, one of the best defensive ends in our conference, they've got two really strong defensive tackles. Their linebacker, Milano is all over the place making plays. Our guys won't take them lightly.
I think, I might ask you this after the game but all losses are not the same, or maybe they are I'm not sure a loss is a loss but how you respond to them. Is it almost easier when you have a situation like Louisville loss compared to the Clemson loss?
I just think they're different.
They're just different. It's a different feel. One week you're heartbroken and in shock. Then after that game we just didn't play good. They were really good and we weren't. You know that you didn't do what you needed to do. It's a bad feeling. It's an embarrassing type feeling whereas the other feeling is you were on top of the world and then all of a sudden it was taken from you. It's a totally different locker room after those two type of games.
You have to deal with them differently. The biggest thing to us is just to understand them. We have to flush them both and move on. The most important thing we can do now is find a way to win this week.
Joe Scelfo seems to believe that you've asked them to do the best job and actually moving on with that heartbreak that was one of the things that you guys need to do better this week.
What is your perspective on that and how do you ensure that this week is actually moving past like the last week?
I agree with him. I think that one it's hard to move past something like that when you've put so much in. I think that's ... For a coach, for a player, for anybody it's an emotional loss. That's natural to have a hard time dealing with that. I thought they did a good a job as they could have in practice dealing with it. We needed to start fast to get past it and we did the opposite. So it snowballed on them I think in that game. I agree with what he's saying.
I do think our guys, the thing I like about them, you can talk real with them. They're going to admit things. They're going to tell you the truth. We all know what we have in front of us. We have a chance to finish strong. We have a chance to be undefeated at home. We have a chance to win our homecoming game. We have a chance to win more games still than we did a year ago or the year before that.
There's a lot to play for. We haven't played our rival yet. Our guys understand there's still so much to play for. We have to move past the first half and plus one of the year and get back to where we were like I told them 14 days ago where we were really locked in and focused. We weren't letting things on the outside bother us. We have to get back to that.
I don't know if you were in your office the Monday after the Notre Dame game but I have a vision of you looking out on the field and watching Ray work some of his magic. I was thinking you took off so much water for that team.
Our grounds crew is phenomenal. It was so opposite the next day. It was beautiful out on that Sunday. Went down there, there was no water. Obviously the field was beat up like it should be but they were able to do the things they needed to do on the field. I don't know all the different techniques they use but it's been covered up. I know the weather's been good for them to get it back. If anybody can do it it'll be our guys.
Have you practiced on it standing since?
No. No. We haven't touched it. It's gonna have 21 days from that game to where we're on it again. I think it will be in great shape.
You had talked in the past about how every week it feels like it's a different team, different offense that's what makes playing defense so hard. Obviously I'm guessing the speed of the game is going to be very different from Louisville to Boston College. I guess how do the guys adjust to that?
That's the challenge you have in college defense right now. I think they had the same challenge. They opened up with Georgia Tech. That's what you do. You go from spread option one week to the phone booth the next to somebody that throws it all over the place and you just have to have adjustable rules to your defense and you have to do enough things in the off-season, I think where they're not blind to some of the things they're going to see.
That's the nice thing about our offense. We do get into some tight end formations where during training camp and spring ball our defense has to defend tight ends and jets and power and zone and stretch. I do think for us it's not as hard maybe as a team that doesn't use tight ends in their offense. Now all of a sudden you have to go play Boston College. That would be difficult. At least it's not something our guys aren't used to seeing.
I know it's not been 24 hours since I saw you but, do you have any updates on Will or Matt?
I just talked to Will. I'm waiting for him to get over here from Academics. He said he feels a lot better. We're hopeful. Let's see what the doctors say before we get to that. Matt's fine. He's doing really good. He wanted to go back in the game and just didn't feel like it was the right thing for him at that time.
Two of the kids that got reps Saturday, Terronne Prescod and Tyrone Riley... what were your impressions?
