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April 1, 2005

Al Groh
Spring Practice Press Conference
March 31, 2005

Opening Statement:
We’re anxious to start the football phase of putting another team together. I say the football phase, because the first phase was the winter off-season program, which started back in the latter part of January and which concluded earlier this week. That’s a very, very important phase, without which building a strong foundation there, it’s really difficult to put the rest of the phases together successfully. That went very successfully in many different respects, but, of course, ultimately it has to translate into football play.

We’ll start putting the team together tomorrow. Once we get started here with spring practice, we move pretty fast. That is, as I’ve seen the spring practice plans of most of the ACC teams come across my desk, we do our 15 practices in a much smaller time span that anybody else in the league does. We’ll take our 15 practices in 22 days. So, once we get started, we’ll be moving at a pretty rapid pace. We’ll have to do some creative work here in the spring, in that, as is often the case in spring practice, we’ll have some positions that will be fully stocked with personnel, and we’ll have some positions that, until training camp opens in August, we’ll be a little bit lighter on personnel, either because we have players who are rehabbing from injuries or surgeries as a result of last season or we have some positions where we’re waiting for the incoming players to come in and bolster the ranks and hopefully provide playing time for us.

So, we’ll plan our practices accordingly in that respect, where the flow of the practices might be a little bit different than how we conduct them when we have a full complement of players there. We have some players who will miss spring practice: DE Brennan Schmidt, LB Ahmad Brooks. LB Kai Parham will participate in a moderated way. OL Brian Barthelmes will do the same. DL Keenan Carter will miss some… TE Tom Santi… So, all of these players are recuperating from the rigors of last season and won’t participate, but they’re all expected back fully for the start of training camp.

When you spoke after the game in Boise, you were asked about the passing game, and you said that would be something you would take a hard look at. Did you devote more time to that than perhaps you would have to try to figure out what worked and what didn’t work last year?
I think it’s certainly true in football, as it’s played these days, that to be able to rise to the very highest level you have to be able to pass the ball very effectively. That doesn’t necessarily mean every week or every play, but there are certain times when you have to be able to do that. There were occasions last year when I thought we passed the ball very effectively. We did end up with a plus-60% completion percentage. But, there are some occasions where we’re looking to pass the ball with a little bit more firepower this year than last year. There are a number of reasons why we take the starting time that we do for spring practice. One of them is that, each year, we like to take the maximum amount of time possible between the end of recruiting and the first day of spring camp to be able to do all of the systems analysis and research and thinking about our team and our systems and our players that we might do, and that’s in all phases–special teams, defense, offense. We have tried to do that during this time frame also.

Could you talk about the new assignments among your assistant coaches and what was some of the thinking that went into that?
As much as I’ve appreciated and admired the work of the coaches the previous three years, I thought last year was the strongest effort by the coaches yet. I thought they did a terrific job. But actually, when I gave the response about the team that was referred to a minute ago about taking a look at the passing game, that was in the context of a larger question or larger answer which was that, as is the case every year, I was going to analyze everything from the top down, which included me, the systems, all the way down to the shoes that we wore. So, I’ve done that. And, as much I was very positive about what happened with the coaching last year, I thought some of these staff changes would bring a certain level of creative energy and positive creative tension to different positions and different offices.

Could you talk about your new assistant, and how big was the big learning curve for him, or is his background such that it wasn’t that bad?
I’ve known new defensive line coach Levern Belin for a long time. We recruited and coached his brother Warren at Wake Forest. And, Warren is also a career coach. He is currently coaching linebackers at Vanderbilt. They’re both from Forest Hills High School in Marchville, N.C., and Levern’s about two years younger. He was a very good high school player. And, so, we were recruiting him for quite some time. As it turns out, I left to go to Atlanta shortly before the signing date, so, in his words when he came to visit, he said, `Coach, you recruited me. I just didn’t sign with you.’ So, I’ve known Warren and Levern a long time. I know the family well. I know their characteristics and the type of people that they are. I knew his career. He coached with Dan Rocco in two different places. He coached for Tom Coughlin, who obviously I know well and is of essentially the same philosophy and bent towards football as some of us are. That all qualified him as not just hiring another assistant coach but a guy who could come in with the same kind of tribe mentality and be part of us and how we do things. He did a very good job of representing that when he came in. Those are the most important things. Guys can learn how to do what we’re doing. Hardly anybody does.

