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Jeff Brohm previews Miami

Virginia v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Video available here

Head Coach Jeff Brohm Opening Statement

“We’re excited to go down to Miami and, in our opinion, play a really good football team. Ton of talent, very athletic. They’ve played some good football this year and had some good wins. Took Florida State to the wire, so we’ll have our hands full. I think we have to have a good week of practice and make sure we have a good plan together. In the last three or four days, we’ve gotten some guys a little bit of rest hopefully, and we’re ready to come out this week and prepare well and be ready to hopefully go out and have a good performance in Miami. It’ll be a good challenge, and I didn’t know that we had not won a game down there in the history, so we got to find a way to break that streak.

(On benefit of extra days coming off of short week)

“I thought it was good. I thought our guys needed a physical and mental break a little bit, try to get refreshed for these last two games that we think are very tough opponents and that we’re going to have to play well and try to get all of our guys healthy going into the game, so it’s been beneficial. I think tomorrow will be our first kind of real physical practice and getting back after it. We have to have a good week, but it was beneficial to get off the field a little bit.”

(On ACC scenarios, focusing on what you can control)

“I think the most important scenario is if we win and then we definitely help our cause. I think at this point in the season, you’re always treated as if you want to advance you got to win, and I just think that’s going to be important that we do. You need to play your best football at the end of the year. We found a way to make a really good comeback in the last game when we had a time there where we were struggling, so we just got to kind of regroup and pick the pieces up and understand that it’s going to take our best performance in order to beat Miami.”

(On playing for Howard Schnellenberger trophy, his impact on you)

“Well of course, I love Coach Schnellenberger and Beverlee and their family. They’ve done not only a lot for me, but really for this program here and at the University of Miami. You know, Coach Schnellenberger was a real football guy that could talk the talk and walk the walk and took on every challenge ahead of him full speed ahead with no fear, and his players and teams responded. I just think anyone that knows him or played for him has learned a lot from him. Basically, how to not back away from big games, how to rise to the occasion, how to get the most out of your players and your team. I think there’s a lot of people on both sides of these two teams that will have a lot of connections to Coach and I’m sure take a lot of things from him, and definitely I’m one of them.”

(On home vs. away stats, dominating at home)

I think that we faced some good opponents on the road and every game is competitive, every advantage you have to try to take. When you’re at home and the crowds on your side and the noise levels on your side, it’s an advantage. We without question have to find a way to start faster on the road, which we have not done for the most part. I know we did it at Indiana, but for the most part, we have not. We’ve got to be able to finish, and I just think playing consistent football for four quarters with as few lapses as we possibly can is important. On the road, you can’t lose the turnover battle. You can’t have dumb penalties that hurt your team, all those little things you have to try to go in our favor, so we’ve got to concentrate on those and make sure that we try to win those battles as we’re trying to be the most physical team and the toughest team and in finding ways to get points.”

(On top Miami rush defense, expectations from RB room)

“When you watch these guys on film, they might be the most talented team that we’ve seen to date on the defensive side of the ball. They’re big up front, they’re athletic, they’re good at the linebacker position, they run and make plays. The secondary has good size and speed and looks the part and play plays fast. This team is talented, without question. They’re very talented. They’ve lost a few close games, but they still have played some really good football, and we have to play well or it’s not going to be a good day for us. I just think that we have to step up to the challenge and find ways to do the small things to keep us in the game and to not make a lot of mistakes and find a way to grind the thing out in the second half, but it’ll be important that we come ready to play because this team is very talented.”

(On winning success in close games)

“I don’t know the exact reason other than the fact that we put pressure on our guys in practice to perform. We ask them to treat practice like the game and understand that you’ve got to make plays. I think it’s important that as a play caller and as coaches, you stay aggressive to a certain degree, but smart in those situations so that you’re still attacking and your team still knows that you have confidence in them. I think as players, they must continue to have confidence that they can go make a play and understand that when you’re facing good teams, they’re going to make some plays too. To think you’re going to make all of them is probably unrealistic, so you just have to bounce back out of it. I think we’ve been able to do that for the most part of this year in a lot of situations which has been great to see, but we’ll be challenged with these next games as well to see if we can do more. I like the fight of the team and the makeup of our team, and we’ve got to continue to swing the momentum back in our favor when those things happen.”

(On Isaac Guerendo and the running back room)

“I like our running back room and we definitely leaned on our rushing attack, and Jawhar (Jordan) has done some really good things. I do think not being able to practice the last couple of weeks has made him not as sharp as he can be. We hope to see if we can get him back in the mix this week a little bit more so that he feels comfortable and can be decisive, make quick cuts, which he’s capable of, and has shown that throughout the year. I think Isaac in the meantime, has really taken on an important role. He runs downhill, he’ll lowers his pads, he’s got good hands. When he’s in the open field he has great speed and he’s done a really good job. Maurice (Turner) has not got as many reps lately as he would like, but he’s still continuing to work. I think we have worked that room a lot, they understand our package. Coach Barker has done a good job with those guys and we feel comfortable putting all those guys in there.”

(On Tyler Van Dyke and Miami’s offense)

“I think with Van Dyke, he has a lot of experience playing a lot of football. Without question, he’s a passer, likes to throw the ball, and they have some good skill. If he has a chance to get open, he can put it on and make plays. He’s throwing for 16 touchdowns, but he has thrown some interceptions, so we have to find a way to create some interceptions and turnovers and make him feel uncomfortable. But, if you give him time and you give him space, he’s played a lot of football and he can deliver the ball, so that’ll be the challenge. I know they went with another quarterback last week who gave them a spark. He had some energy, had some juice, and he ran around and made plays with a little bit of a different style. But, going back to Tyler Van Dyke, he’s played a lot of football, so we’re going to have to not give him a clean pocket and affect him when he’s back there and make him feel not as comfortable as he would like to.”