“Yes, we're looking forward to going up to Charlottesville. Mike's got his team playing really well. Defensively, they're playing hard. They're running to the ball. And playing very, very solid. Offensively, they're moving the ball with either quarterback. So we're looking forward to the game. Should be a very hard fought football game.”
What can you say about the environment around the program right now to get back on the winning side of things? How practice has gone and how has the team responded since they got a win over a pretty successful team in Georgia Tech?
“I would say within the program the team has not changed a whole lot. Even when we were in that four loss streak there, the guys were not down. They were not depressed. I mean, they were anxious to get back into the win column. They were they kept believing and kept working hard.
“Practice [on Tuesday] was really good, but it's been good on all of our Tuesdays. I haven't had any problems with it. They've really had good attitudes. A win makes everybody feel better. It makes people outside the program feel better about themselves. But the kids I don't think the kids have ever really questioned themselves. They know that if they just get some of the mistakes corrected [and] have fewer penalties, we have a chance to win football games.”
As far as leadership on the team, even in that four game skid and as you continue to move forward here, who are some of those guys that have stepped up for you in the locker room and kept that positive attitude?
“Well, Marquise Williams continues to do it on offense, Jack Tabb, Landon Turner. On the defensive side of the ball, I'd say it's Norkeithus Otis. Jeff Schoettmer has stepped up and is really improving. Tim Scott continues to do his part. So we've had guys that have stepped up and continued to be positive.”
In terms of having to deal with the Wainstein Report, is it mostly the recruiting issues or just how it hangs over, the open endedness of it?
“I would say for us, we all got here after all these things have happened, so it's just… I would say that it's people continuously talking about it and the cloud that they try to hang over your heads. And then they, obviously other teams, are using it in recruiting. Yeah, just that we have to deal with it.”
Referencing your Georgia Tech game, defending that triple option is always very difficult, and everybody says you have to be disciplined, but what are the other challenges you have to try to stop that? I know the cut blocking is something that you don't always see from many other offenses around the league.
“You're right. Part of it is you work really hard on defending those cut blocks during the week, and you're never going to show the same speed of the game. Those guys are going to be very efficient at doing it, and so next thing you know, you're trying to accomplish your assignment, but at the same time, you're trying to defeat that cut block, and you get out of position quite a few times.
“So when you think in practice that you're in great position as you try and defend that cut block, you realize at game speed you're a yard off, and you've got a bad angle now to go make the play on the pitch. Paul and them do a great job of it.”
Cut blocking is something that's illegal in college football, but do you like it? Is it something that can be dangerous?
“To me, it's no more dangerous than any other block out there. If you're going to be a player on defense, you've got to defend yourself. You've got to be able to beat blocks. You've got to be able to get off blocks. It's just part of the game. I don't know that it's any more dangerous or there's any proof that it's any more dangerous than any other play in college football.”
Larry, I was wondering, could you kind of recount how you guys discovered Mack Hollins? In today's college football, how much more important are having walk ons on your team these days?
“You know, for us it's very critical, especially with coming in with the limitations that we had on scholarships and everything. So it was very critical for us to make sure we brought in quality walk ons, guys that could hopefully help us out.
“Mack was a guy that we didn't realize how good Mack was going to be actually. We thought he was okay. He came in here, and we did not realize he had the speed he did. We knew he had the length, and we knew he had the potential because of that length and that he could run a little bit, but when he got here, I mean, he really showed a tremendous burst, but not only that, just a tremendous will to be good. I mean, he started on all four special teams as a true freshman and then was elected as a captain of the special teams by his peers, and it was strictly because of his effort.”
When you have a dual threat quarterback like with the skills that Marquise has, is there any limit to how much you use him in terms of the pounding he might take?
“I mean, we do. Probably the majority of the things that Marquise does with his legs are not they're not called quarterback runs. I mean, they're things that he's making happen that, if a play breaks down, he extends it or he takes off or he has the option within it. He determines what to do in those situations. But we don't sit there and say, hey, let's call quarterback runs 20 times a game. I bet you probably you could count on one hand how many times we actually call a quarterback run in a game.”
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