I was talking to both New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells in the process just to ask if they had anybody working their camps that they might recommend, and one of them made the point that there’s only about five guys around who know a great deal about coaching these 3-4 defensive linemen as we play them. That is the people who’ve been in the system. New Cleveland Browns head coach and former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel knows a lot about that. He did it for a long time. Former NFL linebacker Pepper Johnson is doing it in New England now as the Patriots defensive line coach. He knows about it. New Houston Texans defensive line coach and Virginia defensive line coach from 2001-04 Mike London learned how to do it real well. I know it. Belichich knows it. Parcells knows it. So, we could’ve gotten a coach who’s a 30-year veteran at coaching the defensive line and, in some of things that we do, he would’ve been a bit of a rookie. So, now we’ve got the same type of energy and ambition and determination that all of the coaches brought when they came here, a lot of the creative need to learn something new and to bring that on to the players. I really like the guy that we got. That’s the challenging part. The easy part is to teach him some of the techniques.

Obviously, there’s nothing you can do about it, but for DL Keenan Carter, is this a significant setback?
Yeah, it sure would have been nice to have him. To a great degree we look at these practices coming up as the first 15 days of training camp. It’s not, `Oh, it’s the spring, and we start back over again.’ There’s not enough time to start back over again. So, it’ll add up to, by rules, 44 practice opportunities; this means he’ll miss the first 15 practice opportunities. Yeah, I think so, but that’s one of the things that at least is balanced out by the fact that he had 12 or 13 practices in December that players on some teams that are going into spring practice didn’t have. So, in that respect, some of these players are back to even with some of their peers. But, if we’re going to look at it that way, it would have been nice to have the other 15 practices on top of it. He’s gone from one extreme, last year, in the spring game, where he took every snap in the game to where he won’t take any this year. So, yeah, it would have been good to have him play.

Is LB Kai Parham’s thing related to the issue that he’s had all along? Is it more of a precaution with him?
No, all of the players that we mentioned, just as the case was with TE Heath Miller last year, they played through the season with various things, and when the season was over, in order to get them back to as healthy as they would like to be, it was recommended in some cases to fix it surgically rather than just waiting to see what nature would do. In fact, probably, Kai’s surgery actually occurred even faster after the game that Heath’s did.

Did Kai have the same surgery as Heath?
No, Kai had his shoulder. RB Michael Johnson is another one. Mike had the same sports hernia operation that Heath did. He will also be out for the spring practice.

Did LB Ahmad Brooks have surgery?
He had surgery on his knee. He had some lose bodies in there that needed to be removed.

Another guy that had surgery last year is LB Bryan White. How much do you feel you have to take a look at him this year?
My memory is fading here. Bryan’s participation will be limited. We’ll see as we go through the spring. You can add him to the list too. We’ll see how he comes along. His progress had been good. He’s been doing increasingly more strenuous things. But that’s a pretty big operation when they go in on your back. So, we want to make sure that we have him later.

Who will play inside linebacker this spring?
Well, Kai will participate. We’ll just have to limit his participation. LB Devonta Brown… LB Mark Miller… LB Jon Copper.

Is LB Jermaine Dias still going to play outside?
Yeah, he’ll be outside.

Where’s LB Vince Redd going to play?
Vince’ll be outside. We’re probably going to hold Vince in the spring and let him really concentrate on his academics.

Could you talk about replacing all of your leaders: TE Heath Miller, OL Elton Brown, DE Chris Canty, and LB Darryl Blackstock? It seems like you just lost, maybe not the heart and soul, but a ton of your leaders from last year. Could you talk about replacing them?
You know whether it’s as leaders or producers, that’s one of the givens of college football–that it cycles through pretty fast. And, there are always good players and good leaders who leave, but there’s always another group who’s ready to come up and replace them. I think that we have a number of guys in those circumstances, whether it’s to move in to give us some production at positions or it has been apparent here through the off-season program some guys who have really stepped to the front. We’ve talked in the past how certain guys have to carry the flag for the team. Certain guys carry it in the past. And, they may not be here to carry it again, but others have already jumped in in a hurry to pick it up and carry it. It looks like we’ll have a good leadership core to start the spring with, and hopefully that will continue to strengthen and develop up until September 3rd.

What’s the latest you’ve heard on WR Ottowa Anderson?
Right now, we expect that he’ll be joining us for training camp and ready to go.

