Orange Bowl: Coach Dean Hood

Wake Forest defensive coordinator Dean Hood spoke with the media about his defense and the upcoming Orange Bowl against the Louisville Cardinal.

Q. The big question, how do you stop Brian Brohm?
COACH DEAN HOOD: Well, we approach every game the same, and that is you've got to stop their run first. If we don't stop their run, we have no chance of winning the football game. So every game we play, regardless of the caliber of quarterback, and Brian Brohm is awesome, he's going to be the best quarterback that we've faced all year, but we still approach it the same way. Number one, stop the run, and then when you do stop -- if you can stop the run, then you've got a chance because if Louisville or any team, if you're in a run-pass conflict, especially somebody like Louisville with a quarterback that good, you're going to be in for a long day. So if you can stop the run, then when it's a sheer passing situation, try to put it on the quarterback as far as changing up your looks, as far as bringing pressure, showing a pressure look and dropping out and fire zone and then playing man, mixing man with two coverage and that type of stuff, then you've got a chance.

Q. I was wondering if you could just talk about the challenge of this offense, which seems to score points on everybody. Have you played a team of this caliber in the last couple years?
COACH DEAN HOOD: You know, we have. Our conference is very talented, so we've played a number of teams that are as talented as Louisville. But, you know, the problem with them is they're good everywhere. We've played a lot of teams that have Louisville-type talent all over the place, NC State, back when they had Rivers, and Clemson when they had Dantzler and that sort of thing, but I think overall, this is one of the better teams we've played top to bottom, just because they have a good, big offensive line, experienced offensive line, a quarterback that's a great player; they've got three running backs that can all play; they've got wide receivers that create match-up problems with you, not only from a speed standpoint but from a big body standpoint; they have a tight end that can really, really run and catches the ball well; you know, they've got a fullback that's a good blocker and he carries the ball some on some short yardage type plays. Yeah, we have a team that are as talented as they are, and we have played a few that are like them that they have talent everywhere. You can't look at them and say, yeah, they've got all the skilled guys but they're not very good up front, or they've got skilled guys everywhere but they don't have a quarterback that can get it to them. There's nothing like that you can say, there's no comment you can say like that about Louisville.

Q. Could you talk about the role of the safeties against this offense, and Josh in particular?
COACH DEAN HOOD: Our safeties, I mean, those guys -- I know I look like I'm a little bit tired but I have slept a little bit, and the reason is because of our safeties primarily. That's who I work with is the secondary. Those two kids, if they haven't started every game since they were sophomores, it's pretty close. And those guys are like our quarterbacks. Those are the guys that have allowed me to get some sleep at night. They make all of our coverage adjustments. They're like having a coach, both those kids, Pat Ghee and Josh Gattis, they're like having a coach on the field. Those are the two that have allowed me to sleep a little bit in the evenings. They understand the game, they understand schematically what we're trying to do, and they get everybody lined up right and make all the calls and all the checks.

Q. Jon Abbate had a pretty severe ankle sprain, he went for a few games, but obviously he didn't play like a guy who was hurt in the ACC Championship. When did you start feeling like he was back and how can he build off a game as good as he had against Georgia Tech?
COACH DEAN HOOD: Well, he did play like a guy who was hurt because John is like an animal, and when you hurt an animal they're a little more dangerous, a little more volatile, and that's what he did. No, he is healthy. He played unbelievable. I mean, the game at Georgia Tech, you just shake your head. You know, I told the guys, probably none of you should print this, but I told the guys, if you want to win the Orange Bowl, you guys go down to Miami and you smoke whatever Jon Abbate was smoking before that game because he was playing like a wild man. He just was amazing. It didn't matter, two people on him, three people on him, no people on him, blitz, play the position. It seems he just made every tackle in that football game. He's incredible. So how can he play any better than that? I don't know, but he is healthier. Him and Josh both, Florida State, we didn't know if they were going to play at all, and they both were looking at us before the game like, hey, if you don't put me in there I'm going to punch you, so we let them play some and they got about 15 or so reps, then they got a little more the next week. But even Josh in the Georgia Tech game was planting off his foot, so he really wasn't 100 percent. But they're both 100 percent ready to go for the game.

Demon Deacon Digest Top Stories