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October 15, 2014

Al Golden

AL GOLDEN: ¬†We're trying to get caught up on academics this week, trying to get healed up from a seven‑game stretch, and obviously the coaches have started to move on and begin preparations for Virginia Tech, and we'll be tuning in tomorrow night like everybody else.¬† With that, any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Q.  Are you happy where your team is right now at this break before Virginia Tech, or is there stuff you'd like to see improve?
AL GOLDEN:  There's a lot of things that we need to improve, and there's a lot of things that we're working on.  There's a lot of positives, but our focus this week is to eliminate the issues and things that are holding us back, individually and from a unit and team standpoint, and then when we reconvene on Saturday, we will turn our focus to Virginia Tech.

Q.¬† I was watching a couple games previously against Duke and all that stuff, and Coley, your cornerback, is missing some of the‑‑ not getting the interceptions that he got last year.¬† Is he over pressuring himself on the field, or is it part of being a sophomore?
AL GOLDEN:  Who is this now?

Q.  Coley, your DB, your cornerback on the defensive side.
AL GOLDEN:  Oh, wide receiver, Stacy?

Q.  Yeah, I'm sorry.
AL GOLDEN:  No, he played better this last week.  He just needs to relax, and we've got to continue to do a good job targeting him and getting him the ball and getting him involved.  But I was pleased with his preparation last week and how he played in the game.

Q.  I believe Syracuse becomes the fifth ACC program this year to start a true freshman at quarterback.  What do you make of it?
AL GOLDEN:  Wow, I had no idea.

Q.  I can't imagine that it's a trend.
AL GOLDEN:  It's not fun.

Q.  But it's worked for you.
AL GOLDEN:  Well, you know, again, I don't know everybody's situation.  I don't know if anybody sets out to start a freshman at that position.  Sometimes that's just the way it plays out.  We're very pleased with the development of Brad Kaaya in our system and what he's done and how he's matured and made progress, but I'm blown away by that number.  I didn't realize there was four other programs in the league.  I just don't think that's going to be a trend, but who knows.  That's quite odd to be honest with you.

Q.  How apprehensive were you, just the idea of starting a true freshman this year?
AL GOLDEN:¬† Yeah, I think the apprehension is before the season.¬† I don't think‑‑ if you ask all those coaches, I don't know if anybody went into the season back in May, June and July and said, hey, we're going to start this guy.¬† I'm speaking for us; the young man continued to make progress, protected the ball, his completion percentage was good, his reads were good, he lost 22 pounds and got himself in great condition, so he was firing his feet better and extending plays in the pocket.
So again, as we started to evaluate it, he won the competition outright.  That's just the way it unfolded here.  I don't know how it unfolded at any of those places, but I don't know if there's a lot of coaches looking to play freshmen, but certainly in this case he won the competition and he's really making a lot of progress.  He's had two interceptions in the last three games, and his completion percentage is growing, and hopefully he can continue to stay focused and develop.

Q.  You guys haven't had as much success on the road as you've had at home, and obviously your next game is a road game.  What do you have to do on the road to kind of reverse that trend?
AL GOLDEN:¬† Yeah, I mean, it's not something we really talk about.¬† I think we've been prepared.¬† I think the guys have had a good look.¬† At Lincoln we go down and move the ball down and score, and at Georgia Tech we do the same thing.¬† We just‑‑ there's a lot of little details of why we didn't win those games.¬† But it wasn't for the fact of being on the road.¬† We didn't have many procedural penalties in either of those two games or anything like that, anything that would indicate that there's an issue.¬† I think it's a great challenge for us.¬† I think our guys are going to be excited about going into that environment, and they know what it entails and what you have to do to win.¬† It's not going to change our preparation.¬† We know the environment we're going into and the type of team we're going to play.