The player formerly known as WR Bud Davis, now he wants to be referred to as Theirrien, obviously made strides late in the season. Has he carried that over into the off-season, and if you were picking a depth chart, where would he land?
He’s been one of the top performers. He’s done a very good job. He’s a very focused, very intent kid.

I think everything you’ve said is that the quarterback job belongs to Marques Hagans, period. Do you expect a good battle behind that?
Well, we expect them every place. Every position is wide open in the spring. I think, obviously, we can anticipate that it’s going to work out certain ways at certain spots. I think there should be a good level of anticipation that OL D’Brickashaw Ferguson is going to end up winning the left tackle job. But, going along with what our theme of last year was, we want competition for playing time at every position, every week. And, that’ll be the case throughout the course of the season. And, there are some players who won’t be on the practice field, either because of health situations or they’re just not registered here yet, who will be significant competitors for playing time in the fall too. So, a lot of times in the spring you improve your team in pieces and by parts, not as a whole, because some elements of your team are missing. But, if you improve the pieces in all of the different spots then it’s easy when you get everybody together to put the whole back together again.

For example, we might have a running play that requires a double team on the defensive tackle with a climb to the backside linebacker. Well, whether we’re running that as a play during a scripted part of practice, or if we’ve got the offensive tackle and the tight end working on the double team, we’re still working on that part of the play. We may need a couple of other elements to put it all together. It’s the same thing with the team. We may work more on one phase of the team in the spring, because we have more parts available to work on that. We’ll get further ahead with that in the spring. Then, come the summer camp, we’ll have to catch up in other phases. Maybe we feel like we’re way down the line on something else. The whole trick is to get as many of them really ready to go on September 3rd.

Six weeks ago, you indicated that you didn’t know if OL Ron Darden was going to play in the spring. I notice he’s on the roster. Has anything changed?
We’re still in the same circumstance with him. He’s got a medical condition that has been perplexing to lots of people who’ve looked at it. For his comfort and well-being, we hope that resolves itself and then we’ll look at the football issue.

Is TE Jonathan Stupar ready to go?
Yes, he is. Now, he’ll have a wonderful opportunity here in the spring. He’ll also be taking on a bit of a challenge. He’s got some making up to do. He has the perfect opportunity for that. He has no snaps to share.

It looks like all of your parts are back in the secondary. Is that going to be a nice luxury to get to work the whole spring with all of those guys?
Yeah, I think we ought to have some good continuity there, although I expect good competition there too. You know, we have two young corners who’ve been through it now. We have two young safeties who got in the games last year, not much on defense–S Nate Lyles a little bit on the nickel. We rotated them a little bit on the regular during the course of the year. But, they’ve been around it; they’ve had their look at it, which we felt was necessary. We were able to think that they probably would be and should be strong competitors for playing time this year, and we didn’t want them going into the first game never having been in a game before, if it does turn out that they can win the jobs.

Do you have reason to be optimistic that WR Deyon Williams can be a more consistent guy, day-in and day-out in practice in his work ethic or will you have to wait until practice for that?
I feel positive about it, but at this time of year, I’m not really optimistic or pessimistic. We’re just going to go coach, and the players are going to play, and then we’ll evaluate what has occurred. I’ve felt for a long time, and I still do, that most players really start to hit their stride about their third year. That includes players who have played in the game, and that includes players who maybe haven’t played in the game. Most players really start to hit their stride. I think it’s a combination of two things. They’ve been around for a while, and they’ve had a chance to see it and hear it and feel, and if they’re ever going to get it, they’ve had a pretty good opportunity to get it. That’s coming from the beginning. If you look from the other direction, they’re able to say, `I think I get it now, `but they’re also saying, `I’m running out of time. I better make a move here soon, or else the clock is going to run out.’ So, I think, a lot of times, as those things come together, a lot of players do hit their stride in their third year. So, we have a number of players, obviously, who are moving into that situation. The expectation is that that is going to occur on a number of occasions.

Would it be okay with you if DE Chris Long hit his stride this year?
I think he’s a little further ahead towards hitting it. Some guys do it a little early. There’s a little bit of a line here now that’s developed over the course of four years. But, the guys have progressed significantly. D’Brickashaw, TB Wali Lundy, Kai Parham were in it early. DE Brennan Schmidt was in it early. TE Heath Miller was in it early. LB Darryl Blackstock was in it early. DE Chris Canty got a good sniff of it early. So, those guys, as they do get a good look at it, they do get it faster. Well, we hope that if you’re going to get it sooner or later, we’d prefer you get it sooner, then you’ve got more productive playing time.

