Bobby Petrino met with the media following his team's Monday evening practice, and talked about the big game against Florida State, as well as the playing status of guys like DeVante Parker, James Quick and Lorenzo Mauldin.
Here's the transcript (via U of L):
"We're excited about the game. I'm happy with the way our players are preparing for it. We've had a couple of good practices this week. We did a good job Saturday morning when we came in and worked. So obviously they're excited about the game. It's something we're looking forward to, going out and performing and playing hard."
(On what Will Gardner's focus should be going into the Florida State game)"He just needs to focus on executing the offense, you know. I think he's done a real nice job in practice and in the meeting room, understanding what looks we expect to see. You know, you're always going to see something new as a quarterback, but we're working hard on the looks we're expecting to see. And he just needs to go in focused and go through his progressions and execute the offense. And he's very capable of doing that. He's got to do it consistently with all 11 guys, really."
(On if Gardner seems more consistent)
"Yeah. He's had a good week at practice. He's snapping the ball and throwing well, so he's done a good job. You know, I think he's looked sharp here in the last couple of weeks...obviously it's fun to have DeVante [Parker] back out there. You know, I felt like coming out of the last game against North Carolina State, that was the closest we've looked to our offense...to do the things we like to do on our offense."
(On how the bye week has helped Parker)
"Yeah, he's looked really good yesterday and today...two weeks ago...going into the North Carolina State game, you saw glimpses of it and [thought], 'Okay, how much is he going to be able to go out there and how well is he going to perform?' Obviously he went way above our expectations in that game. But the last couple of days, he's really looked back to himself and really exploded after the catches, you know. It feels a lot better for him. You can see that, and he's also said that."
(On having James Quick and Lorenzo Mauldin back healthy)
"They've all practiced the last two games, so we feel good about them both being out there ready to go."
(On the game plan for Florida State)
"Well, you know, when you look at their offense, they're very balanced. They can run the ball, throw it, throw it deep. So obviously you first have to stop the run. The most important part of the defense is to stop the run and try to make them get behind the sticks. And then we're going to have to be able to tight coverage and rush the quarterback. He's a different guy to tackle and bring down, so we have to have discipline in our lanes [and] mix things up. That's our thing. We've been good at doing that. We've got to just go play our defense. That's the biggest thing."
(On who Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston reminds Petrino of )
"I mean, they're all different. You know, real good players. [Winston] has a real quick release. He makes good decisions. He's very decisive with his decision making. So it's going to be important for us to really be good with the coverage and be tight on the coverage. Put pressure on him. Not let him have the good passing lanes."
(On who will be starting in the backfield)
"Oh, you know, we've got another day of practice, so we'll worry about that after our Thursday practice which actually is, what, Tuesday this week. So, yeah, we'll just go practice and see how they all do."
(On the health of the Louisville players)
"Yeah, [Brandon] Radcliff is back going full speed, which is great to see. He's had an issue with his toe that's bothered him on and off. He's back there competing hard. Dom [Brown] looks good. Michael[lee Harris] looks even better than he did before the North Carolina State game. L.J.'s [Scott] ankle is better, so we're getting back healthy where we need to be."
(On how he's approaching the game)
"Yeah, I mean, they all understand what the stakes are, but what I really want them to do is enjoy it, you know. Enjoy the experience of having the No. 2 team in the country coming in here. How you go through preparing for it. How you get ready. When we go to the hotel and just enjoy the whole experience. But all our routines and everything we go through are the same, you know. We're not changing anything. We're not trying to do anything extra. We just go through our preparation and get ready for kickoff. I think that's the number one thing we've got to do, is calm down and understand, you know, we need to be ready when we kick the ball off. Not tomorrow. Not Wednesday. When kickoff's here. And I think with the experience and opening the season with Miami, all those things help us."
(On controlling the excitement of the players)
"I think they're pretty good about it. I think with the experienced team that we have, and the fact that they've played in big games. The opening game of the year was a big game for us, so you just kind of go back and go through your routine. You learn how to relax and get yourself ready for kickoff."
(On if the excitement of the players regarding playing a top five team is different now than in the past)
"Yeah, it's different. You now, obviously the intensity, the focus, practice, is better. Guys are excited about it, they're all working hard out there. But again, it's just getting into your routine and working and knowing how to prepare for a game."
(On if the atmosphere will be the "craziest" it's been all season)
"I was going to say it would be hard to be hard to be crazier, but I once said it would be hard to be louder, and I don't want to get into any of that. So let's just say it's going to be real, real crazy."
(On FSU's defense)
"They're very physical up front. They've got two big guys inside and they do a good job in their secondary with their coverage. They don't do a lot but they do it real well. On third down, they do a lot. The biggest thing for us is to be able to execute and be able to convert third downs. If we're doing that, I feel like we'll have some success."
(On the focus of the defense)
"To play one play at a time. That's a great point. You've got to be able to play one play at a time. The whole team does. We have to understand that when you're in games like this, the momentum swings back and forth. They've got great players, they're going to make plays. We're going to make plays. The most important play is the next one. To be able to focus and to be able to concentrate on doing your job on the next play."
(On the offensive line)
"We've gotten better. We've been more consistent with our assignment. We're using our technique better. We've been finishing better. We've had two good weeks of practice."
(On FSU's ability to win close games)
"There's not a big difference between winning and losing, and they know how to win. They've got guys in the program who have got confidence in coming from behind. So you have to learn how to win. Obviously they know how to do that. We have to be in the game in the fourth quarter, and have an opportunity to win it in the fourth quarter. I believe our guys will be confident in the fact we'll get it done then."
(On if the injuries the team experienced made for a scramble)
"Most definitely. It was kind of a scramble mode. We had guys dropping and different guys in there. I think our guys handled it well. I thought when we had to have a change at quarterback that everyone rallied around Reggie (Bonnafon) and he handled it very maturely and we were able to win a couple games with him as the starting quarterback. He did a nice job for us. We've had different running backs in there, and without DeVante (Parker). So it's nice to have all our weapons back. Hopefully we'll go out and show that we know how to execute with them."
(On DeVante Parker's return)
"You know, he's amazing, really. Most guys would have been down right away and real disappointed. He had a good attitude from the start. He showed really good maturity, worked extremely hard with our medical staff and hit the target dates that they had set for when you get to run, when you get to do this, when you get to that, and just stayed with a great mental attitude the whole time. He had a little setback when he first came back and thought we might get him ready for the Clemson game, I guess. But after that he just stayed at it. It's amazing how positive a person he is."
(On what a win over FSU, the defending national champions, would mean)
"These are the games we want to play in and compete in. We'd like to be in the top rankings and have the No. 1 team come in here and play us. That's where we're aspiring to go. So we'll look at our program and get one step closer to where we want to get to."