TRANSCRIPT: Louisville coach Bobby Petrino talks Florida State - WDRB 41 Louisville News

TRANSCRIPT: Louisville coach Bobby Petrino talks Florida State

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino met with the media after practice on Monday to talk about Thursday's 7:30 p.m. ESPN matchup with No. 2-ranked and defending national champion Florida State. His comments in full, beginning with an opening statement:

PETRINO: We're excited about the game. I'm happy with the way our players are preparing for it. We had a couple of good practices this week, did a good job Saturday morning when we came in and worked, so obviously they're excited about the game and it's something we're looking forward to, going out and performing and playing hard.

Q: What should be Will (Gardner's) focus as he goes into this game?

PETRINO:
He just needs to focus on executing the offense. I think he's done a real nice job in practice and in the meeting room understanding what looks we expect to see. You're always going to see something new as a quarterback, but we're working hard on the looks we expect to see. And he just needs to go in and focus and go through his progressions and execute the offense, and he's very capable of doing that. He's got to do it consistently with all 11 guys, really.

CRAWFORD: Petrino hopes offense can break out now that it's healthy

Q: Does he seem more consistent?

PETRINO:
Yeah. He's had a good week of practice. He's snapping the ball and throwing it well, so he's done a good job. I think we've looked as sharp here in the last couple of weeks as we have. Obviously it's fun to have DeVante (Parker) back out there. I felt like coming out of the last game against North Carolina State was the closest we looked to our offense, being able to do the things we like to do.

Q: It's different with DeVante now. How did the extra week help him?

PETRINO:
He's looked really good yesterday and today. Last week, or two weeks ago I guess it was, going into the North Carolina State game you saw glimpses of it, and you thought, okay, how much is he going to be able to go out there and how well is he going to be able to perform? Obviously he went way above our expectations in that game. But the past couple of days he's really looked back to himself, really looked back to exposing after the catches. It feels a lot better for him, you can see that, and he's said that.

Q: What about the health of some other guys, (Lorenzo) Mauldin, (James) Quick . . .

PETRINO:
They've all practiced the last two days so we feel good about them being out there ready to go.

Q: What kinds of things from Florida State are you guys game-planning for and what worries you the most?

PETRINO:
Well, when you look at their offense, they're very balanced. They can run the ball, they can throw it, they can throw it deep. Obviously you first have to stop the run. That's the most important part of defense, is to stop the run and make them play behind the sticks. And then we're going to have to be able to play tight coverage and rush the quarterback. He's a difficult guy to tackle and bring down, so we have to have discipline in our lanes and mix things up. That's the thing we've been good at doing. Just go play our defense, I think, is the biggest thing.

Q: You've faced some good quarterbacks. Does he compare to any of them?

PETRINO:
They're all different and they're all really good players. He has a real quick release. He makes good decisions. He's very decisive with his decision-making, so it's going to be important for us to be good with the coverage and be tight, and put pressure on him and not let him have the good passing lanes.

Q: Have you decided who will get the start in the backfield, with a lot of healthy guys back there?

PETRINO:
You know, we have another day of practice, so we always worry about that after our Thursday practice, which actually is a Thursday this week. So we'll see how they all do.

Q: Are you pretty healthy there? Garrick was saying yesterday maybe it was as healthy as you've been.

PETRINO:
Yeah. (Brandon) Radcliff is back going full speed, which is great to see. He's had an issue with his toe that has bothered him on and off. He's been back there competing hard, and Dom (Brown) looks good, and Michael (Dyer) looks even better than he looked before the North Carolina State game and L.J (Scott's) ankle is better, so we're getting back healthy where we need to be.

Q: Some of your guys have said, yes this is the No. 2 team, but it's just another game. Is that how you approach it?

PETRINO:
They all understand what the stakes are. But what I want them to really do is enjoy it, enjoy the experience of having the No. 2 team in the country coming in here, how you go through preparing for it, how you get ready when we go to the hotel, and just enjoy the whole experience. But all our routines and everything that we go through are the same. We're not changing anything, not trying to do anything extra. We're just doing our preparation and getting ready for kickoff. That's the No. 1 thing we've got to do is just calm down and understand we need to be ready when we kick the ball off, not tomorrow, not Wednesday, but when kickoff is here. But I think with experience and opening the season with Miami, all those things help us.

Q: How do you get guys to calm down if you think they're too excited?

PETRINO:
I think they're pretty good about it. Again, I think to have an experienced team that we have, the fact that these guys have played in big games, the opening game of the year was a big game for us. You just kind of go back and go through your routine. Relax and get yourself ready.

Q: You have coached against Top 5 teams when you were here the first time, is there a noticeable difference at all in the atmosphere or vibe that you get from your guys when you're preparing for those games?

PETRINO:
Yeah, it's different. Obviously the intensity, the focus, you know, the practice is better and guys are excited about it and working hard. But again, it's just getting into your routine and working it and knowing how to prepare.

Q: You talked about the atmosphere and that Miami game. Do you expect what you'll see Thursday to be even crazier?

PETRINO:
I was going to say it would be hard to be crazier, but I once said it would be hard to be louder, and I don't want to get anybody mad at me. Let's say it's going to be real, real crazy.

Q: What do you see from them defensively that really concerns you?

PETRINO:
They're very physical up front. They've got two big guys inside and they do a good job in their secondary with their coverage. They don't do a lot, but they do it real well. And then on third down they do a lot. The biggest thing for us is to be able to execute and convert third downs. If we're doing that, I feel like we'll have some success.

Q: When you have a quarterback like they have, your team can do a lot of things right and he still make a play. How do you prepare for that?

PETRINO:
To play one play at a time. That's a great point. You've got to be able to play one play at a time, and the whole team does. We've got to understand, in games like this, the momentum swings back and forth, they've got great players, they're going to make plays, we're going to make plays, the most important play is the next one, and to be able to focus and concentrate on doing your job the next play.

Q: Your offensive line appears to have improved. How did it grade out the past several weeks?

PETRINO:
We've gotten better. We've been more consistent with our assignments and utilizing our technique better, and we've been finishing better. We've had two good weeks of practice.

Q: When you watch this team, they've kept winning, but they won a lot of really close games, what about FSU has allowed them to get over that hump?

PETRINO:
There's not a big difference between winning and losing, and they know how to win. They've got guys in their program who have confidence in coming from behind. So you have to learn how to win. Obviously they know how to do that. We have to be in the game in the fourth quarter and have an opportunity to win it in the fourth quarter. And I believe our guys will be confident in the fact that we'll get it done then.

Q: You have been in kind of scramble mode for about a month with injuries, now you've had a couple of weeks of relative stability. Has that helped your staff?

PETRINO:
Most definitely. And you're right, it was a scramble mode. We had guys dropping, and different guys in there. I think our guys handled it well. I thought when we had to have change at quarterback that everyone rallied around Reggie and he handled it very maturely, and we were able to win a couple of games with him as the starting quarterback. We had different running backs in there, and without DeVante. It's nice to have all our weapons back, and hopefully we'll go out and show that we know how to execute with them.

Q: In DeVante's case, what did you do to work him back, and what did you see in him mentally to stay focused and not get too discouraged?

PETRINO:
He's amazing, really. Most guys would've been down right away and real disappointed, but he had a good attitude right from the start, showed really good maturity, worked extremely hard with our medical staff and hit the target dates that they had set for when you get to run, when you get to do this, when you get to do that, and had a great mental attitude the whole time. He had a little setback when we first came back and thought we might get him ready for the Clemson game, but after that, he just stayed at it and it's amazing how positive a person he is.

Q: What would a win over a team ranked as high as FSU, the defending national champions, mean to Louisville as a program?

PETRINO:
These are the games we want to play in and compete in. We'd like to be in the top rankings and have a No. 1 team come in here and play us. That's where we aspire to go. So look at our program and get one step closer to where we want to get to.

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