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November 8, 2017

Bobby Petrino

Greensboro, North Carolina

BOBBY PETRINO: We're coming off a good bye week. I think we needed it. We needed to take a little breath and get back and work on some technique and fundamentals and ones versus ones. Also were able to get our coaches out on the road recruiting, and that was good for us. We are looking forward to being back home and playing back in Louisville against a very good Virginia team. They've been playing really good football. Quarterback is executing and throwing the ball well, made some huge plays last week to help them win the game, and they have a really good defense, so it'll be a great challenge for us.

Q. I'm curious how you've seen their defense improve from last year to this in terms of they seem a little bit more comfortable with what they're doing and they seem to be doing that a little bit more schematically moving some guys around.
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, they do a really good job on defense. They've got a defensive front that's very active and a great pass rusher in Chris Peace, and a really good inside linebacker in Micah Kiser, and they're really solid in the secondary. They've been playing very good defense.

Q. As you look at that secondary, No. 21 for them, Thornhill, he's moved from safety to corner, then he missed a few games. What kind of an impact does he have when he's in the game for them?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, he's a great cover down corner. We're very familiar with him. We've been playing against him, and he does great technique, good skills, and a willing tackler. So he does a lot for their defense.

Q. What is the team's attitude now with now trying to chase a bowl bid as opposed to maybe clinching it as opposed to previous years?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, we've had a good attitude. Our guys have come out to practice and worked hard. We're trying to really just focus on winning one game at a time. But I've been impressed with our leadership, and obviously we'd have liked to have been in the run for the Conference Championship, but right now it's about just winning football games and then seniors understanding that they don't have a lot left, so they really come out to practice and do a nice job leading for us.

Q. Has that kind of created a different type of urgency for you guys now?
BOBBY PETRINO: Well, I kind of feel like it's always been that type of urgency, but I think that the seniors do understand that time is running out and you always kind of understand how quickly it went by. We get two more home games here in our stadium. They've worked extremely hard, and they've kept a positive attitude. Our guys are enjoying going out and practicing hard and being good teammates.

Q. This season through the adversity the team has had, I know you're one step away from being bowl eligible, but what have you learned about yourself as a head coach going through that adversity?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, well, we've had a lot of things go on, and I think the one thing I've tried to do is stick to our beliefs and understand that we feel like we know how to do things right and rely on the players to enjoy the day, win the day and have fun out at practice, do a good job in the classroom. We're really trying to make sure that we have a positive attitude. Football seasons get long and hard, and they're way different than basketball or baseball when you get to come right back and play the next day. It always challenges your attitude, and all our players understand that they can get up every day and control their attitude and their work ethic, and that's really what we're focusing on, those two things.

Q. And then as far as Lamar Jackson, we know that he's a very talented player when it comes to a lot of different pieces of the game, but how have you seen him respond to the adversity and grown as a leader throughout the process?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, what he's done is just tried to work harder and encourage more and practice harder on the practice field. Lamar has had a great year. Some of the things he's done, been able to do, throwing the football, running the football. I just wish we could have won more games so he would be getting the credit that he deserves.

Q. How much of a transition has your team undergone defensively? I know you have a new coordinator this year, and where do you see that unit right now?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I mean, we've had our struggles. We haven't been very healthy. We lost two really good defensive linemen over the summer, one with a medical issue and another one that we had to dismiss from the team, and then our other best defensive lineman has not been healthy all year. We've been trying to piece things together and stay together. We've had some good games and we've had some bad games. We've just got to try to improve here in the last three weeks and play the type of defense you need to play to win the game.

Q. Was there any transition, or is it still pretty much what you played throughout the years?
BOBBY PETRINO: I mean, you always have transition. Every year is a little bit different. We're just trying to keep them all together.

Q. When you get to this point of the season in general, how hard is it to sort of have a feel for, in practice, when to back off and to sort of strike that balance between giving your players a break but still preparing them?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, these seasons keep getting longer and harder, and one of the things I've always tried to do in November is to make sure that we get to the game fresh both physically and mentally. We played nine straight weeks before a bye, so I think that was good for us, and I think it's helped us. We gave them some days off, and they got away from each other for a while and came back with a great attitude to work hard.

But I always cut the practices down a little bit in November. My philosophy is to get to the game fresh physically and mentally.

Q. Do you guys use that GPS system?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yes, sir, we do, uh-huh.

Q. Has that helped?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, it helps a lot. You really get to understand the workload that they're doing and also the effort that they're putting into it. Our players like to check it and see how much they put out each day at practice.

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