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What Beamer says about playing the Tar Heels

Frank Beamer.

Frank Beamer.

Here’s what Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had to say about North Carolina, his team’s opponent this weekend.

“They’re fast,” he said. “We’ve had some success speeding it up. We try to set the tempo. Sometimes it’s not as fast as other times. I think we’ve got to think about that in this ball game.”

What are some of the biggest things you’ve seen on film from them and your anticipation of this game and what
they’re bringing forward?

“Well, I think playing two quarterbacks, and both of them are extremely capable, good results. I think like 64 percent passing,” Beamer said. “The running yards per game is good. I think they can put up a lot of points, averaging 41, if I’m not mistaken.

“And defensively, they’re extremely athletic, like all of us. They’ve had some big plays against them, and I think all of us are trying to cut down on the big plays. A punter that’s been there a few years, Hibbard, he’s a weapon for them. I think they’ve got a good football team.”

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Fedora news conference: Heels can’t afford to give up big plays vs. Va. Tech

Larry Fedora.

Larry Fedora.

North Carolina football coach is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd but he knows the Tar Heels will have to not give up big plays like it did against Clemson if they expect to win.

Q. Just kind of wanted to — obviously
looking at that last game against Clemson and
what happened going to this, what did you
learn the most about your team in that game
that you can bring forward into this match-up?

LARRY FEDORA: Well, we did a lot of
things better, and then we did some things not very
good. I will say that our team fought throughout
the entire game all the way till the end, and we just
didn’t make enough plays. But there were some
very bright spots in the game and we had some
guys that made some really nice plays, and we felt
like we did a really good job of stopping the run,
but we gave up too many mental mistakes and big
plays to win a football game of that caliber.

Q. As you look forward with this team
and you look at your upcoming match-up, I
know you spoke on it a little bit, but what can
you say about what you’re heading into this
week and what your expectations are of your
team and this game against Virginia Tech?

LARRY FEDORA: Well, we’re going to
have to play better, there’s no doubt about it.
Virginia Tech is very well coached. Bud Foster,
starting with their defense, does a tremendous job
of pressuring, getting people to the quarterback,
playing man coverage on the outside and daring
you to beat them, and they’ve done a tremendous
job of that. Having given up many points playing
the game that way, and they’re very confident in
the way they do it.
You know they’re going to be very sound
in everything they do on special teams. There are
not going to be any mistakes there. And
offensively I think they’ve evolved and they’re
throwing the ball much better than they have in the
past. They’ve got some big receivers and tight
ends, and the quarterback is doing a great job for
them.
We’re going to have to play a really good,
complete football game.

Q. I’m curious, they’re a different
football team when they’re able to run the ball
effectively, and obviously with what you guys
do on offense, they’re going to want to possess
the football. What do you see from their run
game, and why were you guys so effective
against it last year?

LARRY FEDORA: You know, I think — I
mean, I’ve always thought they’ve done a good job
of running the football, and we felt like last year we
were going to have to stop the run. We
concentrated our efforts at that point, and we’re
going to have to do the same thing this year.
We’re going to have to stop the run. If we allow
them to be two-dimensional, it will be a very
difficult day for us. They will stay on the field. For
us to get off the field, we have got to stop the run,
and then we’ve got to hold up in the passing game.

Q. And on the other side of the ball,
Kendall Fuller, and they have some very
accomplished guys in that secondary, but
they’ve struggled some in pass defense. What
do you see there that’s been a problem for
them?

LARRY FEDORA: Well, I’d like to know
where was the struggle on pass defense.

Q. Well, they gave up late scores
against Georgia Tech and ECU and ECU threw
for a ton against them.

LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, they threw for a
ton. ECU is going to throw for a ton on a lot of
people. I’ll tell you this, watching them, Virginia
Tech, with as much man, free and zero coverage
that they play, I think their secondary does an
unbelievable job of accomplishing what they
accomplish, because you’re not just bouncing in
and out of it, you’re majoring in it, and I think that
says he’s got complete confidence in those guys
on that back end and what they’re doing.

Q. Are Landon Turner and Jon Heck
healthy again and ready to get back on the field
this week?

LARRY FEDORA: They’re both getting
better. That’s the best I can tell you. They’re both
getting better.

Q. Even though you put up some pretty
good offensive numbers the last couple of
weeks, how much would both of those guys
being in there help your attack?

