Well, we spent a lot of
time looking at the tape of Wake Forest. We made
our corrections, put it behind us, now moved on to
South Alabama and tried to get ourselves to
practice a little better, a little enthusiasm, be a
better football team come Saturday.
Tom, a little bit off the beaten path.
When you went from BC to NC State, you
played BC that first year, what was that like?
Were there any extra emotions? Take me
through how that was different at all.
Personally it was very
difficult when you have to go back, go back to
Boston. I've run out of every tunnel there is at
Boston College to get on the field, because I've
done the home and visitors now. You had a
relationship with all those kids, even some of the
coaches in my coaching days there. When you
know the people on both teams, it's a tough
Matt Ryan beat our brains in and then we
How do you deal with that
I think it's difficult. But
once the game starts, I think you're into the spirit of
the game. But it's all the pregame warmup,
watching the guys you just had been with. I was at
Boston College for 10 years. You go to different
areas of the field. Your places are different.
the whole buildup the week you go through,
especially once you get to the stadium, you go to
the visitor's locker room, not the home locker room.
You come out a different tunnel. You go to a
different part of the field. Yet you know everybody
there. You have friends coming up that were in
administration, fans all over the place. But now
you become the other guys.
But once the ball is kicked off, you get
down to playing football and I think everybody is
fine until the game is over.
Tom, did you make any changes
defensively this week or is it a matter of doing
what you do better?
No, the same guys are
going to play that played last week. We had to
make a change midweek with Norman starting.
We try to be better, go back to fundamentals,
stress some of the things that we felt needed
I think we're in the right things. It's the
same coaching staff. It's the same philosophy
what we did a year ago. We just have to get better
execution on the defense.
What were the biggest breakdowns
I think the problem
came in as we were unable to get a pass-rush.
Pressure with four guys, when we blitzed, we still
couldn't get there. He had a lot of time to throw the
football. You don't have to give him any time to
throw the football because he's good enough to
complete it as is. We didn't contain the pocket
which then puts a lot of stress on the secondary as
he's running around.
That's not to say there wasn't breakdowns
at the linebacker or secondary level. I think the
biggest thing was being unable to bring pressure to bear on the quarterback.
Coach, how was the response from
the defense in practice?
I think there's been
more intensity. There's certainly been a sense of
urgency, even to a casual observer. I asked today
what you think. It seems like everybody is
practicing harder. So I think that's a good sign.
Coach, could you tell me what you
know about South Alabama and what are the
concerns you might have as far as how they
We've played Greg
Gregory, their offensive coordinator, who was at
South Florida, so we've gone back and looked at a
lot of their tape.
The only thing you know for sure is there's
going to be five offensive linemen in the game and
then the quarterback. There's all different
personnel groupings they play with that we'll have
to be alert for, formational things we have to be
Defensively they're very well-coached,
good technique, play with their hands up front, look
like they have great speed, can cover guys. As
usual when you play the team South Alabama, that
level, there's always transfers from the SEC, ACC,
other schools that come in and they put them at
their skill positions that are pretty good players.
Any one thing that you've seen
about them, one area perhaps that might stand
Well, I think the speed.
Their overall team speed. They have really good
quickness and team speed. If you can run, you
always have a chance to be in the football game.
Coach, Boston College is going into
a situation with an offensive coordinator
having to take a leave of absence for health.
You went through that situation. How hard is it
to suddenly pick up in the middle of the season
and say, You're going to be the guy running the
I think it's very difficult.
Our situation with Dana was such that we didn't
know till Friday and had to go play a game
Saturday. Dependent upon I'm not sure how much
Kevin Rogers was doing the offense, but Dana did
a heck of a lot for our offense, organization, play
calling, everything. We scrambled up at Virginia Tech that year. We had a chance to get organized
and spent a week before the Carolina game, which
was the last game of the year. Gave us a week to
prepare. Seems like they've had a week to
prepare, which will help them this week.
But dependent upon how much the other
guys have done as far as game planning and
calling the game and everything else, those are
things that it's going to be awful difficult to be able
Since then or before then, do you
have a contingency plan in place?
Yeah. Certainly we do
now. That was my fault that I didn't at that point. I
ended up calling the game against North Carolina.
Now I'm much more involved come the end of the
week with what the offense is doing in case that
situation comes up and I have to be pressed into
Coach, what are the special
challenges of playing a team that is so
unfamiliar that you haven't played against
before? Do they have any athletes that pop out
on you on video?
They have speed on
offense. They're quick on defense. They have
good cover guys in the secondary. That's always a
situation that you don't know where they're going to
be coming from and coming after you blitz-wise
one way or another.
All you have to do is look at what Florida
International, the one kid they had Friday night, we
saw it on TV against Louisville, a similar type
program that built their way to Division I. They get
that one guy that they get the ball to, he can outrun
the whole team. Keeping the quarterback in the
pocket, not letting him out, letting him create, those
are all things that are fundamental football. With
not being familiar, their offensive coordinator has a
Who knows? Maybe they'll
come out in the wishbone.