Teleconference: O'Brien Talks South Florida

Tom O'Brien spoke with the media today about Saturday's game against South Florida. He discusses USF's defense, the progress of George Bryan, talks about playing without Russell Wilson, and much, much more.

Opening Statement:
We're working hard for our game here Saturday night against South Florida. They are the second top 15 team we'll face, but they are the fourth top 25 team we'll play in our first five games here.

Difficult schedule, but we're lucky it's at home and we look forward to them coming here to Raleigh for the game on Saturday night.

We're doing a story on coach Welsh and coach Spurrier. I was told the relationship they had was a little contentious. What do you remember about that?
I don't know if contentious is the right word. I think they both are great competitors. They both fought very hard to win football games... we came to Virginia, we were both similar schools, academic schools struggling to get football programs going and it probably heightened the rivalry they had.

What are the big concerns with South Florida and how does your offense change without Russell Wilson?
The offense will have to change a little bit because we won't have the mobility that Russell does.

They are an excellent football team. They are 12th in total defense, 19th in total offense, and they can hurt you in many ways. Their quarterback is something special. He's their leading rusher in number of attempts. I think he's thrown it 65%... he's the guy who makes it go.

They are 4-0 and deserving of their ranking. They are an excellent football team.

You mentioned the offense will change without Russell. How so?
Geez, I don't know. We'll have to wait until Saturday night.

Can you talk about the progress Dwayne Maddox has made?
We were very lucky he came early. He made it through spring practice and I think that has furthered his advancement. He'll have to step up and play a lot because Nate is out of the game.

He's an excellent prospect. I think if we were in the fifth or sixth year here he would have probably been redshirted because you would have had players. He's forced to play and forced into the situation. I know he's excited and we are excited to see him.

At what point when T.J. Graham arrived on campus did you see he would make an impact for you guys?
When he came to camp a year ago, we knew the speed he had because of his track times... but when we saw him compete and go and catch balls like he did we thought he would be something special.

Was this nonconference schedule put together in advance or did you think your program would be in a little better place at this point?
The schedule was put in place a long time ago. We would have been in a better place if we didn't have nine guys who have started for us not playing right now.

I think that's why last week's win was so significant for us. The number of guys that had started and played out, and here we are playing a lot of freshmen with walk ons backing guys up. I don't know if we're going to get everybody back.. the faster we get healthy the better off we will be.

Thoughts on George Bryan... how much of a surprise has he been for you guys?
The reason he has been playing is because Anthony Hill and Matt Kushner have been out. Anthony Hill went out in the middle of the second quarter of the first game, and Matt Kushner went out in the second game.

He's one of those young kids we're talking about just like Dwayne Maddox... he's done a great job... we're pleased with his play. We're not going to get Kushner back but it would certainly help our football team if we can get Anthony Hill back sometime in the future.

As a third-string tight end, is it fair to say Bryan has exceeded your expectations?
Certainly. We had no idea he would be able to play and perform the way he did. He's got to do it again this weekend with another great defense coming in.

He's been a pleasant surprise, but I don't want to be in a situation where I see all these surprises.

Thoughts on USF's defense:
They have two tremendous ends, those guys are quality pass rushers. I think they have a lot of speed out there. It's unfortunate they lost their linebacker, he was really a great player and nobody wants to see that happen.

If you are the 12th ranked defense in the country, obviously you are well-coached and you understand how to play defense.

Coming off the ECU game was there an area you saw progress in?
Certainly the pass offense. We had struggled in all three phases and I think that was the biggest area of improvement on offense.

We're going to get severely tested by this defense coming in here on Saturday night. We'll have to see how we hold up this week.

What was the nature of Russell's injury?
That will be reported on Thursday.

Have you see enough from Beck to believe the progress of the passing game will continue with him this week?
We'll have to find that out. I don't know that. He's played some. He came back and really did a great job for us and was probably one of the major factors in beating William & Mary the night we did. We were struggling on offense, and hopefully can carry that over and execute the offense the same way he did against William & Mary. We aren't playing William & Mary this time, no disrespect to them, but South Florida is coming into town.


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