"I think defending the run is important every game and every season. Of all of the things that we're trying to build in this program, we started a year ago with instituting schemes and trying to emphasize the aspects of the game that are very important, as equally as important as trying to stop the run and not turning the ball over. Every phase of the game has some of these things, but certainly run defense is one of them. I think that this week, as much as any game thus far in the season, it's an enormous challenge because Donald Brown is really good.
"He reminds me a great deal of Clinton Portis. He's got great juke-cut abilities, he's got excellent vision [and] he's got speed, so if he can get to the second level and into the secondary, he can score. Very similar size-wise and speed-wise to Graig Cooper from last week. That makes him dangerous, so we've got our hands full… I don't know that you ever stop anybody that is that good. You just have to try to do the best you can, try to gang tackle and minimize the big plays."
On Thursday night games:
"It is definitely a big deal. For college football, Thursday night games have become, in a small respect, like Monday night football for the NFL, because its your one opportunity to showcase your program [and] showcase your university… You're seeing the campus, they're talking about academics and the blimp's in the sky, showing the whole city. So it becomes an enormous recruiting tool and a recruiting advantage."
How have you handled Cam Sexton this week? Have you let him ride this wave, or have you tried to bring him back down to earth?
"Cam's a really good kid. As impressive as his performance was during the course of the ball game, I was almost equally as impressed with how humble he was after the game. That he gave a great deal of credit to the offensive line, to the receivers for making plays, so you couldn't ask for a player to handle the situation any better than what he did.
"And I think it speaks to the character and the integrity of the kid that he's handled the last 18 months pretty much exactly the same way. I'm sure it was disappointing when we made T.J. Yates the starter a year ago, but he did what you would love for every football player on your team to do – just work hard every day and make that a positive attitude…
"I contend that Cam's performance in Saturday's ball game was not even directly related to the week of preparation leading up to the game. It's a body of work. The plays that we ran last week are the plays that we've been running for 18 months. He probably had 300 or 400 opportunities to run a lot of those same plays in two straight spring practices and two training camps and as a backup or third-team quarterback, so now it's just implementing those things.
"If he would have wasted that body of work of practice opportunities prior to last week, he probably wouldn't have had the performance that he had. He did play well, and I think he's handling it this week like the rest of the team, that it's another week and we've got to get prepared and play well. You've got to be efficient. And I've just been very pleased with the way that he's handled everything."
So how do you handle him this week?
"Well, obviously, you pat him on the back. I'm very proud of him. But I think he has to keep it in context that the season is a long way from over. We didn't set out as our one sole mission for the entire 2008 season was to beat the University of Miami. It was a big game, a critical game, a game that probably we didn't play as well as we would have liked to in some areas, but we were fortunate enough that we hung in and some of the playmakers made plays and we won.
"But one of the things that we've tried to instill in this football team and this program over the last 18 months is that if you're lucky, you get 24 hours to celebrate last weekend's game and then as soon as that's over with, on Sunday when we watch film, it's the next season. I think Cam's performance in practice yesterday clearly signifies that he's back to the grindstone."
How close was the decision to put Mike Paulus in the Virginia Tech game instead of Sexton?
"It was pretty close. It conceivably might could have gone in either direction… I've got to be honest with you, one of the reasons that we impress so importantly that if you're the quarterback – we've done it with Mike and we've done it with Cam – if you're No. 2 or the No. 3 [quarterback], and we ask you to go down and service the defense on the scout team, it is not a relegation of you're a scrub that's going down there. You're going down there because we need you get to get these 45 throws against a quality secondary and a lot of times there's carryover. If you waste that opportunity, it's a little of a waste for your entire career."