Monday PC: Mazzone, Herring Meet the Media

<B>Raleigh, NC -- </b>Head Coach Chuck Amato couldn't make today's press coference, so offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and defensive coordinator Reggie Herring met with the media today, and here is a sampler of what they had to say.

Noel Mazzone
Was there anything you saw on film that showed missed assignments or pressure from Virginia Tech that caused problems?
Well, we missed a couple of throws, and they didn't show anything we haven't seen before. I still think that's a good defense. The last two games we've played good defenses.

A lot of it was that we got to the point where you see how good the defense is playing, and we tried to minimize our risk and play a field position game. I thought our offensive line and T.A. did a good job of running the football. To be honest with you, my concern was to try and keep things close to the vest and play to our defense. That's what we were trying to do.

Coach mentioned how NC State did the same thing to Virginia Tech that Ohio State did to them. Is that a larger plan for this team based on the way things are unfolding this season?
Yea, you're flipping it around from last year. Our ability to score... we had to. We were a high risk offense, and we were throwing 30 to 40 times a game.

Now we've got T.A. and he needs to fill that role that Philip had last year.

Yea, I'm an offensive coordinator. I want to score 100 points and have a thousand yards every game. But in the end, I still want to have a win over a loss.

As a coach, you've got to recognize the personality of your football team. Maybe our personality lends more that way. To control the ball, feed our backs, take some throws when we need to and play low-risk football.

Do you see anything from the quarterbacks that makes you think in the next few weeks we may see more production?
That's hard to say. Sometimes the light just comes on, and you never know when they flip the switch. I really think Jay, from the week before, was a little more comfortable.

Marcus went in, and we basically ran the ball with him. We didn't ask a whole lot of him. What I really got excited about with Marcus was his energy. He's young, fired up, and was bouncing around. He made a good play for us on the goalline with the boot throw. I like the energy he brings to our offense.

How do you keep both of them motivated and in the game when they know they'll share playing time?
We're going to up Marcus's reps a little bit this week, but both of those guys are pretty studious about the game. We alternate most of our drills were they are almost getting 50-50.

What's your preference? Would you prefer to run the ball or throw it around every play?
Don't tell our running backs this, but I'd like to throw it every down.

No, I'm suppose to give the patented offensive coordinator answer, 'I want to be balanced.' Whatever that means. Balance to me means if we're completing every pass I'll throw every down, and if we can run it I'll run it every down.

Were you at all surprised that you were able to get the yardage you did on the ground without your two starting tackles for most of the game?
Yes, because that's a run-stop defense with that eight-man front. Our thought process was to get into those formations to throw the football, so we were going to run a little earlier. I really thought our inside five guys and our two tight ends did a [good job].

You saw us running last year right? That was a joke. From where it was last year to what it looked like Saturday, Coach Barry and those guys have really done a great job with us being able to run the football.

How effective is Wake Forest's 4-3 defense based on what you've seen on film at this point?
Every defense I look at looks great. They are all good. [Wake] lines up, and they play hard. They are a very well coached team, and they run to the football well.

You're not going to get a lot of them making big defensive mistakes. They are going to do what they are suppose to do.

Defensive Coordinator Reggie Herring
Can you talk about Manny Lawson?

In talking about Manny, I think that was one of the first decisions we had to make last spring. He had played defensive end in a two-point stance at linebacker, and they've moved him to a lot of places.

Hopefully, after three games he's began to understand playing in the three-point stance and learning the position.

Manny, to be honest with you, should be working with IBM. He over analyzes things and he is a very bright young man. To the point that sometimes it's an achilles for him. Sometimes simple instinctive things, Manny has to clear his mind to do that.

He possesses a lot of wide open speed, long arms, and tremendous range. He overcomes his lack of weight with his speed, quickness, and use of his hands.

His all out effort is something that's really starting to develop. It wasn't that great against Richmond, it was okay against Ohio State, but he really turned it loose last week against Virginia Tech. His best is yet to come. He's a bright young man that's going to have a great future.

