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October 15, 2014

Scott Shafer

COACH SHAFER:  Coming out of Florida State, with our injury situation, we've had an opportunity to find some young contributors, which is probably the silver lining in injuries for us.  Looking forward to the Wake Forest game, going down there and playing a very stout defense, a well‑coached football team.
With that, any questions.

Q.  Looking first and foremost at Steve Ishmael, what you've seen from him, his ability as a true freshman to affect your offense in a positive way.
COACH SHAFER:  Steve is doing a great job.  Going to be a very good player.  Been really pleased with his ability to go make plays in traffic.  He's learning the offense well.  He's improved at getting off the press coverage that we see week in, week out.
Just a kid that loves football.  He's got that gym rat mentality, always working to get better, whether it be extra time on the field or time in the video room.  Really happy with Steve and looking forward to coaching him for the next few years.

Q.  As far as AJ Long, you said the only difference is going to be the fact he's going to take more reps with Austin being out.  What can you say about his response to getting more reps?  After you saw him in that first game and seeing him in practice, how can you define him right now?
COACH SHAFER:  He obviously got off to a good start for his first game.  Having to do it against the No.1 team in the country was obviously a great challenge.  I was really pleased with his steadiness, his ability to just go out and play the game.  Very much like Steve Ishmael, another gym rat that loves to play.  He's fun to be around on the practice field.  During the game he's very energetic and he's got a lot of moxy to him.
Pleased with his first output and looking forward to see how he can go against a very good Wake Forest defense.

Q.  What do you think it is about this Wake Forest defense that's made them so good so far?
COACH SHAFER:  I think they're well‑coached, they do a very good job of taking away your inside gaps.  They get after it up front and create some penetration.  I think their secondary is very good.  Their linebackers are very, very sound, especially in the box, taking away those seams and trying to make you make plays on the outside.

Q.  Have you announced a starting quarterback for this weekend?
COACH SHAFER:  It's going to be AJ Long.

Q.  What are AJ's strong suits as a quarterback?  The offense, do you attack that any differently than when Terrel was quarterback?
COACH SHAFER:  Even though AJ and Terrel are different athletically, the difference that AJ and Terrel Hunt bring is the ability to run the ball and make plays with their feet.  The strongest attributes that AJ brings to the table starts with his love of the game.  He just loves to play.  Very competitive.  When he's on the move, he has good vision down the field.  He can also still give us the design quarterback run plays that cause defenses headaches.
So his ability to be both a runner and a passer, and on top of that it's just that competitive nature because he has such a great passion for the game.

Q.  As freshmen, the impact of AJ and Steve being that young, how much impact does that have on a program like yours moving forward?
COACH SHAFER:  I think it bodes well for the future.  I would rather not be playing all these young guys if we were a little bit more healthy with the injuries we've had.  But when you look at the kids that have stepped up due to injury, especially the young kids, there's a lot of bright spots.
Obviously AJ Long, Steve Ishmael, Austin Wilson, also a redshirt freshman, Erv Philips.  The runningback has given us a lot of productivity both offensively and in the kicking game.  Corey Winfield, he's a backup corner right now, but he's been very good in the kicking game as well.
Usually with a lot of those kids, runningbacks, defensive backs, when you see them show up in the kicking game as young players, it's usually a nice foreshadowing of what they can do on their particular side of the ball.
Another kid that jumps out to me is Antwan Cordy.  He's another reserve corner.  But he's done a nice job in the kicking game.  Young man from Homestead, Florida.  Then Zaire Franklin, a freshman playing a lot of football.  Kicking game, playing more on defense now.  Parris Bennett, another freshman, linebacker.  Those guys are backing up Cam Lynch and Dyshawn Davis.
Been really pleased with what they've shown.  I'm really excited about this young class.  I think they are just what we are hoping they were going to be when we were out recruiting them the last year and a half.

Q.  Ivan Foy, you don't want to give away his status for this weekend, but is this a long‑term injury?
COACH SHAFER:  Ivan, he's worked really hard trying to get back, but it's not coming along as fast as anyone would hope.  No one more than Ivan wants to be out there.
We have to really look at it week by week with him because it was substantial enough, he's got two areas in his lower leg we're trying to get back.  Luckily nothing is going to force us to have surgery or anything like that.  It's a lot of healing.  When you have two injuries, lower‑body injuries, at the same time, it makes it difficult for a kid to amp up his rehab.  If it were just one injury, it would be one thing.
Difficult process for Ivan, which is really a shame because he was playing extremely well.  He was really becoming the type of right tackle that we thought could be a very good player for this year and the following year.
It will be to some degree day by day, but really week by week now.

Q.  Julian Whigham, we saw Florida State go after him a little bit.  Couple penalties in the game before.  Is there something you've said to him or something that you see to get him out of that slump a little bit?
COACH SHAFER:  Yeah, you just need to keep pressing with your technique and your consistency and your mindset.  The great defensive backs know how to play the game with a degree of not just levelheadedness, but understanding to play the game at their speed.
For me it's all in there, but he's got to be more consistent with his technique and his mental state of playing consistent, not using his hands and grabbing at the break points, that sort of thing.  Continue to work hard to get him better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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