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October 12, 2016

Pat Narduzzi

Greensboro, North Carolina

COACH NARDUZZI: Obviously it was great to get a win at home, another win at home against an ACC opponent, our first of the year. It's always good to get that first one under your belt.

We had two good practices here again this week. We're looking forward to heading down to Charlottesville Friday to take on a very well-coached team. Coach Mendenhall does some great things on defense and offense. He has a great staff, lot of familiarity from his Brigham Young days. It will pose a unique challenge to us.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Narduzzi.

Q. As you look at their offensive line, they didn't play particularly well the first two weeks. They made a lineup change, alignment tweaks, played better. What have you seen in the improvement of their offensive line?
COACH NARDUZZI: I think, first of all, they're still learning who they are, I believe. I think that always happens with a first-time football coach. Bronco and his staff are very experienced in what they do, how they do it. Obviously you really don't know what you have until you line up in the first couple games. Sometimes you learn by fire and mistakes at times.

I see a team that weekly gets better. We actually have looked at every game, we have every game in our breakdown. You can see the improvements they made. They went out and played a good Oregon team out there on the road, which is a hard challenge. I've been out to that place. Not an easy place to play.

You see them kind of I guess grounding into who they are, what they can do, what talent they have. They're trying to utilize their talent the best way they can. I think they're doing a great job.

Q. Tremendous strides recently with their deep passing game. What have you seen from the quarterback and the deep throws?
COACH NARDUZZI: That's obviously something that we've worked real hard on this week. They do a great job not only in their deep balls. They throw a ton of them on third down and long, third and six or seven plus. They've connected on a lot of them. Some of them obviously have been some coverage problems.

Quarterback will throw it up and let his guys go make plays. You just see receivers that will go make a play. You see a quarterback that's not afraid to put it up there and give them an opportunity.

Q. I know you're not a coach that looks past the next opponent. Considering your team is obviously in the mix for a pretty jumbled division race already, what have you found is the most effective way to keep your players from looking ahead or thinking too big picture?
COACH NARDUZZI: You're exactly right. We don't look ahead. The only game that's important is the next one. We got an ACC win. That was the first priority. Georgia Tech was a huge game. Start off 0-2 in your division or in the conference, you got a problem.

We really haven't talked about it in a staff meeting or team meeting. It's like, Hey, let's worry about this one game. If you start to look ahead, even think about it, because ahead doesn't matter, it's really in the present, what we're doing today to win this game against a good Virginia team on homecoming in their house. That's really the only focus.

Q. Virginia's passing game. A lot of those deep balls have been when Benkert gets out of the pocket, resists the temptation to run, then waits for somebody to break open. How much have you had to emphasize to your guys on the back end to not come up too far and stick in coverage?
COACH NARDUZZI: It's always a focus when a guy likes to scramble. The one thing that they do that I guess maybe you don't see it from the naked eye, I talked about some of the scrambles already, they also have what we call dash pass. There's a dropback pass, which is a five or seven step drop, there's a three step quick one. They also will spread out a little bit. Then they have a sprint draw package where it looks like they're sprinting out to the right, which is how you're saying Kurt is breaking the pocket, then hand it off.

They have one other unique one, which is a favorite for me. I really like the package. It looks like dropback. The quarterback will take a four-step drop out of a gun, locks like gap protection up front, but the two backs, No. 10 being the lead guy, is going to hook the end. They're going to hook him, then the quarterback is going to have free rein to sprint out.

I hate to get too technical with you. They've made a lot of good plays on that play because the quarterback has all day long.

We've worked hard on that as well because it's something different. We don't really see that every day. Places I've been before have used it. We have a good feel for how they're doing it, how they use it. Delayed sprint-out pass, we call it dash pass.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there's some parallels in the quarterback situation, quarterback being replaced by a transfer. Was that a difficult situation at all? Was it a seamless move? Do you see a parallel?
COACH NARDUZZI: There is a parallel. I never really thought about it. Kurt started since the beginning, so it was a little bit different than what we went through. I don't know their quarterback situation compared to what ours was. I obviously can only speak what we did.

But we did have a quarterback competition going on. It ended after three games, after an Iowa game, where Kurt earned the job in camp and has become the guy. I'm sure they've got faith in what he can do.

Ours, we had a returning starter. I'm not sure if there was a returning starter on the roster. I don't remember from last year. I'm not sure if he graduated. I've just been focused on No. 6, I guess, who they are now, not what they were in the past, or the quarterback situation.

But it's very similar. I give Kurt a lot of credit for coming in and doing what he's done because it's not easy to transfer in there in your senior year. You got one year left. For the rest of the guys to buy into that, offensive line to block for him, they've done a nice job playing together. You look at them and say they've been playing together for a long time. That's a credit to Bronco and their coaching staff.

Q. Why do you think it's a rarity that there aren't as many 3-4 based defenses in college football? What challenges do those present?
COACH NARDUZZI: You know what, talking to Matt and seeing some of the old tape when he was at North Carolina State, some of the different stuff they did against the 3-4. Not much of a difference.

Here is how I try to at least educate you. We're a 4-3 team. When it's passing situations, we'll get into a 3-4. When you look at most 3-4 teams, they're a 3-4, but they have a lot of four-down as well. Most like a 3-4 defense when you're playing a pro-style offense. When people get into spread offenses, people like to go to a four-down, okay?

I think that's the biggest difference, is you just see a lot more four-down versus spread teams, depending on the down and distance, what they're doing. But I think that's the biggest difference.

Q. The last three games, Nathan Peterman has played well as far as his accuracy, no picks, only one sack. Can you talk about his improvement in all three of those areas.
COACH NARDUZZI: Our offense as a whole has done a great job all year halfway through the season, not really giving up sacks. We gave up a bad one in the opener, last two doesn't get back to the line of scrimmage. Our offense has done a great job of protecting him on the sack part of it, but he's done a good job of getting rid of the ball, putting it where he can, and rushing it at times so we don't give up a sack. Maybe he takes a hit at times to give the receivers time to get open.

He's been very accurate. He's done a great job. He's managed the games well. I don't know what his quarterback rating is, but he's got to be pretty strong.

Q. Talk a little bit about the time he puts in off the field.
COACH NARDUZZI: Yeah, he's a guy that is in the film room a lot. He's in graduate school. He's obviously got his undergraduate, working on his masters. He's like coaching the offense. Sometimes we have to cater in dinners just for him with this unlimited meal policy, he's here as long as the coaches are. We just give him coaches' meals.

Q. You talked about playing against a 3-4. Does the challenge of trying to run the ball against a 3-4 front change, particularly with a nose tackle that is playing well?
COACH NARDUZZI: You know, I don't think so. Both of our guards, Bookser, Dorian Johnson, (indiscernible), we have three nose tackles. So it's three versus one the way I look at it. Those guys are playing pretty good as well.

Because we're such a good inside-outside zone team, a little bit of power, it really doesn't change much as far as who they are and where they are up front.

I think, again, Wilkins is a good player inside. But I think we got some good players inside that can handle him up front.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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