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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 22, 2014


Mike London


COACH LONDON:  It's homecoming for us this Saturday.  A big game for us.  Another coastal conference opponent.  A team like North Carolina that you've seen on a national scale a lot of their games.  Very productive offense.  Electric guys that can carry the ball for them in Switzer, T.J. Logan, their runningback.
We're excited about the challenge back at home.  One of the last few games here in Scott Stadium.  All the things that go with the homecoming games.  But we're focused on the opportunity to win the football game.  So I'll take any questions.

Q.  Obviously with this being a homecoming game, an important game in general on the season, what can you say about the environment and your expectations of a game like this, fans coming out?
COACH LONDON:  Well, yeah, every game is a critical game for us, particularly the last few opportunities for a group of seniors that are going out.  We have one more after this game.
Again, the things that go along with this game, homecoming game, your alumni come back in.  It's important that we're very competitive and do the things necessary in order to give us a chance to win on the field.
Our guys are looking forward to it.  The loss last week, you put those things behind you and you move forward to do the things that have enabled us to win some games this year.  We're looking forward to see what type of team we have coming off a tough loss.

Q.  You talk about some guys coming back.  What you've seen as the head coach at Virginia, what some of those former players can mean if they were to talk to the team or be around the team.
COACH LONDON:¬† I don't know if they're going to come in and talk to the team.¬† Our team knows they're present.¬† Our team knows there are proud Virginia alumni all over the country.¬† Every school has this particular day, a homecoming day, where a lot have a chance to come back, not just student‑athletes, football players, but proud alumni.
It's important because it's a home game.  It's important because it's a coastal game for us.  It's important for us because we still have a chance to fulfill some of the goals that we talked about at the beginning of the season.  All those things are important, but the most important is the opportunity to get a win.

Q.  What is your plan with the quarterbacks this week?  Will Matt Johns start again?
COACH LONDON:  Everyone will find out on game day, as well.  Greyson Lambert has been very productive in practice.  I feel very optimistic about his opportunities, chance to play.  Today is Wednesday.  We have two more practices this week.  But I feel good about where Greyson is from a health standpoint.  We'll put our plan together and make sure our team knows what's going to happen moving forward.
Right now I feel good about where Greyson is.  He's progressed a lot, running around well.  As we put the game plan in for tomorrow's practice and Friday's practice, we'll do what we have to do as far as on Saturday.

Q.  With whoever starts at quarterback, facing an offense like North Carolina that has put up points this year, what sort of mindset do they need to have?  They don't want to put too much pressure on themselves, but you need to be more productive than you were against Duke?  How do you handle the psyche of a quarterback going into this game?
COACH LONDON:¬† It's more of a big picture.¬† The speed of the offense they have, it's going to be important for us defensively.¬† One of the things that hurts an offense that's hurry‑up is get three‑and‑outs, be successful on third downs.¬† Both things play off of each other.
For us offensively, it's to have the ball, have a time of possession, to continue to make first downs, convert to third down situations we've been in.  We've been fairly successful in converting those third downs.
The psyche of the quarterback has a lot to do with how other components of the team are playing.  Again, what the quarterback can control is the efficiency, where he throws the ball, understanding we need to get first downs, time of possession, then winning those third down situations to convert.
Anytime you're successful in those things, I believe the quarterback can feel like he's operating efficiently and successfully.

Q.¬† Maurice Canady, he's not having a lot of balls thrown his way these days.¬† For a guy who started his career almost as an in‑the‑box kind of guy, can you talk about where he's improved as a cover guy?
COACH LONDON:  Maurice is a very, very talented player as we all know.  He played some safety last year.  He's played corner.  He plays our nickel position.  He's our cover guy.  He's a guy, second half of last week's game against Duke, we put him on some matchups, he did fairly well.
We pay homage to his skill of covering, maybe he's garnered the respect of some players or coordinators when it comes to throwing the ball his way.
He knows he has to earn his pellets every day.  People are still going to have their passing game, he has to be in the right position.  He's a guy that will take chances on trying to intercept the ball, plays aggressive.
Maurice has been a very positive element to this defense and he's played well for us, graded well game in, game out.  That's a tribute to his skills.  We're going to have to continue to play better.  He's going to have to continue to play better as we press down into the second half of the season.

Q.  You played that position.  How do you emphasize to a guy he has to earn it, keep his head in the game, stay sharp?
COACH LONDON:¬† The biggest thing is you have to have a short memory sometimes. ¬†They're going to complete passes.¬† When you're playing a defensive back, everybody sees you in the back end, you're one‑on‑one.¬† Whether it's a good play, bad play, pass interference, whatever it is.
One of the things that Maurice has, he has an extreme amount of confidence in himself and his abilities.  Truly when you're playing back there, you take it one play at a time.  At the end of the game if you're doing the things you've been coached to do, pass deflections, interceptions, no missed assignments, it's a productive game day for you.  That's what Maurice has been doing the last few games for us and we're hoping he continues to do that.

Q.  I suspect you will be redshirting more players this year than any other year in your tenure.  Does that represent any kind of change in philosophy for you?
COACH LONDON:¬† Well, we've always talked about the players that you get in.¬† You want to have a chance to play talented players or develop the players that are in your program.¬† We've gotten to the point now where we've got some really good young players, first‑year players in.¬† There's some fourth‑ and fifth‑year guys that have been in front of them.¬† That allows you to be selective in terms of who you play, make sure you have that in line.
More so than anything else, it's kind of based where the age of the team is which will allow you to let guys soak, so to speak.  Let our strength and conditioning coach get them bigger, faster, stronger, nutrition plan, talk about rest and recovery, all those things.  That's where we are now.

Q.  It seems there are kids coming out of high school every year who want to play right away.  How does that enter into it?
COACH LONDON:  There's some that have occurred on this team.  Trey Nicholson started when he first got here.  Quin Blanding.  You always want to give an opportunity, if a young man is skilled, you believe he can handle the mental and academic rigors that college affords when he first gets here, you say during camp, If you show you can contribute, compete, do the things necessary to become a starter, then you give that young man the opportunity.
We always extend those opportunities.  More times than not, you find out that sometimes there is a different experience level coming from high school to college.  There's a knowledge level.  There's a maturity level.
You give those guys a chance when you first start to recruit them.  When they come in early in camp, you assess their skills, abilities, where they are.  You want to try to make the best decisions for them, not blow a redshirt here, not put them in a position where they can't succeed.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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