"This is a big game this week against Syracuse. It is a road game, and anytime we go on the road, we know we have to pack our defense, our special teams, and our discipline. What is key for this game, and when I think back to this game a year ago, when West Virginia went into Syracuse and West Virginia was ranked and Syracuse played extremely well.
What we cannot do is lose our focus and we have to continue to execute and continue to get better. This is a very competitive league and this is going to be an exciting matchup and we just got to make sure we get our players ready to go play."
On his reaction to being ranked behind two two-loss Southeastern Conference teams:
"The way I look at it is, we do not control that and have nothing to do with it. The only thing our team can do for the rest of this year is just continue to play well and just go play it out. And I said, at the end of the season, you guys will see where you end up. You cannot - we cannot worry about that. Our focus right now has to be Syracuse."
On if not having played a complete game all season is the reason why his team is not in BCS title game talks:
"Well, I do not know. If you still look at it how many teams are there, if we are nine, then there are eight teams above us. So, I never look at those other teams because what I do not want to do is we lose focus and all of a sudden we go stub our toe and then we will not even be in the conversation. I guess it is good to even be apart of that conversation."
On receiving high praise from Tony Dungy:
"Well, I respect Tony Dungy and I respect everything about him and just as a person and as a football coach and just who he is. I know before I took this job, I sat down with him and we had a few conversations, but he is an outstanding person and for him to say something about me, I guess it speaks volumes just coming from him."
On his reaction to Joker's Phillips' impending release as Kentucky's head football coach:
"Well, Joker and I are good friends, and you hate, within this profession, for that to happen to anyone. And as a young man, who put in 22 years at the University, he was a player there and also he coached, but you know you have to look at it this is a business and the decisions that were made, you know their AD (Athletic Director) and president made that decision, but I know this, Joker will fall on his feet because he is an outstanding coach and an outstanding person."
On how close he and Joker really are:
"Well, just as a coach, you become friends and we have been on a staff together, but we are friends we have conversations together and we talk to each other."
On if he has spoken to Joker Phillips since it was made public that he was being let go:
"No, I have not spoken with him because what you like to do is just let him get through this and he is probably getting a ton of phone calls. When this happens - I have been fired before, not as a head coach, not yet, I have been fired before, so when that happens - you do not feel like talking to anyone. More than anything, you just let those phone calls come and then you just not even answer the phone."
On how his defense works around 'plugging holes':
"We are basically a man free, so we load the box so we are always going to bring a safety in the box, so we are a single-gap team. Any time that you are single-gap, then everyone is responsible for a gap, so a lot of times when a ball seams us, we know who to look for or you know where the issue is. With the way the game started on Saturday, there were a lot of guys that were overrunning the ball, running out of their gaps, and they were trying to make a play. I tell them all the time, listen, just take care of your responsibility, do your job. If someone is in the A-gap, the nose guard is supposed to be in the A-gap, that is his gap. He just makes sure that the ball does not run into B-gap, which you are responsible for."
On what concerns him the most about Syracuse:
"Well, you look at them on offense; they are very balanced. They have a very good quarterback. They do a really good job of running and throwing the football. A lot of times people look at them and think they throw the ball a lot, but the reason why they had to throw the ball is because they were coming from behind. But, they want to establish the run and that is to the philosophy of their head coach because he is an offensive line coach, Doug (Marrone) is, so they want to be hard-nosed. On defense, bring a lot of pressure, they bring a lot and try to. You know they are going to blitz you, put the pressure on the quarterback and see if they can hit him."
On if he thought they would be 9-0 before the season started:
"No, I never thought we would be 9-0, but you look at the season and just a number of games and what you always look at is you are in a very competitive league and when you look at the schedule, it is just the way the schedule set up. You know you had Kentucky, you had Missouri State, you had North Carolina coming in, then you had to go on the road to a Florida International team that beat us last year, then also we had to go to Southern Mississippi which has always been a rival game which is a battle, then you had to go to Pittsburgh who we had not beaten, so you just never knew how it was going to come out and you had a very young football team.
You have nine seniors sitting here, and then that group of seniors, you look at Mario (Benavides), (Alex) Kup (Kupper), and Andrell (Smith) on offense and (Scott) Radcliff; there is four on offense, and you look at (Adrian) Bushell on defense, and so that is four and one, so five seniors that are playing and playing really good football for us, so when you looked at those matchups you just did not know just would you be mature enough to go handle, and go play as well as we have played.
The reason why is that you have a group of guys that took it upon themselves, that group of seniors took it upon themselves to and said he we are going to pull this team together and we are going to see what we can go get accomplished."
On if he has to remind his team that Syracuse is a big game and to remain focused:
"Every game carries a lot of weight and why we look at this and that and why I say this is a big game is you have four games left (starting last week); we have four laps left to go along with Temple. So, now here comes our second lap with Syracuse, so we have to make sure we go finish.
It is a big game; it is a road game for us. We have been at home the last three weeks, so now we have to go take our game on the road. It is going to be a good test for us. It is a team that is sitting there that needs to become bowl eligible, so now they have to go win to become bowl eligible and here we are here still trying to make sure that we can continue to play well and continue to get better.
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