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November 12, 2014

Mike London

MIKE LONDON:  It's a timely week for us to have an open week.  It allows us to get key people healthy as we prepare for Miami.  It also allows us to take care of ourselves and continue the trend towards improving.  So we had a productive day at practice today, and we'll practice again tomorrow and get ready for that‑‑ for the regular Sunday game week prep for Miami.

Q.  Mike, do you think you've ever been as thin on the offensive line as you were for that game Saturday?  And what are the prospects of getting some of these guys back?
MIKE LONDON:  Doug, that probably, in my coaching career, has probably been the thinnest ever, particularly with guys that practice, your first and second unit that go in a game have an opportunity to go in a game for an extensive amount of reps.
You have a group of offensive linemen, and a lot of them sometimes as your scout team guys, a lot of them are designated toward being redshirted, but when you get into a situation‑‑ and it starts back with Jay Whitmire, losing him, and then during the course of the week, both Mooney and Doull, and during the course of the game, Sadiq Olanrewaju.  It's one of those things that happened.  It's a first for me.  But you always have to rely on the "next man up" mentality, and guys have to be able to step in and adjust where needed.
Hopefully, this week, we'll be able to get some of these guys back and be at full strength as we go down the last two games of the regular season.

Q.  Was there a temptation to take a redshirt off of some of the guys that you were holding out?  Would Tetlow probably have played if he had not been injured too?
MIKE LONDON:  It's an away game.  So you already build in your traveling squad.  So we weren't taking a guy that we could possibly burn his redshirt.  The guys on the trip were the guys that were only able to play.  Jack McDonald and Jack English, those guys, because of the other two injuries, they got extensive time.  They got extensive time primetime, playing against some really good football players.
Ultimately, we hope that that will be a learning point for them and an opportunity for them to improve and understand what it's going to take to be a really good offensive linemen.
But the guys that stayed home were the redshirt guys or an injured guy, but the guys that went were only the guys we were thinking about and had to go to at the end of the game.

Q.  Just what you've been able to take from the team.  Obviously, you talked about the importance of having a bye week now and getting the guys ready and everything, but just where it's been for the team right now.  I know you had won four out of five, and now you've lost the last four in a row.  Is this a perfect time in your mind‑‑ obviously, you can't plan the schedule.  It's done ahead of time.  But is this the perfect time for you to have this break coming off the four‑game loss?
MIKE LONDON:  It's been beneficial for us, one, to get ourselves ready, two, to get guys healed up and particularly up front.  Three, it's to also recognize that the game we played against the No.2 team in the country was a game that we improved.  There's a lot of improvement that's being made, a lot of guys that had to step into duty and got a chance to compete.  So although you're disappointed in the losses, we're more concerned about guys improving, this team improving, and even with two games left, still having an opportunity to continue playing postseason.
So that's been the focus.  The older group of guys‑‑ Henry Coley, Kevin Parks, Anthony Harris‑‑ that focus, they've held the focus of the team, but it's been a good week.  If you had to pick a week for things to kind of fit where they are right now, to get ourselves back and ready to go the last two regular season games, this would be it.

Q.  I want to ask you about Andre Levrone.  Obviously, we've seen him flash a few times, the UCLA game, against Florida State game, but numbers, only 12 catches.  What's keeping him from maybe getting consistent, more consistent, and what do you kind of see from him kind of going forward?  I know he's only a redshirt freshman.
MIKE LONDON:  You hit the nail right there.  The biggest thing is being a redshirt freshman and coming in with a group that was, I talked about being one of our strengths in terms of guys being older guys, guys that played in football games, and him trying to assimilate himself into the lineup.  You know, do your part, whether you're a Z or an X, and there's a certain route that you run.
It was good to see that he went up and caught a pass because that's indicative of the type of wide receivers that we want to have.  We want those guys to be able to‑‑ people call it 50‑50 balls, but we want to go up there and use your height to an advantage.
You're right, he did it in the UCLA game.  He's had a couple of opportunities in games after that, but he just didn't come down with the catches.  He did one here against Florida State.  So his mindset is good.  As I said, a guy like Tim Harris, who played against one of the best wide receivers in the country.  So his mindset is good.  We're looking for that type of improvement, guys still believing in themselves.  I believe in them.  That's kind of where we are collectively as a football team.

Q.  How's Brandon Phelps doing this week?
MIKE LONDON:  Whenever you have a hamstring injury, it's always predicated upon the type of treatment and how fast you can respond.  You can't‑‑ he's not going to be ready to go overnight.  So, again, as the previous questioner asked me, this is probably as good of a time to have an open week to be able to get guys like Brandon back and back into full swing next Sunday as we start going into the Miami week.

Q.  Anthony Harris and Kevin Parks, two of the guys you mentioned have helped hold the focus of the team together.  I just wanted to see why you spoke specifically on those guys and just what their leadership, how you truly define what they've been as leaders to this team this year.
MIKE LONDON:  Both of them last season coming into this season were guys that were recognized as outstanding talent, Kevin being the returning ACC leading rusher.  He's not currently at that point now.  And Anthony was coming in as an All‑American after last year's season.  Whatever coach you talk to, whatever team, they're seniors now, understand that they have possibly two games, maybe three games left, there's a reality that comes to the point‑‑ I know they all hope they go on to the next level, but the reality for a lot of them is that this may be it as far as their last few college football games and having to get into the real world and work for their living.
I think those things have always been a focus of those two individuals, who have been all‑stars, so to speak, and as they wind their career up here in Virginia, both of them graduated, they understand that, for them, two games left, a sense of urgency, and leaving a legacy, and that's why I particularly pulled out those two guys.
And Henry Coley could be one as well, but those two guys have been very vocal for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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