LARRY FEDORA: Well, it would definitely
help us. I mean, it’s your two most experienced
starters that we have in the offense. We already
had a very young offensive line, and then without
those two guys in there we’ve become much
younger and a whole lot less experienced. Yeah, it
would help us tremendously for the continuity that
we could eventually get going in the offensive line.

Q. My question was about Landon
Turner. You said he was going to play on
Saturday. What would his presence on the
field as well as the leader of the line mean if he
were to come back, especially with the defense
you’re facing Saturday?

LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, if we can get him
back, he still brings some definite leadership up
front, a calming effect for guys when things aren’t
going exactly as expected, and a guy that can
bring those guys together and just keep them
focused and keep them going in the right direction.

Q. I think it’s fair to say based on the
last few games, the secondary is an area of
concern. What have you done this week to
improve the secondary and shore up the
mistakes that were made against Clemson and
just get better on that part of the defense?

LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, well, mental
mistakes are basically a lack of focus. I mean,
that’s what it is. When you have a missed
assignment, unless you have not been taught your
job and don’t know your job, then I would say it’s a
lack of focus, and so we really haven’t changed
what we’ve done practice-wise. It’s not like we’re
not practicing those things. It’s more of
challenging guys to make sure they do their job
and they understand the importance of doing their
job on every snap, both in practice and in games.

Q. And after the two tough losses, how
is the morale in the locker room and how is
practice this week in regards to the kids’
attitudes going forward and heading into
Virginia Tech?

LARRY FEDORA: Morale is fine. Morale
is fine. The locker room is fine. I mean, energy
level, practice is fine. I mean, these guys, you
have to learn how to put things to bed and move
on so that they don’t bite you twice. Our guys have
done a good job of that, and they’re ready to roll.

Q. Talk about playing against Frank
Beamer. What does he mean for this league as
the elder statesman for the league?

LARRY FEDORA: Well, I mean, he’s a
legend. 28 years at the school is — I don’t know if
you’ll ever see that again in this day and age of
college football. I mean, you can’t say enough
great things about Frank Beamer, what he means
to the game of football, what he’s brought to
Blacksburg and to the ACC.

Q. And talk about the new guys. I
know the last couple weeks have been tough.
What do you guys have to do to improve on
Saturday?

LARRY FEDORA: Well, offensively we’re
going to have to — we have to move the chains. I
mean, we’re going to have to stay on the field and
move the chains. To do that we’re going to have to
play — we’re going to have to run the ball
effectively, and I can’t say that probably anybody
but Georgia Tech ran the ball effectively on these
guys, so we’re going to have to do a very good job
of that to be able to move those chains.
Defensively we’re going to have to stop the
run, and we’re going to have to create some
takeaways. That’s going to be huge for us to get
off the field on 3rd downs, and then special teams
we really need to create a game-changing play on
special teams.

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UNC women’s soccer hosts Va. Tech in big sportsmanship week game

uncsoccerThe ACC will continue its sportsmanship awareness campaign by recognizing Fall Sportsmanship Week from Sept. 29 – Oct. 5 with No. 5 Virginia Tech traveling to Chapel Hill to play UNC Friday night, Oct. 3.

The game will be live on Regional Sports Networks (RSN) so check your local listing.

ACC Sportsmanship Weeks are a campaign to emphasize sportsmanship as it relates to ACC teams, the conference and fans by designating one week during the fall, winter and spring seasons.

Seven ACC women’s soccer matches are a part of Fall Sportsmanship Week. The other top 25 matchup this week as No. 4 Virginia going to No. 14 Notre Dame. Notre Dame sophomore goalkeeper Kaela Little is this week’s ACC Player of the Week. Little played an integral role in a pair of ACC victories for the Irish including a 2-0 upset at No. 2/3 Virginia Tech Sept. 25.

The ACC boasts six teams ranked in both the NSCAA and Soccer America Top 25 polls, the most of any league. Three teams are among the top five in the NSCAA poll (No. 2 Florida State, No. 4 Virginia and No. 5 Virginia Tech).

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ACC Council of Presidents set forth initial priorities balancing academics, athletics

Donna Shalala.

Donna Shalala.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is submitting its initial priorities as part of the new autonomy structure that will help every student-athlete better achieve the kind of rewarding experience they deserve as part of the collegiate model. The priorities are being sent forward to the NCAA by the October 1 deadline.

Each of the priorities builds upon the ACC’s overall mission to emphasize both academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, seeking to maximize the educational and athletic opportunities of its student-athletes while enriching their quality of life.

