Just as fast as the Virginia Tech hype train rolled into town, it's now run off the tracks.
With attention from the media at a season-high, the Hokies went into Syracuse and gave up 561 yards and 32 first downs en route to a 31-17 defeat at the hands of the Orange.
The offense looked out of sorts for large stretches of the game as well, and as QB Jerod Evans saw it, that all came down to a lack of energy.
"I think we moved on (from the UNC game), I just think that (Syracuse) game, we were so hungry — we were hungry for this one — but this one, we have to bring our own juice," Evans said. "We have to bring our own energy, our own emotion. This is a very team-oriented sport and we have some guys, most guys, bringing it — some guys not. That can lead to certain things. As far as bringing our own stuff, we as a unit didn't bring it all the way. That was kind of the case on Syracuse."
Justin Fuente didn't quite agree with his quarterback's assessment, arguing that the team played with "great effort" and dutifully gave Dino Babers' squad plenty of praise. If anything, Fuente allows that his team might've simply bought into the hype a bit, despite his best efforts.
"It used to be much easier to insulate them from all of the talk and chatter and all of the things that come along with it," Fuente said. "That's virtually impossible. As a coach, you used to just keep them away from it. Now you have to — you should, at least in my opinion — continually address how to handle it, because you can't keep them away from it. It's all over the place. That's difficult. It's hard to do. It's hard on everybody, not just kids, it's hard on adults. Everybody likes to feel good and have good things said about you, but you've got to understand that it ultimately comes down to your performance every Saturday."
But from an X's and O's standpoint, Fuente was less definitive about where exactly his team could stand to improve.
The Hokies certainly struggled to set up a consistent running game, considering that Travon McMillian and Marshawn Williams combined for 15 touches and 62 yards on the ground, which has certainly attracted plenty of attention in the game's aftermath. Nevertheless, Fuente asserted he's not counting carries, and sees the problem more holistically.
"The whole 'touches' deal is beyond me," Fuente said. "I don't subscribe to it, I don't really care. I'd like for us to run the ball efficiently. I'd for us to throw the ball efficiently. If that's 10 carries or 15 carries or 25 carries, I don't really care. I'd like for us to execute our entire offense at a higher level. Whether that's at quarterback or offensive line or tailback or wide receiver."
The defense didn't exactly put on its best showing either, particularly the secondary. The Orange torched Bud Foster's defense to the tune of 405 passing yards, with an average of 13.5 yards per completion. While Amba Etta-Tawo was largely held in check (he had five catches for 54 yards), it was the trio of Ervin Philips, Brisly Estime, and Steve Ishmael that wreaked havoc.
"Syracuse, I felt like going into the game, they had some dynamic receivers," Foster said. "I felt they were a little bit of a mix of East Carolina and North Carolina, as far as talent wise, and probably a little bit more explosive after playing against them. I thought (Phillips) was (Ryan) Switzer, but with juice. I felt that going in, and he showed that in our game, too."
The team's focus now shifts to Thursday night, where the Hokies will host a talented Miami team back in the friendly confines of Lane Stadium.
Virginia Tech has played in 30 games on Thursday night since ESPN started televising those contents in 1991, second only to Georgia Tech. The Hokies boast a 21-9 record in those games, with an 11-5 mark at home, and Fuente certainly hopes the Hokies can continue their Thursday night success to keep their ACC Coastal chances alive.
"We've got a very talented Miami team coming into town for what should be a great atmosphere on a Thursday night," Fuente said. "I've heard quite a bit about Thursday nights in Blacksburg, Va. Looking forward to taking part in it. Confident our kids will be ready to go. We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. A lot of work to get done this week."
Fuente may have never experienced a Thursday night game in Lane, but he's no stranger to short weeks. He went 3-0 in those circumstances during his Memphis days, something he partially credits to Gary Patterson's tutelage at TCU.
"When we did it at TCU, we did it a couple different ways, which allowed me to kind of see the different ways to do it and formulate my own opinion," Fuente said. "But absolutely, the job is to get them to Thursday feeling good physically and knowing what to do. That's the balance you've got on a short week is how do you balance practice so they know what to do out there but they also feel good."
