ACC Coaches Teleconference 9/13

As with everywhere else this week, Hurricane Irma was a major topic of discussion on this week’s ACC coaches teleconference. Florida State returned to practice this week but will not play as the game with Miami has been pushed back. Georgia Tech’s game against Central Florida has been cancelled outright.

Miami’s Mark Richt wasn’t on the call as south Florida continues to deal with damage in the wake of the hurricane.

Brian Kelly – Notre Dame

On Boston College defensive end Harold Landry…

“Well, sometimes you face a guy that is just a pass-rusher and you have a tendency to say let’s run the ball at him and see how he handles that. If you run the ball at him, he’s going to make tackles. He presents a problem both in the passing game and certainly as a run stopper. So his pre-season accolades are not hyped.

He’s one of the best in the country and we’ve seen them all. So we’ve got our hands full. We’ve got to game plan around him and make sure that from our perspective that he’s not a game wrecker.”

Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech

On why he enjoys road games…

“…there’s just something personal about traveling on the road. You know, you get a chance to kind of get away a little bit. You leave some people behind. There are some players that don’t make the travel squad, they don’t get to go to the game. You kind of take only what you need in order to get the job done, and then there’s something pretty personal about going into somebody else’s stadium and playing on their campus that I think is neat and unique about college football and playing on the road.”

Dave Clawson – Wake Forest

On the improvement of quarterback John Wolford…

“Well, he’s been very efficient. We’re taking care of the football, and when he has to make plays, he’s making plays with his arm or with his legs. On Saturday against BC, we ran him probably more than we ever have, and he was good with that. But I just think he’s improved, but I also think all the pieces around him are improved. It’s hard for a quarterback to function if he’s not being protected or guys aren’t getting open, and I think, again, this has been a little bit of a slow build, but we’ve been basically playing with all the same offensive players for three years, and these guys are all growing up together.”

Bronco Mendenhall – Virginia

On the versatility of De’Vante Cross and his practice reps at quarterback…

“He’s not taking nearly as many. He has and we have a series of plays that I think complement and are effective. Until we exhaust those or show those in game settings, we feel pretty good about carrying those week in and week out without much extra practice time. So he is prepared to play at quarterback. He’s certainly already playing receiver. Now he’s going to play corner. And he’s, I think, capable at all three, so hopefully that answers your question.”

Steve Addazio – Boston College

On the rivalry with Notre Dame…

“Well, obviously I think you’re talking about two Division I Catholic institutions here. I think that’s always been the backdrop, right, two prestigious academic institutions that are Catholic schools. You know, so both attracted to a lot of the same recruits, a lot of the same guys, and so it’s been that way forever. You know, it’s a cool rivalry. It’s a cool deal, and something certainly our players look forward to.

I can remember, I’ve been on both sides of this thing. I remember when I coached at Notre Dame it was like that, so it hasn’t changed, and in fact, there was a period of time where we didn’t play them quite as much, I guess, but having the opportunity two years ago and now again this year, many of the guys were on the team and understand the atmosphere and the energy that goes into the game.”

Dabo Swinney – Clemson

On the improvement of Lamar Jackson…

“Oh, man, just part two. I mean, he’s definitely a more mature player. He’s bigger, stronger. Just like all players as they gain experience, they gain confidence as well. So he’s a very confident guy and has a great understanding of what they’re asking him to do. Knows who all his players are. Does a good job of finding his backs and checking the ball down and just has a great feel for the game. He’s still a guy that you can be in great position on but you’ve still got to get your hands on him and get him down. And that’s easier said than done. So he’s a dangerous football player, no different than last year.”

David Cutcliffe – Duke

On if he expected his team to be this improved…

“Well, we know we’re better. Better doesn’t always compute to winning, but we’re better, we’re deeper. We said from the beginning we felt like this team was the fastest team we’ve had. There’s no question it is. We’re still a work in progress, like most teams are early in the season. There’s a few teams that are just dominant physically that are going to play well start to finish, but we’re a team that’s got to continue to get better. But we’ve got an opportunity to have a good football team. We’re just going to work on that one day at a time.”

