BOBBY PETRINO: We’ve been working hard to get ready to travel to Syracuse and play a team that’s playing really well. They’ve got a great quarterback that’s been able to throw the ball and run it, a guy we know very well. We’ve played against him for a number of years. They’ve been very explosive on offense, scoring a lot of points. That’s a great challenge for us.
Offensively we’re going to have to execute and score points and not hurt ourselves, be able to stay in the game with their offense. I think that’s a great challenge for us.
It will be fun to play inside. Always fun to play up there inside. We do have to handle the noise, though, it is a loud place. We’ll look forward to the game on Friday night.
Q. This six-game losing streak, what have you seen from this team? Is there some silver lining, some positive, pieces that you can build upon maybe in practice going through obviously a moment of adversity that has to be tough for the guys?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, losing is hard on everybody, on our players, on our staff, on our families. But our guys have been able to come to practice and continue to practice hard. I think the one thing that we see is that we are playing a bunch of young guys, the production we’re getting out of the young players and the improvement that they’ve shown, we’re just trying to build on that and trying to work harder at not making errors, not hurting ourselves.
It’s hard enough to beat the team we’re playing, but when you hurt yourself, it makes it really hard. But we do have a bunch of young guys that have been playing well. It’s good to see Hassan Hall, what he’s been able to do, 2-2 at well, even Chandler Jones over on the defensive side plays every snap on defense. We just have to keep working hard.
Q. What can you say about Dino Babers, what he has done with the Syracuse program. You’ve gone up against Syracuse many times. When Dino steps into this season number three, things have started to click.
BOBBY PETRINO: He’s done a great job of coaching them. A lot of the same guys that we’ve played against. But they’re playing faster and harder and executing, doing the things that he wants them to do.
The tempo offense they run is a really challenge because you have to get lined up quickly. They do a good job at executing it. To have the quarterback in the system for three years I think has really helped them.
Q. Obviously you’ve coached over some really prolific offenses. Syracuse seems to have that going right now. How does that affect your offensive strategy when you face a team that you expect is going to be able to put up some points?
BOBBY PETRINO: I think the thing we have to do is to be able to drive the ball, mix in the run, the pass. We’re going to have to have some big plays, there’s no question about that. Some of them are going to have to just be normal offensive plays that you break a tackle, make somebody miss, go the distance. Some are going to have to be some shots down the field.
You have to be patient and keep driving the ball. The longer we can drive it, you can also play some defense with your offense on the field.
Q. You mentioned you’re pretty familiar with what they do. How does Eric Dungey specifically fit and change or work with that offense?
BOBBY PETRINO: He has such a quick release. He can get the ball out of his hand really fast. Then the ability, if you try to load up on coverage, drop people, the ability to run and make things happen with his legs. To be an accurate passer with a quick release, and the ability to run, is a great challenge to try to stop.
Q. There’s a lot of talk around the country about Alabama and Clemson being far and away the best teams out there. You obviously had to play both of them. What did you think of Clemson and Alabama, how they stack up together?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I mean, they’re both very, very talented teams. When you look at their defenses, they both have great defensive fronts that are good against the rush, and can really rush the passer. Cover guys in the secondary with length, make it really hard on you even getting off the line of scrimmage, getting down the field. Then linebackers that are physical, tackle well, can really run. Very, very similar defenses.
Offensively two quarterbacks that can really throw the ball, great arm strength and accuracy, really good running games. It’s a really tough matchup.
Q. Was there anything surprising most recently with Clemson that maybe you didn’t expect, personnel that surprised you?
BOBBY PETRINO: No. Just when you look at it, again, even leading up into the game, the explosiveness of their runningbacks, their ability to hit the holes, get to full speed, break tackles.
I knew going in it was going to be a challenge, but even at the game they were even more explosive and faster than you saw in video.
Q. As you try to get this defense of yours ready for Syracuse, it’s not the NFL where you can’t make trades, how do you try to stop the bleeding on defense, get to where they could be more competitive?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, we’re going to have to be real sound in stopping the run. I think that’s probably the biggest difference from Syracuse in years past, is they’re relying on the run and they’re more physical in the way they run the football. It’s been impressive to see what they’ve done with their running game. Obviously that’s a great challenge.
They’re so explosive with their passing game, the speed they have at receiver. We’re going to have to just be in good position. We’re going to have to mix up what we do.
Q. Have you ever had a season like this before in your college career? Have you ever had a season like this before? How do you get yourself out of the funk?
BOBBY PETRINO: No, we haven’t had a season like this before. Like I said earlier, it’s a challenge to everybody. It’s difficult to prepare, go out and play hard, not win. It’s hard on our players, hard on our coaches, hard on our families.
But we just have to work on getting better on a daily basis, seeing improvement in individuals and groups, then trying to get carryover from the practice field to the game field.
Q. Talk about Coach Babers, what type of coach is he?
BOBBY PETRINO: He’s done a great job up there. What he’s done with their offense, the tempo, the way they’re executing right now at a very, very high level. But also impressive is what they’ve done with their defense. They’re pretty much the same players they played with last year, but they’re playing faster, more physical, executing their defensive calls.
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