Now, Long had mono last year. Did he have any other injury for the bowl game?
No, I don’t think so. Oh, that reminds me of one other guy that’s out for the spring … K Connor Hughes. He’s got mono.

Are you going to have P Chris Gould punt and kick?
No, he’s just going to punt.

Who are the kickers then?
K Kurt Smith will kick. And, we have a number of other guys out there… K Noah Greenbaum, who’s been with us for a couple of years. There are a couple of other kids who are going to give it a shot.

P Sean Johnson is no longer with you?
Correct. We anticipated that, actually since before the season was over.

Nate Weldman is not with the team now?
Not presently.

So, you seem to be in pretty good sprits about this. Is that the only approach you can take with this many injuries and circumstances?
If we were playing USC on Saturday, I’d feel a little bit different about it. But, it’s been fun to plan it. All of the practices take a lot of thought and a lot of planning. But, this one has been particularly challenging, in terms of how to put together the practices. We’ll move from one type of team work maybe to special teams back to an individual period back to another individual one and back to another team period and back to another special teams period. Some times you say, “First offense, you’re in there.” Then, you say, “Second offense, you’re in there.” And, that’s how they get their break. But, in this case, we might have to change from one personnel group to another to give some of those guys rest, or go to a special teams unit that NT Melvin Massey is not going to play on, so that Melvin’s got 10 minutes of rest, while everybody else is working hard. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. It is a little challenging. As I said in the beginning, the team’s got to be get back together again. The off-season program is the first stage of it. Spring camp is the second stage. We’ve got to have a positive, productive spring camp. We can do that. It’s going to be challenging to us, staff-wise, player-wise. We’re going to have to do a real good job. It’s not going to be just, `hey, let’s go out and practice some ball.’ We’re going to have to do a real good job with it. But, that’s challenging, and I think we’ll have fun with that challenge.

What did new secondary coach and former inside linebackers coach Al Golden have to do, if anything, to familiarize himself with secondary play? New inside linebackers coach and former tight ends coach Mark D’Onofrio had played linebacker.
That’s kind of the circumstance that I’m talking about. Al is a very bright, very creative guy. Every task he has, he does to a high level of accomplishment. So, he immersed himself in this function just as he has in everything else, no differently than if the question had been posed four years ago: `What does Al Golden have to do to prepare himself to coach inside linebackers in the 3-4 defense, which he’d never done. And what’s he had to do to prepare himself to be a coordinator, which he’d never done?’ Well, you can see the results of what he’s done. He’s gone about this secondary thing the same way. And, now, this will give him six of the positions on the defense that he has personal experience with becoming very accomplished at. It was something that he was very enthusiastic about doing. We had discussed it over the years as something that eventually we would be looking to do. So, he’s just done a lot of study, a lot of conversation, talked to people, and looked at tapes. Mark was the same way. He was an All-American linebacker. He was a second round draft choice. He was a starter as a young player in the league. He’s got a linebacker background. He coached linebackers at Rutgers. But, he has not been a 3-4 linebacker coach. But, we have two people on our staff who have been.

Does he give up any of his special teams responsibilities?
Well, he’ll be the special teams coordinator. He’ll take certain units that he’s going to focus in on. But, part of this overall deal is that now we have more total staff involvement. That is, I think we have a lot of creative, energetic coaches. I’ve been very pleased with our special teams. I thought he did a great job last year. If our punting had been as effective all season long as it was in the last three games, then there’d be no qualifier on it whatsoever. But, I think that’s been addressed. This will get even more of that creative energy and efforts of the full staff involved in special teams. As helpful as it was in games last year, we’re going to try to make it an even stronger part of our game.

I guess NT Melvin Massey is going to be taking a lot of the snaps at that position in the spring, but are there other players that you’ll try to work in?
Well, we’ll work DL Kwakou Robinson in there some. Because there are some players who look like they could be comfortable at that position, but I don’t like to take a young player and make him learn two positions at the same time. I thing you break the continuity. So, for example, since he was already mentioned, take Chris Long. Could he go in and do nose tackle things? Likely, he could. But, it’s probably best to his advantage and to the team’s advantage that he focus on learning how to become a defensive end before he learns how to play two positions. Brennan Schmidt, although he won’t practice, has been cross-trained over the course of the last couple of years. So, pending on how things turn out, he could end up taking some snaps in there when he comes back in August.

