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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 12, 2014


Scott Shafer


SCOTT SHAFER:¬† As we work our bye week, looking at Pitt the following week, kids are trying to get healed up a little bit and take advantage of this opportunity to freshen up after a long nine‑week stint.¬† Just looking forward to preparing for that next game. ¬†With that, any questions?

Q.  Obviously, injuries have been something that have plagued the team this season.  Your "next man up" mantra is something that had to come into effect a lot more than maybe you thought would have to happen this year.  Just to start off, how you've seen the team respond to it.  I know on the defensive side everyone has kind of been with the offense and given them respect, even in a troubling time, and I know family's important to you.  So just how you've seen that "next man up" mantra really work in a season that's caused a lot of adversity.
SCOTT SHAFER:  Sure.  I think the kids have fought hard through some tough times.  We couldn't predict that we'd be dealing with that many injuries at this point in the season.  Playing our third, fourth string quarterbacks in what's really a decimated offensive line, I've been proud of the way the kids have fought hard to step up.  We've had to simplify some things.
But the attitude and camaraderie with the kids has been great.  They've all had each other's back as we've worked through the tough times.  It's a great learning opportunity for all of our kids.  We just look forward to hopefully getting a couple of guys back this week as we move into the Pitt game.
But the kids have been good.  I've been pleased with the way they've worked hard to focus on the things they could really work to improve upon and not worry about the things outside of our realm.  I've been pleased with their attitude, and more than anything, I've been pleased with that camaraderie.

Q.  And then as far as the quarterback situation, obviously, A.J. has had some spark but wasn't able to play the last game.  Then you have Mitch in, you've had Austin in.  Knowing that whole situation, what is your hope for the future with some of those guys, and what were you able to see because, for all intents and purposes, three freshmen that are out there and getting their first experience of their career, what's kind of the future in that realm for you?
SCOTT SHAFER:¬† Well, trying to look at the silver lining, we learn a lot about kids when they get on the field.¬† For all three of those kids to be freshman eligibility and to get out on the field through some difficult circumstances, we've had the opportunity to see what they can do and how they react to the pressure of playing in it a college football game at a young age and also doing it with an extremely banged‑up offensive line has really given us a chance to measure where they are.
I've been pleased with all three of the kids and the way they've taken on the opportunity to get on the field.  Unfortunate that A.J. went down and Austin went down, but gave us an opportunity to see how Mitch Kimball could do.  I thought in his first game played he did a nice job.  Two weeks prior to that, he was running our scout team.  For us to throw him to the wolves a little bit there in the Duke game against the No.22 team in the country at the time, I thought Mitch did some nice things.
So we found out a lot about some kids that maybe we wouldn't have known, game experience and composure in those situations.  We probably wouldn't have known as much without having him in those situations.  So that's the silver lining side of it.

Q.  Good morning, Coach.  Taking you a couple of weeks in the past, but just your impressions of Grady Jarrett, the Clemson nose guard, what you saw in that game and what you think of him as a player.
SCOTT SHAFER:  He's a very good football player, plays with great leverage.  He's really tough getting through double teams.  He's one of the better guys in the conference at doing that.  Just a very good football player on a great defensive team.

Q.  Is that kind of like an unsung position of sorts, when you've got all those defensive ends, linebackers, that get all the numbers, but can nose guard and what Jarrett does be underrated?
SCOTT SHAFER:¬† I don't think the defensive tackles get as much credit as they deserve.¬† They're the guys setting the point and anchoring things down in the middle.¬† They never quite get the publicity.¬† It's always the guys that have a chance to touch the football or touch the guy that has the football more in the passing game that probably get credit.¬† But those defensive tackles, they probably do‑‑ without good defensive tackles, you can't have a good defense.¬† Clemson does a great job with those guys inside.

Q.  Scott, you mentioned the camaraderie on this team, and I wonder, how much does having a guy like a Cameron Lynch, who's got his outgoing personality and seems to be somebody that players can rally around, how much does he have to do with that?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Cam does a great job.  Andrea, you know as well as anyone, he's a well balanced young man and has great things going for him in the future outside of football, as well as his dream of playing in the NFL.  His personality is contagious to his teammates.  He's just one of those guys that does things right daily, and a great example of somebody that models the way and backs it up with also being outstanding on the football field, but also in his academic and his community involvement.
So he definitely makes any coach's job easy.

Q.  When are we going to see you on Cam's Cam, Scott?  I'm waiting for this.
SCOTT SHAFER:  He's knocking off all the big names before he gets down the list to us guys that are kind of way down on the food chain.  I know you've already been on.  You're at the top of the list.  I'm just waiting to see.  Maybe I get a shot or maybe I don't, but either way, I know Cam will make the best decision.

Q.¬† Scott, in the last few weeks, Tim Lester has kind of talked about looking forward to the bye week not only to get healthy but to look ahead to what you guys might do with the offense, but also what you can do now with recruiting to better fit that, needs‑wise.¬† Can you talk about at least internally how much this time has helped you guys and is helping you guys to better understand where you want the offense to be and how you can get there.
SCOTT SHAFER:¬† Well, it's a short window.¬† The bye week for us‑‑ every year bye weeks are different because where you're at in their schedule.¬† For us, coming off a nine‑week stretch, we're the only ACC team that had a nine‑week stretch without a bye.¬† We're dealing with trying to get guys healthy, but we're also going on the road, seeing recruits, and moving in the direction of setting up all of our visits for all the kids coming in during the winter recruiting process.¬† It gives us a chance to focus in on that side of things a little bit.
As far as scheme‑wise, you're still playing with the same cards in the deck right now.¬† So there's not a lot of change agent there that goes into a bye week.¬† The one thing we can do is we can spend a little bit of extra time looking at Pitt as we prepare and we have some light practices moving forward.¬† So it's a way to kind of get an extra Tuesday, an extra Wednesday practice before we get to actual game week Tuesday, Wednesday.
More than anything, I think it's trying to get kids healthy in the situation that we're in right now, and also taking the time to try to continue to coach and teach the kids playing quarterback that are all freshmen how to look at things they may have struggled with earlier in the season, and moving into the Pitt game, trying to be a little bit quicker and sharper with understanding what the coverages and fronts look like.
So less to do with just the scheme, and more to do with the identification of getting us in good plays or getting us out of bad plays, something that's extremely important for our three young quarterbacks.

Q.  And kind of with all these various injuries, are there any guys who you know at this point just won't be back for the last two games and you hope to get healthy for the spring?
SCOTT SHAFER:  We're taking it day by day.  We'll send our report out next week before the game, and hopefully there's some guys off the list.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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