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Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm:
(Opening statement) “Our guys came ready to play. Without a question, last week’s game was physical. Our guys rose to the challenge and played a physical game to get that win. We had some guys that were nicked up and we were not sure they were going to play. I give our guys a lot of credit. All of them tried to get ready. They wanted to go out there. Some could, some couldn’t so I give them a lot of credit. They showed a lot of courage and we hope to get those guys back as fast as we can. As far as our team goes, some of the guys who have not played as much rose to the challenge. They stepped up when their number was called - from our running back room, our receiver room and from our defensive back room. All of those guys stepped up and did a really good job. That is a sign of a really good football team and the sign of a team that cares. They came ready to play. It was another really great win in front of a tremendous crowd who were really getting into it and our players feed off of it. I am very proud of them and it was a really good day of football.”
(About the defense)
“I have explained it a few times before, you prepare hard in the offseason, you get a plan together. Some of it is tradition and some of it is not. Talking in generalities, it is about getting pressure on the quarterback, getting in front of receivers and not allowing free releases, or easy completions, making the quarterback look downfield longer than he would like to that would allow our defense to get in there and create sacks and get after the quarterbacks. Our linebackers get to play downhill, play multiple fronts and shifts and disguise coverages. All those things matter. I am a former quarterback and I know what we don’t like to see. Right now, our defense is doing a lot of those things you don’t want to see and doing it very well. Eventually, of course, you keep to the game plan and try to do things and we do a lot. We are prepared for a few things but it is hard to prepare for all of it. You have some wrinkles that you throw in there every week.
Our coaches have done a great job. Our players have worked at this for so long that they understand, they know it and they execute it. And then we are in the right position at the right time and play well. I do think that playing complementary football has helped us. Going back to pounding the ball, running the ball, controlling the clock, trying to get positive plays, trying to get up early and not have turnovers and give them something easy. When that happens, it allows the defense to tee off even more. All those things matter in complementary football and unselfish play by some of our receivers and skill guys on offense means a lot. Right now it is very good complementary football.”
(About attrition and injuries)
“You try not to think too much about what you have to get done. We knew when we got here we had to go in the transfer portal and help improve our team. I think that changes every year. You analyze your team and try to help them improve and get better, and in some positions you may not. At the same time, you always need depth, you always need guys that can help you play. If there are guys out there who are really good players that want to come here and play and really help us, we are going to add them to the mix.
We are fair to everybody and give everyone a fair chance. We let the team know when we bring them in that if you are playing well then you will be out there. If someone else comes in and plays better then they are going to be out there. We like to play a lot. In a perfect world, we would like to play a lot of guys like we do on defense. We rotate a lot of guys on the defensive line. We have had to play a lot of guys in the secondary because we have had injuries. We can rotate at the linebacker position. We haven’t much but we can. Our nickel positions … we rotate there. We have built depth and that is through experience and the portal.
On offense we needed depth on the offensive line and we went out and got it. They have done a really good job and we are proud of that. We needed to get some more receivers to add to the mix and we did. We got Isaac (Guerendo) in the running back room and he’s helped. Every little thing matters. We got Jack (Plummer) at quarterback. At the tight end position, we got Joey (Gatewood). He is athletic and we want to get him involved a little bit more. I just think all those things matter. It is nothing more than selling this program and showing what we can do with different guys and help them achieve their goals. You must attack it every day. It can get tiresome but you have to have players.”
(When did you know that Jawhar Jordan would be able to play today and moving forward what does Isaac Guerendo’s performance do for his confidence and your confidence if you have to deal with that situation moving forward?)
“Unfortunately we had at least a handful of guys that were nicked up in the last game that we had concerns about. In today’s age, you don’t want to tell the other team too much of what was going on, because they were some pivotal positions. So, we tried to get them ready as fast as we could which really just meant rehabbing them and they didn’t really practice.