Coach Amato mentioned winning the way Ohio State did. Do you see that parallel as well?
It's always been a goal of his even though the offense overshadowed the defense last year. You'd like to be balanced as a program, but I think we as a team and as a defense from day one started to lay down a foundation to win on defense and with the kicking game. To challenge our players to the point of almost being unfair to them. Putting pressure on them in practice where they can handle almost any kind of other pressure.

The penalty thing is baffling because they've got the word discipline on their chest. They have to have their helmet tilted a certain way in their locker. We spend more time running kids and disciplining them than we actually do practicing around here. The contradiction of the penalty thing is amazing to me. I'm talking about the foolish ones, not the ones where the guy's competing for the ball.

Defensively we've got our marching orders from Coach Amato, and we know well what they are. We still are growing defensively as a football team.

#9 is still in the embryo stage... he's a child. Manny made some steps this week. The linebackers are trying to fit in and belong on this defense. The secondary went from the out house to the what now I consider the Holiday Inn. They are not there yet and we've got a long season to go.

The last play of the game, we've got everybody off and sweetheart wants to go up there and get on him. We almost learned a very valuable lesson on the last play of the game. I just think overall, defensively what you're seeing is everybody buying into one thing. No excuses and we put pressure on them accordingly.

So far things are on schedule, but this week the whole roof could cave in.

Talk about Wake Forest's misdirection?
When facing Wake Forest, you have to make philosophical decisions. Are you going to sit back or are you going to be aggressive and under control? That's basically why they run that offense and they do an excellent job scheme-wise.

Without divulging what we're going to do, I can tell you this. We are not conventional. We do not go well with the norm. We did it last week against Virginia Tech.

[Wake] has a tremendous scheme that's built on balance, and you have to defend everything. I think the biggest thing about Wake Forest and the biggest concern is last year they physically beat our front to a pulp. Their receivers beat our defensive backs one-on-one. They played a total game and dominated our defense last year. That's the challenge for our defense this year. If you think you're good, you'll find out Saturday because these guys will expose you.

They are the best offensive team, and I don't care if I hurt any feelings at Ohio State or Virginia Tech, production-wise, run/pass, scheme-wise, and with the best quarterback that we'll have faced up-to-date.

We've got a tremendous amount of respect for Wake. We're going to handle that and approach this game accordingly. This is a huge ball game for us.

What do you like about their quarterback?
He runs their offense, and he makes great throws under pressure. To me he's a well-polished quarterback. There's a reason why they are averaging thirty points a game, regardless of who they are playing defensively.

You said the whole roof may cave in, does that mean the defense still has something to prove?
I think they do. If we want to have the kind of defense that we preach to our players, you've got to bring it every week, day in and day out. This defense is just scratching the surface.

Someone said you guys had ten sacks last week, that's impressive. If you want to know the truth, we should have had fifteen or sixteen, and that's when you look on film. We have not reached our full potential.

The two touchdowns we've given up, against Ohio State the guy walked in. Two guys fell down right in the hole in front of his face. Against Virginia Tech, we were going to sack the [quarterback], and the man who's got the back runs right at him, stops and watches him run right by him. He could have covered him as easy as he can cover his girlfriend on campus.

The bottomline is, it was something that he should have done defensively. We should have executed, they kick another field goal, and we don't even get to that last drive.

To be where we want to be, we're no where near where we want to be. The roof falling in is because of Wake. They will make anybody look bad, and that's something that I think our players know. I think they know they just got whipped last year. I just looked at the film and it's not attractive.

Does it make any difference that those guys were freshmen and sophomores last year? Does that make a difference?
It doesn't to me. They just looked tougher. If you have ever hit somebody in the mouth, it doesn't matter if you're 22, 20, or 19. How hard you're hitting them in the mouth, I didn't know there was a limitation on your age. My point is, last year we got our fannies kicked.

The bottomline is, are we going to let that happen this year? If you look at some of the quotes and things that the Wake Forest players said after the game, you'd think they just beat Green Hope High School.

The maturity thing is a stage right in front of you. You've got a defense that's played fairly well, but has never been in a position to sustain it over a long period of time. Here comes Wakey... Wakey-breaky-heart, right? The name itself does not put fear in your heart, but when you watch film, it does. When you watch their players compete, it does.

They block, they run, and they throw as well as anybody we'll face this year. PERIOD. They present a lot of problems scheme-wise.

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