Q.  I'm just curious with a Thursday night game that your opponent is playing in, what do you do?  Do you guys watch it together as a coaching staff?  Obviously it's not coaches' film that you're getting, but do you watch the game live, and how do you guys do that?
AL GOLDEN:  I mean, just watch it live because those are two future opponents.  You'd be crazy not to watch it live.  We'll work all day and then come in the next day and watch the coaches' tape.  I might be making some mental notes during the game, but we're not going to break it down during the game.  Then we'll come in just like they do the day after and break it down and really finalize our notes.  You can't really finalize your game plan until you see the final game.  Once we get that final piece of the puzzle, we'll finalize everything and go to work on Saturday.

Q.  Do you bring the guys pizza while you're watching?  Is it a fun time?
AL GOLDEN:¬† No, I don't think‑‑ our guys get in at about 5:45 every day, so I can't imagine we're going to be here tomorrow night at 8:00.¬† We've got a good jump on them.¬† Our guys have been working like crazy.¬† I prefer they watch it with their families or their children.

Q.  Looking at your freshman quarterback and what you've been able to see from Brad, I know he's done a lot of work, and you've been asked before about starting a true freshman and obviously you have to start the best player that you have.  When you look at his effort and his work so far, what can you say about him?
AL GOLDEN:  Well, I mean, I think we're very pleased with him.  He's got a great demeanor, great attitude.  He's very poised on game day.  He can communicate what he sees on the field.  He can talk the game.  His conceptual and spatial learning memory is excellent.  Obviously if you're on the offense, he gets the ball to a number of different players.  So what does that mean?  A, he's distributing the football; B, he's going through his progressions and his feet are telling him where to deliver the ball.
He's giving up a lot.  He's an incredibly hard worker.  He's made a lot of sacrifices, and we're pleased with the way he's going right now.

Q.  When you talk about what he's given up and the sacrifices he's given up, what are some of those sacrifices he's made for you and for this team?
AL GOLDEN:  Well, for instance, if coaches are here all day Sunday, he may go to study hall and you'll find him in the film room, or he'll want to know what Coach Coley is thinking so he can start to prepare or what he should be watching.  So quite often we're in one room game planning and he's over there watching film.  That's just one example.  Obviously all summer he gave up a lot of free time and a lot of recreational time, if you will, personal time, and devoted it to learning this offense and executing it the way James wants it executed and to the standards that we have, and he's done a great job.  He's changed his body, which requires a lot of sacrifice.  I think he's lost 22 pounds since he got here.
The confluence of all those things have allowed him not only to win the job but sustain and improve during the season, which is very difficult, and I hope he'll get away here in the next 48 hours and really reenergize and get rested up.

Q.  Clive Walford, how do you think he's doing?  How is he progressing?  What does he need to work on?
AL GOLDEN:  Well, I think Clive is having a phenomenal year.  This is the best he's been obviously catching the ball in traffic.  His routes are precise.  I think he's finishing his stems really well in terms of coming back to the quarterback.  He's catching balls, as I said, in traffic, which is great.  He's preparing like crazy, and he's been a very unselfish blocker and a guy that's finishing as a blocker.
There's little things that he needs to work on, more importantly that he wants to work on.  Clive is in a very good place right now.  He's continually getting better, and I think he's been on that trend since about midway through last year.  I think he's been on a very positive trend, very mature, he's outspoken now, he's a leader, and very pleased with him and obviously very excited for him.

Q.  I guess you have practice today, and any updates on Taylor Gadbois and Ronnie Regula because you were talking about Ronnie?
AL GOLDEN: ¬†Yeah, I'm sorry, I asked them to release‑‑ that Ronnie is out for the season and Gadbois is out for the season.¬† Both of them will require surgery.¬† I apologize that that was not released.¬† I asked them to do that yesterday.¬† Again, I apologize.¬† Taylor appears to be making progress.¬† We won't know until Saturday or Sunday.
Practice went really well today.  The guys had a good attitude.  It was a good practice, some good on good, meaning Miami on Miami, and then a little bit just introduction to Virginia Tech, as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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