DE Ken Ekanem's been through a few Thursday nighters of his own, and he certainly remembers the last time Miami came to town back in 2014. The Hokies and the Canes have been rivals for years, but with a 30-6 home loss to avenge, Ekanem is especially fired up about another matchup with Miami.
"I think we definitely do owe these guys," Ekanem said. "We've gotta bring it this coming Thursday. We can't let it be any bigger than it actually is. Gotta keep everybody's head level. I think we definitely owe them and definitely gotta bring it come Thursday."
ON HOW MUCH THE SHORT WEEK CONDENSES HIS PREPARATION:
"This is my first turnaround of my collegiate career, so I'm pretty sure Coach (Justin) Fuente will make sure that we're very urgent in what we're doing as far as preparation, studying, film study, out on the practice field and all that. This is my first go around, so I'll see how that goes. I'm really not for sure. I'm pretty urgent regardless of quick turnaround. We'll see."
ON IF SYRACUSE DID ANYTHING DEFENSIVELY THAT HE HADN'T SEEN IN THE FIRST FIVE GAMES:
"I don't think anything that I haven't seen. Again, I've played against our defense all the time, so they didn't show me anything new. They tried to cheat to Isaiah (Ford) a lot more and tried to disguise that a little bit more. It got me a couple of times but then I was starting to see it better and I started going to Isaiah more — it was nothing different, looking at it. When you don't win a game, it's always frustrating. There's certain things that I could have done extremely better, that I know I could have done better, that I didn't do. Gotta live with the results. It's over with now. Can't help the past."
ON IF THE RUNNING GAME HAS BEEN INCONSISTENT AND HOW THAT HAS HURT THE OFFENSE:
"I don't know how to answer that."
ON IF HE'S EXCITED TO PLAY IN A GAME ON THURSDAY NIGHT IN LANE STADIUM:
"I'm excited to play in Lane if it's a Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon — having the Hokies fans behind us is definitely exciting to actually play another home game. (We've) been away from home for a couple of weeks. (As far as a) primetime game, I've already been in one with Bristol, so yeah, it's gonna be exciting to have the fans behind us."
ON IF TE CHRIS CUNNINGHAM IS BECOMING A FAVORITE TARGET IN GOAL LINE SITUATIONS:
"If the man's open, he's open. I don't look for somebody in particular. It all dictates to what the play call is. If we have fades on the goal line, then I look for certain matchups, I look for certain coverages. Whoever had the best matchup or has the best coverage — if they're trying to double Isaiah, then I'm going the opposite way and finding Cam (Phillips) or Bucky (Hodges). If we're on the goal line and we have different packages, then I look for my reads as far as how we have it set up. I wouldn't say when he's in there that it dictates who I throw it to. Coverage dictates where I throw it. It just so happens to be Chris Cunningham right now."
ON IF HE HAS A GOOD RAPPORT WITH CUNNINGHAM:
"Oh yeah, I have good chemistry with all the guys that I'm throwing to."
ON IF HE'S HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK AT MIAMI ON TAPE YET:
"I have not seen them yet. Yesterday was my first time actually looking at film, that was not even on them, it was over Syracuse and us. Today, I will definitely be watching them. But just watching them on TV, they're very tenacious on the front four, have great athletes, that's what jumps out to me. But I'll be watching film on them today."
ON THE MOOD OF THE LOCKER ROOM AFTER THE LOSS TO SYRACUSE:
"We let one slip away. We know we can't have it back. That's the mood. We definitely let one slip away that we shouldn't have. Like I said, we have great leadership on this team. All we can do is move forward. That was in the past, just like UNC — we won, we had to move on. This game, Syracuse, we've gotta move on. We've got a Thursday night game against Miami."
ON IF THERE ARE LESSONS THEY CAN DRAW FROM THE LOSS TO TENNESSEE TO HELP WITH THIS WEEK:
"Most definitely, you have to lead the team making sure that we don't sit and sulk on the loss. We have great leadership to make sure that we learn from the mistakes, make sure that we learn the lesson out of that loss that we had against Syracuse."
ON IF THE PRACTICES WERE GOOD LEADING UP TO THE SYRACUSE GAME:
"I don't think it was bad."
