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Sept. 21, 2013

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Virginia vs. VMI
Sept. 21, 2013

Virginia Head Coach Mike London Quotes

On accomplishing goals for the game:
“Going into the open week, we wanted to work on some things we thought we needed to do in order to become a better football team. Obviously that first quarter wasn’t indicative of the things we worked on. I thought that the second quarter, when we got a few scores, a long pass, and some running yards, showed the things we have been working on. We are satisfied right now, but we can’t stay satisfied because we have our first road game and conference game next week against a good Pittsburgh team.”

On Daniel Hamm:
“We knew we were banged up at running back. He had practiced and had done a pretty nice job. He came to us as a walk-on for track and wanted to play football. Three weeks ago, he was running with the scout team and today he comes out and gets over 100 yards. He ran tough and hard and you could see the skillset that he has with speed and durability. He was very pleased with his opportunity to carry the ball and get yardage and he definitely was an asset for us.”

On approach to game:

“We obviously wanted to take shots. They decided they were going to stop the run and bring safeties down. We want to be tough and physical though. We had some long shots downfield and we will continue to try to stretch the field and use the running game to open things up. We also want to use David [Watford] and his abilities as well.”

On being only up 7-0 with four minutes remaining in first half:
“Obviously we were a little frustrated. We had a couple of three-and-outs, couldn’t convert on a first down, we blocked a punt and couldn’t do anything with that, but you just have to continue to keep playing. You have to believe in your guys and encourage them because they are out there playing hard. Once we got back on task, the points started to come and they started to come quickly.”

On David Watford’s performance:
Obviously we don’t want turnovers. They did a great job with batted balls and interceptions. I think Watford was 18 for 25 with two interceptions. You take those away and the line looks more efficient. The outstanding thing is the turnovers, though. You do not want those types of situations. We have talked about David several times and what kind of young man he is. The thing he has is poise. He is a very mature young man and doesn’t get rattled very much. That showed with how he bounced back and helped the team win.”

On David Watford’s running ability:
It’s no secret he has an added dimension. We will continue working to allow him to work with the read and pulling the ball down and running with it. Those are some of the things we worked on during the open week. He had an opportunity to take advantage of it today.”

On the defense and special teams:
“I think the defense played well. They continued to improve on things we have worked on. We also played a lot of guys. They had the ability to get their feet wet and play good defense. We are a defensive team and have to play good defense. We have to hold onto the ball, and we have to get good field possession from returns. Today we had some really good returns and had field position that helped us.”

Virginia Player Quotes

Junior Running Back Kevin Parks

On his 61-yard TD run
“Our offensive line sealed the defense. I cut back and knew it was there, and I took what they gave me. I don’t think they touched me. Like I said, our offensive line did a great job of sealing guys off, even in the secondary. I saw someone make a good edge block and was able to take it to the house.”

On the offense
“We were turning the ball over a little bit and we needed a big play to spark the offense. David [Watford] settled in and I told him the turnover we had didn’t happen and to let it go. He’s still our guy. He’s still the one we look to. I think he took heed of that and got comfortable and our offense started rolling.”

On the offensive outburst today
“It was real big. We need to get our confidence going. It’s like I told the team early that we need to start having fun again. Once we start having fun, then points will be put up. We just need to start getting back to doing the things we do well and doing what we’re capable of.”

Sophomore Quarterback David Watford

On his bounce back after two interceptions
“My teammates did a great job of keeping me up and keeping my spirits high and I just bounced back from it. I was kind of down about the interception but tried not to let it show on the sideline. My guys just kept telling me to let it go. I was upset at myself because it was two unforced errors. I shouldn’t have forced the ball either time I threw it.”

On his TD pass to Tim Smith
“Tim told me that he had it the play before and that it was wide open. We came back to it with a different play, but it was right there, so we went with it.”

On the touchdown run by Kevin Parks
“It will help us out a lot. We will try to carry it over to different games. We will definitely try to carry it over next week to the Pitt game and just be able to do what we need to with the ball, running the ball and throwing the ball. I think it gives our offense confidence so we’re able to just go and have fun.”

Senior Offensive Lineman Luke Bowanko

On Daniel Hamm’s performance
“He’s labeled himself as a downhill guy who sees the hole and hits it. Offensive lineman really love guys like that. Obviously, I’m not happy that injuries gave him the chance to play, but I’m glad he took advantage of that chance. I’m proud of him.”

On the slow start
“It’s hard in games like this to know what to expect. I think guys came out and needed a couple of series to get comfortable. Fortunately, it ended up going our way. It’s a learning experience for some guys coming out of a bye week and not being in game mode for a while. It takes a couple series to get things going. Thankfully it started clicking.”

On the offense’s confidence moving forward
“Obviously, there are a lot of plays we need to correct from early on in the game, but overall I think we had a plan in place to work on what we do and we got some stuff on film, like the hurry up offense to beat the clock at the end of the first half. I think there’s absolutely stuff to learn from and it will be a good confidence booster going into Pitt.”

