The conference schedule is starting to hit in fuller force this week with several key ACC match ups. Duke and North Carolina square off in a rivalry that’s crucial to both program’s prospects this season. NC State and Florida State square off, plus we’ve got Pittsburgh-Georgia Tech and Clemson-Boston College.
Here are the highlights from this week’s coaches teleconference.
Bronco Mendenhall – Virginia
On the the challenge of Boise State’s bend but don’t break defense…
“Well, it’s just harder offense. You have to play harder, longer and more consistently and that’s a challenge. And so really what has to happen is you play harder, longer and more consistently in those drives and that time of possession has to yield points for the outcome to really go in your favor.
If you play hard and long and you are consistent for a while but then those drives don’t turn into points, all that’s really happened is really lack of production; ultimately points win the game. Those drives just have to end in points, especially if they are methodical like that.”
Bobby Petrino – Louisville
On recovering from a tough loss at Clemson…
“Yeah, I mean, it’s a long season. We’ve got a lot of games ahead of us. It’s just one game, and the No. 1 thing that we have to do is get back and work hard on the practice field and come out and execute defensively, offensively and special teams.
But you know, it’s just one game. It’s not the last time that our guys on our team or whatever are going to have defeats in life. You’ve just got to come back from them and be more determined.”
Dabo Swinney – Clemson
On the possibility of being better than last year’s team…
“Oh, shoot, we’ve played three games, and I would answer that question just like I would answer last year after three games. Everybody wanted to know what was wrong with our team and we’re not a good team. My answer then is the same it is now: We’ve played three games and we’re 3-0 and that’s where we want to be. We’ve got a long way to go.
Same thing for this team. Three games don’t make a season. We’re happy where we are but we’ve got a long way — we’ve got a lot of improving to do. That was a big win for us last week but it was probably our worst game defensively. It was our worst game defensively of the three. That doesn’t mean we played bad but we made more mistakes, more mental errors, more missed tackles. Did not do some things that we need to do that if we don’t fix we’ll get exposed.”
Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
On having experience in Jacques Patrick behind a freshman quarterback…
“Well, I mean, one, it’s a calming effect to have somebody out there that’s been through this. Hopefully our running game, we’re blocking well; we can run him and get him in great down and distances and stay ahead in the clock — I mean, the chains, as far as being able to be positive and not put yourself in long yardage situations. And the experience he has in pass pickups, all the different things as far as his experience in running and playing in games. I mean, just overall experience in general really help him.”
Dino Babers – Syracuse
On the LSU offense…
“They are such a big, physical football team. Their quarterback, obviously, is somebody that can throw the football. Their tailback is probably the top tailback in college football, if not one of the top three, and they can just turn around and hand that guy the ball and beat people.
They are big, physical, they are tough, they are fast. If they get out in the open we are probably not going to be able that catch them and their wide receivers, they look like trees and run like deer. It’s a very, very explosive offense and we’re going to have our hands full.”
Paul Johnson – Georgia Tech
On how having a game cancelled has affected the team…
“Well, I think it’s been good physically. We’ve gotten some guys back healthy. We only practiced a couple of days that week because we only found out Monday afternoon that we weren’t playing, and so we just went through the Jax State game and got that behind us on Monday and went Tuesday and Wednesday and gave them a long week off.
Physically we’re good. On Saturday we’ll see how we handled missing the game experience and the reps that you would get in the game. We’ve still got a pretty young team. I think we’ve got two seniors on offense that play, and got a few more on defense but we’ll see how it goes on Saturday.”
Larry Fedora – North Carolina
On what he thinks of Duke this season…”
“I think this is by far the best overall Duke team that I’ve seen in my five years here. I think defensively, they feel — they are really strong in a lot of areas. They are running and creating a lot of pressure for you. I think they are doing a great job on third down.
You look at them offensively, he’s [David Cutcliffe] got the quarterback now that fits what he wants to do, and the kid has experience. He can run and throw. They have got speed in the areas where they need to have speed and so I think it’s by far in my opinion the best talent-wise and the way they are playing right now and the teams that we’ve seen in the last five years from them.”
