Carlton Powell, Senior Virginia Tech Defensive Tackle
You all have not been able to play Florida State in your [stadium] for over 20 years. I know that is way down the schedule, but you guys see it. When you saw it did it catch your attention?
It definitely did catch my attention, but it is that way with all home games That Blacksburg crowd is something else. When we get to that game, we'll take it like we did the rest of them.
The first game against ECU, what is that going to feel like to be out there on the field for the first time?
With everything that happened--the mood of the team right now is that we just have to go in there and play our best. Nobody is down or depressed or anything. We are just anxious, ready to get out there, excited, itching to play.
On the other hand though, is there a chance that you will be too jacked up for that because it will be an emotional time, the fans will be into it. Might you have to hold back a little bit?
Oh there is never any holding back. If you have the excitement, you have to let it go. There is no point in holding anything back.
Do you think that you might be the sentimental favorite this year on the national scene? You are a good team, regularly in the top 15 teams or so, and everyone knows what took place on campus. If you get on a roll, can you really ride that out?
I understand what you are saying--definitely. We just know that as far as the national tragedy and everybody who watched it, everybody will be looking towards us, seeing how the team will react. When you go through a tragedy you have to come out on the other end. Everybody is waiting to see how you are going to come out.
Other than Virginia Tech, who is the team to beat in the ACC?
Every team for us.
Do you think that other fans--Virginia fans, Miami fans--might receive you with a little less dislike than other years?
That's a possibility because everybody is sympathizing with us right now with the tragedy that happened. That doesn't mean the players are going to sympathize.
Tielor Robinson, Senior Duke Fullback
Tell me about the changes on offense this year
Schematically, there is no change. The philosophy is a little different. Coach [Peter] Vaas, [offensive coordinator] is a little more wide open, a little more aggressive, with more downfield types of plays.
When he came in the spring and handed us the playbook, everything was the same; the terminology was a little different. I feel like that is what coaches wanted--[for us] not to have to make another offensive change. Players roles on the team have changed a little bit, but it is nothing out of their abilities.
Tell me about the passing, going downfield, spreading things out more. Is that something you are looking forward to?
We looked in the spring and this summer in pass-skel, and it is pretty exciting watching the ball going downfield. Guys are going up and making plays. One thing I remember Coach Vaas always telling the quarterbacks is, 'The cornerback is 5-7; the receivers are 6-12. Now throw it up and let them make a play.' They do it and the receivers understand it and go up and do their best.
Do you guys feel any pressure to go out and put some wins up there? Do you feel any heat?
Not too much from the outside--we want to win for ourselves. We put in a lot of work, and to come away empty every week is pretty taxing. We want to win in everything. In the weight room we want to win, out on the track. That competitiveness breads winners.
What is this team capable of winning?
I believe we are capable of winning every game, if we go out and execute the way we know we can and don't make mistakes. When we do, don't hang our head like 'Here we go again--if we are just 'Oh well, it happened. Let's go make up for it' and play the next play--I think we can win every game.
What do you remember from that last game against UNC last season?
Actually, I remember Kentwan [Balmer] blocking the extra point. When I went to high school in North Carolina I played against him and we were pretty good friends. I remember when it happened it really sucked because we would have gone into overtime. I knew when I went to my grandparents house that I'd have to hear it; he's from the next town over. I had to hear, 'What did you think of Kentwan blocking the extra point?' He blocked two. It's just one of those things you don't want to think about anymore.