“The ACC has consistently been a leader in appropriately balancing academics and athletics,” said Donna Shalala, Chair of the ACC Council of Presidents and President of the University of Miami. “The list of priorities that we are submitting to the NCAA reflects our determination to continue improving our student-athletes’ experience as an integral part of the educational missions of our world-class universities.”

“The collegiate model is a very special part of this country’s educational system and culture, and we believe the priorities set forth continue to focus on the importance of better addressing the needs of our student-athletes,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The work that’s been done by our membership and now sent forth by the Council of Presidents shows a commitment to highlighting a more effective structure where these benefits can be realized.”

The Council’s priorities are a principled and disciplined approach to reform with a continued commitment to both male and female student-athletes and our broad-based programs.

The initial priorities being sent forward by the ACC include:

· Examination of scholarship protections for student-athletes;

· Meeting a student-athlete’s cost of attendance;

· Ensuring institutional flexibility to provide educational support for former student-athletes;

· Examination of career-related insurance options for student-athletes; and

· Ensuring that nutritional needs of student-athletes are met in a reasonable way.

Additional topics were also identified for further discussion and possible inclusion within future legislative cycles. These topics include, but are not limited to, exploring the time demands on student-athletes and safeguarding the right of student-athletes to enjoy the full educational opportunities and benefits available to other students.

The Council previously charged three subcommittees to evaluate the new NCAA autonomy topics relative to three subsets of student-athletes (prospective, current and former). Each subcommittee was chaired by a President and included a broad-based group of university practitioners that have expertise in the topics within each respective subcommittee. All 15 member institutions were represented between the three subcommittees. Following this work, the league’s 5-5-5 committee on autonomy reviewed the recommendations, which were then forwarded to the Council of Presidents.

- News release

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UNC’s Craddock wins field hockey honors

Charlotte Craddock.

Charlotte Craddock.

North Carolina senior forward Charlotte Craddock has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Field Hockey Player of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal in two victories over Top 10 opponents.

On Friday at No. 6 Boston College, Craddock scored the game winner in the fourth minute of overtime play, the Tar Heels’ first extra period of the year. Her shot from mid-circle gave North Carolina a 3-2 win to improve to 2-1 in ACC play.

On Sunday, the Tar Heels played No. 2 Connecticut in a neutral-site game at Boston College. Again it was Craddock who broke the tie, this time on an unassisted goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game. She shot from just inside the circle to put the Tar Heels up 2-1, a margin that would hold up for the win.

Craddock leads UNC with nine goals this season, five of which have been game winners for the top-ranked Tar Heels (8-1). The forward from Wolverhampton, England, has scored the deciding goal in both of UNC’s conference wins.

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Duke’s Sklar honored with volleyball player of the week award

Emily Sklar.

Emily Sklar.

Duke junior outside hitter Emily Sklar and Miami freshman setter Haley Templeton have earned this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball honors, as Sklar was named Player of the Week and Templeton was tabbed Freshman of the Week.

Duke’s Sklar led the Blue Devils to two ACC wins to start the conference schedule. Sklar amassed 34 kills over Duke’s two matches, averaging 4.86 kills per set while hitting an impressive .386. Friday against Georgia Tech, Sklar knocked down a match-high 18 kills on .357 hitting. She followed that performance with 16 kills, hitting a blistering .429 to lead all players Sunday versus Miami. Sklar picked up eight digs in both contests to help a Blue Devil defense which limited their opponents to a combined .190 hitting percentage on the weekend.

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State’s Brissett, Duke’s Cash among ACC weekly award winners

Jacoby Brissett.

Jacoby Brissett.

Clemson, Florida State and NC State each saw two student-athletes recognized as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week following their performances in Saturday’s league games.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was named the ACC Co-Offensive Back of the Week and the ACC Rookie of the Week for after leading Saturday night’s 50-35 win over North Carolina. Tiger punter Bradley Pinion was tabbed as the ACC Co-Specialist of the Week.

FSU’s Rashad Greene was recognized as the ACC Receiver of the Week for the third time this season, and Seminole offensive guard Tre’ Jackson was named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week following Saturday’s come-from-behind, 56-41 Atlantic Division victory at NC State.

NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett joined Watson as the ACC Co-Offensive Back of the Week, and the Wolfpack’s Jerod Fernandez earned ACC Linebacker of the Week recognition.

