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Listen to Audio (16:06)
“Obviously, this will be a legitimate challenge this week. When you turn on the film, it doesn’t take long to get a pretty good respect for Florida State. At 6-2, they’re playing well. I think I’ve watched Florida State since 1984, going to Miami as an assistant coach, and some things historically refuse to change. They’ve always got very fast, athletic kids. This year, in particular, I think they’re playing with two dynamite linebackers. One of the biggest differences I see in their defense this year from a year ago is their ability to put pressure on the quarterback. The two defensive tackles really collapse the pocket well and the defensive ends come off the edge. They’ve always had good corners, guys that have been able to jump up in people’s faces and press guys, play press bump-and-run so that when they do blitz, they’ve got a real presence at the corner position.
“Last year, Christian Ponder at quarterback, he had just a terrific second half against us. He played extraordinarily well. I think the thing that makes him the most dangerous – our defensive coaches and players have to respect his ability to keep plays alive, his ability to move around in the pocket and turn what might have been an incompletion or maybe even a sack into a 3-4-5 yard or sometimes even a 10-15 yard run. His ability to run has really helped them. They’ve scored points. They’ve got three really good running backs, and like all of Florida State’s running backs for as long as I can remember, is that they’ve got the ability to go 40-60 yards just on one play. You may bottle them up, you may stop them for a 2-3-4-5 yard gain, and eventually if you’re not careful, if guys aren’t getting off blocks and aren’t fundamentally gap sound… these guys can take it the distance.”
You indicated after Saturday’s game that you might move some guys around. Have you made any decisions about that possibility?
“No, but we’ve had some discussions. Guys need to be more consistent. It’s not good enough to just be good sporadically within a game, or have two games where you’re a pretty solid player and then disappear for a game. Some guys are going to have to step up and take ownership and responsibility for performing well and playing well. We’re going to look long and hard at it. We did last night and we’ll do it all day today.
“If that’s the move that will help our football team, then that’s what we’ll do. If it’s just to move cosmetically, we’re not going to do that. We’re not about moving somebody to give someone else a wake-up call. If we make a move with anybody, it’s because we need to make the move.”
Do you think Mywan Jackson and Tre Boston will be able to play against FSU?
‘It’s too early to tell.”
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On Mike Paulus’s performance against UNC on Saturday:
“We’re really good friends and we were texting throughout the entire week. I was very happy to see him play very well. It’s kind of eerie how the other quarterback went down so early and Mike got a chance to step in there. As soon as he got into the game, he made an immediate impact. I knew he had a chip on his shoulder and was talking some junk to some of the guys on the other side of the ball, but that might not have worked out at the end because they got [ticked] off and came after him.”
On FSU being tough due to coming off a loss:
“They may be a little [ticked] off, but that’s just going to make for better competition in the game. I know, morally, a lot of guys on this team took the game we just played as a loss as well, because we didn’t play as well as we wanted to and didn’t come out like we should have, so we’re itching to get back out there and start a game off like we want to and just get back on track like we know how to play.”
Listen to Audio (3:34)
Any revenge on the team’s mind after last season’s loss to FSU?
“I don’t think a lot of guys take it very personally. Once you start getting personal with wins and losses, you lose sight of just playing football. So I don’t think a lot of guys are looking at it as a revenge game. Obviously, we were up last year and would have liked to have pulled that one out, but I think a lot of guys are just focusing on the goals that we’ve made and trying to come back and win this game.”
On Johnny White:
“He’s has had a heck of a season this year. He’s just a dynamic player and has always been one. I’m just so glad that he’s stepped up and taken on this role because he’s done a great job.”