Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino previewed his team’s Friday Night match-up with the Duke Blue Devils at his regular Monday Press Conference. Petrino discussed the previous Clemson game, James Quick’s final play, the proposed early-signing period for college football and the Duke Blue Devils.
“I thought we had a good bye week; we came in and practiced hard last week. Really what we do on those practices is we spend half the time going back to camp drills and working it hard against each other then the other half of the practice against Duke so we get ahead in our preparation there. I did give the players a couple days off over the weekend and then came back last night and had meetings and had a practice last night. We will go out today and this will be our normal Tuesday practice. Overall, I feel good about the way they handled the bye week. We did a good job getting our work done in the classroom and I think it was a good time to get some guys back for Friday night and hopefully healthy and ready to go. We are looking forward to the game Friday night. It seems like a long time since we have played here in our Stadium so it will feel great to be back here in our home. When you watch Duke on video, they are a good football team. They play good defense, they are very disciplined, they are very well coached, they run hard to the ball. Offensively, they have a young quarterback, they have some big wide receivers, and offensive line does a good job and understands what they are trying to do. So we are going to have to do a good job, come out and play our game and play the game of football the way we have the first 5, but that will all depend on our preparation here this week in practice.”
Q: If you’re going to have a bye week, was that a good spot for it?
A: Well you’re going to have a bye week but yeah I thought it fit in pretty good with our schedule. It was a very intense 5 weeks, two real big games, so it was good to take a little breath and get a little rest and then come back and get focused in for the stretch.
Q: How good are the refresher courses at this point in the season?
A: Yeah I think it is good. I think it is really good to go back to some of the drills that we do. It is good for our players that are playing in the games, its good for the young guys to get extra work and reps that will help us down the road. Its always a long season so you have to keep bringing those guys along and developing them. Its good to go back and go goods vs. goods because it is very fast and physical look so I think that helps you too.
Q: The way things have played out… whats the overall picture for you?
A: There is going to be a lot of things happen in the game of football so what you have to do is play one week at a time. We still believe in our heart that our goals are sitting out there for us and we have a chance to go get it. But to do that, we have to line up and win this game this week and really focus on doing that. Otherwise, it means nothing. We understand that we have zero room for error and we have to take care of our business week in and week out and then maybe we’ll still have that opportunity but we aren’t guaranteed anything. But you do know that a lot of things change. There’s upsets happen all the time, so we have to make sure that we take care of our business.
Q: How do you see your team in the ACC and how the ACC is going?
A: “Yeah. There’s going to be a lot of things happen – that’s the game of football. So what you have to do is play one week at a time. We still believe in our heart that our goals are sitting out there for us and we have a chance to go get it. But to do that, we have to line up and win this game this week and really focus on doing that, otherwise it means nothing. We understand we have zero room for error. We have to take care of business week in and week out and then maybe, we will still have that opportunity. We’re not guaranteed anything, but you do know a lot of things change and there are upsets that happen all the time, so all we have to do is make sure that we take care of our business.”
Q: Do you think the Houston loss hurts you?
A: “Never even thought about it. I think that’s one of those things you don’t worry about. You just worry about taking care of your own business and winning your games.”
Q: What do you find out about your team when you lose a game?
A: “I think you always learn a lot. You always learn about how we’re going to handle it. How we’re going to bounce back. That’s one of our themes is to bounce back and come back and prepare the way we prepared for the other games and if we do that – if we go about our business in the meeting room, if we practice with the intensity and the focus that we have been – then I think we will continue to play well and execute and win games.”
Q: How difficult is it to go undefeated?
A: “I think it’s really hard. I think you see that every year. It’s a long season, there is a lot of things that can happen. When you are on the top of it, you know, people really do play their best and you get everyone’s best game, so there are probably going to be more teams upset. Guys that end up with one loss here, one loss there. There’s some big match ups that are going to come up throughout the year, so we have a long way to go. We’re not even halfway there yet, so we have a lot of work to do.”
Q: How did you end up with so many huge games to start the season?
A: “Now that it’s behind me, I didn’t like it, you know, but I understand it. I think part of it was our conference wanted to have some marquee match ups early in the year, where some of the other conferences have some big marquee match ups late in the year, so we’re trying to balance budgets probably, is how I see it. I’ll just say it that way.”
Q: What he thinks of keeping the ACC schedule to eight games?
A: “I like that, yeah, I like that. I think that with us having the rivalry game that that works out favorably for us. I think for the ACC, for the entire conference, because there is Notre Dame out there that plays some of our teams every year and takes our bowl games that to have anything but that could give you one year where you’re playing way too many teams. I think it’s a good decision for what we have in the ACC right now because of Notre Dame and the part that they play.”
Q: Did you spend your off Saturday watching more games and how much do you get out of watching games on TV versus watching games…?
A: “I watch a little bit. You know I came up here and worked out, and I watched all of our practice from last week. Then I went home and relaxed a little bit, and then I watched one full game. I flipped the channel back a little bit and you know saw the mud and slush in the Notre Dame, North Carolina State game. Thinking about, ‘glad I’m not coaching in that game right know.’ I honestly did say that to myself. You know guys shivering. You know brought back some memories. But then I watched Idaho, the full game of Idaho. They got a big win. They did a great job. Took the ball, went and scored at the end of the game. So that was good to see. My little brother’s team win.”
Q: Do you watch it with an analyst’s eye like you would game tape or not really?