Wake Forest junior Tylor Harris picked up ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. Syracuse’s Durell Eskridge and Duke’s Jeremy Cash were named ACC Co-Defensive Backs of the Week, and Miami punter Justin Vogel was named ACC Co-Specialist of the Week.

FSU’s Greene was honored as ACC Receiver of the Week for the second week in a row. Clemson’s Watson, who was also recognized as the National Freshman of the Week by Athlon Sports, has been named the ACC Rookie of the Week each of the past two weeks.

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK, ROOKIE – Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Fr., QB, 6-3, 200, Gainesville, Ga.

Watson completed 27 of 36 passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns in Clemson’s 50-35 win over North Carolina. Watson set a program record and tied an ACC mark for touchdown passes in a game. His 435 passing yards were just 21 short of the Clemson single game record, the most by a Clemson freshman and the second most by an ACC quarterback in his first career start. Watson also rushed for 28 yards, giving him 463 yards of total offense, the fourth highest total in Clemson history. Only Woody Dantzler and Tajh Boyd have recorded more total offensive yards in a single game in Clemson history.

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK – Jacoby Brissett, NC State, Jr-r., QB, 6-4, 236, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Brissett threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in NC State’s 56-41 loss to No. 1 Florida State and also ran for another 38 yards. Brissett’s second touchdown pass came after he eluded what appeared to be two certain sacks and earned “Top 10 play” status on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Brissett has now thrown 156 passes without an interception and leads the ACC with 13 touchdown passes.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tre’ Jackson, Sr., Florida State, OG, 6-4, 330, Jesup, Ga.

Jackson graded out to the highest mark by a Seminole lineman this season (92 percent) in Saturday’s 56-41 victory at NC State. Jackson paved the way for an FSU offense that set season highs in total offense (531) and touchdowns (8) and had its first 100-yard rusher of the season (Karlos Williams, 126 yards).

RECEIVER – Rashad Greene, Florida State, Sr., WR, 6-0, 180, Albany, Ga.

Greene led Florida State to a 56-41 victory at NC State by grabbing 11 receptions for 125 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Greene helped the Seminoles erase a 17-point first quarter deficit and remains the ACC’s leader in receptions (35), receiving yards (543) and yards per game (135.8). He is just seven catches away from becoming Florida State’s all-time leader in receptions.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tylor Harris, Wake Forest, Jr. NT, 6-4, 285. Baton Rouge, La.

Harris recovered three fumbles, including one for a touchdown in Wake Forest’s 20-10 loss at Louisville. Harris’ three fumble recoveries are the most by an FBS player in a single game since at least 2000. His second fumble recovery came in the first quarter and set up a field goal that gave Wake Forest a 3-0 lead. Midway through the third quarter, Harris broke through the line, stripped QB Reggie Bonnafon of the ball and then recovered it himself in the end zone for a touchdown. The score put the Deacons in front 10-7. Harris finished the game with four total tackles (one solo and three assists) in addition to the sack and forced fumble.

LINEBACKER – Jerod Fernandez, NC State, Fr.-r, MLB, 6-1, 231, Lake Mary, Fla.

Fernandez intercepted two passes in Saturday’s game against top-ranked Florida State, leading to 10 Wolfpack points. Fernandez also broke up a third pass and had a half-tackle for loss. He finished the day with four tackles on 53 snaps.

CO-DEFENSIVE BACK – Durell Eskridge, Syracuse, Jr., FS, 6-3, 203, Miami, Fla.

Eskridge posted a season-high nine tackles and contributed two takeaways, including a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown, against eighth-ranked Notre Dame. With Syracuse trailing 21-3 in the third quarter and the Irish at the Orange 32-yard line, Eskridge pounced on a fumble to thwart the potential scoring drive. Two possessions later, Eskridge intercepted on the Irish 29 and returned the pick back for Syracuse’s second touchdown in the 31-15 loss. It was the fifth interception of Eskridge’s career and his first of the season. It marked the first interception return for a touchdown by a Syracuse defender since the 2012 regular-season finale at Temple.

CO-DEFENSIVE BACK – Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.-r, S, 6-2, 205, Miami, Fla.

Cash posted a game-high 10 tackles, including one tackle for loss, while creating two turnovers on forced fumbles in Saturday night’s 22-10 loss at Miami. Cash also applied two quarterback pressures and broke up a pass. Cash spearheaded Duke’s defensive effort, which limited the Hurricanes to 9.5 fewer points than their average entering the game and 19.0 points below their scoring average in home games. Cash and the Blue Devils limited Miami to 2-of-13 (.154) on third down conversions

CO-SPECIALIST – Justin Vogel, Miami, So., P, 6-4, 210, Tampa, Fla.

