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December 29, 2012
THE MODERATOR:Â Coach Studrawa, start with you, if you'll make an opening comment and talk about what the Bowl week experience has been like so far for you and.
COACH STUDRAWA:Â So far it's been excellent.Â We are very excited to be here.Â Can't really judge that week by that Tuesday practice, one of the biggest work days we've had during the week and one of the most spirited practices we've had in a long time; and the attention to detail, the kids were focused.
And that's the fun thing, those two hours or two and a half hours of practice, they are really focused on what we are doing and outside of that, they have been having a wonderful time with the events and everything and I've left them relax and have some fun.Â So it's been a great trip for us so far.Â We've been treated very, very well and I think we are prepared for a good game.
THE MODERATOR:Â Coach Chavis, maybe talk about how this Bowl week experience has been in your mind compared to other Bowls you've had?
COACH CHAVIS:Â It's been excellent.Â The hospitality has been really wonderful.Â Obviously enjoy our time more when we are with the kids practicing and being able to practice in that dome which is a great experience.Â The kids are used to that and they have had opportunities to play in domes in different Bowl games and certainly being in there, is something they are very comfortable with.Â Our practices have gone very, very well and excited about where we are and looking forward to Monday.
THE MODERATOR:Â Kevin, we were talking earlier about the battle for Bowl week competitions.Â Are you guys getting into it?Â You guys got on the board yesterday at the meat eating, are you going to make a game out of this?
KEVIN MINTER:Â We are trying to.Â We did pretty good yesterday in the meat competition.Â Just got to keep going.
THE MODERATOR:Â P.J., what about you, how are you going to finish today with the milkshakes and game show?
P.J. LONERGAN:Â I don't know, I think I've got to make some milkshakes today, hopefully that goes well, we'll see what happens.
THE MODERATOR:Â You guys been practicing?
P.J. LONERGAN:Â Yesterday we practiced and all the linemen got milkshakes.
THE MODERATOR:Â Word on the street from yesterday is Clemson is organizing game film on Family Feud episodes to get ready for today.
P.J. LONERGAN:Â If that's what they want to do ‑‑
Â Â Â Â Â Â KEVIN MINTER:Â We're ready.
Q.Â Get you to embarrass Kevin a little bit here, you talked about how you talked to him before the season and the way you wanted him to play and about how he had become the kind of linebacker you wanted him to be.Â Can you give us the nutshell of what a linebacker needs to do for you and why Kevin fits that role?
COACH CHAVIS:Â I think it starts with being a confident person and Kevin is confident and obviously very talented.Â It was an opportunity and certainly we needed for him to step up and be front and center.
Kevin is a real quiet guy, but I saw both sides, on and off the field and I feel like I know him very, very well.Â He's the kind of leader that you want to have; what I mean by that, he leads by example.Â You don't have to say anything to be a great leader.
Q.Â Would you talk about working for Les Miles, personally and professionally, what do you like about working for him and what are the advantages with him?
COACH STUDRAWA:Â From my perspective personally, when you work for a coach that you know cares about you and your family and the players, I think that's first and foremost.Â Bringing P.J. in there, you know you are going to do what's in the best interests for that kid throughout his career and give him opportunities and all those things.
And when you've got a head coach that backs you in every aspect of that, it's fun to work for that guy, for me.Â Cares about the kids, cares myself and my family and things that are important amongst the staff.Â Being on the road, we are kind of like vagrants at times, job to job in this coaching profession until you meet people in a certain place that you want to develop friendships; that office building is where we spend most of our times and the people our families hang out and where that family atmosphere; it's a fun place to come to work everyday, because your family enjoys life every day and that's the first thing.
Second thing professionally, I've been around a lot of good coaches in my career so far, and by far, the hardest working guy I've been around is Coach Miles.Â He leaves nothing to chance.Â Every detail is going to get covered.Â I've never seen a guy as a head coach work so hard at recruiting, make the phone calls, go see the kids, do the things necessary to recruit that kid and to get involved in that recruiting relationship, which is big, because you've got to do it by yourself.Â When you've got the head coach in there pushing and helping you along, it makes it easy recruiting.
The way he treats our players; he's demanding yet he's fair.Â They are going to get a degree, they are going to do the right things and they are going to practice right and get prepared for every game as best they can and those are the things that I would say.
COACH CHAVIS:Â I don't know that I can answer any better or clearer than what he said.Â I've had the privilege to work for the last two coaches, they have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and certainly this experience is a great experience.Â The things that coach said, too.Â You're talking about a brilliant mind, fearless, tireless worker.
He works as hard as anybody, certainly he's fun to be around, and it's not one of those deals where you come in and you sit there and you're all stiff.Â No, we have times that we can joke around and be real people and I enjoy those moments, and when they do occur and they do occur because he likes to have fun as well as anybody.Â But it's a great experience and a great person.
