Atlantic Coast Conference Football Media Conference

Wednesday October 10, 2018

Dino Babers


DINO BABERS: Obviously disappointed in the loss at Pitt. It was a fabulous game. Coach Narduzzi and his staff did a wonderful job, and we're looking forward to this bye to get healthy so we can get back on track and hopefully get back on a winning note.


Q. I was up in Pittsburgh last week for the game, and during that hour and a half rain delay, was it two tales of the game, because before that rain delay it seemed like you guys were rolling, and then that hour and a half with the rain delay, seemed like it was the difference in the game. What did you do to keep yourselves upbeat and ready to go knowing you had that long delay?
DINO BABERS: Well, you've got to use it as an advantage. It's another opportunity to talk to your players, make some game adjustments, got them out of their pads. Some guys actually got treatment during the delay for some injuries that had occurred, and we just tried to make the best use of the time and not let it affect you. We've been in delays like that before. I've been in hour, hour and a half delays like that because of that stuff, and you just kind of bend and don't break and try to find a way to work through it.

Q. And then Dungey, he had a tough game against the Panthers. Is he going to bounce back this week? I know you guys -- are you on a bye this week?
DINO BABERS: Yeah, we're on a bye. I think he's got a good bouncer. I think he's got a great opportunity to bounce back. We're looking forward to seeing him put that behind him and get back to the Dungey we know.

Q. I was wondering if you can give us the latest on Antwan Cordy and also throw Ravian Pierce in there and their potential availability for next week's game?
DINO BABERS: It's looking good. I can't promise you that it's going to happen, but I think both are looking good.

Q. How would you through the first half of the season evaluate the passing game, how the ball is coming out of Eric's hand and the chemistry between a pretty still green receiving corps?
DINO BABERS: I'm not going to talk about that stuff. You guys seen that. I'm not going to talk about anything like that.

Q. Especially given the popularity of the RPOs in today's college football, I'm curious about your thoughts on college football's ineligible receiver downfield rule. I know there's been a lot of talk about changing it to match the NFL's rule. What are your thoughts on that?
DINO BABERS: You know, I think we've got a lot of rules, and whatever those guys decide is the best interest of the game, we'll abide by them. Right now I think the most exciting game there is when it comes to football is college football. I know people like the pros, but I think there's nothing more exciting than college football, so I think that our rules may be more conducive to the fans and having a more exciting game than maybe even the NFL.

Q. Obviously going into this bye week, you want to get some fundamentals and kind of break some things down, obviously you have some more time with film and whatnot, but what's been your focus and kind of your central message as you've seen this team start out 4-0 and hit a little bump in road? What can you say about the first half of the season as you have that bye week that gives you a break in between the first half and the second half of the season?
DINO BABERS: No, I think the first half of the season has had its ups and downs, but I'm not down on this football team. I mean, you can pick and choose your moments, but you're talking about a 4-2 football team at the start of both the games they lost, they were winning in the fourth quarter. Now, that part is disappointing. But to be ahead of a Pitt team at home and be ahead of a Clemson team at home at the start -- at away games at the start of the fourth quarter tells you how close this team is.

The main thing we need to do during this break is we just have to get healthy. Everyone said the exact same thing. We don't have the depth in college football that we used to with the limited scholarships that we have, and now with people being able to leave and redshirts and all that other kind of stuff, you're really not dealing with a full roster. So the guys that do play, play a lot, and you've got to let them get their nicks and bumps heals if you're going to have an opportunity to finish the season strong. We're all about trying to get as many healthy bodies as we can, not only in the month of October but for that final stretch in the month of November.

Q. And then as far as just the ability of this team to read the quarterback and get interceptions, every single game of the six games this season, the team has come away with at least one interception. Just what you can say about takeaways and how well the team has improved.
DINO BABERS: Well, in the two losses, the takeaways were the key. We were majorly plus in the turnover categories in the four wins, and if I'm not mistaken, we either won or we were even in the losses on the road, and if we can find a way to stay plus one or plus two, I think our season will end on a happy note. I think the turnovers and rushing defense and rushing offense is the key to winning football games.

Q. With the way Alton and Kendall have played so far in the first half, wondering what you think they've been able to do to make them so effective in the early part of the season?
DINO BABERS: Well, first of all, I think the way they play, they're very unselfish players. They'll give up themselves, let their teammate not only make a run stop to get a sack, they're very, very high motor guys, they take a lot of pride in their work, and they're very serious about it, and I think you look at -- one guy never smiles, the other guy smiles all the time, but when you see them on the football field, they're almost identical, bookends, and we're very fortunate to have them, and we're very fortunate to have both of them for one more year because I think that they have big, big futures, and I'm lucky to be able to have somebody like that on my defense and on my team.

Q. Which one smiles and which one never does?
DINO BABERS: (Laughs). That's easy. I'll get in trouble for that one, but that one is kind of easy. I don't know if I should tell you guys that, but if you watch the tape you'll be able to figure it out. It's not even close, it's like night and day between those two.

Q. On a more serious note, just from a challenging standpoint for an offensive line, how difficult does it make life for them when there's not one but two bookend ends, as you've described? Maybe you can chip one but I'm not sure you can chip both, and just the fact that they can play off of each other?
DINO BABERS: You know, I think that has a lot to do with it, but I'm going to throw something else out there, too. Chris Slayton, our 3 technique inside, we don't even use his name around here, we just call him 3 technique. He is an NFL 3 technique, and when that guy is inside, he demands a double. If you do not double him, he will hit your quarterback. And then on the other side, we have McKinley Williams, who does a fantastic job for us, as well, in the 1 technique, and those guys are so big and so strong inside that they demand that the center works those three -- the center and the two guys work with those two down guys. So just like you said in your opening statement, now you have the two defensive ends that are one-on-one, and yeah, one back can chip a defensive end, but that other guy is going to be free to run. And I think as they move the chips around, they move the doubles around, that not only Alton but also Kendall has been able to take advantage of their one-on-ones in most situations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #166 at 2018-10-10 15:26:00 GMT

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