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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 19, 2012


Frank Spaziani


FRANK SPAZIANI: As Mike stated, we have an off week. A couple things we're trying to get accomplished: One, we're trying to get healthy; and then number two, work on some fundamentals and get ourselves to game week next week.
With that, I'll take some questions.

Q. The conference in some ways seems, at least on a national scale, seems to be off to a little bit of a slow start. How important does that make the game Saturday with the only two ranked teams left in the country in terms of just kind of the overall image of the league?
FRANK SPAZIANI: You mean‑‑

Q. Clemson‑Florida State ballgame.
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, it's two good football teams playing each other, and certainly they have a lot of national visibility. I think they'll hold their own in the rest of the country. They've got to worry about each other right now.

Q. Is it something that the conference needs, though, a marquee game nationally at this point with some of the criticism that's been leveled the ACC's way?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, the criticism will be what it may. I think every team needs a star, every league needs a star, every movie needs a star. You know, you need marquee teams, and I think we have our share of them. But once again, it has to be done on the field. It's only good for everybody if somebody is a standout and brings everybody up.

Q. Nick coming off that 24‑tackle performance is now leading the nation in tackles. Just wondering for your assessment for the way he's played in the middle for you guys so far this year.
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, Nick has been a‑‑ I guess the right word is a pleasant surprise. I mean, Nick came back as a fifth year senior with no guarantee. As a matter of fact he was looking at backing up and being a contributor as far as leadership and his experience, and the fact that he wanted to come back and be a part of the team says a lot, and he got an opportunity, and he's making the most of it. I'm happy for Nick and certainly happy for us.

Q. How has he been able to make the transition from‑‑ I think he mentioned he'd been playing outside his whole career, so how has he been able to transition into the middle filling the shoes of a pretty outstanding player for you guys and been so productive?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, the spot where we had Nick is probably one of the most difficult ones on our team to play, not that there are any easy ones. But he feels a little bit more comfortable in there, and once again, being institutionally motivated and feeling comfortable has led to some productivity, and we hope it continues.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your thoughts on Chase. He's had a fantastic start to the year, and with the league having the notoriety and the great quarterbacks, he's definitely leading the way. What do you think about his start this year?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, I think Chase has played very well for us. He's fit into the system that we've put in place for him. He and Doug get along very well. I think he's playing very well. I mean, he's a big‑league quarterback we feel. He hasn't done some of the elite things, but he's close, and we need to help him. But if he keeps progressing like that, the future is really bright for him and us.

Q. When you say some of the elite things, what are you alluding to?
FRANK SPAZIANI: Well, he's making some very nice plays, and once you get into the elite category is when you make some spectacular throws and decisions. He's making some real good ones, but there were a couple in the first three games that he would like to make and we would like to have him make, and he might have been just a little bit off. That's what I'm determining as elite.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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