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October 4, 2017

Dave Doeren

Greensboro, North Carolina

DAVE DOEREN: Excited for the game tomorrow night with Louisville. It will be a great environment here at Carter-Finley. Had a good couple days, short week. It's been a unique challenge but our guys have done a really good job, our coaching staff has definitely worked really well together to put together the best plan we can in a short period of time for a really good team.

You watch Louisville on film, obviously it starts with Lamar and he does a tremendous job, not just as an athlete but as a passer, and has improved quite a bit. They play hard. They are well-coached and very balanced and play with good tempo on offense and their defense has nine seniors on it.

So great experience on that side of the football, and their kicker is seven for seven. Very good team coming to town and that's what you coach for, you have two ranked teams playing at home and it will be an electric crowd here at Carter. Looking forward to the opportunity.

Q. I remember talking to you this off-season about just some of the external pressures from last year after some close losses, and talking about job security and all that. And you said that you thought that it actually made you a better coach having gone through all that; that you learned a lot from it. I wonder if you would mind expanding on that, what exactly the impact was on you and how that has translated to how resilient this team has been over the last half of last year and start of this year.
DAVE DOEREN: I think just as a coaching of staff, as a football team, it made us really come together. Everybody on the outside was saying what they were saying, but we knew we had good coaches. We knew we had good players and it was just a matter of time. You just keep pounding the rock; that it's going to break, and that happened.

Definitely made us more cohesive and have more respect and love for each other here. I think any time you have adversity, you've got two choices and we chose to face it. As the leader, I chose to face it the right way. I think there was a lot of times, you know, as a coach where things are going well and people are giving you this and that and the other and then you have some tough times.

I think for me, just going through it all, you've got to have really good blinders in this seat that I'm in. Regardless of what happens, it's a one week at a time approach during the season and a one day at a time approach for the kids. It made me better; not that I would want to relive it, but I know it made me better and I know it made our coaching staff and our football team mentally tougher?

Q. I know you can't sort of play a what if game, but if you had not had sort of the veteran mature guys, do you think the situation could have played out differently? How much did their personality and experience help smooth those waters and put on those blinders?
DAVE DOEREN: I can't really point to just them. I mean, it was a collective effort. We won three of our last four games, so it wasn't like we just fell down and disappeared. We played really good at the end of the season last year. So I think in my opinion, I'd rather focus on where we're at now and you know, our team has come through that. We've won four straight games. We're ranked in the Top-5, and all of the things that go into it are part of the reason that we've gotten to where we're at.

Q. Where does the defensive improvement have to come from in terms of facing Louisville this time compared to last year?
DAVE DOEREN: We didn't do anything well last year in that game. We were coming off a very emotional loss to Clemson and didn't handle it well and I take responsibility for that.

I think our team was really fractured after that loss and I didn't get them back and we didn't play the way that we need to play against a really good football team. It started early with an interception on the first play of the game and it never got better from that point on.

We're just a different team than we were last year. I wouldn't really point at our defense. I think we turned the ball over five times. The whole team played poorly. I coached poorly. Last year's Louisville game is not going to be the same as it was, this year, when you look at how we play and how we coach; it's just a different year.

Q. Since it's extremely difficult to simulate what Lamar Jackson does with your scout team, how do you prepare for him?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, we have a young man that we are red-shirting in Matt McKay that is a tremendous athlete, and he gave us a great look this week. I don't know if he runs 40 as fast as Lamar, but he's pretty fast and very quick twitch and has a strong arm and same body type.

I feel very well prepared with the look we got from our scout team and Matt McKay, and he was our offensive scout team Player of the Week for a reason. He really did a good job.

Q. Just in general, particularly, well, both sides of the ball, on a short week, can you address everything that you want to in practice or do you just have to curtail some things?
DAVE DOEREN: You can't. You're two days short. So you do the best you can. You've got to keep it with your players where they can understand it and you probably can't do as much. You're really relying on your systems, and being able to change things up within what you already do and not having to create new things.

I think, you know, it's going to be more about execution and taking care of the football and getting takeaways for us, and not having some exotic this or that that we haven't done. We've just got to really be physical and have our eyes where they need to be and finish plays.

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