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On the Clemson game as you look at it again, it's a real disappointing loss. We played really well on defense; played fast, tackled, made a lot of plays. Offensively, we're really struggling. Struggling up front, struggling to get open and get the timing in our passing.
I do think that when Will came in the 3rd quarter, he gave us a lift. Our timing was a little bit better and we were able to throw the ball downfield and put ourselves in a position to win the game.
As far as spiking the ball, that's a bad call. You look back on it, it's the nature of the business. You make a call and it doesn't work, you lose the game, it's a bad call. That's all on me. I take full responsibility for it. It was a situation where I did feel like we needed to huddle and get the right play called. But it didn't work out, so therefore it's a bad call. There's no issue about that.
I thought we came back last night and our players had a good attitude. We watched the video, then the vets went out and ran hard and the young guys went out and practiced. The most important thing is to be able to put a hard loss like this behind you. We've talked about it a lot already -- how to learn from this and get better. We have Homecoming coming up this week. One of our goals is to win all of our home games, and this is where we get started.
That's what I'm really looking for: a positive attitude, a good work ethic, and to make sure we come into practice looking to get better.
On both losses this seeing being so close
Yeah, I think the hardest thing is you look at both those losses and you're in a position to win. There's a number of things that transpire throughout the game that obviously affect that, and again as you look back at it, there were a couple of easy things that could have made the difference prior to the last drive. But we maintained our poise. You can't say enough about how hard we fought. We got the ball with a minute-some left to go. We had to burn all our timeouts to get the ball back. Our defense made a great stop to hold them to a field goal, and all our players took the field believing that we would find a way to win the game, and it almost happened.
I think that's a step forward from Virginia, because it was almost the same situation at Virginia where we got the ball back with a chance to win the game, and we were barely able to move it all. So I guess that's something that's tough to look at positively.
How much do you worry about a hangover effect after this game?
You always worry about your attitude and sticking together -- that's one of the things I talked to the defense and to the offense about last night. We need to stick together. Let's be honest, the defense has been playing lights out and doing everything real well. Offensively, we're not doing our job well enough to win games like that on the road in that type of environment. I think they really understand that the biggest thing we need to do is be a team and stay together.
How do you deal with the QB situation going forward?
I haven't gotten a chance to talk to the two of them yet today. We have a plan, but I want to tell the two of them before I inform the press.
How are you personally handling the struggles of the offense?
Yeah, I mean you're always a little bit frustrated. You keep wondering what is causing the mistakes. We're not blocking the front well enough. We're not getting open against tight coverage well enough. It all works together. They did some really good things as far as stopping our run as far as their line movements and jamming the inside. They gave Reggie some different looks in the option game that he had done a great job of against Syraucse. They took it away with some of the things they did. When they do that, we have to be able to throw the ball. That was one of the reasons why we made the change.
Will DeVante be back this week?
I wish I knew more. He did run well today. He ran without any pain. So it's really on a day-to-day basis and it's really gonna be how he reacts to the exercise and the movements that he does.
When he comes back, will he make a massive difference?
Does anybody have a crystal ball? Yeah, you don't know. You worry about his conditioning, you worry about him having to play for a long time. He's a tremendous player. We've all seen that, we've all seen the plays that he can make. But you just don't know.
On concern over Clemson's DC saying they knew what Louisville's last play would be.
Yeah, you're always concerned about that. We had two plays that we could have called down there. I wish I would have called the other one. That would have been a bunch play, a bunch formation. I wish I would have called the other one. You look back on it and you stay awake all night long thinking, "you dummy, why didn't you call the other one?"
On the progression of the offense going forward.
We need to progress. We need to do it right away. We're working hard at it. We're not progressing fast enough. The other thing now id don't take anything away from Clemson. They're not sixth in defense in the country because they're not good players and they don't play well and they don't have great experience. That was one of the issues preparing for them going into the game, was looking at last year's video and saying, "these are all the same guys that played last year." They're a very, very good defense and you saw that the week before when they completely shut down North Carolina State. They also stopped Florida State's running game, which no one had ever done that before.
On where the team is overall with five games left.
You know, we're not happy being 5-2. You look back on it and say hey, you could've been 7-0. That's where we want to be. That's what we're working and striving for. That's just where I would rather be.
Is your defense even better than you anticipated?
Yeah, they're pretty good. They really are. They play really well. They rush the quarterback. They tackle well. They play the ball in the air. Going into the season, we had great concerns about our safeties. With Sample and Holliman coming out and playing that way and T. Floyd being the nickel. Now we've got Reve back and he did a nice job making some plays for us. It's been gelling and they've been doing a really good job.
On Jermaine Reve coming back.
Yeah, he's even ahead of schedule from what we thought. He got injured in spring ball. All through the rehab, Kyle kept telling me, "Jermaine's just working so hard, he's doing so well - we might have him this year, we might get him for the second half of the season." We check in with him a couple weeks later and he said he's progressed even ahead of where he was. His attitude and his work ethic is the reason he's where he is. He's ahead of where we thought he would be.
How does the NC State suspension of seven players change things?
Yeah I just heard about that. You know, it's unfortunate. You don't wish that on anybody, you always want to play against their best players. My understanding is there are three of them that played a lot. But, that's something I was gonna do right when I was done here.
What is your BB gun policy?
That's such an issue on campuses, whether it's a BB gun -- when I was here before we had a paint gun incident where I had to suspend two players for a paint gun incident. Anytime you out the word "gun" in front of anything, it's an absolute no on a college campus. We've seen that a couple times now across the country.
On how you make the decision to switch quarterbacks.
That's a great question. We talk about it. Garrick and I talk about it. What are we going to do here? Should we make a switch here? No, give him another series. We talked about it at halftime. We felt like coming out of halftime, let's get him moving around and get some of our play-action game and let him run the ball a little bit. Sometimes with a quarterback that's got great instincts to run the ball, once you get his blood flowing and get him involved running, that helps him in the passing game.
Is this the best defense you've been around in college?
Our defense right now? Yeah, I think so. (knocks on wood) Knock on wood.
Are you comfortable with James Quick as the punt returner?
Yeah, we've had two big fumbles on it. It's something we're definitely concerned with and something we work hard on. There's always that on the fence. He looks up at the ball, he looks at the rush, then he decides whether he wants to fair catch or make a run. Doing that, he's made some great plays for us. But he has had the two fumbles that have hurt us, so we have to work hard on him understanding that. Also, we have to a better job of getting our other guy back there to do a better job blocking for him. We have to do a better job on that first guy down who is the most dangerous.
Has there been a change considered at punt returner?
We haven't even talked about a change.
If that last play would have worked, do you think the spike would have been a good call?
Nature of the business right? Yeah, that's the nature of the business.
That's something you think about all night long. Do you line up right now and throw a fade? Do you line up and run a movement play? One of the issues that we had was with that noise how many false starts we had when we didn't huddle. You think about everything when you lose. None of it's good. Believe me.
How much effect did the crowd noise have on the false starts?
Some of it. It was loud. It's a loud place. What it comes down to is everybody else plays in a loud stadium, we have to focus and concentrate and not have the same person continuously getting those penalties.
Have you noticed teams throwing away from Charles Gaines?
Yeah, he does a really nice job in tight coverage. The best thing about when he has tight coverage is that pass rush doesn't give them a lot of time to get the ball on that side. He's done a great job. He's a good player. He almost had a nice pick the other night, a couple of them. So he's right there. And he's got great hands, the more you get his hands on the ball the more picks he's gonna get.
Does Gaines ever stop talking?
Never when I've been around him.