ON HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR A DEFENSIVE PLAYER TO GET THEIR BODY RIGHT ON A SHORT TURNAROUND GAME WEEK:
"I don't think it's that tough, physically. Offseason preparation kind of helped us with that, just being recovered. Our strength and conditioning staff does a good job with us the day after the game in getting our bodies right. Stretching, rolling out, making sure all of the bad bloods out and that our bodies are good to go come first practice."
ON WHAT IT IS ABOUT RUNNING QUARTERBACKS THAT SEEMS TO BEFUDDLE THIS DEFENSE:
"I think our DBs stay on the wide receivers a long time. Definitely with Syracuse's wide receivers, in particular, you've gotta stay on those guys because that QB can scramble out and pass to them. Our DBs have done a pretty good job of trying to stay with the wide receivers and when that happens, running lanes open for the quarterback. He can escape and hurt us for big gains. I think that's one of the main reasons why that eats up so much on our defense. It's definitely a concern on us."
ON IF THERE WERE ANY BLOCKING SCHEMES THE OFFENSIVE LINE USED TO PREVENT PASS RUSH:
"It's a lot of run-pass option, so not every — they ran the ball, but also, the quarterback had the option of holding it and throwing it. The quarterback can't really keep the ball in his hands for too long. We got a decent amount of hits on him. He was a little banged up during the game, but he battled through and had a hell of a game. It was just a pretty quick passing scheme. That definitely helped their offensive line."
ON THE MOOD AROUND THE TEAM:
"The way I look at it, you've just got to have a short term memory. Just putting this one behind us and moving on to Miami. Especially on a short week, we've just gotta keep moving on. We can't let this one hurt us. We're looking forward to — I don't think everything's really damaged. We've still got one goal in mind, and that's going 1-0 each week. Gotta bring it when Miami comes to town."
ON HOW CRITICAL THE MIAMI GAME NOW BECOMES:
"It's very critical. Every ACC opponent is like a championship game. I think we can't get this hyped up in our minds. We've gotta take it one game at a time, just like before. Just gotta focus on 1-0. But yeah, any ACC opponent, especially Miami, who's given us troubles in the past and is a big rivalry of ours, is a big game."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ON BRAD KAAYA:
"I've always been impressed with him. As a true freshman, he came to down two years ago, he's very composed in the pocket, calm in the pocket, pretty good pocket passer. He does a good job of leading his troops. I've got a lot of respect for him. I think he's a pretty high caliber quarterback."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ON ANDREW MOTUAPUAKA:
"I think experience is the best teacher, so after one year of starting, he just got to see everything. Everything was starting to slow down. This offseason, he's really been pushing himself. He's been running with the skill group, which is one group faster than he's supposed to be in. He's got really good fitness and does a really good job in practice of flying around and playing with a lot of energy. It's really paying off for him this season. He's been doing a good job of leading us out there and making communication really well and all of that. Really proud of him and how he's developed from year one to year two."
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TERRELL AND TREMAINE EDMUNDS ON THE PRACTICE FIELD AND LOCKER ROOM:
"They have a good rapport with each other. They definitely talk the most out of everybody in the backfield between two people. I think it's really cool seeing those two guys line up on the same side of the ball, just being able to get after it, tandem tackles — I think that's really cool. They obviously have a lot of chemistry between those two, just naturally. I think they're two high-quality human beings."
ON IF IT WILL BE A WELCOME SIGHT TO SEE A NON-SPREAD OFFENSE COME TO TOWN:
"Yeah, definitely. Going against a high-paced offense is just tiring, (and) not being able to stay on the field as long and a less amount of plays. It's nice to change it up a little bit. Coming from UNC to Syracuse, Miami is a little more of a slower pace. Just gotta face them the same."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ON EVANS SAYING SYRACUSE COVERED HIM MORE THAN OTHER TEAMS HAVE:
"I think, actually, we've been getting a pretty good bit of it. Last year we got some towards the end of the season and then the Tennessee game and then a couple of times after that, we've been getting a good amount as well. It's not really anything that I'm not used to."
