Nov. 2, 2010
"We're very happy to be bowl eligible and very excited about the way we played last week, but we're going into a very difficult game this week. Miami's offense, everybody knows about Jacory Harris being injured. I don't know what his status is yet. They had some other quarterbacks play against Virginia and from what I read and hear they're very high on Stephen Morris, who came in and rallied the team at Virginia last week.
"This is a very talented team. They have three very, very good wide receivers. Leonard Hankerson has 44 catches and a 15.5 yards-per-catch average for 85.1 yards per game. LaRon Byrd has 27 catches and Travis Benjamin, who is also their punt returner, has 26 catches and a 16.8 ypc average.
"They play four running backs and they're all very good. They're all about the same size. They're all averaging 4.9, 5.5, 5.9 and 8.3 yards per rush. They're running the ball pretty well, 170 yards a game, they're passing for 235 and averaging 405 yards in total offense per game. Their tight ends are big, strong and fast and so is their offensive line. Their line is gigantic, so we have our work cut out for us on defense.
"On defense they are very big and very fast, one of the top teams in the country. Their two defensive ends, (Allen) Bailey and (Olivier) Vernon are probably the two best defensive ends we've played all year. Bailey has five sacks and Vernon has three sacks. They're sixth in the country in tackles-for-loss and second in the country in sacks at 3.1 (per game). Their linebackers are very good. I've been very impressed with Colin McCarthy, runs extremely well and is a very good middle linebacker. Their secondary is very, very good. Both corners are very physical, they play a lot of press-man. (Ryan) Hill has three interceptions and (Brandon) Harris has one. Their two safeties are big and strong."
"We're going to have to go down and play the best we've played all year to be in this game. It's going to be a real challenge for us."
On continuing to show improvement in handling adversity on the road:
"The best way to answer that question depends on how poised we stay as a team and how we handle the whole situation. I think we've gotten better because of playing in difficult situations. I am eager to see how competitive we can be in this situation, in Miami. Obviously, the best way to tell is whether we win the game or not. That is the only thing I am looking for us to improve upon."
On LaQuan Williams' role on the team:
"Like I said after the game, I am pulling for LaQuan in a lot of areas. He's excelled and LaQuan could have been very frustrated with the emergence of (Adrian) Cannon and Torrey Smith, yet he found his niche in special teams. It turns out that he is one of our better slot receivers and he actually knows all of the positions, so he is able to fill in where necessary. That, and along with getting his life together and doing well in school, like he is on a mission. I'm very proud of him, he is having such a good senior year, and I think it will be a year he is always going to treasure. I certainly am enjoying his success."
On defensive coordinator Don Brown's relationship with Miami's ¬¬¬¬¬offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, who formally worked together at UMass:
"It's going to be interesting. I'm sure that there is a lot of familiarity, and that may be a good thing or it could be detrimental. I know that knowing someone so well, you can over-plan at times. But, I know that they are very good friends, I think they talk with one another once a week, throughout the year, not just during football season."
On Miami's injuries at quarterback:
"From what I read and hear, it looks like we've got Stephen Morrison. He's a true freshman who is very talented; he was expected to redshirt this year but Miami needed to burn his redshirt. I still think Harris will play. Either way we need to be ready to play whomever they decide to play."
On Danny O'Brien's development throughout the season:
"I know Danny never gets discouraged. He came up to me at the Navy game saying, `I'm good coach, put me back in.' Whether its good or bad, he's always upbeat. I think one thing that has helped our team is his demeanor. He plays well but his demeanor is productive. He instills confidence, even as a redshirt freshman, it's something I haven't often seen from freshmen. He always thinks he's going be good and play well."
On cultivating strong special teams:
"I think (special teams coach) Charles Bankins has done a very good job; he motivates (the players). Players like Tony Logan, LaQuan Williams and Emani Lee-Odai have made special teams their niche, what they are going to excel in. When they get out on the field and make plays, it gets contagious; other players want to get involved in special teams. Our turnovers, punt returns, blocked punts and special teams have all been a key part in our success as a team."