And really, you judge a man by in his interaction, in my opinion, with his family.Â And you have an opportunity to see his family around here and who he is as a family man.Â He's a guy‑‑ I will say this.Â There's no question in terms of where the leadership in this building comes from.Â It's Les Miles.
Q.Â Can you talk about what sticks out about Clemson's offense and getting ready to go against them?
COACH CHAVIS:Â I think first of all, we start looking at the four receivers they have, some of the best four receivers.Â You start looking at the tailback, he has tremendous speed.Â Start looking at the quarterback, he can run and throw and they have got a lot of options for him.Â So very, very talented offense.Â Certainly would rank it with as high as any offense we've faced.Â They do a great job coaching.Â Dabo together with his staff, they have recruited well and that shows the talent.
P.J. LONERGAN:Â Like he said, very well‑coached and tremendous talent, and just got to figure out a way to stop them.Â Put in a great game plan and got to stick to it.
Q.Â You said coordinators had not caught up to the spread offenses yet.Â What progress are you making and do you see more and more spread offenses or do you think it will be like a fad?
COACH CHAVIS:Â No, I think you start looking at it‑‑ you start looking at the NFL, less numbers of truly pure‑‑ that are being developed and ready for the NFL.Â You are seeing the NFL, some of the spread offenses.Â It makes it more exciting for the fans and makes it easier for defensive coordinators, and that's kind of the fun part of the game.Â But you know, you see us moving on to the NFL, there's no doubt.
Q.Â Do you pay much attention to like when the coaching changes were made in the last month, like Clemson, Arkansas, they may go another way, do you pay much attention?
COACH CHAVIS:Â Not really, we are focused on obviously Bowl preparation and getting ready to play our best Bowl game and then recruiting, talk about recruiting, but that's your focus.Â And then we'll get into that portion of the season that we'll start looking and analyzing where the changes are going to be made and what we are going to ask to do to get ready and probably it's going to go to an extreme‑‑ we play Oregon in the opener‑‑ a National Championship team, one of the best in college football‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ and we went back and I said we and even in spring practice, starting preparation.Â So we'll be in that mode a little bit.
Q.Â Now that Coach Miles has signed a long deal extension, do you see working with him together on this for a long period of time?Â And do either of you have any aspirations to be a head coach, or has that ship sailed?
COACH CHAVIS:Â Well, you know, there's been a lot of talk, there's been a lot of folks, things that I said that I was surprised when I saw those folks.
My stance has always been the same:Â I want to win.Â Winning is most important to me and I want to win at the highest level.Â I want to coach kids ‑‑ and I use the word "kids."Â I enjoy being around young kids and I want to be a part of their life and that's the exciting thing.Â I can do that as coordinator and I'll be honest, I can do it as a linebacker coach.Â If somebody says, give up one of your titles today‑‑ coordinator coach linebackers, let somebody else coordinate ‑‑ linebacker‑‑ inaudible.
If the opportunity came where I could be a head coach, in a program like LSU, on that level, certainly I would consider that option.Â But I like winning.
COACH STUDRAWA:Â I'm excited for Coach Miles and the success‑‑ just having him here, numbers of wins against excellent football teams.Â I think sometimes it's just a given we should go out and beat them, and he's done an amazing job.Â I enjoy working for him every day.
Like I said, when you're in this profession, you've got a place where you're happy and your family is happy, that's rare.Â We all love where we are right now, especially Nate and I love coaching football.Â I don't actively‑‑ not out pursuing a head coaching job.Â If that opportunity came along, I wouldn't say I would turn it down, but it's not some long drive that I've got to get to that point.Â I'm not like that.
I enjoy coaching football and I enjoy the kids that we have and I enjoy this program and having the chance to go out and play for a National Championship every single year.Â Those things you take for granted sometimes and I don't want to lose that.
Q.Â What's the status of a couple linebackers, Alexander and Jones?
COACH CHAVIS:Â Yeah, they are both practicing.Â They are both fully ready to go.
Q.Â Most of the year he was out‑‑
COACH CHAVIS:Â Most of the year he was.
Q.Â I guess Texas A&M was the closest offense you've seen to Clemson, and in that game, it seemed like the first maybe three or four series, they really ran roughshod, and then y'all got a handle and pretty well shut them down.Â What happened there?
KEVIN MINTER:Â You know, just we had a great game plan‑‑ inaudible.
COACH STUDRAWA:Â What P.J. said is true, both those two guys, P.J. together, sometimes they like to cause as much trouble as they possibly.Â With both of them, they are the brains out on the field.Â Whether it's time to be a leader in practice time or game time or watching film and be serious.Â I think they both do a great job of that and they are also the class clowns, so to speak.
Q.Â You mentioned Johnny Mansell, can you talk about the similarities or differences between him and Tajh Boyd and what kind of threats they pose?Â What have you thrown out there to emulate him the last couple of weeks?