ON THE MOOD OF THE TEAM ON SUNDAY FOR WORKOUTS:
"I feel like the team handled it very professionally. We all knew that we let one slip away Saturday, but we can't hang our heads on that because Miami is coming to town this week. Whether we like it or not, they're gonna be ready to play. If we mope around in practice this week and then come out to play Thursday, then we're gonna get our tails kicked in front of our fans. We don't want that to happen. Everyone was determined to get better in the lifts and the runs and watching films, every aspect of the game."
ON IF THE TEAM DIDN'T DO A GOOD JOB WITH THE 1-0 MENTALITY AFTER THE UNC WIN:
"I wouldn't say that. I think that our coaches did a fantastic job of trying to prepare us for Syracuse. I feel like we had a pretty good week of preparation with Syracuse and focusing only on Syracuse. I don't know what it was. Well, I do actually, they outplayed us. That's what happened."
ON WHAT GETS CUT OUT OF THE NORMAL WEEK ROUTINE WHEN YOU HAVE A SHORT WEEK:
"We try to fit everything that we usually do in a regular week, really just focus on the little things more than anything else. Try to smush it all down into doing maybe some things we would do Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll just do it on a Tuesday and try to shorten it down like that. Get our legs fresh, just things like that."
ON WHAT HE'S SEEN OF MIAMI ON FILM AND HOW THEY COMPARE TO SYRACUSE:
"They're really athletic across the board. The D-line, they have a bunch of animals down there. Their linebackers, they have two true freshmen linebackers that have been really good. Their secondary is experienced, on the corner, he's a big-time corner. It'll be a lot of fun. It'll be a big test for us."
ON IF HE AGREED WITH EVANS THAT THE TEAM DIDN'T BRING ENOUGH ENERGY:
"I would take that as my fault. As a leader, I really don't speak up as much, but I like to show my actions. I guess that's just me not making enough plays. That's something that I'll take on my shoulders and make sure that we don't have that excuse this Thursday. I'll go out there and try to make as many plays as I can and try to rally my team and give us a momentum shift."
ON IF HE'S DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT NOW THAT TEAMS ARE FULLY AWARE OF HIS SKILL SET:
"Just focusing on every little detail. Like you said, when there's gonna be double coverages, you have to be very precise in every little movement. No wasted movement and be very detailed in your route running and your breaks and attacking the ball with your hands and things like that. Just really focusing on the little details."
ON IF IT'S DIFFERENT LOSING IN FRONT OF HOKIE FANS AS OPPOSED TO LOSING ON THE ROAD:
"I take every loss the same. I'm probably the biggest sore loser on this planet. Anyone in our locker room will tell you whether it's playing ping pong or pool or whatever, I always wanna win. We always take losing the same way whether it's home or away."
"Obviously coming off a tough performance last week, again, credit to Bowling Green — he used to be at Bowling Green, excuse me — credit to Syracuse and Coach (Dino) Babers for the job that they did. Had a good meeting yesterday. Kids got out and ran and lift, good little team meeting. Not that much time to dwell on that, gotta move forward. It's the same message we would have had, had we won the ballgame. We gotta turn the page and get ready to go. We've got a very talented Miami team coming into town for what should be a great atmosphere on a Thursday night. I've heard quite a bit about Thursday nights in Blacksburg, Va. Looking forward to taking part in it. Confident our kids will be ready to go. We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. A lot of work to get done this week."
ON HIS SECRET TO SUCCESS ON A SHORT WEEK:
"If there's anything to it, it's that at TCU, as an assistant, we played on — in about five years there — I don't know how many, but a bunch of Thursday nights. I've payed close attention to how we went about things there. So at least I had formulated an opinion about how I wanted to do it when we got to Memphis. Obviously as we got better at Memphis, then we got more of those Thursday opportunities. We had better teams as we were there a little bit longer. The thing I would say is I don't know if there's a secret to it. I know a bunch of people who do it a bunch of different ways. I have conviction about how I would like to do it, in terms of planning the week, just because I've been through it a couple of times."
ON WHAT HE SAW FROM SYRACUSE THAT HE WASN'T EXPECTING:
"They ran their offense and their defense and executed at a high level. Our kids played hard. We just didn't play well enough. There wasn't a huge schematic difference in anything. It was just a little bit of execution that they executed at a higher level than we did."
