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Watch Tuesday's Football Press Conference

Oct. 14, 2008

Coral Gables, FLA (www.hurricanesports.com) — – Click here to watch the press conference.

Head Coach Randy Shannon

 

Opening statement…

This week we have Duke, another ACC team. They are a good team. They play very well at home. Thaddeus Lewis is doing very well for them. He is a South Florida kid. He has done a great job of running their offense and coach [David] Cutcliffe has done a great job of getting Duke’s offense to where he wants it to be. They had a week off in preparation for us so we have to expect the unexpected this week, and those are the things you have to make adjustments for. We have organized on getting the quarterbacks and receivers on making adjustments from last week’s game, and I think it is going to help us out this week with Duke.

 

On Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis being familiar with Miami players…

Those guys will communicate and talk after the game, and before the game, and they probably were talking during the summertime. That is a good thing for college football that you see players from different parts of the country playing against each other, and they know each other. It’s kind of a friendly relationship, but they know when it’s game time they know that there are a little more bragging rights. 

 

On injured offensive linemen [Reggie Youngblood and Chris Barney] returning to help running game…

It helps us out a lot. We felt like as an offense we were doing pretty well when [Chris] Rutledge was inside taking the pressure off of Orlando [Franklin] and Joel. Rutledge was inside and [Reggie] Youngblood and [Tyrone] Byrd alternated at tackle. It made us a better football team in the running game and in pass protection. With those two guys coming back, it brings a little more depth to the football team.

 

On what is keeping offense from breaking out…

I told you earlier last week that the biggest story would be Central Florida’s defensive backs against our receivers and quarterbacks, and it was. It was a key factor in the game. [Graig] Cooper got his 90 yards rushing, almost got 100, but the passing game was not there. They did a nice job of disguising coverage from their secondary, and getting [Robert] Marve to throw three interceptions. It was good that from being on the sideline Jacory [Harris] saw things and he was able to go in the game, and if it wasn’t there he took the ball and ran it. He got us a big key play for Laron Byrd on a backside of third down. By having Jacory come off the bench and letting Marve rest, it helps us out.  

 

On being without running back Javarris James…  

It has hurt us. Javarris is the big back that we have right now and the other guys are really scat backs. Lee Chambers came into the game and was doing well, but we couldn’t go back to him because he got a turf toe in the middle of the game. It blew up and that prevented him from going back into the game, because he was giving us a spark in the running game, and when that happened to him then we went back to [Graig] Cooper and Derron [Thomas]. If he is able to play for us this week, it will be a big spark.

 

On quarterback Jacory Harris’ game day preparation…

We give him the same amount of reps in practice as Robert [Marve]. Everything is always equal, because we have to prepare him for things that are in the game. By him playing early in the game and coming back later in the game, it shows what kind of confidence we have in him and what kind of confidence he has in himself.

 

On wide receiver Sam Shields…

He has done a tremendous job at responding. We’re never going to give up on a kid no matter if he’s sophomore, freshman or senior. We are going to find a role for him. Sam’s role this week was to come in and play special teams. He was able to get a turnover and some big hits in that game to spark the team up a little bit. Sam still takes his reps as a receiver in practice, because we still have to coach him and get him to that point where we need him to be.

 

On most important thing defense did in UCF game…

No big plays. That was a big key in that game, they did not give up any big plays. That is the one thing we have lacked from the defense. A couple of games we have played, maybe three games before that one, we gave up too many big plays. So we emphasized the big plays, and I thought we tackled better. The tackling was a whole lot better than it has been in the past.

 

On offensive line…

I think they have done a pretty good job overall, because of what we have had, mixing and matching as far as moving [Chris] Rutledge from tackle to guard. [Reggie] Youngblood had been out, moving [A.J.] Trump form center to guard. The only guys we have not moved around are [Jason] Fox and Xavier [Shannon]. Those two are the two mainstays. They don’t get substituted very often; maybe three plays the whole game. We have to make sure that the two young guys inside, Orlando [Franklin] and [Joel] Fig[ueroa], don’t blow gaskets in the heat of the battle.

 

On strengths of Thaddeus [Lewis]…

He is a really mobile quarterback. He is a pocket passer and he is able to scramble and run and get first downs. He does a good job of doing those types of things, and he has always done it. He is a unique quarterback in a great system.

 

On assessment of special teams…

Up and down. We have given up some punt blocks. We gave up a touchdown on a kickoff, but also we have won some games on field position because of our kickoff return team game and our punt return game. We blocked a punt the other night so it’s about even.

  

Quarterback Robert Marve

 

On challenges of playing Duke…

I think Duke has a great team this year. One thing I noticed about their team from watching film is that they are always hustling no matter if they make the play or miss the play. They have a defense that’s running around always chasing the ball, so I think they are really pumped up on the defensive side of the ball. They are definitely going to get at us.

 

On importance of getting a win at Duke…

I think it is a big deal for both teams. It is a big ACC game and we are just trying to get that first ACC [win] under out belts. Honestly when a team goes up against the University of Miami they are going to throw their best shot at us. I think you saw that with UCF and these other teams. We are going to be prepared for everything, and definitely take it as a serious game. Duke is a very good team, and we have to go in there with our A-game.  

 

On what was taken from watching UCF on film…

Just trying to keep my head up, you know you never do as poorly, and you are never as good as you think you are. So I keep my head up, keep making my reads, keep making my throws, and no hesitation on any part.

 

On learning after playing in the last five games…

The looks definitely change up a little bit, just the speed of the game and seeing a different look and how to react to it. I was more surprised that everyone has their different ways of cover three or cover two. I guess that is what it is, and I just try to go out there and make plays.

 

On faith in Coach Patrick Nix…      

Whatever he calls we have full faith in it. We just try to go out there and execute whatever he calls.

 

On college football being harder than expected…

It is different because I did not know what to expect from game to game. I knew it was going to be hard coming in. I knew it wasn’t going to be something where you just jump in here and are passing for 300 yards. I know you have to work at this, and I knew it was going to take time, and like everything else if you want it bad you have to keep working, keep your head up, and you’ll be fine. So, it is about as hard as I thought it was going to be, but at the same time we are only six games in and there is a lot of the season left.

 

On being on the road…

I am looking forward to going on the road and playing at Duke. I have seen their stadium before.  I’ve been to their campus before so it is not going to be totally surprising to me. I am definitely feeling good about going to Duke and getting ready for them.