The 2016 season is underway and the ACC teams are battling for a chance to meet at the ACC Football Championship.
In this edition of Around the ACC some comments from the ACC coaches from this week’s teleconferences.
Q. To look at these first couple games going into this upcoming game, kind of your 15 total touchdowns over those two games have been scored on the ground. Just what you can say about your rushing attack at this point?
MARK RICHT: Well, we’re doing the things you need to do to run the ball well, which is know your assignment, have good technique, block with effort and a little bit of nasty in you. We’re blocking downfield well. Our quarterback is getting us in the right plays. We’re doing the things that you have to do to be able to run the ball well, and our backs are certainly making some people miss and have some speed to take it the distance for some long runs. But it’s going to get tougher and tougher as we go starting this week. This defense is extremely tough physically, and they are just — they’re just hard to block. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.
Q. Did Brad have an off week last week because it seemed like that was not a Brad-type of game, two interceptions —
MARK RICHT: Well, our pass game struggled a little bit. His second pick he got hit as he was throwing it, so he really had no control over that one. The first one, quite frankly, I didn’t do a good job coaching him, so I’m not going to put either one of them on him quite frankly, but yeah, we didn’t throw and catch as good as we should, and there’s no question we have practiced better than that. We are better than what we did in that ballgame. But the reality is we’re what we show on tape. We’re what we did in the game, so we’re not very good right now. We’ve got to get better.
Q. To take a look back at the East Carolina game, just what you can say about their ability on the field and just what you took away from going up against Scottie Montgomery.
DAVE DOEREN: You know, he’s got good skill, and I knew that going into the game. They always have, and their kids play hard. It was a hard-fought game on both sides, and I thought they made a couple more plays than we did. We made more mistakes than they did. In a close game, one-possession game, every play matters, and when it comes down to it, there’s going to be about 25 plays that could have gone one way or another that changed the game.
Q. I wanted to ask about Stephen Louis. 36 yards a catch is pretty remarkable. Can you talk about him and what he brings to the table?
DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, probably one of my favorite practice players on our football team. He works really hard. He’s got an edge to him. A lot of times when you lose the game of football to an injury, which he did, he played here as a true freshman and then he redshirted last year because he had to have his shoulder operated on, and he was an animal. Every day we were practicing and getting ready for games, he was on the other field with our strength coach just grinding, and he did it all through the fall and had a very good spring. I said at the end of the spring he was our most improved player, and took it into the summer and fall camp.
Q. Kind of assess backup quarterback Matthew Jordan when Justin came out. What did you take away from him?
COACH JOHNSON: I thought Matthew played well. He came in and executed what we asked him to do. He’s been in the program now for a couple years. I think he’s got a good working knowledge of the offense. It was good to get him some time out there playing.
Q. As far as Justin bouncing back, is the expectation to have him back full go for this game?
COACH JOHNSON: Yeah, he should be good to go. He’s practiced all week. He’s fine. He could have played on Saturday. Q. When I look at your rushing numbers, they’re very good. 240 something yards a game, 5 yards a play. You’ve had a lot of offenses that did better. Is there potential for this running game to get even more efficient than it’s been so far? COACH JOHNSON: I think it will get better. They’re pulled down by the first game. Boston College I think is pretty good on defense. It would not surprise me to have more rushing yards against them than anybody else they play all year. They played well. I’m not sure we played particularly well. They’re really good. You’re talking about two games. If it’s at that number after we play six, then I’ll be a little more concerned.
Q. How would you describe what it’s been like to try to put together a game plan to stop Lamar Jackson, what he’s able to do this week?
COACH FISHER: Well, I mean, it will be the same as we always do. You have great players, you have to keep great contain on guys, have to have great eye discipline, gap control. You set your plans. It is not different as far as our process. You just have to be really relevant of the different talents which he has. We can move the pocket in which he can throw. Lamar is great. You can’t forget those receivers catch the ball. The tight end catches the ball. They have dynamic play at runningback. They do different things. You can’t get enamored all with Lamar, let those guys off also. He’s definitely the key to the ship that makes them run. There’s no doubt about that.
Q. At the other end you have a freshman kicker. Is this in the blood for the Aguayos?
COACH FISHER: I think we got two freshmen kickers. I love Ricky. Ricky is killing it. Ricky is doing his job. Hitting field goals, hitting PATs. That’s what he’s required to do. Very proud of him. Coming from that background definitely helps. He is very sound, fundamental in his kicking, very talented. Has a good mind. So he is doing very well. Hopefully he’ll continue that. Also Logan Tyler, you are talking about a guy averaging over 45 yards a punt. All his kickoffs are either going through the end zone or dropping right on the line with a 4.0 hang. We’re covering them. I’m very proud of our kickers in general overall.
Q. With Lamar running the football, have you ever seen a quarterback besides who you had playing against his style? Looked like he matured over the summer.
COACH FISHER: He’s matured. He’s been coached very well. I think it’s a combination of the two things and what’s going on. The players around him are very good. Yeah, we’ve played guys that are dynamic. But he’s as dynamic as anybody we’ve played. There’s no doubt about that.
Q. With FSU losing Derwin James for the next little bit, does it change anything knowing they’re missing one of their best players in their secondary?
COACH PETRINO: He’s a great football player. I feel bad for him. He’s done such a great job for them. He runs around, tackles, covers, rushes the passer. He just is a guy that is very, very talented, plays extremely hard, the way we want players on our team to play. I feel bad for him. They’ve got a lot of depth there. They’ve got a lot of talent. They’ve played a lot of guys in the first two games. We know it will still be a great challenge for us.
Q. A lot has been made about Lamar’s development in understanding the playbook and running the offense. It’s been said that last year he even admitted he’d stare one guy down, if he wasn’t open, he’d take off. Touch on his development as a quarterback.
COACH PETRINO: Yeah, I thought he did a great job in our bowl preparation, from the end of the Kentucky game to the Texas A&M game in the bowl. We went back and retaught everything, went through a total installation of the offense. He really worked hard on that, worked hard on his footwork, his ability to be more accurate with his throws, then continued it through the off-season and into spring ball, throughout the summer. I’m very proud of how much effort and work he’s put into it. He just needs to continue to focus and get better.
Q. From looking at the Ole Miss tape and DeMarcus Walker, he beat different guys in that game. What did you see, especially in the second half of that game?
COACH PETRINO: We know him real well. He’s a great football player. He’s a really high-effort guy with a lot of skill. Does a great job on his quickness off the ball, then using his hands, attacking the sets of the offensive linemen. He’s just a very, very good football player that we’re going to have to know where he’s at and make sure that we get our guys some help with them.