We're playing for the opportunity to go to a bowl. We had a similar scenario two years ago but hopefully we come out on the better end of the stick this week. (N.C. State) has improved. They're playing very well right now. They've won four out of their last five games. I'm very impressed with them on defense. Their free safety (DaJuan) Morgan is a very good player and I'm concerned about (Willie) Young, their defensive end who is a very good pass rusher. That's a major concern of ours. Special team wise, you have to stop (Darrell) Blackman. He's the best return guy in the conference and one of the best in the country and he can change the game very, very easily, so we have our work cut out for us.
Injury-wise, (Andrew) Crummey practiced a little better last night. I think he has a chance, I'm hoping he's better today. He practiced a little more than he did last week so maybe we'll have a chance of getting him back. The other guys are about the same.
On this potentially being the last game of the season:
Well, it's been a tough road, but this team's stayed positive. They were positive last night. They're really a good bunch of kids and I'd really like to see them get an opportunity to play in the postseason. I think they want to. It's been a goal for them since the beginning (of the season). I thought our practice yesterday was good. There was some disappointment over the game on Saturday but we've put that behind us and hopefully we're going to be ready to play our best game on Saturday.
On the season as a whole:
I still hope it's not a losing season because I don't think we're deserving of that. I think if we can win this game, I think, having beaten the teams we've beaten and being in every game, I think there's only one ACC game we have been not close to winning. Hopefully we can get some players back to help us with that bowl bid. I've been very proud of this team on a number of occasions and I just think they deserve better than what they're at right now.
On the offense:
At the end of the game Saturday, we were really having trouble running and protecting. When you start losing a couple guys, that becomes a problem but I think we're improving in the passing game and you get two guys back and you have the same running game we had earlier in the year, a pretty good offense.
On the starter at quarterback this weekend:
We'll start off with Chris (Turner) and see how he does and be ready to go with Jordan if he's not doing well.
On reserve running back and return man Da'Rel Scott:
Da'Rel has a chance to be a really good running back. I'm hoping this winter he gets bigger and strong and will be more durable. He has great speed and good quickness. He has good vision. We're trying to work him in. We're trying to get him in the mix a little more. I think he has a bright future, if he continues to mature and hopefully he'll be one of our mainstays next year.
On missed opportunities in recent games:
I know, I'm disappointed about it. We've had two opportunities to win two games (North Carolina and Florida State) that we just didn't execute the way we're capable of and wedged between those two games is Boston College. When we're on, we play pretty darn well. So we just have to keep stretching, stay focused and a get little luck. We're out of bounds on a key third down. Its just not bouncing our way right either. We're in these situations and we've got to be able to convert. The play at third down when I took Chris out of the game, we had a player in man coverage, wide open, and we threw the ball behind him. And it's not just one guy, it's a lot of different guys and sometimes it's not even the guys breaking down, just the situation doesn't fall our way. We've had a lot of good fortune in the seven years I've been here and maybe its just evening out this year. Florida State puts the ball on the ground five times and we get it once. One or two of those and it's the game.
I think it's really a credit to our team. They keep competing. It's why I really have a tremendous feeling toward this team and I know how disappointed they are at times and yet we're going to have to do things better to be successful. I'm hoping the guys that are back next year learn from these things and then we will be better for it. These kids are to be commended for hanging in there and keeping working no matter what the odds are. It's there but just can we do it on a more consistent level, for 60 minutes, that's what we've got to do in order to do what we really want to do.
On senior tight end Joey Haynos:
He's a little banged up right now but he's making plays for us. He made a couple of really key plays for us Saturday. I think he's going to be missed because not only is he a good football player but he's a real quality kid and means so much to our program. I've really enjoyed coaching him in the four years he was here.
On the meaning of going to a bowl game:
I think it does us a lot, I mean I know its something that the kids really want and it kind of marks whether you've been successful or not. And that's why I want it, for the players more than anything else. I want them to feel that kind of success because they deserve it and because of all the adversity that they've faced. A bowl would be a rewarding season for them.
On N.C. State Coach Tom O'Brien:
He's a very good coach. This team has improved with every game this season. I think he had some injuries early on and some of those guys are coming back but from the break they've gotten better in each and every week. They're playing very well right now and just my luck, they're playing their best football right now.
On the closeness of the Maryland team:
I had Jaimie (Thomas) come to me yesterday. He wants to go to Raleigh. Over Thanksgiving he wants to make the trip because he wants to be with Scott (Burley) who he plays right next to and encourage him and not let him get down because of his injuries. You don't find that on many teams, that's why I love this bunch. They are very close and they really pull for one another and even though the season hasn't been what we want it to be, that aspect has made it very enjoyable. I've been on teams that have been 5-6, where it hasn't been enjoyable and that's why I'm praying and coaching and working as hard as I can so we can get these guys a win and get a chance to play in the postseason because they're more than deserving.