Vogel had eight punts for 347 yards for an average of 43.4 yards per punt in Saturday night’s 22-10 win over Duke. Vogel dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line and tied a season best with a 56-yard boot.

CO-SPECIALIST – Bradley Pinion, Clemson, Jr., P, 6-6, 230, Concord, N.C.

Pinion had five punts for an average of 46.6 yards and placed three punts inside the 20 to help the Tigers to a 50-35 win over North Carolina. Pinion’s net average of 42.2 yards came against a North Carolina team that has had five punt returns for touchdowns over the last two years. Pinion also handled nine kickoffs and had four touchbacks on those attempts. North Carolina’s average start after a kickoff was its own 23.

- News release

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Doeren news conference: Unbeaten State hosts unbeaten FSU

davedoeren2NC State coach Dave Doeren is excited. He’s excited that the Wolfpack got a shutout last weekend and he’s excited to start conference play with a 4-0 record. It may even be exciting to play Florida State at home – but it’s still the Seminoles.

“Very, very good football team,” Doeren said. “They haven’t lost a game in a long time, so we know we’re going to have to be really good to play with these guys, and looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity in front of us.”

Q. Obviously you talked about the 4-0 start and being happy to be there. What are some of the key areas that you really think this NC State team different from last year has been able to do to have so much success to start the season?
DAVE DOEREN: Our quarterback play is one. We’ve been very consistent there with Jacoby. He’s completing balls, he’s making a lot of timing throws where people can’t get to him, ball is getting out. And the second thing is the production in our run game. We’ve had balance. We’re averaging over six yards a carry with three different guys. And the third thing is our offensive line. We didn’t have Joe Thuney last week, but we’ve been rotating six guys through the five spots for the four games, and that’s helped us just having some guys playing together and building that chemistry.

Q. And then when you look at Florida State, what are you seeing on film of them? Obviously they had a comeback win with their backup quarterback last week. A little different this week when they come in and see you at home, but what can you say about them?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, they’re a great team. On offense, the No. 1 receiver probably in college football there, and as many good receivers as Florida State has had, Greene is potentially going to be the only guy ever to be their leading receiver for four years in a row, which says a lot about him. Nick O’Leary, the tight end, I mean, those two guys are weapons. Obviously Jameis is hard to deal with and a very, very accurate player. They have five seniors on their O-line. They did lose two great receivers a year ago, so you see where the ball is going a little bit more with the tight end in Greene. But on defense there’s a lot of new faces in there. A lot has been said about Eddie Goldman. I think he’s a great defensive tackle and does a tremendous job two-gapping people and penetrating and causing disruption on the defensive side of the ball. But they’re a very good team.

Q. I was wondering what the impact of Jerod Fernandez’s development has had on your overall defense.
DAVE DOEREN: Jerod Fernandez? I wouldn’t say he’s had an impact. I mean, he’s playing really hard. Last year Robert Caldwell led our team in tackles there, so Jerod has stepped into that position. He’s young. He plays really hard, and because of that effort, he makes plays. He’s got a lot to learn still as a young player, and I love how hard he plays. I think that’s the biggest thing that you see. It’s really important to him. But he’s a freshman; he’s got a lot of room to grow still.

Q. When you look at film of the FSU-Clemson game last week, was some of the success that Clemson’s defensive line was able to have against Florida State’s offensive line, was that due to personnel or schemes that they were in?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, Clemson did a nice job with their blitz package. They showed a lot of different things to Florida State. You can tell they spent a lot of time getting that 3rd down package and obviously having a first-time quarterback having to face it made it easier for Clemson. But I think Clemson’s defensive end just ran by them a couple times, and he does that to a lot of people. He’s really good. I just think that some of the looks that they were giving, I don’t know if they out-schemed them per se, but they were difficult looks. A quarterback seeing that for the first time, I’m sure that wasn’t on film for him to study. That’s hard in your first start, and for the
most part he handled it well. He threw for 300 yards.

