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November 21, 2012

Mike London

COACH LONDON:¬† It's a last opportunity for our seniors, our last game against an in‑state rival, against a very, very good team in Virginia Tech.¬† We're excited about the opportunity to travel on the road and play in a good venue that's up there.¬† We expect to hopefully be competitive.¬† They've got a great team with a quarterback that we think in Logan Thomas who is very athletic and does a lot of great things.

Q.¬† At the beginning of the year there was a lot of hype around this Virginia Tech defense that they struggled some early in the year, but it seems that they've kind of rounded into form.¬† I'm curious what you see that's got them being more effective, and what you see in their pass‑rush?
COACH LONDON:¬† Well, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bud Foster.¬† I know him professionally, and I know him personally.¬† I know the trademark of his defense is those players.¬† They always play hard regardless of what issues may occur.¬† They're a very aggressive team.¬† They will‑‑ they're not afraid to blitz you or play manned coverage.¬† They play man coverage and blitz against Florida State.
They did it against Miami, and it's kind of a mindset and attitude that you have to block us, but you have to get the ball off.  When you see that and you see the players playing fast and playing hard, it gives offenses some issues with the protection issues and the ability to get the ball out.  They've been hit with some big plays here and there, so maybe that has something to do with it.  But I think Bud always has his defense available and ready to play and playing at a high level.

Q.  They seem to be more effective since they switched and basically got back to their base defense instead of playing so much nickel package.  What do you see in the difference there?  Have they been playing more of that base look recently?
COACH LONDON:¬† You just see the evolution.¬† When you look at the beginning of the season, mid‑season, and toward the latter part of the season, I'm sure a lot of things dictate what you do, early success or lack of or personnel moves, sometimes all it dictates is to what you do because of who you have.¬† The last couple games, again, what you see is a very aggressive team.
I know that their eight‑man front defense is something that a lot of schools in the past have come up and studied about how to play it.¬† I know that's always been a staple of Virginia Tech defense.¬† But I think the last few games what we've seen is more of a put pressure on you play, play hard with the corners and just bring enough people around the box to say you're not going to run against us.¬† So you see that and you see, I guess, he settled into what his guys can do best and what they've executed the best.¬† That's what you normally do is try to find something that works best for you and stick with it.

Q.  What do you see in the way they rotate their running backs and particularly the way they're using Martin Scales in some of the short yardage situations?
COACH LONDON:  Well, I see what they do is kind of like what we try to do.  If you have a group of talented players, particularly in the running back situation, and you have a player that can do a job or two and they do it well, then you try to implement them into the part of your game plan that when it's called upon, they can execute it.  You see the running backs, all of them are very good.  You see the young man that comes in for the short yardage.  If everyone was watching, you saw the Boston College game, he did a great job of extending the drive by lowering his pads.  He looks like he's a very physical runner.
I think like a lot of us you try to find not necessarily by committee, but you try to find those individuals whether it's the type of play or the down and distance situation that they can give you the best opportunity to be successful.  So I see that.  It's something that we try to do as well.

Q.  Given that Maryland has been such a strong border rivalry for you guys, I wanted to get your perspective on them going to the Big Ten?
COACH LONDON:  As I was asked the other day, obviously, you're shocked initially.  Maryland has been a partner of the ACC, almost 59, 60 years, but the decision was made by their leadership that they were going to do what is in the best interest of their program.  I think it is a border rival team that will probably continue to, now, at least it will go against in terms of recruiting, if not on the field anymore.  Our most natural rivals are particularly the game that we play Saturday, but also with NorthCarolina being the south's fourth oldest rivalry game.
As I said, our recruiting will extend, and perhaps get more heavily involved into the northern Virginia, D.C.  Maryland suburb areas because of the choices young men will have to make or they'll have.  So we wish them well.  But we want to continue to be strong in that area of recruiting.

Q.  Any update on Morgan Moses?
COACH LONDON:  No update.  He's out of the boot.  We'll practice here in about 20 minutes and see how he performs and go on from there.

Q.¬† As you said before, the streak is what it is.¬† But a lot of these games have been lopsided.¬† You took a really good‑‑ you had a really good team last year that had trouble with Virginia Tech.¬† It wasn't a close game.¬† Is there any psychological hurdle you have to get over to beat them?
COACH LONDON:  I don't believe so.  The hurdle is to be competitive when you step out on the field.  The mindset is to be positive, and to be confident that what you do with the plan is in place for you to be successful.  There are some guys that have played all four years or three years or two years against them, and we have some guys that have never played against them.
So every year is a new year in terms of the mindset and how we approach it.  So we know something was on the line as far as the winner going on to represent the coastal, and something is on the line again as far as their bowl eligibility and us ending on a positive note.
So our mindset is being competitive regardless of the records in the past, and the things that have happened before.¬† We approach each game like that.¬† There is a human element to this because we are in‑state schools.¬† We do see each other on the road recruiting.¬† Our guys know their guys.¬† We know their coaches.¬† We know about the success that they've had and vice versa.¬† So it's about what happens on the field on Saturday at 12 noon.

Q.  Wanted to ask you about Colter Phillips being a senior, and he's gone through some adversity in his time.  But what he's meant to the program having him around at tight end this year?
COACH LONDON:  Well, I think it's a young man that has actually grown and matured over the years.  When I was here I originally recruited him and I left.  To come back and see his growth and development has been very, very positive.  Also, to be with him as he had to deal with the tragic situation that happened with his father his teammates and coaches and Colter have become much closer.  So behind the scenes, inside the locker room things have meant a lot to this young man because we've become an extended family.  When there is a loss and someone there to help you deal with it, you grow even closer.
I'm very proud of Colter.  He'll be a graduate of this university, whatever he sets his mind to go on to to do, I'm sure he'll be successful at that.  We'll miss his leadership.  But he was a great teammate, and I think that's always important is having young men that are great teammates, and can do a lot of things other than just play football.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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