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Morning After Presser Sadness

Randy Shannon's introductory statement at his morning after press conference:

It was just bad, just bad from special teams to offense to defense. It was just bad football. We probably played our worst game as a football team including Virginia Tech. You can’t win games when you have four or five turnovers, a kickoff return for a touchdown, an interception return for a touchdown. And if you still have a chance to win the game you’re lucky. We had a chance last night to win the game, just didn’t pull it out. When you play that bad a football and keep teams around like that, that’s going to cost you. It just was bad.
It hurts. Players will be down, in the tank today. It’s my job, the staff’s job to get it going, get them to understand how ugly we played, that we still had a chance. Like anything we want more out of everybody, including the staff and the team.

In injury news:

We have some nicks in the game. It really hurt us at linebacker. We lost Jordan Futch last week. We don’t know the status of Sean Spence right now. Doctors are evaluating, doing all that stuff. It’ll be further (in the week) before we find that out. We have to keep going, get ourselves back.

Re: Sean Spence’s health status:

Don’t know. He came back (in the game), wanted to go back (in again) but I said no. I wasn’t going to do that to a kid. Some people say we have to win at all costs, but that’s not me. I’ll take a loss trying to protect a kid.

Shannon also was asked about the situation that occurred with offensive coordinator Mark Whipple at the end of the first half after Shannon called timeout.

He was just upset because he didn’t have the right personnel on the field. Coach Whipple, he’s emotional on the football field. We called timeout, he was upset he didn’t have the right personnel on the field. The media blows it out of proportion.

Was Whipple shouting at Shannon?

No. He was upset he didn’t have the right personnel on the field. That’s all that was. We’re just trying to get the personnel on the field, that’s all.

Q: You can still get to 10 wins, six wins in the ACC. Do you look ahead now or reflect more on the loss?

We’ll do the tape, make corrections, they’ll go lift weights and we’ll start on Wake Forest. It’s not a deal where we’re going to sit back and sulk for another day. That was last night. Now we come back, go back this afternoon and start on Wake, get ready for Wake. We’ll adjust things as far as injuries, who will play special teams, who will not.

Q: Who handles kickoffs now?

We’ll make them battle, but if today (was the game) we’d go with Bosher. Bosher did a nice job relieving Uribe as far as kickoffs. Uribe just wasn’t in it, wasn’t placing the ball where he was supposed to do it, wasn’t doing the proper things, and it cost us. We put Bosher in (to start the second half). Sometimes as a coach you have to make those decisions in game time. (Uribe) had been doing fairly well, was in another world (against Clemson). You have to go forward. Bosher started (the second half) and did a great job squibbing, kicking to the corner, which helped us. Our game plan was put it in the corner or squib it. We weren’t getting it done with Uribe so we went with Bosher.

Q: What was Alex supposed to do on the kick that C.J. Spiller returned for a touchdown? Was he supposed to squib it?

Well, we just didn’t get the right things done. I’m not ever going to put a kid in that situation (of getting criticized). That (touchdown return was) why we made a change.

Q: There were a lot of big plays yesterday. It was a seesaw battle.

It was one of those games. Everyone was making big plays left and right. We stop them, they come back and make a big play. They stop us, we come back and make a big play. It was just one of those games – it was one of those games that it was going to go to the last play, which it did. You don’t ever put a team out, that happens. We had a chance in the fourth quarter where we usually run the ball out. We weren’t able to run (the clock) out this time. Those things played an effect in what you’re trying to get done.

Q: How good was C.J. Spiller?

I know Spiller. I know him personally. I talked to him before the game, after the game. I know what type of kid he is. He’s a phenomenal athlete. They’re going to give him touches, and when he gets touches he’s going to try and do something with it. He had over 300 yards of total offense.

Q: Should Spiller be in the Heisman conversation right now?

As far as us, yeah. I go by people we play – yeah, he should be. He did a great job. He’s a phenomenal player.

Q: Spence was beaten on that long catch by Spiller. How much of that was because Spence was banged up?

He was supposed to have help. He got himself out of position, but he should have had help.

Q: The play calling on that last series of regulation, why didn’t those runs work?

They played good defense. Here’s how football is, football 101 – it’s like this, guys have to line up and block the guys in front of them. Sometimes guys physically get beat. If they physically get beat, oh well. Or people may run a stunt where a guy misses a block, they make a play. That’s basically what happened. Either a guy stunted, the combo guys weren’t there, or a guy just physically got beat. It was a combination of all of (that). We played sloppy football last night. It was all of it. That’s what happened. I can’t say this is exactly what happened 1, 2, 3. When you get in those situations, kill the clock – one time they lined up five defensive linemen in the game and we blew the call. One time that did happen. A guy didn’t notice – all it takes is one guy – and when they make that mistake then somebody is going to get turned loose. I can tell you that happened.

Q: Was it the play call or the execution that was the problem on those three consecutive runs?

I’ll never say play call. You could run anything and it should work (with good execution).

Q: Did you think about putting Damien Berry in instead of Javarris James at the end of regulation?

No. Damien or Javarris, it was all the same.

Q: What about the penalties?

It was sloppy. You had a bunch of holding penalties, offsides, illegal shift, illegal formation. That was the sloppiest game I saw us play this year. Guys supposed to be on the line weren’t on the line, guys supposed to be in a certain position weren’t in position. They called Randy Phillips taking his helmet off as he was walking off the field – Randy was 50 yards back (from the touchdown).

Q: There were three offsides.

They drove me crazy. Olivier Vernon had two of them. It’s mental. Offsides is mental. When that football moves, you move. Jared Campbell, same thing with him. He’s coming up to blitz, just look at the football. They’re looking at the quarterback, and that’s just teaching. We tell them when you come up to blitz, key the football. We always say key the football in everything you do.

Q: Did you sense that the focus wasn’t there in practice last week?

No, everything we did was fine in practice, focus was good. We just came out and were sloppy as sloppy can be.

Q: On the good side, Allen Bailey did well.

He did a great job. We moved him to end in pass rush situations; he did a phenomenal job getting pressure on the quarterback. He’s starting to come. We’ve moved him a little bit here and there and he’s really taking control of where he’s at and what he’s trying to get done. He’s a gifted athlete. He’s starting to play well for us right now. He’s a 290 (pound) kid, maybe 8 percent body fat, can squat, run, can do all of that. He’s one of those guys you look at like, `Wow.’ He works hard, doesn’t have an ego, doesn’t say very much.

Q: Your offensive line did a good job against their ends.

They did. Pipho did a phenomenal job of doing his job, responding off of last week against Central Florida when he had a tough time. He stepped up to it, and I was proud of him. Jacory (Harris) got hit a little, but for that defense and what they were doing blitzing with their front four, they did a pretty decent job for us. (Three sacks), with all the blitzing, that’s not bad at all.

Q: Pipho’s two best games have been against the best defensive ends he’s seen vs. Oklahoma and Clemson.

That’s unbelievable. The two best games he’s had are against Oklahoma and Clemson. He knows each week he has to keep getting better. We see a lot from Pipho, see he can get things done for us. In big games he steps up. Now he has to step up every game, not take time off.

Q: The last play of overtime what happened?

Blown coverage. I’m not going to give you names, but it was a blown coverage.

Q: How is Ramon Buchanan doing?

He played well, did a nice job filling in for Sean in certain situations. You don’t have many numbers at that position. In recruiting, that’s a big position for us. Like I said at the beginning of the season if we can stay healthy at certain positions we’re okay; if we don’t stay healthy we’re in trouble. And that was one of the positions.

Q: Talk about the play of Randy Phillips and Brandon Harris.

They did a nice job of making plays. Randy got a big play, an interception and came up and tackled well. The same thing with Brandon. He did well in certain situations, what he had to get done.

Q: How did Darryl Sharpton do?

He did well. Darryl is really coming into his own, making some plays in the run game, getting into his pass coverage.

Q: It seems like every game Colin McCarthy gets laid out and then the switch goes on and he starts playing like a wild man.

Most of the time when you see guys go out they’re out of breath, a stinger or bruise that they can’t handle at that particular time. If you see him come back it’s nothing serious.

Q: It seems he doesn’t want to take any plays off.

Colin is a competitor like that. But if he’s really hurt we won’t play him.

Q: Jason Fox also came out for a play.

We just have to make sure. Doctors make sure it’s nothing really serious. That’s the only way you can do it. You can come out and say you’re okay and you’re not okay. Our doctors do a great job of making sure that everybody’s okay in those situations.

Q: After watching film what happened on the interceptions?

It was just bad, bad decisions. I can paint it to be good, but it was just bad.

Q: Was it Jacory trying to do too much?

Sometimes when you start getting in a rhythm you start going and going and going. No matter how you call it, three interceptions last night is three too many. And one of them for a touchdown. You just can’t have that.

Q: How do you keep the team focused now with the ACC title out of range?

You still concentrate one game at a time. That’s the whole key. You can’t worry about down the road. You have to worry about one game. Don’t try to look ahead, don’t try to look for rewards later. You have to take that reward now. Take one at a time, the better off you’ll be. You try to get ahead too far you’ll be out of it. You want to get back and play a game fast. That’s the hard part for the coaches, the team. You have to go through the six day deal. You have to evaluate the film, come back, you’re off, come back Tuesday, come back Wednesday. You’re trying to get back to playing a game, and that’s going to be the hard part. That’s going to be tough.

Q: Did you put anything new in on defense for this week?


Q: With the chips down now, will this now show a lot about the team moving forward?

This hurt the team more than anything, this loss. This was big time hurt because of how we lost, the things that happened in the game. Now they have to come on back. We have to get them out of it. We’ll see. I think we’ll be fine. I think we really will be fine.

Q: Why were you conservative in running the ball three straight times late in the fourth quarter?

Why does everybody say that? We’ve killed games before just by running the football. I guess we should just throw it, huh?

Q: You hit on a pass in a similar situation against Oklahoma.

We ran a naked (against Oklahoma), which is a run-pass. If he’s open, throw it to him. If he’s not open, run the football. It was a three-yard route, that’s what it was. We never second-guess what we’re doing on offense and defense. I’m never going to do that. You all (the media) can do that – it doesn’t bother me. But we’ll never second guess our guys.