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October 31, 2012

Mike London

COACH LONDON:  Coming off a bye week, we had an opportunity to look at some things and evaluate some of the things that we're doing and get some guys healed up.  We look forward to‑‑ it's our road game.  Look forward to going down to Raleigh and playing a very good N.C. State team.  So the challenge has been presented and we're excited about having a chance to play on the field now.

Q.  How important is getting to a bowl game for your program considering you were able to do it a year ago?
COACH LONDON:  Well, I think that's something that's a by product of having six‑plus wins.  Where we sit right now, our approach is beyond looking at bowl games.  Our approach is being better and improving from the last several games and eliminating those things that have kind of caused us to not come out on top.  That's us taking care of the ball, getting the ball, and reducing penalties.
You can look down the road at those things, but my main concern is the most and the immediate.  That is the next game, the next game with N.C. State, with the opportunity to, if we play well, have a chance to win.  Then you can worry about adding up wins after that.  But we're in the process and in the mode of the most important game for us.  I know you may say it sounds like coach speak, but for us, the most important game is this next game we're getting ready to play in Raleigh.

Q.  Would the weather this week have been a problem if you hadn't had the open date to start looking at N.C. State or was it not that billing a problem anyway?
COACH LONDON:  Well, as it turned out, very unfortunate for the situation that happened more North of us and the devastation that was incurred.  But here in Charlottesville, that Monday the guys were normally off on Monday anyways, so even though classes were cancelled, that didn't impact preparation.  Then Tuesday, even though classes were cancelled again, we normally practice in the mornings, we moved practice back later on that afternoon and were able to get in a Tuesday practice.  So we were able to do Tuesday and today, and it looks like everything is fine for tomorrow.  So in essence, it worked out to be kind of a regular work week for us.
I think those open week opportunities prior to all this weather being an issue was something that we needed to do to make sure we took care of ourselves as we go down latter part of these games.

Q.  N.C. State has a quarterback in David Amerson that's probably had more interceptions in the last two years than anybody in the country.  He had two against you guys last year.  When you go up against a guy like that at corner, do you try to game plan to avoid him to go somewhere else?  Or do you just‑‑
COACH LONDON:  Obviously, he's a great player.  He's a draft pick.  I think he had 13 interceptions last year and I think maybe three or four this year.  The thing that he does is he'll play‑‑ a lot of people try to put three receivers to one side and try to go one‑on‑one on the back side with a single receiver.  Well, he's that guy on the back side because of the match‑ups and the opportunities there, even in the nickel package, when they bring in that extra guy, he's an extra nickel DB.  He's always around the ball.  What they do as a secondary well is they're always around the ball, contesting passes and things like that.
He's such a talent that he finds the ball.  It makes you look at some times what you try to do because you have to look at who you're trying to do it against.  You respect all opponents and their abilities.  But you have to be aware that there are some players that are dynamic players that you're going to have to pay special attention to.
Over the course of his career, and you can see that he's earned a lot of recognition for the style of player that he is.  Rightfully so.  So we do have to know where he's at, and be cognizant of the fact that he's always around the ball.  Like you said, had he two against us last year and one deep in our red zone.  We just had to be aware and take care of the ball which has been our issue.

Q.  Is there some way you can attack him throwing a certain kind of pass or trying to run at him or screen in front of him or something like that to maybe knock him off stride?
COACH LONDON:  I don't know whether you can attack.  You take all five offensive linemen and try to block him or something.  But I think that he, again, his man‑to‑man skills are such that that's why he's such a great player.  There may be some things that you can do with a high‑low concept or slot receivers into the zone or bubble pass, screen passes out there to try to get a blocker on him.  But great players always tend to rise to the level of the challenge, whatever that challenge may be.  No doubt he's done that in his career, and he'll continue to do it.
But there are some things that, again, as I said, we're trying to be cognizant of where he is, where he's aligned and who is going to block him.  That's going to be very important for us.

Q.  The two teams playing on Thursday night on ESPN, Miami and Virginia Tech, you still have left to play.  I'm wondering, and I'm not sure if anyone asked you this, if you're going to watch that game or you just don't have time and you just watch film later?
COACH LONDON:  We always, if there's time, sure I'll watch as much as I can or normally on Thursday nights it's game planning and we're doing some things.  But since it's going to be on TV, we'll get the TV copy of it so we can hear the commentators and different things like that.  So if there's an opportunity, I will.  But I know that we'll get the TV version of it.
As you said, there are two teams left on our schedule.  It's important for us to see not only take care of ourselves this upcoming week, but also see what our opponents do in coming down the stretch here.  I guess the answer to your question would be yes.  Thank you.

Q.  Is a bye week always good or are there bad times for a bye week?  I assume this has been a good time for you.
COACH LONDON:  I've been on teams where the bye weeks for whatever reason came really early.  You're not always looking for‑‑ sometimes the bye weeks may come with a team that maybe is a specialty team, a team that does a certain type of offense that you want to have maybe an extra week to prepare.  Most times you'd like them mid‑season, not to the last part of the season, but mid‑season on because of injuries maybe sustained earlier and getting those guys back because you can regroup or do some things schematically with your own team.  I guess if you asked different coaches what their preference would be, sometimes it just works out.
You have a bye when you have a bye.  For us this year, I think the bye came at a time that we needed to take care of ourselves and take a step back and assess what we're doing.  But different coaches may think otherwise.

Q.  Continuing along that line how important was it for a guy like Phillip Sims in that bye week to really work on a lot of different things and get some of the system down?
COACH LONDON:  Very important.  Not only just for Phillip, but the timing aspect of the receivers with him.  The voice inflexion with the offensive line, just so many different things.  Then for our other positions, just collectively as well as far as honing in on the technique and fundamentals that are needed to perform, to make some personnel movements and special teams, to make some personnel movements with guys that are playing in the game, guys that have played sparingly in the early part of the year and decided to give them more significant reps.  They got those reps in practice.
So the opportunities were extended to a lot of guys to give them more reps, give them more looks, give them more opportunities.  So you hope when we get out on the field in game situations, that part of practices and the looks have helped them and will help them to succeed on the field.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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