"I am consistently looking for people who can make us more efficient as a team. It's like running a business. If you are not being productive, I will find someone who is being productive. I think if we can find someone to play a role on special teams who is not a starter, that is being efficient as a team."
On Miami's defense:
"Miami is very athletic on defense. They are big fast and strong just like Clemson was, with a lot of man-to-man. But I like our game plan heading into this week. We are just going to have to execute and get the ball out quickly."
On his progression so far this season:
"It's been a crazy ride so far and happened very fast. Once the season is over I will be able to look back on it but right now we need to get ready for Miami and that's where my focus is right now."
On what LaQuan Williams means to the team:
"LaQuan is huge for us and I look up to him as a leader. He has been here for a long time and is always making great plays. I look forward to him continuing making those plays in the future as well."
On spreading the ball on offense:
"If I just go through my reads I know that whoever is open has the ability to make a big play. I look forward to continuing to get the ball to everyone."
On his confidence after early season struggles:
"I was down early on but I have a great circle of family and friends to help me get through it. I talked to some former players and they helped me as well. But my friends and family as well as the coaches kept me up. I just stuck with it and knew that we would be successful if we stayed with it."
Senior Offensive Lineman Paul Pinegar
On the confidence of the team coming off the win against Wake Forest:
"I think it's huge for us. There have been times when our running game struggled a bit but we came out and played a full game. It's building a lot of confidence for a lot of our players going into a big game against Miami."
On reviving the running game against Wake Forest:
"We just came out and played hard every day during practice. We realized that in order to make a statement we needed to come out and move the ball. We thought that Wake Forest would be a statement game and we came out and put up a lot of rushing yards."
On Miami's defense:
"They are more of a straight forward defense that is going to come at us with their size, strength and speed and try to overpower us. They don't really pressure a whole lot, they bring one or two blitzes but not very frequently. I think our main concern is their athleticism."
On Danny O'Brien's leadership:
"It's what you haven't seen and the off the field things. He's someone who will stay after practice and watch hours of film by himself and analyze it and break down the opponent. He's also a great leader in the huddle which is what a lot of people don't get to see. He is like a field general who will command our attention. If we have good protection he tells us and if we do something wrong he tells us to try and hold up a little bit longer. He has stepped in as a leader and his ability to do that is very special."
On the special teams competition:
"It's a competition against our entire group, we all want to stand out. We use special teams and offense together to stand out. Emani Lee-Odai, Tony Logan, Kevin Dorsey, Quintin McCree, Kerry Boykins and I all compete within special teams to see who will make the most plays, who will stand out the most and be the big guy that week."
On the need to win on the road:
"Its one of the things (the coaches) have preached the whole season is to win the next game. It's going to be a huge game for us going down to play Miami with all their history. We have to win on the road again after beating Boston College. If we want to go to the ACC championship game and a good bowl game we have to win in November and win on the road."
On the team's development over the season:
"I think everybody is finding their roles on the team. People are subbing in like Bradley Johnson, Matt Robinson, Darin Drakeford and everyone all around is just finding their roles. Everyone understands what it takes for our team to get the win."
On what he sees from Miami:
"They are coming off a difficult loss so we know that they are going to come into the game fired up. They have great athletes on offense from wide receiver to tight end and three good running backs. Which ever quarterback plays is going to be good and we saw that with their freshman coming in and playing well against Virginia. We have to be prepared no matter what quarterback plays."
Senior Defensive Lineman Drew Gloster
On becoming bowl eligible:
"It was a big monkey off of our backs especially with me being a senior. My senior class didn't go to a bowl game last year so now that we have six wins and are bowl eligible its great. Like Coach Friedgen said each game is a new challenge and the more we win the better bowl game we will be able to go to."
On stopping Miami's offense:
"We just need to continue to do what we do best. Put some pressure on the quarterback and live and die by the blitz. We have some things that Coach Brown is stirring up for this week so hopefully we will get after them, and have a great all around defensive game."
On stopping Miami's speed:
"Every day we have drills that focus on running to the ball and we always emphasize that so we can get all 11 players around the ball. I feel like that's how we are successful on defense."