Kwakou has some of the mass that guys playing nose in the NFL have. I know that people who are not familiar with your 3-4 sometimes ask why he hasn’t been in the middle. Have you been reluctant to use him there or do you thing his skill set is better suited on the end?
The big thing about that mass is that that center moves from one side to the other. So, you’ve got to be able to get your mass quickly from here to there, or otherwise, you’re going to be on the backside of the center. So, mass is very beneficial at that position. It can give a player a great advantage, because, obviously, the center is least equipped to deal with that of any of the offensive linemen because of his snapping-the-ball responsibilities. But, you’ve got to be able to move that mass over here, or else the mass doesn’t do you much good. Hopefully, that will occur here in the spring.

Could you talk a little about QB Marques Hagans. He started last year for the first time as a full-time quarterback. Could you just talk about where he needs to improve this spring and what he needs to work on?
He just needs to build specifically off of his experiences from last year. He’s been here for four years. He’s been in games. He’s been in all the stadiums. He’s done a nice job. The key thing about Marques is that his team won eight games last year and won quite a few games that it wouldn’t have won if he wasn’t the quarterback. There are certainly some things that will be good learning experiences, or confirming experiences for him and the rest of the team through that. I would expect that that would happen. I mentioned at the end of last season that the two players who at the end of the year were the two leading candidates to be ACC Player-of-the-Year, eventual 2004 ACC Player-of-the-Year Virginia Tech QB Bryan Randall and Miami QB Brock Berlin, had dramatically upgraded senior years from their junior years. They had nice junior years. They had terrific senior years for their teams. And, we would certainly expect the same type of growth curve here.

Speaking of centers, how permanent is OL Ian-Yates Cunningham’s move there? Does that depend as much on what other people do at guard as it does on what he does at center?
I think if he shows that he can be a good center, we’ll allow him the option of staying there. If he can’t, he’ll get back on the Gypsy Road and we’ll try to find another place for him.

What about the guards this spring?
I think the guards will be pretty solid this spring. OL Brian Barthelmes has been a real good player for us. I think he’ll be an important part of the personality of the line and of the offense with his toughness and effort. He’s been in a lot of games for us at a lot of different positions. OG Marshal Ausberry is another one of those guys who was in the select group of performers in the off-season program. Plus, he’s another one of those moving-into-his-third-year type of deals. We’ll play OL Gordie Sammis in there. OL Jeff Schrad will play in there. We might look at OL D.J. Bell in there. Then, we have some players coming in who I think will be legitimate contenders when they get here.

I saw Brian Barthelmes with a cast on. Has he recovered?
He had a real cast on, for a long time, that was up above the elbow. But, he hurt his wrist fairly early in the season last year. And, he played with a playing cast on it last year. He too had surgery on that days after we returned from the bowl game. He’s out of any cast right now. But, he’ll practice with a protective cast on here in the spring. We may choose to keep him out of the more physical-type, sort of just ram-them-with-your-wrist type deals. Since, he’s invested three months in this rehab, just let it continue for another three months or so. But, everything is a very positive reading on his circumstance.

We have OL Jordy Lipsey listed as 266 pounds. Has he gotten any bigger than that? Is he big enough that he can play, or is he still behind? Has size been an impediment in the past?
Yeah, he’s bigger than that. I’d say size shouldn’t be an impediment to him. That’s one of the things that have held him back. Another one is just getting the general development like a number of these younger players that we’ve been speaking of.

Is TB Wali Lundy good for the spring practices?
Oh, yeah, Wali has had a great off-season, one of the best. Those of you who have spoken with him have known him as a very purposeful, very focused kid. That being said, he’s been all business from the first toot of the whistle. And the reason I preface that is that I don’t want it to sound like, `Oh, it’s his last year, he’s finally bearing down.’ This kid has been bearing down since the minute that he got here, and that’s why he’s played so early and played so well. As significant as that’s been, he’s been all business from the very first tick of the clock, when this off-season program started.

Does TB Michael Johnson’s absence in the spring practices give Lundy any sort of advantage in the competition, or is that something that’ll wait until training camp?
Well, there’ll always be competition. But, obviously, if you get a chance to start the race when some other players are still at the starting line, you get an advantage. What this will do is this will give more turns to TB Cedric Peerman, TB Ryan Best, and a couple of those other kids. We won’t have to divide them up as much. And, then we’ve got two guys who, surely in their minds, they are coming in to compete for playing time in the summer. So, we’ll be very well stocked there for a while.