Q. The only other thing I had, do you see any differences in Florida State’s offensive line this year on film compared to last year? I know they have four guys back from a year ago.
DAVE DOEREN: I mean, their center last year was as good as they get, so regardless of who replaces him, he had big shoes to fill. In my opinion I thought that guy was really good. So yeah, I mean, you do see a difference at center, but it’s not like the guy in there is not a great player. He’s just replacing a guy that was one of the best in the country.

Q. Obviously you’re 4-0. Considering who you’ve played so far and who you’ve got coming up on Saturday, how much are you still kind of curious about your team and how much will this game really tell you about your team?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, I mean, every game tells us something, and unlike you, I’m not going to discount any win. Being 4-0, I’ll take it any day. I’m proud to be in that position. Every game we play we learn something about our football team, and when you play a team with the nation’s longest winning streak, it’s a really good measuring stick.

Q. Have you noticed a difference at all this week heading into — obviously Florida State is an ACC team, so does that add a little bit more for your postseason hopes or what have you? Also being the No. 1 team in the country, have you noticed an uptick in energy in practice this week heading into that game?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, yeah, any time you’re playing the No. 1 team in the nation, you’re going to have a rise in your energy level at practice. I think that’s normal. The guys are excited for an opportunity to play at home against such a great team, and this game means a lot for a lot of reasons, and one of our goals is to be undefeated at home. There’s no doubt, and this is one of the teams we play at home. It’s a huge challenge to meet that goal, and looking forward to seeing our guys go out and try to get it.

Q. With Florida State, obviously now one of their big defensive tackles is out for the year in the Lawrence-Sample kid. I know you’ve talked about Eddie Goldman being really good, as well, but how much does it help to have three or four different guys to run out there, running backs, so you always have fresh legs going against that defense?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, it helps a lot, it really does. A lot of people would miss a player like the one they lost, but they’ve got five other D-tackles that they rotate, so their depth there is pretty good. But having three backs for us is big.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the mental aspect of playing a team like Florida State with, as you say, the longest winning stream in the country, defending national champs. They’ve been very overpowering, yet you have guys on your team that beat them two years ago.
DAVE DOEREN: Yes, we do.

Q. I just wonder if that can carry any kind of confidence or give you a mental boost going into this game.
DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, possibly. Obviously the kids that played in that game, and there’s a couple of them, Brian Underwood is still here, and Tyson Chandler and Rob Crisp, so there’s some guys that were a part of that, too, McGill, and I know that’ll always be with them, that confidence that you have from beating a team, and it was a comeback win. I don’t know how that doesn’t help you. I think we’re the last team to beat them, and I’m sure that’s something they talk about, too. I know they want to keep their streak alive, and just like everybody that plays them, we
want to be the one that ends it. We’ve got a big challenge in front of us to get that done.

Q. I know even though last year you didn’t have a great year, one of your really great showings was against Clemson on a
primetime night game at home. I just wonder if the fact you’re playing at home, you’ve got to have confidence even against a big-time team; is that fair?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think you beat anyone if you don’t have confidence. The first thing I said to our team when we met Sunday is you’ve got to play with confidence and trust the plan and play loose. It doesn’t matter who we’re play ing. You can’t get all tight because it’s Florida State. You’ve got to play loose and trust the plan have faith in the players and the plan and the coaches and the process, and if you do that and you pl
ay with extreme effort, then you have a chance to win every game, and that’s what we need to find out if we can do.

Q. Just wanted to ask you a little bit about what you learned about Florida State and their ability to win without Jameis Winston at quarterback and how does his presence now in this game change the complexion of how you prepare for them?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, it was an impressive win. Clemson misses two field goals and fumbles the ball away and has a high snap on the 1-yard line going in, so there was a lot of miscues by Clemson. Florida State forced a key
fumble there at the end which won the game for them. They found a way to win, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters more than anything in football. It says a lot about the resolve of their players and the way they were able to stick with their QB and their coaches. Jameis obviously creates a different problem. The guy hasn’t lost a game in a long time, and he’s one of the most accurate players in the country when it comes to throwing the ball, with or without blitzes. We’ve got a huge challenge with him in there, and the confidence in our group that no matter what they think they can win. So I’m excited to go out there against a team like that. I think that’s what you always look forward to as a coach and the players is playing against a great team like that.

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Cutcliffe news conference: Duke faces huge test vs. Miami

David Cutcliffe.

David Cutcliffe.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils will have to play their best to have an opportunity to win at Miami.

“Obviously this is our biggest test of the year, an extremely talented Miami team,” Cutcliffe said. “I’ve been really impressed with them on both sides of the ball.”

