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September 24, 2014

David Cutcliffe

DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, obviously this is our biggest test of the year, an extremely talented Miami team.  I've been really impressed with them on both sides of the ball.  I think they've got a dynamic young quarterback and a great, great player at tailback and a bunch of other weapons on offense, and then maybe their best weapon offense is their offensive line.  I think they're tremendous.
And then defensively it's strength, it's power, it's speed.  They've really put together a blend of defense, and they've played a tough schedule.  They're a really good football team, so we're going to have to be at our best to have an opportunity in Miami on Saturday.
With that, I will take your questions.

Q.  I wanted to go into Coach Golden talked about Anthony Boone and what he's meant for your team and preparing for him.  What can you say on your side of that, what you've seen out of him and his growth and obviously a 4‑0 start for you, but what can you say about Boone and how he's led the offense this season?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, for two years he's got a tremendous winning record as a starter.  Anthony is multitalented, obviously.  He is a guy that knows what he's doing and why he's doing it, and that's a talent, that he has got great understanding of our offensive system.
He also can run it and throw it, and he's‑‑ one of the things I like about Anthony, he is one of those guys if he has a bad series or a bad play, he can put it behind him generally very quickly.  He's got a good temperament to be a quarterback.

Q.  And then as far as your defense, what have you seen out of them that you think going into this game, obviously you've held everyone that you've played under 14 points outside of Troy, who scored 17.  So defensively what can you say you really think is going well going into this game that you've been able to be so successful and minimizing the offensive opportunities against you?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  I think we've done a good job, our defense, of 11 players complementing each other, playing extremely hard.  We've had better pass rush.  We've had better coverage.  Sometimes the coverage helps us apply pressure, sometimes the pressure helps the coverage have opportunities to take the ball away.  We've been very opportunistic on defense.  We've gotten key turnovers at key points.  It's the best we've been since we've been here at this point of the season at defending explosive plays.
We've got to hope we can do that again.  This Miami team is so full of weapons, and maybe as I said a little while ago, the best weapon is the offensive front.  They're very difficult to defend, so this will be a huge challenge for us.

Q.  You guys have put up a lot of points on Miami the last few years.  What's going to be the key to being that productive again this week?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, we have to be able to remain balanced against them.  If we can't run it, or the flipside of that, if all we can do is run it a little bit and can't throw and catch it, we'll be in trouble.  I think the biggest key with Miami and the type of athletes they have is for us to be able to have some semblance of balance where they are not as easily able to predict what we're going to do out of what formation.  I think balanced run and pass is going to be critical going into this.
The other part of it is with them, they're so fast and they're big hitters, so you've got to do a great job of taking care of the football.  We can't put the ball on the ground or throw it to them.

Q.  I wanted to ask a little bit about what Mark mentioned, the fact that y'all have had so much success against them the last two years, I think it's 93 points in the two games.  How much of that is you've been able to scheme them, and how much of it is you've been able to match up with them physically?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Well, we're better physically, and I think you watch us regularly, so you know that.  We have some weapons ourselves now on offense, and we've had good plans.  But I think it's a matter of matching up a little better probably for the most part, and then we have been able to execute.  Even if you match up, if you're not executing at a high level, things aren't going to go well.  We've been able to get the ball in the end zone.
Again, nothing is ever easy in this league, and certainly not with them, so I think the premium is a better match‑up but probably more so than scheme, the premium on our execution has been excellent against them.

Q.  The other thing I wanted to ask is your reputation has always been as a quarterback guru, and your teams have been very successful throwing the ball.  This year's team is running for more than it's passing, and that's kind of been a trend the last couple years, to shore up the running game.  Is that something you want to do for a‑‑ have you aimed at it in your program, or‑‑
DAVID CUTCLIFFE:  Absolutely.  A good running game is like having a dominating defense.  It means‑‑ when I've been on teams that had dominating defenses, you know going in you've got a chance to win every game you play.  You're going to be in it.  If you can run the football and run it effectively against the best people you play, you've got a chance.
When I was at Tennessee and early on running the offense back long, long ago, we made a commitment to‑‑ we figured the only way we were going to win in the Southeastern Conference was to run the football against the best teams we played, so we started designing our offense to take on the best team that we were going to see, and that doesn't always work, it's not always easy, but I still think it's your best approach, and it's a consistent way to move the football and keep the ball, so it helps you in a number of ways to win games.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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