Virginia Head Coach Al Groh Press Conference Quotes
Aug. 29, 2006
Charlottesville, VA –
Question: How closely did you study the PITT roster? Did you see any similarities between them and the ’02 Virginia team?
Groh: “The dissimilarity there is the veteran status of the quarterback. In Tyler Palko they certainly have one of the best quarterbacks in college football coming back and a player who has clearly established himself as a quality quarterback and leader of his team. So that provides a stability factor that often overrides other areas of inexperience.”
Question: What are your impressions of the PITT defense?
Groh: “It looks like it’s being put together in a fashion very typical of Dave Wannstedt. You got home builders, and they all kind of have their own styles, build in the same fashion from house to house, coaches are kind of the same way. It’s got a lot of similarities in both the scheme and how it’s put together. Fast, in terms of speed, they can get it at the linebacker position. Pass rushers on the edge that are constantly up field; strong run support safeties. Press corners with their hope that they can be lock down corners. That was kind of the formula they followed in Dallas, brought to Miami with very good results and you can see him putting it in place in Pittsburgh.”
Question: Provide your evaluation of team’s progression and maturation during training camp?
Groh: “The team has done what we’ve asked it to do, in that respect it shows a form of maturity that it will take direction and respond as we would like. That doesn’t mean the execution has been perfect. As with most of the subjects here today whether we talk about individuals or the team, anything I say today is just another talking head up here. The only answers will be the answers on Saturday night.”
Question: In what ways did junior center Jordy Lipsey elevate his play during camp?
Groh: “Just a lot more consistency in his play. A couple weeks ago I had remarked that the penalties and fumbled exchanges that had marked his play in the past had been very much absent. One of those things that becomes a reality when in the game. His practice work has been very positive on his part.”
Question: How anxious are these guys to get out there and play?
Groh: “Everybody as coaches, players are anxious. At the early stages it’s all about doing the things necessary to be properly prepared at this time. But this is not the time to be making up for lost opportunities in your preparation. But there is that idea of competition to see how well we did in our preparation. One thing that’s different about the sports business is you get quick results feedback on your efforts. Not like some endeavors where you have to wait a while to see how things turn out. It’s been awhile since we got some feedback.”
Question: Wasn’t the last time you were at a game in Pittsburgh for New England and Pittsburgh (NFL) game? What was stadium like?
Groh: “It was pretty cold that night. I think it was minus two wind chill or something. At least that is good news for the kickers. It’s a great football city. It has been for a long time. It’s probably one of the best football cities in the country. They understand it and are intense about it. They’re very rabid in the following of their teams. So that adds something to it. We’re going to a big time football stadium. In a real football city against a school with a very rich football tradition. I think they have seven or eight national championships in their heritage. They are going to honor one of their championship teams in this game. So it’s got all the makings of a pretty good challenging environment to bring some of these guys into.”
Question: Can you break down the challenges as a coach for both sides of the ball for PITT on offense and defense what they bring to the table?
Groh: “Well offensively as I said before, the biggest thing they bring is a very talented quarterback. That’s a tremendous plus for any team. You can build your game plan around what the player has done before rather than seeing what is going to happen. When you have a redshirt senior quarterback and four or five redshirt senior lineman, the tight end and left guard are redshirt seniors or redshirt juniors, except for the left tackle is a junior college transfer, coaches always say that you have to be solid at quarterback and offensive line and they are very solid there. I would like to say that in a couple of years. Some of these players that are going into the game for us now when they will get to that stage.
“Defensively, they are very solid in the secondary, they are going to work very hard to take your wide receivers out of the game. They were very successful with that last year, sixth in the country in pass defense. They put the pressure on you there; as a result they play a lot of nine man fronts with the corners out there in lock down coverage. Pretty similar to what Dave has done and it’s worked very well for him.”
Question: Darrelle Revis, what challenges does he present in coverage and on special teams?
Groh: “Well he’s an excellent return man, probably top 25 teams in punt and kickoff returns and he was the primary guy doing that. They have tried to lighten his load this year, but they felt he was irreplaceable. So he will be going back to do that all over. When you have a corner doing that it is a pretty good indication of his overall athletic ability. He’s a very good player; he looks like a player who has a very good future in front of him. We’ve very proud and enthusiastic about Marcus and as good as any other corners are we are real pleased to play with him every week.”
Question: Talk about Cain Ringstaff’s development.
Groh: “Cain Ringstaff had a great camp. He’s got toughness, good skills. He’s a Zidenberg type of player with a Zidenberg type of record. Josh had an excellent high school record of achievement, Cain also does at Richlands, he’s used to playing in big games, they have a good program down there. He’s a very dependable player. And as we said before dependability is a skill as much as other circumstances.”
Question: Is H.B. Blades one of best MLB in the country?
Groh: “You know being a 4-3 guy one of the things the 4-3 guy gets as opposed to the 3-4 is he’s the main guy going in each direction. Usually the 3-4 inside guys divide those tackles up. Just in terms of fairness to all linebackers, if a middle linebacker on one team has 70 tackles and our guy has 45 it doesn’t mean he’s a better player. Maybe if he was playing inside with us he would have 35. But this is a very good player with a lot of experience. He was playing against us in the Bowl game three years ago so he was starting as a true freshman. He’s compact, he’s got a lot of punch. He’s 6-0, 240 plus range, he’s got a lot of punch and he’s seen these plays come at him for a long time so his reaction is very quick for a college linebacker.”
Question: Did you find yourself watching Nate Lyles to see is there was any residual effect from his injury?
Groh: “I didn’t have to watch very long. Probably within a short period, Nate answered any questions real early. I didn’t pay much attention for two days, but as soon as he put his pads on there was a Nate Lyles sighting and he’s been the same old Nate ever since.”