He pointed to lots of weapons on offense bolster by their strongsuit, the offensive line. He said the defense has strength, power and speed.

Q. I wanted to go into Coach Golden talked about Anthony Boone and what he’s meant for your team and preparing for him. What can you say on your side of that, what you’ve seen out of him and his growth and obviously a 4-0 start for you, but what can you say about Boone and how he’s led the offense this season?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, for two years he’s got a tremendous winning record as a starter. Anthony is multitalented, obviously. He is a guy that knows what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, and that’s a talent, that he has got great understanding of our offensive system. He also can run it and throw it, and he’s — one of the things I like about Anthony, he is one of those guys if he has a bad series or a bad play, he can put it behind him generally very quickly. He’s got a good temperament to be a quarterback.

Q. And then as far as your defense, what have you seen out of them that you think going into this game, obviously you’ve held everyone that you’ve played under 14 points outside of Troy, who scored 17. So defensively what can you say you really think is going well going into this game that you’ve been able to be so successful and minimizing the offensive opportunities against you?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: I think we’ve done a good job, our defense, of 11 players complementing each other, playing extremely hard. We’ve had better pass rush. We’ve had better coverage. Sometimes the coverage helps us apply pressure, sometimes the pressure helps the coverage have opportunities to take the ball away. We’ve been very opportunistic on defense. We’ve gotten key turnovers at key points. It’s the best we’ve been since we’ve been here at this point of the season at defending explosive plays. We’ve got to hope we can do that again. This Miami team is so full of weapons, and maybe as I said a little while ago, the best weapon is the offensive front. They’re very difficult to defend, so this will be a huge challenge for us.

Q. You guys have put up a lot of points on Miami the last few years. What’s going to be the key to being that productive again this week?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, we have to be able to remain balanced against them. If we can’t run it, or the flipside of that, if all we can do is run it a little bit and can’t throw and catch it, we’ll be in trouble. I think the biggest key with Miami and the type of athletes they have is for us to be able to have some semblance of balance where they are not as easily able to predict what we’re going to do out of what formation. I think balanced run and pass is going to be critical going into this. The other part of it is with them, they’re so fast and they’re big hitters, so you’ve got to do a great job of taking care of the football. We can’t put the ball on the ground or throw it to them.

Q. I wanted to ask a little bit about what Mark mentioned, the fact that y’all have had so much success against them the last two years, I think it’s 93 points in the two games. How much of that is you’ve been able to scheme them, and how much of it is you’ve been able to match up with them physically?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, we’re better physically, and I think you watch us regularly, so you know that. We have some weapons ourselves now on offense, and we’ve had good plans. But I think it’s a matter of matching up a little better probably for the most part, and then we have been able to execute. Even if you match up, if you’re not executing at a high level, things aren’t going to go well. We’ve been able to get the ball in the end zone. Again, nothing is ever easy in this league, and certainly not with them, so I think the premium is a better match-up but probably more so than scheme, the premium on our execution has been excellent against them.

Q. The other thing I wanted to ask is your reputation has always been as a quarterback guru, and your teams have been very successful throwing the ball. This year’s team is running for more than it’s passing, and that’s kind of been a trend the last couple years, to shore up the running game. Is that something you want to do for a — have you aimed at it in your program, or …
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Absolutely. A good running game is like having a dominating defense. It means — when I’ve been on teams that had dominating defenses, you know going in you’ve got a chance to win every game you play. You’re going to be in it. If you can run the football and run it effectively against the best people you play, you’ve got a chance. When I was at Tennessee and early on running the offense back long, long ago, we made a commitment to — we figured the only way we were going to win in the Southeastern Conference was to run the football against the best teams we played, so we started designing our offense to take on the best team that we were going to see, and that doesn’t always work, it’s not always easy, but I still think it’s your best approach, and it’s a consistent way to move the football and keep the ball, so it helps you in a number of ways to win games.

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Fedora news conference: Heels have no time to wallow in pity

Larry Fedora.

Larry Fedora.

UNC coach Larry Fedora, during his weekly news conference, said the team is looking forward to getting back out on the field but he realizes the challenge of playing at Clemson after the Tigers fell to No. 1 Florida State.

“Florida State was very fortunate to win that football game,” Fedora said. “I would say if you looked at that film, Clemson played very well in a lot of areas, just had a couple of miscues that were the difference in the game.”