COACH STUDRAWA:Â Scout team‑wise, really, really strong arm and he's done a wonderful job throughout preparation, helping those guys simulate what they are going to see.
Q.Â Kevin, I know that you're from the Atlanta area, I don't know if you've played in the dome before, but can you talk about what it's going to be like to play in front of family, friends, coaches, people like that?Â And for the coaches, I know with the other guys you have in this area, what does playing in this game mean for you guys from a recruiting perspective and how do you think it's going to impact that?
COACH STUDRAWA:Â Playing a Championship Game, fortunate enough to play in the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl, and then in North Carolina, every time we have come here, the experience our kids have had has been wonderful.Â They paid tremendous dividends and they will continue to pay dividends for us but we thoroughly enjoy it.
Q.Â What are your thoughts on the spread offense, would you consider running it or any semblance of it?
COACH STUDRAWA:Â The spread offense is something that I think you fit to your personnel, you recruit to.Â And I've been involved with it many times in the past and it's a great offense and there's many things about it, but there's other down sides to it, as well.
I think that what we do and what anybody does is really a scheme that fits the personnel that you are able to recruit.Â We are able to recruit great tailbacks, fullbacks and tight ends and get physical and run the football.Â That's one of the things that we are able to do.Â I know when I was at Bowling Green and other places, we did the spread simply because we could not goes find of players, it was out the necessity.Â That was awesome, very exciting offense and one that I used spread like wildfire, that everybody is doing, and I think everybody has parts of it.Â We do, we have three wide receivers, four wide receivers, and that involves the spread, so we do it.
But we are just more multiple in what we can do and in recruiting and get different personnel groupings and be different in a lot of ways, to go from two tanks to a two‑wide set to any realm in between, I think that's good for us, too.
Q.Â For the offensive guys, do you feel there's a particular point in the season when you guys were able to achieve balance on your side of the ball or do you think that's something that's still being shown?
COACH STUDRAWA:Â We still strive for it but that Alabama game for us, I think our skill position, our quarterback position, and our skill kids grew up in that game.Â That was a big game for us.Â We did a great job of converting on third downs in that game through the air and the passing game and I think the wide receivers got better.
That game‑‑ our entire offense, the ability to throw the ball down the field, and confidence in the running game, that was the turning point to me because from then on our numbers were different.Â Our plays per game approached the high 80s and 90s a few times after that.
That, for me, looking down and watching our offense over the years, was a major turning point for us and offense doing the things that against a great football team and we built on that and those kids got better.Â That for me was a turning point but we are continuing for that balance and trying to make those plays.
Q.Â Post‑Florida, you turned the corner and I don't know if that was line play, what clicked?Â You talked about Zach and his confidence throwing the ball, but seemed like either a light came on for either him or maybe just confidence in the line.
P.J. LONERGAN:Â Nobody likes losing, we lost that game, the way we lost it.
COACH STUDRAWA:Â I think he's exactly right.Â We went back and watch the film and saw more self‑inflicted wounds than anything else.Â Guys were shuffling around, there were no excuses.
But we didn't play well and every guy that watched that film sat there and said:Â I could have done something different to make it better and they all took it upon themselves and took it as a challenge.
It was a bad feeling, nobody enjoyed it with those kids, the leadership of those guys took it together and said, I'm not going to play like that and that was the turning point.
Q.Â (No mic).
COACH STUDRAWA:Â Yeah, they are both available.Â Dash is back in rotating in the mix.Â Gives us some flexibility to play both tackle and guard.Â Getting Evan back in the two‑deep, giving him the opportunity to move Williford around at the tackle spot, it arises‑‑ guys really playing great football and he was playing his great football he ever played until he got knocked out, so what that does is it gives us a little more depth up front.Â
Gives us guys with experience ready to play, Williford can play two or three different spots and that way, again, we can do some things that we didn't have before.Â So it's been really nice to get those kids back.
Q.Â Where Tre' and Vadal have stopped surviving; are they taking leadership and taking ownership of that position?
COACH STUDRAWA:Â There's no doubt about it.Â You can see it in their eyes when they were thrown in there, it's not just them, it's any young guy.Â You're thrown in the mix and all of a sudden you're out there and you're being counted on in front of everybody and you're accountable for it, the question you have, is do I belong.
They have to go out there and be in the mix and have success and dominate some people and through the course of those last games, they did.Â That sign has been coming.Â You ask P.J., playing next to him at first, how their confidence level has come on since then, and feel like they belong now.Â They walk with aÂ different ‑‑ and carry themselves with a little different mentality, walk with their chest out a little bit more.Â They just have a little more confidence that they can play here and do this.
KEVIN MINTER:Â I remember when I was a redshirt freshmen, it was a great feeling that you have that is unexplainable, but once you relax and settle down‑‑ when you allow yourself to play better, you have more confidence.Â
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports