“We're getting ready for
Miami this week. I think Miami is probably playing
the best ball they've played all year. I think they've
got a lot of confidence right now coming off that
Thursday night win in Blacksburg where they
played extremely well.
We've got a lot of work to do. We got to
get ready for them.”
In going back over the game last
week, what did the defense do in the second
half that allowed them to really shut Virginia
“Well, we really kind of
calmed down. We played harder, I thought with
more energy in the second half. We fit our run
gaps much better, which enabled us to stop the
run, make them have to throw the football.”
Can a performance like that, even if
it's just for a couple quarters, kind of help
momentum-wise going into your next game?
“You bet. You bet.
Guys are able to look at the film and see what was
wrong in the first about four series of the game.
From that point on, we woke up and started playing
some football on that side.
It was a good thing to see. Yes, we will
build off of it.”
Do you feel like it was important for
your defense to have a half like that just to gain
the confidence and know that they can get
some stops, given some of the ups and downs
"Any success they
have is going to be good for us. That's going to
continue to build confidence, especially in a lot of
the young guys that are playing. It will just make
us a better team."
What is the most difficult part for the
defense as a whole trying to tackle and defend
a guy like Duke Johnson?
“Yeah, Duke is very,
very special. The only way you're going to stop
Duke or to slow Duke down is you got to get a lot
of hats to the ball. Duke can make you miss. If it's
one guy out in open space, it's going to be very,
You got to make sure you fit all your gaps.
You got to get a lot of hats to the ball. You got to
have a lot of guys running. You got to contain him.
The guy is very, very special.”
It's early, but does Elijah Hood
remind you at all of him, running style, build?
“Elijah is a little bit
thicker than Duke. Elijah is a physical runner. I
don't know if he has all the make-you-miss that
Duke has. I don't know if I'd put him in Duke's
category because Duke is pretty special.”
Your defense has played a little bit
better the last couple of weeks. Who are the
key players there that are making some
improvement for you, helping that to be more
“Yeah, Nazair Jones,
he gets better every week. Tyler Powell is back
healthy, helps us inside. You have Jeff
Schoettmer. You have (Norkeithus) Otis. I would
say our safeties are very instrumental for us
stopping the run, of fitting where they need to fit.”
Offensively, Marquise Williams is
really giving you a huge boost, guiding your
offense. Talk about what he brings to the
offensive side of the ball, how his improvement
has really affected things.
“Well, he brings a
toughness about him. He's not your typical
quarterback. Getting hit doesn't bother him. In
fact, it just gets him going even more.
He can throw the ball very well. He can
beat you with his arm. He can run the football and
put his shoulder pads down and run through you
and pick up tough yards.
“I think our team, when they see that, it gets
them kind of going, gets them excited that you
have a quarterback that will lead by example.”
What kind of challenges will Miami
present for your team this Saturday?
“Well, you start on our
offense. I mean, their defense, they're really big
inside. They run well. They can get you off the
edge. The (Denzel) Perryman kid is sideline to
sideline every snap, really a heck of a football
player. They can all run on the back end. Their
safeties are very physical. They'll come up and hit
“On the offensive side of the ball, you got a
big, good-looking offensive line that will mash you.
You have Duke (Johnson) back there, he can
make something out of nothing. Then you got
those receivers that seem to have been there for
the last eight years. Those guys can fly. They got
big plays written all over them. They do a really good job of helping the
freshman quarterback out, not putting the game on
his back. So, yeah, we will definitely have our work
cut out for us.”
I know a lot of fans are talking about
how Miami is favored by 16-17 points. Is that
something you use in the locker room to
motivate your players, use the underdog notion
coming into the game?
"How much are they
“Seventeen, last time I saw it.”
“I haven't used that, but
I got plenty of things to use. We got plenty of
things going against us in a lot of different areas.
So, yeah, I'll just throw that in the hat, too. That
will be good. I appreciate that.”
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