Jimbo Fisher – Florida State

On returning to normalcy after Hurricane Irma…

“We were glad to get back to practice yesterday. We had not done anything since last Thursday going through Hurricane Irma, and Tallahassee for the most part got a lot of power outages and things like that. But all our kids were safe and everyone’s family was safe, and that was the most important thing.

It’s good to get back to practice and get back on the field yesterday. It’s good for the kids. We’re out of school all week, so they’ll have some time to get away and study film, and get back to the normality of the things and get back on the field and take the everyday grind of everything going on the news away and get ready for a game.

Unfortunately, we don’t get to play this week. We’d love to play, but we understand that’s where we are as a state, and we have to adhere to that there and help everyone in the state as much as we can. But we’re looking forward to getting back, had a good practice yesterday and looking forward to another one today.”

Pat Narduzzi – Pittsburgh

On what Max Browne needs to improve on…

“…I guess, you know, it’s not just a quarterback. Everybody would like to put it in the quarterback’s lap and say what does Max have to do or what’s the quarterback have to do. But there’s 10 guys out there. It starts with the quarterback in the center with a good snap and the protection up front. If the protection is not there, we could have Drew Brees back there or Ben Roethlisberger, maybe he can walk off our practice field here today and take a couple snaps. But if he’s getting hit, we’ve given up five sacks in the last two games, I believe, and if he’s getting hit, that’s not a good thing. It doesn’t make his job any easier. And then we’ve got to catch the ball down the field, so there’s quarterback and there’s accuracy, which he’s been pretty accurate.”

Bobby Petrino – Louisville

On the Cardinals’ strong run defense through two games…

“Yeah, I like the way our defensive front has played. We’ve got some physical guys inside and some real speed on the edge. Done a nice job of setting edges. Our linebacker, Stacy Thomas is really talented and experienced. The young guy, Dorian Etheridge does a great job of playing hard and running to the ball and tackling. Been able to get really good play out of our secondary against the run.

So it’s kind of all 11 guys working together. Also, we’ve had situations where the teams want to throw the ball more than run the football and the ability to get some sacks has helped us too.”

Dave Doeren – NC State

On Ryan Finley’s strong start…

“Well, I think it all started just with him building chemistry with the players around him. He came in last year and didn’t know anybody and was learning their skill set as he was getting to play, and he was trying to fight for the job, whereas I think this off-season he’s a returning starter, he spent a ton of time building relationships with players, so he understands them.

And then he’s built 15 pounds of muscle on his frame. He’s throwing the ball really well. His timing is good. His understanding of what we want to do offensively and what Coach Drinkwitz expects, how he manages the perimeter and getting the ball to the right people at the right time. He’s playing at a high level, and he’s just got to keep doing that. He doesn’t have to do too much, just be himself and take the throws that are there and know that if the defense does a good job, the next play may be a great one.”

Dino Babers – Syracuse

On mistakes against Middle Tennessee…

“No, they were a really good defense, and they had a really nice scheme. But the bottom line was we really made a lot of mistakes in that game. They weren’t physical mistakes. Those were the things that upset coaches and we have to get that right. There were mental mistakes that were made where there were answers to the problems, and mentally, we didn’t make the right decisions.”

Paul Johnson – Georgia Tech

On Central Florida’s efforts after Hurricane Irma…

“Well, certainly I think everybody is very thankful and appreciative of what they’re doing by hosting not only just the National Guard, but I think a lot of the power people and this, that and the other. Certainly our prayers and thoughts are with all the people everywhere who had to undergo the storm this past weekend. We got a touch of it here in Atlanta, but nothing like most people. Certainly it was a huge storm.”

Larry Fedora – North Carolina

On how this Old Dominion team compares to the last one North Carolina faced…”

“Well, there’s no comparison to what they were like in 2013. I can tell you this, I think they are extremely good up front. Defensively they are really strong up front. They’ve got a lot of quick-twitch guys, guys that can really move. They’re playing really hard. I think they have 15 sacks in the first two games which is pretty much unheard of. So, their linebackers play well.

Their secondary is extremely solid you know, offensively they’re breaking in some new guys, but they’re a good football team. They’re 2-0, and they’ve got to be jacked about us coming to their place and playing them at home.”

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