Butch Davis Sunday Press Conference
Nov. 5, 2000
COMMENTS FROM MIAMI HEAD FOOTBALL COACH BUTCH DAVIS
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2000
General Comments on Miami’s 41-21 win over Virginia Tech:
“It was maybe as clean and well executed a game plan – at least for the first three quarters – as you could ask a team to do. Everything that you’d like to see your team be able to do, for the most part, we were able to accomplish. We were concerned going into the ball game with the special teams aspect of it to make sure that our kids really understood how vitally important it was to not allow Virginia Tech’s special teams to be a difference in the game. We covered punts and we covered kickoffs about as well as you could ask a group of kids to do. We did a good job in the protection aspect of it. Freddie (Capshaw), with the exception of one miscue, punted the ball brilliantly. Big-time kicks, big-time hang time, big-time direction. Kept it out of the hands of a guy that could change field position or, possibly, score.
“I thought offensively we had outstanding balance. You never go into a game, especially against a team with 8-man concepts, thinking you’re going to be able to run for 200 yards. But we felt, like in the Florida State game, if we could get a hundred and a half against them that we could keep them honest and we’d be able to run the ball well and it helps your play-action passes. Offensive line had a very good day. We felt in previous years (against Va. Tech) that we could possibly get some big plays on some deep plays, but we just couldn’t. The protection just didn’t allow us to hold the ball as long as we were able to hold it yesterday. The line did a very nice job. Ken (Dorsey) threw the ball well. Santana (Moss) and Reggie (Wayne) made some big plays. Jeremy Shockey on the run after the catch on a great sight adjustment on a blitz made a big play. He really played well.
“Defensively, I thought one player who clearly had a breakthrough game in his career was Jamaal Green. There’s no question it was the best game he’s had as a Miami Hurricane. He had multiple tackles behind the line of scrimmage, played the option really well, had some sacks, forced a fumble that Chris Campbell recovered. He really played well. Damione Lewis was a constant thorn in their side. He hit the quarterback several times to create some errant throws. Ed Reed really played what is becoming a typical Ed Reed Game, which borderlines on brilliance. He’s always around the ball and made some big plays. Defensively, they really never allowed Virginia Tech to develop any continuity or any rhythm. Subsequently, it kept giving our offense good field position or opportunities where the score was such that the offense could somewhat freewheel. Where you’re not playing with a conservative mindset of protecting a small lead.
“So, I thought all three phases complemented each other very well yesterday.”
Now having beaten Florida State and Virginia Tech in the same season, does that mean anything special to you?
“Only that we’re 7 and 1. We talked about it in the locker room after the game that those were not the goals of the season. We’re taking steps along the way to the goals. They (FSU and Va. Tech) may have been bigger steps that others, but Virginia Tech was one of 11 games. If we want to win the conference championship and become a BCS team, and put yourself in position for other goals, you have to beat Virginia Tech. I think our kids have done a good job staying focused on those types of things.”
In August, could you have envisioned the offensive line playing at the level it has?
“When I talked about it in August and back in the spring, I really felt like this group of guys is probably the best group of athletes. They were probably the most inexperienced as a group, the first-team guys, of any that we’ve had. But they had the most up-side and it hurt us not having some of these guys like Greg Laffere and Sherko Haji-Rassouli in those first couple of ballgames. Scott Puckett being injured and out caused us some concern. But as the starters stayed healthy and continued to play together, they knew their athletic ability, competitiveness and toughness – we really have some tough kids – would help them. Brett Romberg and Bryant McKinnie are guys who are just fighting through some injuries. They’re just blue-collar warriors who are showing up and competing on Saturdays.”
Have you sensed any added excitement from recruits or the community that you are in the midst of a national championship run?
“Well, I think there’s a lot more happiness in South Florida. You see a lot more Hurricanes flags on people’s cars and people are talking about the games. Obviously, with recruiting we’ve had two of the most electrifying experiences being in that Orange Bowl on the sidelines this season. So, that obviously has to have a positive effect on recruiting.”
You talked about beating Florida State and Virginia Tech being part of your goals this season. What were the primary goals heading into this season?
“Obviously, you want to win every game you can. And you want to win the conference championship. And one of the goals is to play in a January 1 bowl game. As we go along, we just want to continue to get better as a football team every week. We have different types of goals. Most of those goals are by-products of games you have to win. Just like the next three. We’re only halfway through the conference schedule.”
What have you seen of Pittsburgh? Did you see them play last night?
“I saw just a little part of it. They throw the ball well, awfully well. Latef Grim and Antonio Bryant . . . I think both of those guys have had multiple 100-yard receiving games. But I only 6 or 7 minutes of that game last night and that was my first exposure to them. I didn’t see much of it.”
How do you get the players to maintain their focus?
“Just hard work. Sure, it’s a danger but we see that after every game this season. I just think our guys do a good job of doing that. If we win games on Saturday, I want them to enjoy themselves. To laugh, cut-up, whatever. But then they know that 2 or 3 o’clock this afternoon it’s time to move on.”