Q. As far as last week, obviously you’re moving forward, but what can you say about East Carolina, how far they’ve come, what you took away from that game?
COACH FEDORA: They’ve come a long way. I’ve been around them now seven years. I’ve seen the progress they’ve made. He’s been very steady with the improvement. He’s got a very veteran team that has been in his system now.
He’s seeing the results of that.

Q. Talk about the areas of progress that you’ve seen most greatly out of Quinshad Davis, where does he stand in the pecking order of your receivers?
COACH FEDORA: He’s obviously one of our top receivers. One, he’s a guy that’s very, very mature. He’s very competitive, very team-oriented. For him it’s about winning, not about how many touches do I get. It’s all about winning for him. You watch the way he practices. He goes out on the field every single day to get better. He’s just a lot of fun to coach actually because he works so hard and he gets the big picture. Where has he improved the most? You know, I’m going to say in his knowledge of how to run routes, how to get in and out of cuts, all those things. Really just his talent alone would take him in high school, but he’s improved in the area of route running and how to get open.

Q. He put up some points in the early going, but his numbers have been down a little bit from past years. Are teams scheming for him a little bit more or is it the way the flow of the game went?
COACH FEDORA: I think it’s more just the flow of the game. It hasn’t been that teams are locked in on him by any means. It’s been plays that have been called. Sometimes coverages dictate that the ball goes to another place. That’s just the way it’s happened.

Q. Coming off the East Carolina game, how much did that leave you shaken or not about your defense going forward the rest of the season?
COACH FEDORA: Well, it’s hard not to play in a game like that and it not cause a stir amongst the coaches and their players. I mean, we’ve got to do a much better job in every aspect of what we’re doing defensively. There’s no doubt about it. You can’t play like that and be successful. So it makes you evaluate and look at everything that you’re doing in your program, not just defensively, but in every phase, how we prepare, what we’re doing, are we putting our players in the best position to win.

Q. How do you psychologically get the defense in a good mindset this week so they’re not doubting themselves?
COACH FEDORA: That’s the toughest thing in any kind of loss that you have, is making sure your guys haven’t lost confidence in themselves, haven’t lost confidence in what they’re doing. That’s the mind game part of it.
Physically nothing’s changed. Once you understand that the mental part of it is 90% of it, you can be okay.

Q. I know you’re playing two quarterbacks pretty regularly. What is the benefit and the point of bringing in Mitch?
Many would say it might hurt Marquise’s momentum?

COACH FEDORA: Well, we’ve gone into each and every game and said we’re going to bring him in on the third series of the game and have a set of plays that he’s comfortable with, the offense is comfortable with, so that he can get some experience in that position. There’s no set number after that really. There’s nothing to it after that.
I think, one, it helps us as a football team just so that he is prepared in case anything happens. Going into the season, our number two guy had not had a single rep in a game. That was something that I was fearful of. I think Marquise has done a really nice job of handling that. I don’t feel like it’s affected the flow of the game.

Q. On defense this week what have you done to shore up the defense? What kind of changes have you made with the scheme or personnel?
COACH FEDORA: It’s a different team that you’re preparing for. You’re preparing for Clemson. A totally different offense. So the scheme will be different, there’s no doubt. I mean, there were some things fundamentally that you have to continue to work on to get better at. Just tackling alone, running to the football, getting more hats to the ball, things like that.

Q. How challenging is it to try to reboot and get everybody back on the same page in light of the fact that Clemson has a really good offense?
COACH FEDORA: You don’t have time to wallow around in pity, to cry, all the things that everybody else gets to do. You got to put it to bed and get ready for the next one. That’s what you have to do. You have to believe in what you’re doing, believe in yourself. You got to go out, work hard, get better each and every day. That’s what you have to do. There’s no magic wand or no pills that you’re going to be able to take, no shortcuts. You keep doing the things you’re doing and you get better.

Q. Brian Walker, even though he missed the first game, already has three interceptions. What is it about him that allows him to be around the ball so much? What does it take to be a guy that makes a lot of interceptions like that?
COACH FEDORA: Well, one thing about Brian, I think confidence is very, very critical. The ability to play man coverage, play tight on a guy. That’s how you’re going to get balls, because you’re there where you’re supposed to be. Brian has done a great job of anticipating. He’s worked extremely hard at his skill set. He also has worked hard at watching film and breaking down film, studying opponents. He’s a guy that can really run. He’s got a lot of talent. Fortunately for him and for us he’s been making plays for us.