We came out of last game in not bad shape. We didn't lose anybody from last week that won't be able to play this week. We do have a lot of sore football players right now, but in terms of injuries are concerned, unless they get hurt today in practice we should be in pretty good shape for this ball game. Your hoping you don't have a letdown. You played your best game last week. The big thing is you can't let down this week or you'll get beat. Those are the things we are working on.
What is the most difficult or hostile environment to play in the ACC other than your own stadium?
It would have to be Clemson. They really do a great job up there of getting everybody together. It is a bowl where the noise stays in there. Right off the bat I can't think of anywhere that compares to them.
Why is it so difficult for teams to build a good offensive line?
You've got to get a guy who is good at it. I have known (Rick)Trickett since he coached with Terry Bowden over at Auburn and then followed him where he has gone. Everywhere he has been he has been pretty doggone successful. Then you come in here and you kind of start all over. You start with freshmen. Last year we started three pure freshmen on our offensive line and the other two were sophomores. Well this year you have those same guys back and then they have another year of eligibility so you've gotten over the hump. We are still not as good as we need to be. I think in our three ball games you have different variations of line blocking. Last week is about as good as we can get. You hope that you maintain that.
Give me some of your thoughts on Miami cornerback Brandon Harris from the game you played against him earlier this year?
I remember him vividly. I thought he covered man-to-man about as good as anyone we have played. He is good enough to get all over you. He is real good. I don't know why you asked about him unless you have seen the same thing but he is an excellent cover man.
He was very mature as you can imagine because he had been in pro baseball five years before he came here. He was tall and he was big, had an excellent arm, excellent head and excellent leadership qualities. Our team followed him good. I think you need that and that is what he had.
Do you see USF as a team similar to your early teams that had to go on the road to face the top teams in college football to help build their program?
You are exactly right. I think they are probably ahead of us. You start about 1980 or 1979 is when we start to put it together. 1976, '77, '78 we were just pretty good. I'll be honest with you he (Jim Leavitt) has developed that program faster than any program I can remember at the Division 1-A level. I have seen the Georgia Southern's come along and I have seen a lot of the 1-AA schools come along but he has built a 1-A program about as fast as I can remember.
You didn't want to play this game so is there anything for Florida State to gain in this matchup Saturday?
Well you hate to give them credibility, that's what you do. Florida State was like that back in the 1960's. University of Florida did not want to play Florida State because they didn't want to give us credibility. Now USF is going through the same thing. I think you are going to see more and more of that now because of the economy. It is so much easier now to travel to Tampa then it is to Provo, Utah. They have earned their success in my opinion.
The game against USF has all of the signs of a trap game. What do you tell your players to guard against that?
There is only one thing. We must be concerned about ourselves and not the other team. We have to be concerned about us playing our best no matter who we are playing. That's one thing about Division 1-A football, there is no playoff. Every game is a playoff game that you have to win and if you don't you are out of it. The big thing we have to do is play the best we can and try and maintain the standard that we set last week and yet realize that it is going to be a struggle this week.
What did you learn about your team and what did they show you last week?
They showed what they can do. That's the biggest thing. Every year we talk about potential and this is a team of potential, which means you haven't done it yet. That game showed the potential of our football team. Now the only thing about it is teams do not play up to their potential every week; they can't do it. Boys after three or four games, they have a letdown. It is kind of normal but when you do have a letdown you better hope your opponent does as well or else you are going to get upset.
How great is it for you to have great play from the quarterback position?
There is no doubt about it, to have a real good football team, to have a team that can compete for the Top 10, you must have an excellent quarterback. We have tried to do it for years. When we won the National Championships we had a Heisman quarterback. This young man (Christian Ponder) seems to have the same potential. To give you a good example, how about Southern Cal last week, their quarterback gets hurt and you look what happened to them. There is no doubt what the value of an excellent quarterback is.
Do you feel like you have a guy now who has what some of your previous great quarterbacks had?
So far I definitely believe that he is heading in that same direction as (Chris)Weinke.