Justin Fuente – Virginia Tech
On Old Dominion’s nation-leading 16 sacks so far…
“I think the strength of their defense are their down linemen. They play quite a few. Their starting four really stand out. I mean, they’ve got some game experience. They’ve got size, explosiveness, they play hard. They can play at a lot of places. That seems to be the way they’ve created the most pressure. They haven’t needed or haven’t been forced into bringing a lot of people because they’re so good up front.”
Dave Clawson – Wake Forest
On the offensive improvement from a year ago…
“I don’t want to oversimplify it, but we’ve been playing freshmen and sophomores for three years. We’re basically playing with all the same people we did a year ago, with two new offensive linemen. Everyone else are the same players.
What happens is when individual players get better, your team gets better. But when you have the top 18 guys that played for you, 16 of them are back, they’re all improved, that allows you to take a real significant jump.”
Pat Narduzzi – Pittsburgh
On quarterbacks Max Browne and Ben DiNucci…
“Yeah, there’s a competition obviously. Again, on the outside, everybody looks at what the quarterback did. Everybody looks at what the DB did instead of what the linebacker might have done to cause the problems.
Things get helped when everybody else does their job, too. When you protect the quarterback, he doesn’t have to get hit, you give him a little bit more time to make a decision. When the ball is thrown down the field, it is a good throw, you have to catch it. Against Penn State I think we had six drops. There’s those things.”
Steve Addazio – Boston College
On if he’s seen a defensive line as good as Clemson’s…
“You know, I have. But they’re few and far between. This is an elite defensive line. There’s no question, they’re very, very talented. We play in a conference full of extremely talented defensive fronts. I came from a conference before this one that was full of those.
This is an elite defensive front, with great talent, size. They’re big, they’re physical, they’re explosive, they’re athletic. I mean, there’s a lot of good components to them. I think their back end is as good as anybody in the country. They’re talented.”
David Cutcliffe – Duke
On Carolina quarterback Chazz Surratt’s commitment and decommitment from Duke…
“It’s like recruiting is this day and time. There are so many early commitments. He had made a decision. Scottie Montgomery was recruiting him for us. He’s a great young man. Sometimes you can just tell it doesn’t sit completely well with young people. That’s going to happen from time to time.
Wasn’t all that surprising. Certainly I think trying to get it right is a part of it. In football, we all know more and more it’s gotten earlier and earlier, so you’re going to see that from time to time. He obviously made a decision that he’s very happy with, ended up where he wanted to be.”
strong>Dave Doeren – NC State
On evaluating Florida State after they’ve only played one game…
“We always go back and look at how they played us. It’s the same coordinators, both sides of the ball, for a number of years. You can see how they game planned us in the past, how we game planned them, things we think we should have done differently, things that work, didn’t work. You do go back and look at film of teams that are similar in your approach, see if there are things you can gain from that.
I think the two sides of the ball are a little different. Defensively there’s nine returning starters. You can go back and look at a lot of film on their defense. Offensively obviously the running back load with Dalvin Cook last year, so you don’t truly know the style of these two guys. There’s not a ton of film. In the pass game, the receivers only have one game of film. The quarterback has none. There will be some adjusting.”
Mark Richt – Miami
On the long layoff from Hurricane Irma…
“Well, I think because we gave them time before the storm, during the storm, after the storm, to really be with family, be with who they felt would be the best person to be with to ride out the storm. Then when things really did settle down in everybody’s lives, then we went ahead and started preparation.
To stay in south Florida wasn’t really going to work for us. We really couldn’t stay on our campus. It was going to be hard to get a hotel that had enough rooms for everybody because of the demand of the hotel rooms down there in the south because of power outages and those kinds of things. We decided to go to Orlando where we went to one hotel that had enough rooms for everybody. We could feed them the way we want, control their schedule with rest, then practice and focus on football.”