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September 10, 2014

Bobby Petrino

COACH PETRINO:  We're really excited about going on the road and seeing how we travel and how we conduct our business on the road, going in and playing a team that's playing very well.
When you watch Virginia on tape their, defense is very active.  They have big, physical guys that can rush the passer, very experienced in the secondary and an offense that gives us a lot of different formations and different things we need to line up and adjust to that are also very big up front.
So it's going to be a great challenge for us and we're looking forward to it.

Q.  Harold and Valles have given them some good speed rushers off the edge.  How would you evaluate Brown and Mack's feet there at the tackle position?  How are they handling speed rushers?
COACH PETRINO:  Our guys have done a nice job with it.  You know, they are experienced.  They have played in a lot of big games and they have good technique, but this is going to be a big challenge for us because both of their defensive ends do a really nice job of using their hands.  They both have really good speed and they play with second effort.  So we have to make sure we play toe to whistle.

Q.  Virginia is your quote, unquote, new rival, and I know maybe we shouldn't call it a rival because there has not been a lot of games played between you all.  But I was just curious, how does a rivalry start to develop or what are some ways you think a rivalry can develop when you do know you're going to be playing the same team on a yearly basis.
COACH PETRINO:  Yeah, I think the thing that will be unique is that when we do start playing them year‑in and year‑out, we'll really get to know all of their players.  We'll know, you know, who their recruits are, and right now everything is so new to us.  We're just learning all about them.
But I think it will be fun.  We're going to recruit that area.  We run across them throughout the country in recruiting.  I think it will be a fun rival game, if that's what you call it, because you play them every year from the other side of the division.  Much like I did when we were playing South Carolina every year, and it becomes something you look forward to.

Q.  Did you feel like a rivalry was developing with South Carolina?
COACH PETRINO:  Yeah, I thought so.  I thought so.  You know, definitely through the coaches, maybe not as much as the fans but through the coaches it definitely was that way.

Q.  Curious to know for you guys, obviously you're trying to prepare for a UVA offense that doesn't really have a specific quarterback.  What kind of challenge does that present for a defense when you're trying to get ready for a game plan and all that stuff?
COACH PETRINO:  Well, you just have to work on getting ready for both of them.  You know, have an idea of what they like to do when each quarterback is in the game.  You still have to be able to line up and adjust to all of their different shifts and motions and formations, and it kind of starts with that, making sure we get alignment and assignment right, and getting our eyes correct; and what flavor or style do they run with that quarterback in the game.

Q.  I don't know that too many people outside of the ACC media and Virginia fans know a ton about Kevin Parks, the running back, but what have you seen from him on film that you like?
COACH PETRINO:  Well, he's done a really nice job.  He's a physical guy.  He's built low to the ground.  He's done a nice job of breaking tackles and running physically.  He has a big offensive front to run behind, so our challenge is to make sure that we can control the line of scrimmage.

Q.  Have you ever been to Charlottesville, and have you coached in the State of Virginia?
COACH PETRINO:  No, this will be my first trip there.  So I'm looking forward to it.
You know, I think this was one of the exciting things when we joined the ACC was to look at our road games and see the different venues that we're going to go to and all of the newness, not only for our staff and our players but for our fans.  I know our fans are really excited about making the trip up and travelling and seeing everything.

Q.  You haven't been to Charlottesville; have you coached a game in the State of Virginia?
COACH PETRINO:  No, I don't believe so.

Q.  You said a little earlier that you recruited‑‑ you're going to recruit the Virginia area.  Got me thinking, changing leagues, have you changed your recruiting geography at all because you're in the ACC now, as opposed to when you're in the east and the American?
COACH PETRINO:  A little bit.  We have a guy that's familiar with that area in Tony Grantham.  He's been up there at Navy for a long time, and so he's got the Virginia area and South Carolina and North Carolina.  A lot of the thoughts are that you should recruit in the area where you are going to compete and play, and players grow up wanting to play in the ACC conference.
So we have kind of expanded into those areas.  We are still primarily working in the State of Kentucky and south, but we have certainly expanded in the northeast.

Q.  Any success yet?
COACH PETRINO:  We're working at it.  We've got a few.  We've got a few guys that have come here and played from there in the past.  We feel like we'll be able to do a good job in that area.

Q.  If you could, talk about some things that you liked about your defense so far in terms of their intensity and their ability to kind of sustain that effort through these first two games.
COACH PETRINO:  Well, we've been playing very fast and physical, and I like the way that we run to the football.  I think we've got guys that are very‑‑ have very good instincts, so they understand what's coming at them.  They just play with great effort.
We've been able to pressure quarterbacks in passing situations and stop the run on 1st and 10, so hopefully we can continue to do that.

Q.  Did you think that it would take a couple of games for them to kind of get comfortable with this new system, especially with so many starters that you had to break in?
COACH PETRINO:  Well, I think we have some experienced guys, particularly at the outside linebacker spot, even though they played some last year with their hand down and some standing up.  We got guys inside linebacker spot that are really good leaders for us, so they are very good communicators.
So they have been able to real will he handle the communication and making sure that we're doing things right.

Q.  Not trying to belabor the point, but Tony Grantham and Todd Grantham, I'm sure he's played in Charlottesville‑‑
COACH PETRINO:  Oh, definitely.

Q.  Has he been able to give you any insight along those lines?
COACH PETRINO:  Oh, certainly.  We knew that we were going to be playing this game, and we spent time understanding what we have to do to travel.  This is one of the games we spent time over the winter and summer preparing for, trying to get to know their players.  So we put a lot of work into the homework of there and traveling and playing.

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