Senior Wide Receiver Tim Smith

On his touchdown catch:
“I had to turn it up a little bit, I can’t even lie, I had to reroute off the defensive back and get around him. When the ball is in the air, you have to make a play on it, so I had to really get after it.”

“It was probably one of the more difficult plays I’ve had to make, so I guess it ranks pretty high.”

On getting ready for ACC competition:
“After we started off pretty slow, we had a couple plays here and there, we really started to kick into gear and play great in the second half. It was just what we needed.”

“It’s just the small things, a couple of offside penalties, rolling plays, the small things that you have to take care of to play well.”

On David Watford’s performance:
“It was a game that he needed to make him more comfortable. I feel he needed to actually go through ups and downs. Even though we were slow at one point, he actually picked it up and kept playing his game. He definitely deserved to win.”

“It was definitely frustrating [to be so close at half], but with any team, you have to be able to piece together a whole game and play to win. And that’s what we did, just kept playing our game.”

Freshman Tailback Daniel Hamm

On his expectations for today’s game:
“I was really just hoping for playing time. I was not really expecting what happened. With Kevin being a great back, I was not expecting to go in. It was shocking actually, the performance I had. I have to give a lot of credit to the line. And I can’t thank God enough for giving me this opportunity to be the athlete that he made me.”

On his college recruitment:
“VMI did not recruit me. No scholarships, anywhere. Senior year was my first time being a running back, so I did not expect to be recruited anywhere. I was more focused on track. The track coach from UVa came to one of my high school games and he said he thought that I could play football for UVa.”

“Virginia Tech offered me a preferred walk-on at the same time as UVa, so I had to make a choice. My Mom graduated from Virginia Tech so it was definitely a difficult decision, but I think it was worth it now.”

Sophomore Defensive End Eli Harold

On his thoughts from today:
“We did well, we met our goals. Playing a team like that, you just can’t let up. We just did what we do. Coach didn’t change anything up. We ran the same calls as the first two games. We just kept it basic, didn’t try and get too fancy.”

On UVa’s defensive line:
“Our gameplan was the same. We were used to running no huddle, so we had an advantage there, being used to the fast-pace. They ended up giving us a break. I love playing with Brent Urban. He draws so much attention because he is so big and athletic that he frees me up a lot, and I free him up a lot. We go hand-in-hand with our talents. You don’t see 6”7’ defensive tackles a lot, so he helps our defense a lot.”

VMI Head Coach Sparky Woods Quotes

On Virginia:
“I just want to congratulate coach [Mike] London and the University of Virginia. We appreciate the opportunity to have the chance to come here and play. It is a first class place and an impressive football team. I wish them well and think they’ll do well.”

On Virginia’s defense:
“Obviously they were stronger than us up front, especially their defensive line matched our offensive line. We’ve got to figure out how to help them more, help our offense a little bit more. They were able to stop the run pretty well. They stopped the three-step passing game also because they were knocking down passes well. That was the biggest trouble for us, was to try to somehow get something done against their front.”

On VMI’s defensive struggles:
“I thought our defense played as hard as they could. They had to play too much. We couldn’t get any first downs going, they had to go back out there and play.”

On the game plan:
“Overall, we couldn’t get anything going offensively and that was too much to ask of our defense. They played a five-man front and moved those linebackers off the edge. We were trying to create a little run game and with that mix in a three-step if they were going to commit to it. We had a hard time.”

On VMI’s defense:
“I’m really encouraged by our defense. I think we made great strides from a week ago. If we can continue to build on that, I think we’re not going to play a team as strong as Virginia is up front anymore. So, I think we can try to get something going offensively.”

VMI Player Quotes

Junior Defensive Back James Fruehan

On a 7-0 deficit with 5 minutes left in the first half:
“We just tried to play one play at a time. We had a nice three and out and just tried to keep momentum on our side.”

On preparing for Virginia:
“We did not prepare any differently for a conference game or non-conference game, for a big school or a small school. We go into practice that week just trying to win that day. We came in and did a really good job, especially in the first half of winning that next play. Coaches put us in positions to make plays and we did that a couple of times.”

On the worthiness of playing Virginia:
“It is definitely worth it. You come up here and perform that well in the first half. We have something to build on now. We got better at a lot of things.”

On focusing for next week:
“We need to keep doing what we are doing and come to play everyday.”

Senior Offensive Lineman Will Lucas

On playing Virginia’s defensive line:
“They were big and strong, and I thought we did our best to hold our own out there, but there were obviously some breakdowns on some plays.”

On the offensive performance today:
“I was pretty embarrassed in how we played offensively. I think we are a much better offense, one of the best offensive units that we’ve had, and we just failed to execute today. We had a good game plan going in, but we just failed to execute mentally and it cost us.”

On moving forward from this game:
“That was definitely the biggest, most athletic line that we will see. We got better playing them today. We won’t face anyone as good. Nobody had that combined speed and size that they had.”

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