I give Jawhar a lot of credit, he’s nicked up in multiple spots, he tried to give it a go and he went out there and played. Luckily Isaac and Maurice [Turner] stepped in and kind of took it over and we didn’t have to use him as much, so that was great to see. I’m proud of that running back room.
At the receiver position, Jamari [Thrash] couldn’t go, when can he go? I don’t know. But Jadon [Thompson] has worked hard, and he stepped in, he’s been his backup all year and had the touchdown catch. He caught another one down low, didn’t have to throw the ball a lot. Our other receivers played hard, they’ve been unselfish, I’m sure they’d like to catch more balls – and we’d like to throw more balls to them, but right now the formula that we’ve used has been efficient and effective. So, they’ve been very unselfish.
We had some linemen that couldn’t practice at all that sucked it up and went into the game again. In the secondary, we were down some spots there. Storm [Duck] stepped in and did well, then he got hurt a little bit, had to come in and get a shot or whatever it is he had to get done and we had some other guys come in. It’s that time of the year. We try not to make excuses, it going to happen to everybody. Everybody has injuries. You get the next guy in there and they’ve got to go play. Today they went in there and played well.”
(Since the loss to Pittsburgh, the team has been able to find its groove, especially defensively. What makes the defense so good and so many guys come in and play so well?)
“Well, believe it or not, in my opinion, first off, we’ve coached better. I didn’t think I coached well in the Pittsburgh game. We were too aggressive, we had turnovers, gave the other team the ball. On defense we were probably too aggressive, let them throw it over our head. So we needed to coach better. Now that we’re coaching better, our players are executing very well. We’re a little more conservative in our approach, believe it or not, but we’re smarter in what we’re doing while still being aggressive to a certain degree. And our guys are executing.
So right now, we really haven’t had to ‘open the playbook,’ so to speak in a passing game, we haven’t had to ‘bring the house,’ so to speak on defense, we’ve just kind of run our package. So I just think, because of that, the understand it, they’re playing well. The mixture of all the things we’ve done has kind of thrown the offense and defense off and I just think it starts with me and our coaches and our players have done a really good job.”
(On TJ Quinn, what’s been the most impressive part about his growth this season?)
“TJ – it’s eerie, he reminds me so much of his dad [Terry Quinn] who I played with. His dad was hardnosed, he was tough. He would hit you harder than anybody could hit you. He didn’t say ‘boo,’ but he worked his butt off and TJ is probably even better. He’s been a starter for us, he plays hard, he’s all over the field. He’ll tackle, he’ll run, he’ll work his tail off. You can coach him hard if you want to, you can lead him in the right way, and he’ll continue to do it. He’s unselfish as well. His teammates love him. He’s just a really good leader, that I don’t think has played a whole lot until this year, but we’ve thrown him in there and he’s been a big difference-maker for us each and every week and someone that we rely on and count on to play well because helps us win.”
(On Jack Plummer, what have you like from him after the bye week in these last couple of games?)
“I think Jack did a really good job again. That’s two weeks in a row. You could say that we didn’t throw it a lot. Well, you know what, we’ve asked to change up the formula a little bit and see if it’s effective. He’s taking care of the ball. He’s making good decisions. He’s got us in the right play. He’s got us in the right play in the run game. He’s very smart in his approach to the game. He’s distributed the ball accurately when he’s had to. Like I told him, there will be some games where you’re going to have to air it out, you’re going to have to be efficient, throw a bunch of darts, and all those things, and still not turn the ball over very much. He’s done a great job, because of his experience, knowledge, his intelligence, and because he wants to win so badly and the fact that he’s a really good teammate. He does what we’ve asked him. He understands his offense as good me, if not better. When you have that guy out there on the field, it really helps. I’m really proud of his performance Really all of our quarterbacks have worked hard and we feel comfortable putting any of them in.”
