"Every week presents a different set of challenges, and certainly Virginia is playing extremely well. It's a big challenge schematically, because they're so dramatically different than the previous teams that we've played. Predominantly, it's been overwhelmingly 4-3 teams on defensive schemes. This week, it's a classic 3-4 team, which is a challenge in and of itself.
"Offensively, a team that has made a transition from what they were doing early in the season to what they've been doing most recently when they've had their most success and a very talented running back. Good special teams, so this will be a big test for our kids to maintain their focus, stay committed to the process and then certainly learn all of the things that it's going to take to give us a chance to play well this Saturday."
On this team adopting the coaching staff's mentality in playing smart:
"I think our kids learned last year the value of hard work and playing 60 minutes very hard. And the way that they competed in most of the games last year put us in a position to make the games competitive, make the games close and put ourselves in a position [to win]. Out of those games there were shortcomings that we talked about in the offseason, whether it be turnovers, whether it be special teams or whether it be third downs – we had a laundry list of things. We talked to our players about how each one of those things certainly affects the outcome of the game.
"Subsequent to that, I think, our team is learned how to be football smart. That sometimes you're not going to have the best matchup at some positions, so you've got to compensate in other areas to try to give yourself a chance to win. And it can fall in any of the three phases. They continue to work hard and they continue to try to watch film, to become more football knowledgeable and I think that they're allowing the coaches – they're real receptive to what we have to say to them. You've got to give the players credit. All the X's and O's in the world and all of the coaches, but the kids still have to go out and make the plays."
Will Dwight Jones and Greg Little possibly see action at wide receiver soon?
"We've taken a look at several different options. Sometimes it appears that robbing Peter to pay Paul might be the best thing, but you also have to be very cautious that you don't deplete yourself in some other areas. We're still experimenting. As I said the other day, this football team does not have a Brandon Tate waiting in the wings. It's going to take a couple of different people doing a variety of different things to try to help compensate for Brandon's absence. It's still kind of a work in progress right now, and hopefully we'll have a few of the answers by Saturday."
What has Cam Sexton shown you in recent weeks that he didn't show you during the offseason or even last year?
"Well, the one thing that no player at any position can show you is the poise under pressure. You can fabricate all you want in inter-squad scrimmages, blitz drills and competitive 7-on-7 drills, but there's no way that you can ever replicate what it's like be on national television in front of 65,000 people, whether it's on the road or at home or whatever.
"Just being able to manage your emotions, manage the game and certainly, that's the hallmark of all really good quarterbacks is their ability to perform under pressure. Because they're under pressure every single week, whether it's pressure from the other team, pressure from the environment or pressure from their own teammates to deliver. So I think his poise and his maturity and his ability to handle that has been very impressive."
Eight teams in the ACC have changed quarterbacks this season. What does that say about the nature of QB position?
"I think what it tells you is that clearly one quarterback is not enough, whether it's through performance or injuries or whatever. It is becoming increasingly a tough scenario. If you look at the number of quarterbacks every single year in the NFL that start the season and get nicked up and injured, and they miss either some playing time or the entire season – Tony Romo, Tom Brady – it's the same in college.
"If you're a football program where you only have one quarterback in your program, then you're flirting with danger and fire, because there's always the possibility that your entire success for the season and the entire program is essentially in jeopardy with just one quarterback. It just stresses the importance of good depth and bringing more than one quarterback along and having them as near ready as possible to come in and play."
Speaking of the NFL, most teams will bring in quarterbacks for the sole purpose of being a backup. Do you use that approach at the college level?
"No, not really. The only quarterbacks that we're ever going to recruit are guys that we think have a chance to help us win a national championship."
On red-shirting decisions:
"We've still got a long ways to go in this season… Each week we have one or two more [freshmen] that finds their way into some special teams or some nickel packages. I told all of [the freshmen] that we still aren't at the point that we would ever make a decision that you're probably going to red-shirt – to be prepared and to be ready, because we may need you and we may need to call on you."