ON IF HE AGREED WITH EVANS THAT THE TEAM DIDN'T BRING ENOUGH ENERGY:
"I think I would take everything our guys say in terms of evaluating our team with a grain of salt, first and foremost, whether it's an X's and O's evaluation of the other team or an assessment of our mental state. We had good energy on the field. Guys played hard. When you watched the film, they played with good toughness and great effort. I would say, as a whole, that that would be offensively, defensively, special teams-wise, coaches, players, we didn't execute at a level high enough to win the game. That's obvious. But I don't think there's some deep — I like our guys. Our guys were there for one reason, to take care of business. We didn't get that done, but we had emotion and we played hard."
ON IF THERE WERE ANY ISSUES OF PLAY CALLING OR INJURIES IN THE RUN GAME:
"No, nobody was hurt. No issue with play calling."
ON IF CONSISTENCY WEEK TO WEEK IS THE HARDEST PART OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
"That's certainly one of them. I think there's several factors to that. One, there is a level of quality through college football, there's a couple of teams that are maybe heads and shoulders above everybody else, and then there are a bunch of people who are fighting, scratching, and clawing to climb that ladder. I think the other thing that I see is we used to be removed from much of that. You could remove your team from a bunch of that communication and that's just not the world we live in anymore. It used to be much easier to insulate them from all of the talk and chatter and all of the things that come along with it. That's virtually impossible. As a coach, you used to just keep them away from it. Now you have to — you should, at least in my opinion — continually address how to handle it, because you can't keep them away from it. It's all over the place. That's difficult. It's hard to do. It's hard on everybody, not just kids, it's hard on adults. Everybody likes to feel good and have good things said about you, but you've got to understand that it ultimately comes down to your performance every Saturday."
ON IF HE FELT THE TEAM WAS OUT OF POSITION FROM WHAT THEY NORMALLY ARE:
"I would say that you spread it all over the field like Sunday's wash, and a half a step, either way, can sometimes be a difference. That was the feeling I got watching the film was just, it wasn't that we weren't there — we got hit on a double move and a trick play — but it was all the other plays, to me, we were just not as on top of it as we had been in the last couple games. That's everywhere. Even the easy plays that should have been easy for us offensively weren't easy. We maybe made them, but it was a struggle. Same thing on special teams, everything was just a little off. What I don't want to do is take credit away from Syracuse and Coach Babers, because I think they did a great job."
ON KEEPING THE TEAM EVEN KEELED FOR A THURSDAY NIGHT GAME WITH MIAMI:
"I think our guys will be excited to play. I think they're understating kind of my mode of operation on a weekly basis and becoming accustomed to that. I'm confident that we'll be not just mentally ready to play, but emotionally ready to play and handle it and go play the way we should."
ON WHOSE DECISION IT WAS FOR ANDREW MOTUAPUAKA TO RUN WITH THE SKILL PLAYERS:
"I don't know. It wasn't mine. My take on Andrew is he's prepared and acted like an adult ever since I got here. I know Andy wrote a deal about him and he's living his life a little bit differently. I don't know much about that, but I just know that in my time here, he's just done everything we've ever asked him to do in terms of continuing to work hard and lead and practice hard. And I think playing last year's probably helped that. Some experience understanding, even getting more comfortable, has helped him play better this year. But he's had a good summer this year in terms of condition and running. But I didn't come to him and ask him to run with the safeties or whatever."
ON IF HE LIKES THE CHALLENGE OF PREPARING FOR A SHORT WEEK AGAINST ANOTHER HEAD COACH:
"I always enjoy the challenge every week, but the short weeks are certainly different. I told my wife when I got home, 'It's gonna be a long, short week.' That's just the way it is. We've got two hungry football teams that are gonna play out here. They're very well coached. They obviously have the fine tradition and history, as do we. Everybody in our program is looking forward to it."
