With week one in the books and Labor Day in the rearview mirror, coaches finally have some results to ruminate on. This week we have our first conference games with a couple of early-season ACC contests.
Miami head coach Mark Richt was not on the call as south Florida prepares for the increasingly likely landfall of hurricane Irma.
Once again, we bring you the highlights from the weekly coaches teleconference for this abbreviated game week.
Dave Doeren – NC State
On areas for improvement in week two…
“Whatever you put on tape, good or bad, you have to study yourself thoroughly. Things you did well, you want to ask yourself why, and things you didn’t, what do you need to do to improve on them. Just in general, the opening kickoff, we didn’t contain the ball. Let a play get out, which we could have tackled on the 25-yard line with three players and we lost contain and missed two tackles prior to that.
So our coverage unit there needs to be better. We missed a field goal that we should have made that he’s made 100% of the time in practice, so that needs to carry over into the game. I know he’ll respond the right way.
Defensively we had an opportunity to get a sack on a contained blitz that went right into a boot leg. We missed the tackle, and it ended up being a touchdown for them. I told our players we’ve got to make the lay-ups. That is the biggest thing. The plays are there, and the guys do a great job putting themselves in place to make. We’ve got to finish, and if we do that, the rest of it takes care of itself. So it’s just finishing plays more consistently, and in that game, it was key moments.”
David Cutcliffe – Duke
On if he expected a clean game based on preparations…
“I really did. I thought our two scrimmages, and we put a lot of pressure on our team, which rightfully so we needed to. But I thought our two scrimmages were probably the cleanest we’ve had in that regard since we’ve been here. We challenged ourselves as coaches and our players challenged each other, and that’s how Duke has to play to win, and hopefully that becomes a trend for us.”
Steve Addazio – Boston College
On how he views Wake Forest…
“We’re playing a great team in Wake Forest. Dave Clawson is one of the guys in the business that I have utmost respect for because of the way that he developed his team, his program, the detail, the fundamentals. You see it all over the tape. The way he’s taken his team and over the last four years, I think, has been a remarkable job. They’re talented. They have speed. They’re good on defenses. They’ve always been.
Offensively I love their quarterbacks. I think they’re both athletic. John Wolford is such a winner, and they’ve got playmakers. That’s what happens when you have an opportunity to develop your program. So we know we have a great task in front of us. Thank God we’re at home. But this will be a real dog fight here, so we’re working hard this week to develop to get ready for that great challenge.”
Pat Narduzzi – Pittsburgh
On the challenges presented by Penn State…”
“Yeah, when you talk about stopping the run, that’s what you’re talking about. Saquon [Barkley] is a great football player, Heisman Trophy candidate. He’s illusive, he’s strong, he’s physical. He’s a great pass protector.
[Trace] McSorley’s an unbelievable player, period. You talk about a guy that can run it and throw it. So with all their spread team, practice tempo, they’ll speed it up at times as well. They’re a two-headed monster in the back field. You’ve got a quarterback that can flat run and make plays. He does a great job with the zone read game. He does a great job faking it, carrying it out and riding that tailback. So it is a challenge for our linebackers and our ends, depending on who has got the quarterback on zone reads. They put you in a bind at times and they’ve proven that’s been an issue.”
Dave Clawson – Wake Forest
On the step up in competition this week against Boston College…”
“Well, I think there is still a lot to learn. Like I said, I was happy that we played and the fact that we played clean. That was a game that we had a lot of personnel advantages. This is a week that the personnel on both teams is going to be similar. There are certain places we have a slight edge, they have a slight edge, but every time we’ve played against B.C., it’s been a fourth quarter and it’s come down to the last possession, all three of my years here. So these have been close, hard-fought games. B.C. plays with a physicality on both sides of the line of scrimmage that we have not faced yet this year.”
Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech
On increased running back production, particularly from Deshawn McClease…”
“I was really pleased with Deshawn. It was good to get him back. He didn’t play hardly any last year. I really thought he gave us a spark in there in the second half. Had a nice little touchdown run. But, overall, I was pleased with those guys’ performance. There are certainly some things we can work on. I don’t know how the carries will be distributed as we move forward. But I was pleased with McClease and kind of what he brought to the table.”
Larry Fedora – North Carolina
On how Lamar Jackson has improved this season…”
“Well, we’re going to have to do a great job in constricting our rush lanes. One thing I will tell you just watching him from the first game and where he was last year, he threw the ball very, very effectively. He never got flustered, very calm in the pocket, moved around when needed, and still kept his eyes downfield and threw great balls. So I do think he’s improved. I think he’s improved as a quarterback, not just an athlete.”
Paul Johnson – Georgia Tech
On the first start for quarterback TaQuon Marshall…”
“Well, I thought he played well. He certainly had done a good job in practice. That’s how he won the job. I don’t think you ever think a guy is going to go in and rush for 240 yards and five touchdowns, but he did a good job executing what we were trying to do against the way they were playing defensively, and you know, overall his performance was as good as expected or maybe a little better.”
Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
On freshman quarterback James Blackman now being the starter…”
“Well, he’s been through the whole camp. He’s got the whole repertoire of things, and we’ll do the things we have to do to win the game but we won’t change. We’re who we are, and we run the same plays, and he’s ran the same plays in practice. As our backup, he’s gotten all the reps there, too, so we’re probably about a 60/40 split in practice, so he’s gotten tons of reps when it goes to that, so we’ll feature the things that we need to do in the game plan and go, and we’ll do what we do.”
Dino Babers – Syracuse
On former Orange head coach Scott Shafer returning as an opponent…”
“Well, first of all, I know Coach Shafer is coming back and it’s going to be a fantastic contest. I just want to take my hat off to Coach Stockstill. He’s got a fantastic football team, he’s got a fantastic quarterback, who happens to be his son, and I know that this game is bigger for those football players on his team and my team than it is for Coach Shafer coming back or some kind of anything else that has to do with Syracuse and Middle Tennessee. I think it’s between the young men, and I think it’s going to be a fine contest.”
Bobby Petrino – Louisville
On not allowing any sacks in the opener…”
“Yeah, we utilized good technique. I thought our tackles did a really nice job in communication with the inside three guys, did a good job. Lamar did a nice job when he got outside the pocket and there wasn’t anything there, he threw the ball away, which is something we really worked hard at since last spring. Our timing was good in our passing game. The receivers were getting open on time and the tight ends and running backs were where they were supposed to be. So it all works together. It’s all 11 guys working together.”
Dabo Swinney – Clemson
On the Auburn Tigers…”
“Well, the biggest thing for us, we opened up with them last year, and I remember nobody really wanted to give us a lot of credit for that win early in the season. But man, I really came away very impressed with Auburn and their personnel, and I think the biggest difference is last year they were unsettled at quarterback when we saw them. They played three or four guys against us. But just very impressed with their quarterback. They have solidified their depth. They’ve got really good skill, and you know, their running back led the SEC in yards per gain last year, good up front on both sides in the trenches there, very deep in the defensive line. Defensively they’ll be easily a top 10 defense in the country.”
Bronco Mendenhall – Virginia
On the retirement of AD Craig Littlepage and administrative turnover…”
“Yeah, it’s a unique time and also a unique opportunity. Man, Craig did an exceptional job leading this athletic department, and he just reflects class and dignity and just so many really neat virtues, and he’s done it for a long time. No. 2, I think, John Oliver had been here 16 years, as well as now a new president, and that means there’s also a new rector. Leadership basically in every level of alignment, all the way to myself, has and is changing. So I think it’ll be a great opportunity for UVA to reset and make really clear what their expectations are in all sports but also really what kind of commitment we want to make to football, understanding the value it can have, not only economically in the community but also just a sense of what it can do for campus, the institution, the branding, the city of Charlottesville and the state. And so I’m anxious to see what those choices are, and in the meantime, preparing to play a football game.”