A: “Yeah, usually you do. You’re trying to see the defense and trying to see what’s going on out there. So yeah, I probably do. But when I watch my brother, I’m real critical. You know that’s the advantage of being a fan, right? You got all the answers.”
Q: Do you guys communicate after games like that?
A: “Yeah, usually I’ll call him up and yell at him a little bit. Nah, I’m kidding you know. I really am kidding. We do communicate, and you know I send him a message after the game, ‘great win. Great drive you know. Shouldn’t have made it that hard. Made it hard on themselves. They could have finished it a couple of times earlier.’ So we do short communications like that. Nothing more than that.”
Q: It’s at that point of the year some coaches, Jim Harbaugh most recently, start promoting their guy for the Heisman trophy. Do you get the feeling you have to be more outspoken maybe for Lamar?
A: “You know I really don’t know that. You know I don’t think so. I think that Lamar has set the bar very high. You know with the way he’s performed. With the numbers he’s put up and how exciting of a football player that he is and the style of football that he’s played, I think he has set the bar very high for everybody else. So you know maybe I do need to start promoting him. I’m not really sure. I’ve never really been associated with this before. I kind of feel like you let their body of work speak for itself but that doesn’t mean I’m right.”
Q: What were your take aways from the Clemson game?
A: I feel like we blew an opportunity. I felt like offensively, we didn’t start out very well early. We were distracted and lost our boys a little bit and got caught up in pregame hype and we just didn’t execute. I thought we played really well early on defense and then the second quarter defensively we gave up some big plays and the last 2-minute drive really hurt us and then the second half I thought we came out and really executed well and played together as a team and then they had the kickoff return killed us because it gave them enough time to comeback. I always though; I did feel like when we had the ball at the end of the game we would go score and win the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done.
Q: What was your perspective on James Quick’s play at the end of the game?
A: Yeah, you know, but it’s one of those things where I called him in and talked to him and I said I wish you would have got the first down or the touchdown and you know, it didn’t happen, but the people that are going to criticize you or me or whoever else for throwing the ball, catching the ball, and run, which we had to do with the look they were in, that was the only option. They are the people who don’t know victory or defeat so, don’t worry about it and just know that I love you and you will come back and get another opportunity to make the play again and just compete as hard as you possibly can and do it.
Q: Have you had any issues with his effort on that play?
A: I don’t really know his effort on that play because he caught the ball, he had some room to make a move, and I’m not sure. I don’t think it was and effort thing. I’m not sure if he didn’t know exactly where he needed to go.
Q: Are you fine where the markers were placed or not?
A: No, I wasn’t. You know, I don’t thing that it should be marked at one place when they have the ball and one place when we have the ball.
Q: Any feedback from the ACC?
A: No. None……Anything fun to talk about?
Q: Friday nights here have usually been wild and back when you were here before you built on those games. How much fun is it for you to coach those and is it different than Saturday?
A: I think it’s great, the night environment, and the crowd, and the excitement for our players. It always gives you a huge advantage to play at home and play under the lights and play with our crowd. So we just have to hopefully come out and have the same type of atmosphere that we had for the Florida State game. Then it is up to us to come out and perform and make plays and play the way that we’re capable of playing. Because I think that really helps you in recruiting is when you play well on national TV during the week. A lot of people… A lot of the players are watching it.
Q: How much of an advantage do you have knowing Duke has a very short week and you’re coming off a bye? Does that make a huge difference?
A: “It’s not that big of a… It’s not that short of a week when you play on a Friday night. Hopefully it helps us. I’ll take it if it helps us.
Q: You mentioned recruiting, have you seen a bump in interest in things since the beginning of the season?
A: It seems to be going well. You know, I know our assistant coaches have been doing a great job in the communication. That was another thing that was a bonus for us last week is our assistants got out on the road, were in schools and at games Thursday and Friday, last week. So I think that helps us. It was a good time for us to be on the road and recruiting.
Q: The early signing date was approved, how does that change the way you go about your business?
A: “Yeah, we’ll have to really study it and look at it. This is like a weird time for us because when that legislation comes across my desk I kind of look at it and put it aside and say ‘Okay lets get ready for practice and let’s get ready.’ So if that does happen, we’re going to have to spend some time and really study it and make a game plan. I’m certainly hoping that doesn’t approve. I’ve always been against an early signing. You know I think it’s very hypocritical when we’re responsible, as coaches, to go out and know the players that we’re bringing in and get to know them and spend time with them before we sign them. Now you’re asking us that you don’t give us the time to get to know them. I think it’s pushed by people that are in an area where most of their recruits are within a radius where they’re on their campus all the time. They’re coming and going to games. Here at the University of Louisville we have to leave our borders to go get our players. You know in the last two years, one year we signed guys from 11 different states, last year from 10 different states. We have to work. We have to get out and meet everybody and see everybody and spend every last minute we have before the signing date. I’m totally against it. I’ve always been that way. I think what you’re doing is trying to give the guys that really want to work hard a disadvantage and geographically give guys an advantage.
Q: Have you suffered much poaching in the last month?
A: “Yeah, yeah sometimes that happens. You know that’s just the nature of the business. There is a reason those players get five visits. What I tell them is you earned it, you know, by your academics and the way you played it. You get to go pick what school you want. So why are people trying to get an early signing date? So they don’t have to work as hard. Sorry that’s my opinion.”