“We are preparing for a very good Virginia Tech football team, a team that plays great defense. They have changed what they do offensively – they have a quarterback that can throw the ball well - so they’re doing different things offensively from what they’ve done in the past. They’re still very strong on all of their special teams. Looking forward to getting back on our home field in front of our fans.”
Defensively, do you feel like you’ve made some progress even though you gave up a lot of big plays to Clemson?
“Yeah. When you look at the whole body of work, and you really break it down, there were some good things. You hold them to 2.1 rushing yards per attempt, you hold them under 100 yards, we had multiple guys getting to the football, we tackled much better, so there were some bright spots defensively up front.”
What was the key up front, because ECU had a lot of rushing yards and you shut it down against Clemson?
“We played better in our defensive line. Those guys are growing up, and getting better, and they played much better than they did the week before.”
Is there a common theme to the blown coverages?
“Those are just mental mistakes. They’re base things. They weren’t something that was exotic that we put in for that game. They’re just basic mental mistakes.”
You said you would learn a lot about your team after what happened with ECU and preparing for Clemson, what did you learn?
“I learned what I expected. I expected them to come out and fight and play hard all the way to the final buzzer in that game, and I thought we did, I thought our kids did that. I thought they played hard throughout the game, I didn’t think there was ever an issue with anybody as far as confidence. I think that they showed that they have a lot of grit and determination and that they are going to continue to persevere.”
Half way through the first quarter Marquise had 10 pass attempts and obviously exploded after that. Did he handle that really well? Is it just some growing up that you saw with him?
“If you watch him throughout a game, we’ve had some struggles early on, and there has been no frustration on his part. Because one, he knows he’s in a position of leadership, he doesn’t have the luxury of showing when he’s frustrated, that’s part of being a leader. Everybody is watching you, and if you show frustration then the rest of the team will be frustrated. I think he’s done a good job of that. I’m sure there was some frustration on his part, but it wasn’t noticeable, and that’s always a good thing from a quarterback.”
Can there also be frustration when the defense is playing poorly, the offense maybe gets a little frustration because they know they have to score almost every time that they are out there? Can that crop up as well?
“It can. That’s part of being a team. I think you can go through as many games as you’ve seen, and there are very seldom where all three phases are hitting on all three cylinders and playing extremely well. It doesn’t happen very often, it’s something we dream about as coaches, and we’re trying to strive for, but it doesn’t happen very often. So, being on a team, you have to understand, when one side is down the other side has to pick them up, that’s just the way it is, that’s the only way you have a chance to be successful. Because the reality is that somebody is going to be down at some point in that game or not playing well or something is going to be happening, and the other side has to pick them up, the other phase has to pick them up, that’s what being a team is all about.”
Can you find your leaders in situations like that?
“You bet. Those are the guys that step up in the adverse conditions that you know those are the guys that are truly doing the leading.”
How frustrating is it when you watch the defensive film when you put up 35 or 41 points in the last two weeks and still come up short?
“All I look at is that we scored less points than they scored. It’s not hey we scored enough points to win the football game, why didn’t we win the game, that’s not the way I look at it. We didn’t score enough to win the football game, that’s all there was too that. Whatever mistakes are made the other side has to make up for it or you don’t win. You can be as frustrated as you want, but I’m not going to pin it on one side, and say that’s the reason. I don’t have the luxury of being a fan and saying this side is the reason we didn’t win the football game, it doesn’t work that way. We’re a team, and the only way we’re going to get better as a team is to continue to pull together as a team, because there are going to be times where the offense is going to struggle and the defense is going to have to pick it up, and they’re going to have to make it happen for the offense.”
T.J. Logan didn’t get a carry, obviously he returned kickoffs, what’s going on with him?
“I don’t think it was a planned thing. I just think when Hood got in there, he started making some plays and he stayed in the game longer. Like we’ve always talked about, whoever is producing is going to be guy who stays out there, and he ended up getting more carries. Early in the game, how many series in a row did we punt? Five series in a row, so we weren’t on the field. And you put another back in there and we start moving, that guy stayed out there because we were being productive as an offense. But it was not by design, it wasn’t, ‘lets not give T.J. a carry.’”
What were the takeaways when you look back at the penalties?
“You have to go to every single one. We had four false starts on offense, and three of them were receivers that couldn’t get lined up correctly. There’s no excuse for that. There’s no reason for that. One was No. 72 flinching, and in that situation, I can live with that. That defensive line was dang good, they were getting off the ball and coming after it, and you had a lot of noise out there. I can live with something like that, even though we don’t want it to happen, I can live with it. The three we already addressed on the special teams, those things can’t happen.
“We had a late hit on the defense the one time that can’t happen. We had three PI’s, they throw the ball down the field that many teams and we’re in man coverage and you’re not looking back for the ball you got a chance, if the ball is under thrown like it was on two of them, it’s got a chance to happen, the receiver goes up tries to make a play on the ball you’re going through his hands you make contact, it’s going to happen. That’s part of technique thing that’s tough versus man coverage, that’s why teams throw it down the field in man coverage, they know they have a chance of getting two of the three.”
Is that a situation where if a guy is in position and he is able to look back, maybe it doesn’t happen?
“Well, because he’s in man he’s not looking back, his eyes are on his man and he’s taking his hands through the guys hands, and he doesn’t know that the ball is under thrown. He’s got his back to the ball and he doesn’t know, and sometimes you get caught like that.”
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