ON IF THINGS LOOKED DIFFERENT ON FILM SUNDAY AS OPPOSED TO IN THE MOMENT DURING THE GAME:
"The kids played hard. We gave a couple big plays away, and after that, you take three plays out of the game — the first touchdown pass, the halfback pass, then they had off a penalty, they threw to the tight end down the field — I think that was 178 yards in three plays. They had 300-and-I forget what it was, the other 97 (plays) they had 338 yards. It came up to 4 yards a play. Which against that kind of offense, you're gonna get that. We just can't have the big plays. The kids played hard. You eliminated the explosive plays, I think they really had one drive on us when it's all said and done. I'm not saying that that's a consolation, because I still think that we didn't play as sharp as we needed to, but we played extremely hard. That's a tough environment to play (in). We talked as a staff, we played like we wanted to win, Syracuse played like they needed to win. There's a difference right there. We've gotta go play this week like we need to win, that's the bottom line. The kids played hard, that style of offense, it's hard to just smother people. If you play man coverage, they're gonna isolate you to the field and go 50/50 balls. You guys have seen that with East Carolina and people like that in the past. We were trying to mix up a couple different coverages and I think it's gonna aggravate you. I think we did some things to drop eight (defenders), I saw somebody's post that the quarterback rushed for 100 yards. Their quarterback, they had a couple QB draws that were added with plays, but they had the quarterback scrambled when we were dropping eight sometimes. We had some good rush on him. We've also stopped a bunch of running quarterbacks over the time, too. That's just part of the nature of the game nowadays. When they're spreading you out, they're spreading your defenders out, if you wanna play a variety of coverages, the quarterback — if he is a running threat — is an issue when that's all said and done. Hopefully, at times, you can keep him contained. But they did a nice job. I thought he played his best football game this past Saturday."
ON WHAT LED TO THEIR 3RD AND 4TH DOWN SUCCESS:
"A lot of short yards. We were in a lot of where the quarterback had a couple of gains. We just need to be a little bit more aggressive on those situations. You had empty, we were in man (coverage), we gave up the inside a couple of times which is not what you're supposed to do. We brought pressure and we played coverage, we did it all. That was just kind of a mix right there when it's all said and done. They hit their share, we did enough good things, which you guys have seen what we have did the first couple of weeks. That's pretty elite. I don't know if you can do that every week, to be honest with you. That's part of it. I'd like to say we go out and smother people every week, but that's not what you do. Syracuse, I felt like going into the game, they had some dynamic receivers. I felt they were a little bit of a mix of East Carolina and North Carolina, as far as talent wise, and probably a little bit more explosive after playing against them. I thought (Ervin Philips) was (Ryan) Switzer, but with juice. I felt that going in, and he showed that in our game, too."
ON IF HAVING SEVERAL VETERAN PLAYERS ON DEFENSE WILL HELP TO TURN THE PAGE GOING INTO MIAMI:
"Obviously this last week was disappointing. The only thing that we have to do is turn the page and move forward. We've got a big time football game ahead of us. We still control where we want to go, but we've gotta control one at a time. That's gotta be our sole focus, our sole — it's where our energy needs to be placed on — and that's what we've gotta do from here on out. It's one at a time, don't worry about anything else. But we've got a big time opponent. You've got a team that's coming in here that's wounded from two losses back-to-back, that in order for them to get back in the mix, they've gotta play — it's kind of like a wounded animal backed up in the corner a little bit. They're gonna play their best football. Got a lot of respect for Miami. I know they have a new staff, but at the same time we've got the utmost respect for Mark Richt and the type of program that he's run in the past. It's been awhile since we've competed against him. Last time I guess (was the) Chick-Fil-A Bowl, but then prior to that, Florida State teams. Very dynamic group of athletes. Miami's still Miami. They've lost a couple of tough ones, but they've got a really talented football team. We've gotta go play very, very well. We don't have to remind them a whole lot. We'll just put on the tape. They've got those kind of athletes. Even though Duke Johnson is gone, their two running backs right now are every bit as good as he is. They're very impressive."
ON BRAD KAAYA:
"He's a drop-back style guy. He's got a good arm. He's a pro-style guy that can throw it from one has to the sideline. Arm strength, he's a big time talent."
