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November 14, 2012

Larry Fedora

LARRY FEDORA:  Short week here, quick turnaround and probably hopefully we are exactly what the doctor ordered for this football team.  I think our guys have had a great attitude this week and I'm excited about getting back out on the field with them.

Q.  Can you put into words how big of a loss Casey's injury is, and what's the position looking like after that?
LARRY FEDORA:  Well, Casey, losing him is obviously a big loss for our football team.  I think he's the record‑holder here at the school for just about everything in the kicking game, and he brings a wealth of experience and a lot of confidence to the position.
You know, Thomas Moore will be handling all the place kicking and kicking off duties.  The thing was, when Casey was injured last year, Thomas was the one who was doing all the kicking at that time.  So we feel comfortable with him.  He's had plenty of live reps in games throughout his career.  Even though we are going to miss him, the next guy is going to step up and play.

Q.  Your first year in the conference, how different do you feel preparing for a team that you prepared for last year and at their place?
LARRY FEDORA:  Well, I mean, it's very similar.  We really haven't changed how we prepare for them.  I mean, you know, I can say this, in just watching them, I'm impressed with the turnaround that they have had during this season.
I mean, you don't see a lot of things happen like that in football, and I think that they had a rough spot‑‑ a rough road there for a little bit and now it's like a totally different football team.  You can see the confidence in the way they play and they are taking care of the football and all those things.
So we will prepare for them this week exactly like we did last year, except for it's half the time.

Q.  Do you see what they do with the two quarterbacks?
LARRY FEDORA:  No, they don't change their system or change the scheme or anything like that.  Both guys, I think they have a lot of confidence in both of them and I think both have gotten better as the year has gone on.
So they are playing both of them and they feel like both of them bring something to the table obviously, or they wouldn't be playing them.  For us, it's the same game plan whichever one is in the game.

Q.  You obviously have a short week to prepare but at the same time, you want your guys to move past what happened last week, so is that good or bad that you have got the short week given what happened last week?
LARRY FEDORA:  Well, either way, we are going to say it's good.  I mean, because that's the only way you can approach it is that it's good.  You have a bad taste in your mouth, you only have a few days and hopefully you get that bad taste out of your mouth so you don't have to wait all the way until Saturday.
I think our guys have handled the short week well in practices, the way they have done it, gone about it; their maturity, the way we have wanted to have energy out there but also be able to take something off of them.
But I guess the real proof is going to be how we play Thursday night.

Q.  You talked about Jonathan Cooper; can you talk about obviously what is good about Jonathan and what you see from O'Dea and compare their games a little bit?
LARRY FEDORA:  I would say first of all in comparison, they are two different positions.  One is on the inside and one is on the outside.  I think their guy‑‑ he is obviously a very, very good player and I'm sure he's going to probably play for a long time himself.
On our side of it, Jonathan is really the complete package.  I mean, and I'm very proud to say that I've had the opportunity to coach him because he's a great young man, and he's very intelligent.
When you talk to him about what he needs to improve in a certain area, he is constantly working on that and wants to know what else he can do.  He's very, very athletic for a big man, and is just a huge part of our offense.

Q.  When you look at the film of Saturday's game, with the 68 points you gave up, is there a fluke or fundamental breakdown?  Is it something you can fix in five days?
LARRY FEDORA:  There's a lot of things you can fix in a short period of time, because one, you're not going to face that offense.  So we don't have to worry about the assignment discipline on the options.
But yeah, there are some things, definitely.  We gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown.  We had a botched fake punt on the 25‑yard line that gave them another score.  We turned the ball over on a screen pass on our own side, and we fumbled ball in the red zone going in.
So there were around 24 points just off of special teams and turnover mishaps.  Yeah, we can correct a lot of things.

Q.  You mentioned the kickoff return.  I've asked a couple other coaches this.  You've had a long kickoff return in the Virginia Tech game that was very important, and you gave up one.  This year in the ACC there have been more long kick after returns, 90‑yards plus, more than ever before in history, any reason for that?
LARRY FEDORA:  I think you have some pretty danged good players back there returning the football, I really do.  I think people are still feeling out and trying to decide how they want to want to handle moving it up to the 35‑yard line; instead of some have the ability to kick it out in the end of the end zone and some don't and they are trying to figure out what they want to do if they can't.

Q.  The 25 to the 20, does that change your approach, maybe be more anxious to take a touchback than you might have been at the 20?
LARRY FEDORA:  Yeah, because one, the kicking team is closer, also.  So your chances are probably not as good if it's kicked deeper in the end zone.  Yeah, we have talked about that and the philosophy has altered a little bit.

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