I thought for both of them they did some really good things in their first game. I told Big T yesterday, Terone, you wouldn't turn on the film and say that was your first college start. I thought he held his own against some really good lineman. He gave up one sack. He did some good things. He really did. He competed hard and did a lot of things to help us.
Tyrone Riley made a couple nice plays in the backfield. He had a nice hit on the goal line. For both of them I think, they're only going to get better with reps and excited to see their progress, how last week moves them into this week.
We'll see where we're at with Will. Whether we have him or don't have him. Big T will be a better player for us now because of what just happened.
Ryan has been very unflappable leading up to the Louisville game. After the second shotgun snap drive was it more of a pep talk to him or calming him down or what was the approach there?
I just thought he threw the pick early. He was really mad at himself. Came back and was looking at the defense instead of catching the ball first. I thought he just needed to calm down and just get away from it for a second. Take a deep breath. Relax. Get his mind back. He did that. Came back and played better in the 2nd half.
He, all kids are really competitive and all of them handle adversity differently. He really got mad at himself after that first interception. He takes so much pride in doing the right thing for the guys.
Jacobi Brissett went through that when he first started playing here too. I think something as a quarterback when you make a mistake just realize the next play is your best opportunity to get us back.
I thought it was a great moment for him to come back and he 99-yard drive, 95-yard drive had a couple nice throws on 3rd down and those drives to keep the drives moving. Showed some good maturity there.
Coach, is the timing of this game going up against a team like Boston College, they're struggling within the conference right now this might help you guys as far as overcoming the two games head and getting your team's confidence back going into a game like this, is the timing of this game pretty good right now for you?
I think every game in the ACC is a battle. I know you guys look at it differently. Winning a football game is hard right now. It's really hard. It's a play here or a play there.
Whether it's a team that everyone on the outside thinks is really good or a team that you guys don't think is. I look at the film and see BC is a very physical formidable opponent. They're going to hold on to the ball. Your possessions are limited as an offense. You have to do things right to beat them. You look at a lot of their games. They're in a lot of games and they have been ever since he's been there. It's a physical game. We're coming off of 3 physical games. We really are. We don't have a bye week left on our schedule.
I'm just excited we get to play at home. It's been two long weeks on the road. Regardless of who we play, that's what I'm excited about. I think the opponent right now, to me, the biggest thing is us just playing our best football regardless of who it is out there.
I wanted to follow up on Ryan. He as a guy, he seems very consistent and won that battle and got some good exposure among some other things. Was what you saw from this Saturday the first kind of reaction you've seen from him and how did you let that competitive spirit up to that point.
Like I said I think it was a really good teachable moment for him. It was the first time he's faced that since he's been here. I know he'll learn from it. He'll get better. I do like the fact that he wants to be perfect. I think that's great. Just dealing with the reality of that it's not going to happen all the time.
Just know that we got your back and you just have to calm down and get to the next series get to the next play. Every quarterback goes through that. It's just learning how to handle it. For him, he had that moment and then the next time he'll have a moment like that, hopefully there's not a lot of them, but he'll deal with it better.
After Matthew got dinged up, Johnny Frazier was the first back that came in, I guess Reggie played some too, how do you see those three guys is it like 2A, 2B, 2C at this point?
No I would say Reggie's probably ahead of them. It just happened to be that we called a personnel group that Johnny had been practicing on the next play. That's why he would have been in even if Matt wasn't hurt on that play.
Reggie is the most complete I would say because of his size and what he can bring in protection. Him and Johnny are both bigger guys in the run game.
I think Dakwa is the most experienced of the three. He's definitely from a route running standpoint going to be better there than the other two. If you're going to have to play without Matt you would see Reggie a lot and Dakwa a lot probably. Johnny would have his plays. I think when you talk about everything you have to deal with a running back, Johnny just doesn't have the same experience. Reggie's really good in protection.
That's the one thing that he brings. There's a lot of pressure that was coming in that game. If you look at the rep counts they were all very similar.