ON IF HE'S GOTTEN TO BREAK DOWN FILM ON MIAMI:
"Miami has always had great team speed, in particular at the skill positions. I don't see any difference right now. You've got a core of guys that can take you deep, a core of guys that can, after the catch, can create big plays. They'll get them not just going vertical, they'll get them quick screens and things of that nature and have the ability to run after the catch. They like their tight ends and I think they're extremely talented players, too. They'll split them up and try to create mismatches. They're big kids that are in that 6'4, 6'5 range that run very, very well. They'll use a lot of 12 personnel. Three to four wide looks. Their running backs, they're gonna get the ball to their backs not just handing it off, but in little check downs. They're just very explosive and talented in space. We've gotta do a great job, if they do get the ball out to them, of converging and taking away seams and lanes as far as running lanes and that type of thing after the catch."
ON THE EXPERIENCE OF A THURSDAY NIGHT GAME IN LANE STADIUM:
"It's pretty exciting. Obviously we've been a Thursday night darling when this whole thing started years and years ago. At the end of the day, what makes it exciting, is how we play the game. That's that we've gotta go do. We're gonna have a great turnout, great atmosphere, second to none. When it's all said and done, those people will have an impact as far as crowd noise. When you have that, at the same time, it's gonna be 11 on 11 on the field. That's what we've gotta focus on and really lock in in a short week. Make sure we're really tuned in with our gameplan, with our execution of the game plan, and then our efforts and passion playing the game. That'll take care of itself. Hopefully the crowd will be a factor as well. I love playing on Thursday nights, especially playing at home. It's a great atmosphere, second to none, here at Virginia Tech. We're excited about the opportunity."
ON THE MOOD OF THE TEAM RIGHT NOW:
"They were very disappointed, which is what you want it to be. Very disappointed. That probably says it all. We're looking forward, the good thing is this week, today for us is Tuesday. Yesterday was Monday and Sunday all in one. Very short nights for us, but a short week, which is fine. We get to forget about that one and move forward. That's a good thing."
ON HOW HE GETS THE TEAM IN THE MINDSET OF MOVING FORWARD AS A SENIOR:
"I think we've done a great job of just realizing that the next game's coming upon us and the next team doesn't feel bad for us. I know we had to do the same thing after the Bristol game, our previous loss. Just move forward. Really approach the next week trying to get a 'W'."
ON IF HE CONDENSES HIS PREPARATION ON A SHORT WEEK:
"There are a couple of things that are condensed as far as team preparation. Practice, of course, you're only gonna get three or four solid days of practice. As far as therapy and my individual preparation, it's not so much condensed. Just try to get in what you need to in a short amount of time."
ON HOW MUCH MIAMI FILM HE'S WATCHED AND HOW THEY DIFFER FROM SYRACUSE:
"I got to look at them a little bit and they're just what I thought. (An) athletic team across the board. They've got guys in the box who can run, play action, throwing the ball. They're a very good team, like I'm used to. A very capable team."
ON THE TEAM MOOD FOLLOWING THE SYRACUSE LOSS:
"Right immediately after the game, it was definitely a sour feeling. We lost, it was an ugly loss, but we knew Miami was coming to town. They're not gonna feel bad for us. We've gotta turn the page."
ON HIS BODY FEELS ON A TYPICAL THURSDAY:
"On a normal Thursday, we're taking the pads off. It's just kind of a mental practice day. You feel pretty good from the week prior. This week, it's a little more condensed, but Coach (Ben) Hilgart and the strength staff are gonna have us ready to go. I'm sure I will feel great which will be tomorrow, I guess, or Wednesday preceding this game."
ON HOW HE WILL SPEND A THURSDAY LEADING UP TO A GAME:
"We'll be at the hotel in Roanoke and I'm sure they'll try to make it as close to a Saturday as possible."
ON IF IT'S GOOD TO PLAY QUICKLY AFTER A LOSS:
"Yeah, I think there's definitely a great opportunity. You don't have to wait a full week after a loss to get that bad taste out of your mouth. But it's just that, it's an opportunity for both teams. One team's gonna come out feeling better about themselves, and the other team's gonna have their back against the wall. We just gotta prepare and hopefully we'll be victorious."
ON IF HE HAS ANY MEMORIES OF THE BAD LOSS TO MIAMI TWO YEARS AGO:
"The older guys who were here for that game remember what it was in Lane on Thursday night on national television. As far as the team right now, it's a whole different team than it was two years ago for both sides. We're just trying to prepare the best we can to get this 'W' on Thursday."