Charlie Strong Previews Cincinnati

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Highlights:

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--It was nice to be off during Thanksgiving week. The players were able to go over to some of the coaches' houses just to relax and enjoy themselves. They had Friday off and then we turned around and started preparing for Cincinnati on Saturday.

--Cincinnati is a lot like us. They're right there with us in all of the statistical categories within the league. We're walking into a hostile environment and we know that it's all going to be about focus. This is a team that we've only beaten one time since I've been here, so we know what we're up against.

--No going to the BCS isn't deflating at all. We're a team that's won 10 games. Sure, we'd like to have beaten UCF, but we got beat by a good football team. They've got 10 wins too, and their only loss is to a good South Carolina team.

--We have got to cut out the penalties. We've hit a stretch where we're committing way too many penalties.

--We don't have an ACC rival yet.

--You hate to leave the Cincinnati matchup because it's a city that we recruit. You hate to walk away from a conference that took us in when we needed a place to play, but now we're going in to a good conference that's going to be a stable place for us.

--Didn't watch the Auburn/Alabama game because the team was practicing. You never expect to lose a game like that.

--You hate to walk away from a rivalry like Louisville/Cincinnati that's so established and been so competitive.

--It's hard to say a team that's won 24 games doesn't deserve to play for a national title. I would say they deserve to play for the championship.

--Cincinnati hasn't lost a home game this season and they've won six straight, that's my biggest concern. We have to stay focused, pack our defense and make them earn everything.

--If you load up the non-conference schedule when you play in a league like the ACC, you look around and wonder when you're going to get a break.

--You would have liked to have seen Teddy stay in the mix for a lot of those national awards because he's played well enough, but he's a guy whose overcome a lot and he has to overcome that and stay focused on the team, which he will.

--Both teams should be able to move the ball on Thursday, the key is going to be not giving up the big play.

--We need to control their crowd with our defense. We can't allow them to get out and have a fast start.

--If we win on Thursday then I guess we get to keep the Keg of Nails until we play again.

--We have so many seniors who have put so much into this program, and I want them to go out the right way.

--Kai DeLa Cruz has been working out this week and he'll be a game-time decision.

--Besides Kai, everyone else should be in pretty good shape.

--I'm thankful for having a good football team and having a chance to go get win No. 11.

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