(On playing complementary football, and the offense and defense feeding off of each other)
“I think they are feeding off each other. I think this team has really gelled together and very well lately. I think they understand what we’re good at, what we’re trying to do, and what we need to improve at. Then we go out there and do what we do best and hope that it works. If we have to adjust, then we adjust. I just think that special teams have done a good job as well. All three segments have stepped up and performed at a high level in the last few weeks. They understand that each and every week the bar gets raised due to your performance and then you have to come out and do it again. We challenge our guys every week. You can’t rest on what happened last week or what you’ve done in the past. It’s about what you are going to do in the future and what you are going to do today. That’s what matters and that’s what everyone wants to see. Don’t doubt that you can play better than you have. If you are, you’re cheating yourself. We challenge our guys to raise the bar each and every week and they’ve stepped up to the challenge. We’ll continue to raise the bar even higher and we’ll see how high we can take.
(On Bryan Hudson, how much has he shown you as a leader this year)
“With Bryan, he’s not able to practice a whole lot during the week. When we get to some walk throughs, he goes through it and takes mental reps… you’d have to amputate his leg for him not to play. He’s going to go out on the field and play. It doesn’t matter what [injury] he had, he’s going to play in the game on Saturday. That’s just kind of what you get which is impressive, because that’s a hard job, playing center, making all the calls, you’ve got to be athletic. You’ve still got to get some type of mental work or film work to make sure you’re ready to go. It’s hard to not be able to practice as much as you’d like, but he’s got experience, he’s got knowledge. He’s also a quiet team leader who exemplifies what that position is all about, just toughness and grit, unselfishness. Doesn’t matter if he’s healthy or not, he’s going to be on the field. Very proud of him and so is our team. Our team looks up to him, he’s a really good leader.”
Virginia Tech Head Coach Brent Pry
“Disappointed in the score. We’re a better team than that. I thought that for most of the game, they played with the tenacity we usually play with. They played harder and were more determined than us. I have to fix that and it starts with me. We didn’t tackle or get off blocks well enough. We couldn’t run the ball and we found ourselves behind the sticks too many times. That’s what Louisville does well though. In all the games they have success, they get negative yardage plays early in the game then we have to fight from behind. There will be some positives that we can draw from this game. I told the guys that we’re better than this. We must play with an edge on each snap and practice that way as well. It’s unfortunate that we had to learn some lessons this way. They started the game fast and we didn’t. You can’t do that against a good team. It was a good environment and a well-coached game by Louisville. Give them a lot of credit.”
(On starting slow)
“It’s disappointing. We have a lot of pride in our run defense, but it wasn’t very good today. Today was more about being blocked and not getting off those blocks effectively. They’re a big, strong team. We were covered up a lot and we didn’t tackle very well, particularly on the outside. Louisville ran through a lot of tackles today and we couldn’t get a body in front of them and stop it.”
(On the offensive struggles)
“We wanted to be aggressive to start the game offensively. We had some plays dialed up and we didn’t get them blocked well enough. They created pressure that we just couldn’t handle. We tried to jumpstart things, but they were just opportunistic and took advantage. They’re a big, strong, and explosive team upfront. At the end of the day though, we have to play better than this and we have this season. We have to clean some things up and execute better. There were some coaching mistakes that we made but this will be a good learning opportunity for us.”
(On the impressiveness of Louisville’s defense)
“The temperament they played with, I have a lot of respect for. We’ve played that way at times. Even after we had the drive where we got the field goal, they came right back. You have to be able to maintain that attitude play after play. That was what put them over the top today. They were big and strong, we knew that. They were explosive, we knew that. They managed the game well and they really came to play today.”
(Thoughts on the play before the end of the half and the struggle to maintain confidence going into the third quarter)
“They had a minus eight-yard play early in that first series, and we got behind. I don’t know if the guys lost confidence. We stuck to our guns from the adjustments at half-time and tried to get some things going. Also, we just did not block them well enough in the run game or the throw game.”