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October 29, 2014

Larry Fedora

COACH FEDORA:  We're getting ready for Miami this week.  I think Miami is probably playing the best ball they've played all year.  I think they've got a lot of confidence right now coming off that Thursday night win in Blacksburg where they played extremely well.
We've got a lot of work to do.  We got to get ready for them.

Q.  In going back over the game last week, what did the defense do in the second half that allowed them to really shut Virginia down?
COACH FEDORA:  Well, we really kind of calmed down.  We played harder, I thought with more energy in the second half.  We fit our run gaps much better, which enabled us to stop the run, make them have to throw the football.

Q.  Can a performance like that, even if it's just for a couple quarters, kind of help momentum‑wise going into your next game?
COACH FEDORA:  You bet.  You bet.  Guys are able to look at the film and see what was wrong in the first about four series of the game.  From that point on, we woke up and started playing some football on that side.
It was a good thing to see.  Yes, we will build off of it.

Q.  Do you feel like it was important for your defense to have a half like that just to gain the confidence and know that they can get some stops, given some of the ups and downs this year?
COACH FEDORA:  Any success they have is going to be good for us.  That's going to continue to build confidence, especially in a lot of the young guys that are playing.  It will just make us a better team.

Q.  What is the most difficult part for the defense as a whole trying to tackle and defend a guy like Duke Johnson?
COACH FEDORA:  Yeah, Duke is very, very special.  The only way you're going to stop Duke or to slow Duke down is you got to get a lot of hats to the ball.  Duke can make you miss.  If it's one guy out in open space, it's going to be very, very difficult.
You got to make sure you fit all your gaps.  You got to get a lot of hats to the ball.  You got to have a lot of guys running.  You got to contain him.  The guy is very, very special.

Q.  It's early, but does Elijah Hood remind you at all of him, running style, build?
COACH FEDORA:  Elijah is a little bit thicker than Duke.  Elijah is a physical runner.  I don't know if he has all the make‑you‑miss that Duke has.  I don't know if I'd put him in Duke's category because Duke is pretty special.

Q.  Your defense has played a little bit better the last couple of weeks.  Who are the key players there that are making some improvement for you, helping that to be more effective?
COACH FEDORA:  Yeah, Nazair Jones, he gets better every week.  Tyler Powell is back healthy, helps us inside.  You have Jeff Schoettmer.  You have Otis.  I would say our safeties are very instrumental for us stopping the run, of fitting where they need to fit.

Q.  Offensively Marquise Williams is really giving you a huge boost, guiding your offense.  Talk about what he brings to the offensive side of the ball, how his improvement has really affected things.
COACH FEDORA:  Well, he brings a toughness about him.  He's not your typical quarterback.  Getting hit doesn't bother him.  In fact, it just gets him going even more.
He can throw the ball very well.  He can beat you with his arm.  He can run the football and put his shoulder pads down and run through you and pick up tough yards.
I think our team, when they see that, it gets them kind of going, gets them excited that you have a quarterback that will lead by example.

Q.  What kind of challenges will Miami present for your team this Saturday?
COACH FEDORA:  Well, you start on our offense.  I mean, their defense, they're really big inside.  They run well.  They can get you off the edge.  The Perryman kid is sideline to sideline every snap, really a heck of a football player.  They can all run on the back end.  Their safeties are very physical.  They'll come up and hit you.
On the offensive side of the ball, you got a big, good‑looking offensive line that will mash you.  You have Duke back there, he can make something out of nothing.  Then you got those receivers that seem to have been there for the last eight years.  Those guys can fly.  They got big plays written all over them.
They do a really good job of helping the freshman quarterback out, not putting the game on his back.
So, yeah, we will definitely have our work cut out for us.

Q.  I know a lot of fans are talking about how Miami is favored by 16, 17 points.  Is that something you use in the locker room to motivate your players, use the underdog notion coming into the game?
COACH FEDORA:  How much are they favored by?

Q.  17, last time I saw it.
COACH FEDORA:  I haven't used that, but I got plenty of things to use.  We got plenty of things going against us in a lot of different areas.  So, yeah, I'll just throw that in the hat, too.  That will be good.  I appreciate that.

Q.  Glad I could help.
COACH FEDORA:  Any time (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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