Coaches Speak From the Week in the ACC

MIAMI HEAD COACH MARK RICHT: (on Pitt’s talent) Oh, they are. You see it on paper, but when you watch the film, you can see that they’re dynamic in how they get after you in that regard. I mean, their 3rd down package is — it gets exotic in their looks and the things that they do, but just an old-school four-man pass rush is a bear because they’ve got a big man who can push the pocket up in the face of the quarterback, and then they’ve got Price, who’s a jet on the end, to force the QB up in the pocket, and that’s a pretty lethal combination of pass rush.

NC STATE HEAD COACH DAVE DOEREN: (on Clemson loss lingering) I think it did the week after for sure. But we’ve moved on since then, and I mean, it’s just — the hardest part of this whole thing for our kids and for our coaches is that we’re so close, and we haven’t done it yet. We’re three plays away really from being 7- 1, and those are the plays that haunt you and make you feel horrible. A lot of them are self-inflicted, and our guys have done a great job of looking at themselves and our coaches and talking with our guys and being positive and staying with the process that we believe in. We know that we’re close, but that doesn’t mean that you’re happy. You’re disappointed, you know, and you’ve got to find a way to get it back, and that’s what we talked about is just getting back to execution and reduction of error.

DUKE HEAD COACH DAVID CUTCLIFFE: (on effects of injuries) There’s injuries, there’s a lot of things that we’ve dealt with. We’ve got more depth than we’ve had. We’ve got some good quality people out there playing. It’s my job to get us over that hump, and that hump doesn’t come easy. There are edges everywhere in this business that you have to have, how you take care of yourselves, how you study tape, how the chemistry of our team works together, all of it. There’s nothing wrong here, but it’s got to be better to finish games in the fourth quarter, so you just keep trying to push, which I am blown away how willing this team is to work.

BOSTON COLLEGE HEAD COACH STEVE ADDAZIO: (on how a team at BC’s “level” competes against teams like Clemson) Well, I do take offense to that “level,”but that’s okay. That’s neither here nor there. Actually I think in college football you head it up every day, and you’d better bring your A game, and the minute you think you’re playing a team at a different level is the minute you’ve been slapped, and I’ve been around long enough to see it. It’s ACC football. We’re in the elite conference in America, and any team on any given day will beat any other team. And so whether it’s on BC, on Louisville, on Clemson, on whoever, you’ve got to bring it, you’ve got to have a great week, your players got to understand what they’re up against, and it works for the underdog, it works for the favored team. To me it’s all the same. The old clich√©, which I really believe in to tell you the truth, is everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time, man, and no one can measure what’s in someone’s heart, and that’s why I love the game of football. It is what it is. I don’t measure, I don’t score compare, I don’t do those things. I watch the tape. I evaluate the personnel, and what I can tell you wholeheartedly is Louisville is absolutely one of the most elite, talented teams in the country right now, so we know that we more than have our work cut out for us, and we certainly understand that.

PITTSBURGH HEAD COACH PAT NARDUZZI: (on trouble with VT) But we’ve obviously got to make some plays with the ball. I give Virginia Tech a lot of credit for some of the back shoulder fades they threw. We didn’t see any on tape going into the game, and obviously that was their plan of not trying to really — they’re running fades, but they’re really throwing it to the back shoulder, kind of pushing off and making a great play, which are probably the hardest ones to defend in press coverage, so we’ve worked on that this week, and I just wish we would have worked at it a week earlier.

SYRACUSE HEAD COACH DINO BABERS: (on recruiting rumors) First of all, you’re talking about something I know nothing about, and the last thing we would do is tell someone who is not in our program things that’s going to be going on inside of our program. We’re a family. We’re Ohana in La Familia (ph). Unless you’re inside, you really don’t know what’s going on.

NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH FEDORA: (on GT’s explosiveness) Yeah, explosive plays, and that’s the thing that breaks your back. You defend the option, you get them into third-and-long situations, you know they are going to throw. You bring an extra guy, which forces him out of the pocket and then it’s like death, because he can break your back. I mean, he can — because he can really run.

GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH PAUL JOHNSON: (on how to improve the defense) I don’t have a magic wand to wave and say, hey, this is where we’re going to get better and this is what we’re going to do. I think you continue to work on; you correct your mistakes. You try to improve on the things you’re not doing well, which is third down defense. If we just play a little better on third down and get off the field, a lot of that will go away, but it also hasn’t been all bad. You know, we have made some plays.

WAKE FOREST HEAD COACH DAVE CLAWSON: (on let downs based on opponents) We’re certainly not at a place right now program-wise that we cannot play well and expect to win against anybody we play. We did some good things against Florida State that allowed us to stay in that game and have a chance to win it, but if you throw three interceptions like we did against Army and have the ball in the red zone four times and come away with one touchdown, you’re not going to beat people, anybody on our schedule.

LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH BOBBY PETRINO: (on style points and the playoff rankings) I think what we need to do is not worry and go out and play good, hard, Cardinal football, play the way we know how to play. Execute at a high level the way we have shown throughout most of the season. And it is hard to win games and everyone that goes on the road understands that and knows that. You know, we’ve just got to keep playing football. And you’ve seen from — history shows that these four teams that come out at this time of the year usually aren’t the ones that end up in the playoffs.

FLORIDA STATE HEAD COACH JIMBO FISHER: (on linebacker role) It’s hard. It’s just you’ve got to recognize formation, make the calls, and then as motions and things go, you’ve got to make the adjustments. You’ve got to set the front. It is, it’s a burden, but it’s just like a quarterback or a center on offense. The center has got to make all the calls up front on certain things. The quarterback’s got to make calls. There are certain safeties in the secondary that have to make adjustments and things. You’re controlling the front seven while safeties control the back guys and adjust. It’s a burden but it’s a necessary thing that you have to do because there has to be somebody that communicates and carries that deal.

VIRGINIA TECH HEAD COACH JUSTIN FUENTE: (on Isaiah Ford) Yeah, I don’t know how much he’s matured. My impression of him has been the same since I’ve been here, that he’s a very mature person to begin with. He’s highly intelligent, and he’s one of the types of players that can tell you what actually happened in the game in real time. Some guys have a hard time with identifying how the leverage was or what actually happened on the play, and Isaiah is not — one of those people you can trust. Whatever he says is actually what happened during that play. He’s done a great job with the younger guys. He continues to help those guys get better and bring them along. It’s good to have him out there practicing as opposed to the spring when he wasn’t out there. It’s just better for those young guys to see him out there every day.

CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY: (on Syracuse’s talent) Oh, yeah, absolutely. You just turn the tape on and they handled V-Tech pretty good, they really did. Played well and then they come back and beat Boston College at BC. Again, now they have got an open date. They are really playing with a lot of confidence. There’s no doubt about it. Our guys have a lot of respect for Syracuse. They did a good job against us last year, especially offensively, they hit a lot of big plays on us.

VIRGINIA HEAD COACH BRONCO MENDENHALL: (on their record and moving forward) I think it’s a fair question. And I’ve really been of the first mind-set in the entirety of this experience so far, and I plan on keeping that consistent. We’re focusing on staying in the present and improving with every repetition, not thinking about the future nor the past. But just really working on what we can control, and that’s the very next repetition or the very next choice we have to make. And so the answer to the question is ignoring the record and focusing on just what we can control on a daily and minute by minute basis.
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