Is S Nate Lyles a guys who can make a real impact during spring practice and where does he need to improve?
He’s going to get his shot here and a lot of turns at safety. We’d like him to be an impact player. He’s got the skills to be one and the toughness to be one during his career. He’s got a lot of want-to. He’s another kid who finished in the upper group of the off-season program. He did a real good job with it. That’s particularly significant for a young player like that. He got a lot of special teams turns last year. He’s been in games. He came here with the expectation that he was going to be a real good player. This is the time to really make that come true. But, we would have a positive expectation of him.

You mentioned TB Ryan Best. What did you think when he first came and said he wanted to leave the soccer team and play football? Were you familiar with him at all?
You know, most guys go the other way around. They go from football to soccer. But, as we did some research and found out that he had a real good high school career in New Jersey. Apparently, he was offered some I-A scholarships as a tailback, but was also a good soccer player. His opportunity to come to the University of Virginia was through soccer, and the opportunity to be part of this school in the decision-making process of Ryan and his family outweighed what the sport would be. This was his passage to Virginia, and it’s worked out well for him here academically. But, he came in and he was going to have an opportunity, I guess, to have a good amount of playing time in soccer, and the kid said just, `Coach, my heart’s in football. I want to be a football player.’ Literally, I had started to get to know him a little bit in the weight room. I’d be in there working out, and soccer would be in there. I really didn’t know about him as a former player, but as I’d say hello to some of the kids, he’d always make it a point to say hello to me. Then, sometimes when our guys would be working out, this is true, he’d be standing there looking at them almost like the proverbial kid with his nose to the window of the candy store. He’d just be looking at them. I wondered a couple of times, `What this kid’s fascination with what we’re doing?’ I quickly found out what it was. He wanted to be part of it.

Was your off-season program any different this year than it has been? Some of the players seemed to indicate before the bowl game that it was going to be a tougher one than usual.
It was different in some respects, but we’d already determined that in general… strength coach Evan Marcus and I, in discussing it, we had determined that in general really before we started the bowl preparation. He had some ideas of things that he wanted to move on to. It was ironic that those really were some of the same things that I had on my mind without discussing it. Then, we spent some time in January in some discussions coming up with the specifics of what we were doing. And, one of the things that we decided to do was, rather than to run the different sessions during the course of the day, in order for the players to fit the program in with their class schedules, that we wanted to do it as a team function, and the only way that we could do it as a team function was to do it in the morning before classes. So, the biggest difference was that instead of having three or four groups that came in during the course of the day, we just had one group, and that was all done in the morning before classes even started.

If your defense makes a play in the final minute of regulation out there in Boise, you finish 9-3 and Top 15 in the nation and all that goes with it. How much did that color your off-season and how much did it sting that the perception of where the program his probably hinged on a couple of plays?
I don’t think it colored anything or anybody as much as it did me. It took some people saying some things to me to try to put things in perspective for me. Certain people that I know well, what they thought off the season. Then, when I went to the National Coaches Convention, the amount of coaches that I would run into who’d say, `Wow, you really had a great season. I saw you play a couple of times. What a good team you had.’ And, I wasn’t really feeling it the same way they were saying it. And, these guys weren’t getting anything out of it by saying it. That caused me to kind of say, `Why would these people who don’t feel it the same way I do, why would they say that. They’re not just saying that to be nice; they’d talk about something else.’ We didn’t play our best. That’s regrettable. That’s the part that I was the most disturbed about. You’re right, we had a chance to make a play here or there that wouldn’t have changed how we performed in the game, but would’ve changed how everything looked. And, frankly, as most of you have pointed out, there were at least three point-changing circumstances in the game, that if they’d gone properly, we wouldn’t have had to play any better.

Now, there’s replay going in. Can you talk about it?
Well, I’m pleased about it. There’s so much at stake in these games, and before you get on to all of the tangible things that are at stake, I’m for it because amongst the things that are at stake are where your team finishes ranked, and some of the financial implications that go with that and championships that can be won, but I’m for it just because of how it will allow the right people to feel good on Saturday night and the right people to feel not so good. That’s what I think is most important. Certainly, if replay had been in effect, it would have been beneficial to Virginia in our last game last year. A great example of it was in the Super Bowl last year. Three times ball possession was corrected as a result of instant replay, and without it, the wrong team would have gotten then ball.

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