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October 11, 2017

Steve Addazio

Greensboro, North Carolina

STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, we're playing a really outstanding football team on their home field. Obviously well-coached, well-put together in all three phases, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, talent everywhere on the field, both sides of the ball, really big and athletic on defense, on offense, dynamic skill, big offensive line, and so we know what kind of challenge that'll be.

We have got to do an unbelievable job being able to defend Lamar with his exceptional athletic ability and passing ability. Big challenge ahead for us on the road, enjoying a great week of practice, and the continuing of trying to develop and grow our football program.

Any questions?

Q. Harold obviously gets a lot of the attention, but Zach Allen has really come into his own, as well. What does that add to your defense when you've got two guys that can get after the passer like that, and what sets Zach apart as his career has kind of blossomed?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think I talked a lot about Zach at the ACC Media Days. He's an exceptional player, every-down player, big, physical guy, run stopper, pass rusher, and I think he can do all of the above. You know, when you have Harold on one edge and Zach on the other, and then of course we have Wyatt Ray here, who's also a very, very talented edge rusher, and then we've got pretty stout inside with Ray Smith, so I think that defensive line is well-coached that we have and well-put together, and Paul Pasqualoni has done a fabulous job in their development, and I think Zach is having a breakout year, and I would expect that that will continue each week.

Q. As you turn the page to the second half of the season, what areas of the offense are you hoping to see improve in the second half?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, I think very evident, I thought we played a real physical, tough football game last week and had a great opportunity to be in the middle of having a chance to win that game. But we dropped a touchdown pass early, we dropped another one down on the 1-yard line, and missed a field goal. I think those things are the things that we've got to erase. I mean, you get in the red zone, you've got to score, whether it be a field goal, it's a field goal. You get touchdown opportunities, you've got to get those. That's where I see we've had some really great opportunities in the first half of the season against really good opponents, and we're not making those plays right now that really, quite frankly, are somewhat routine.

I think we're a lot closer right now than we've been in a while, and I think we have some real ability scattered throughout that offense right now, but we've got to take the next step and we've got to make those plays in the skill and semi-skilled positions.

Q. Lamar Jackson is not like most quarterbacks; his skills are so diverse and so exceptional that they're really not anybody I can think of to compare him to. How do you prepare for that defensively?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I mean, it's very, very difficult, as you stated. He's truly one of the most elite -- well, he's the Heisman Trophy winner. I guess that speaks for itself. He was voted the best player in college football, and he throws the ball exceptionally well. He has elite speed change of direction, and the thing about him is he's obviously very physically rugged. He takes a lot of shots in every game, but the guy just keeps going. And I've been around some outstanding -- I've been a part of some outstanding dual-threat quarterbacks, starting with Don McNabb and leading into Tim Tebow. Those were both pretty big strong strapping physical guys, and those guys, there were times where they took some pretty serious beatings, and I just look at Lamar, and I'm like, wow, this guy, he's amazing to me. He takes some real shots, but it doesn't seem to faze him. What do I know? I'm not there; maybe he's banged up, dinged up during the week, but I think it's remarkable to me that a guy of his elite physical capability, athletically and everything else, is also as rugged and durable as he is.

Q. Do you see that his game has made even strides from last year? Is he doing anything better than he did last year?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, I mean, I think he's throwing the ball very, very well. I'm very impressed with him not only as an athlete and as a runner but as a quarterback. He throws the ball very well. He's got a tremendous release, and he's got great velocity on the ball, and I think it's remarkable, I really do, and daunting. You asked me about how do you defend that. I mean, it's hard to defend that. Who's defended it? I've watched him against everybody, looked like he's in the grass, then he's out and he's gone, or he's flicking the ball down the field for a big play in the pass game. Very, very difficult, and that's what makes him so special.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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