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Are you interested in the preseason poll at all?
"Well, yeah, I'm interested. I'm proud that you guys think that we have a team that is capable of finishing at the top. But I also know, it's what we do to get there, and we've got a lot of work to do and a lot of good teams to play; and a very balanced league to play through those teams. You know, you look at Miami…anytime you beat Miami, that's a day's work. And Virginia has been really good. Georgia Tech…I know a lot of people think they could finish at the top, and I'm one of them. I think North Carolina…I know we would like to get out of that one. We were a Jim Davis sack away from going into overtime [last year]. Duke; they were leading us in the first half. So there's a lot of work to be done."
On the problems junior defensive back Glen Sharpe has faced the last year or so:
"The last time I can really remember him playing was the Fiesta Bowl. The guy starts as a true freshman on a national championship contender. But then the knee injury…it was just a freak thing. I didn't see the accident, but he came down and tore the knee up. It's just been really crazy. It's happened to people like Frank Gore and others who have had similar injuries. We try to encourage him and maybe even get him a sixth-year if that's something he wants to do. He'd run under ‘4.3' in the off-season. So he'd gotten back. It's just a shame. It hurts our football team. He was really set to have a good year."
On instant replay:
"The NFL instant replay is the way most of us think of it, because that's the only way we've either experienced it or seen it. That's doesn't necessarily say that those people who were involved with it – that is the coaches and the teams – that they all unanimously agree that this is the best way to do it. That is, within the league, there are some issues too. The people ask if there might be a better way or a different way it can be done in another fashion. As it was described today in another little review session we had about it, this is going to be one of these touch screen circumstances that is going to give the official in the booth a chance to review every play. Whereas in the NFL, every play is only reviewed in the final four minutes of the game. So if the coach doesn't determine that something should be challenged, there could be a replay official there and he's just sitting there watching the game until the coach throws his flag on the field. Now there's going to be somewhere reviewing every play. If there's something reviewable, he hits the screen. It accomplished three things: It will make for a more valid result, which means the right team always has the ball; that the ball is always on the proper place on the field where it should be; and was it a score or wasn't it a score."
On the addition of two new bowl tie-ins, was this something the coaches stressed after expansion?
"I think we thought it was a given. I don't think we had to stress it. I think given the strength of our teams and how good our conference is overall, I think we thought there would be a natural gain in the number of bowl berths, or at least bowl connections. It looks like that's got a chance to happen."
Is there any benefit to getting new tie-ins and going to different places?
"I think the best thing is to play against other conferences. The more you can play against other conferences, it really helps. And, I don't think the location matters. You get to find out, ‘OK, how do we stack up against the fourth team from the SEC or the Big East or the Big 10.' I think that's interesting, and I think that's good for recruiting."
On the recent recruiting class:
"I'm really, really excited about that freshman bunch. I'm real excited about that. All those kids were very highly recruited. To think that we could jump out there and say, ‘Hey, it's OK to go to Duke and play football.' It's part of the great opportunity that these guys have – to be an architect and be on the ground floor building this thing."