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Published 10/28/2012
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Meet the Press: Virginia Tech Game

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Head coach Al Golden and selected student-athletes met with the media on Monday to discuss the Hurricanes' Thursday night game against Virginia Tech.

Al Golden Pre-Game Press Conference
Oct. 29, 2012 (Virginia Tech)

Opening Statement...
"We have a great opportunity against Virginia Tech on Thursday night, and I know one that our team is excited about. We're playing a team that has been the benchmark on the (ACC) Coastal side, if not the conference, six of the last eight years. Well-coached, disciplined team. Tough team led by one of the premier players in the league in Logan Thomas. Very rugged offensive line. They're using three running backs right now. Very explosive wide receiver corps. On defense, playing a little more man-to-man than we've seen from a Bud Foster defense in the past. Aggressive in their press coverage. Excellent in their eight-man front. Since 2000, I think they've been among the nation's best in terms of interceptions and TFLs - this team is no different. Obviously they've won the last three against us. It's going to be a great challenge for us. I don't think I need to talk about how well they're playing on special teams right now. Excellent team coming in, our guys had a chance to get rested up, I think we're focused right now. We're back in game week mode."

On any benefits of playing similar running quarterbacks in Collin Klein and EJ Manuel...
"I hope it does. At the same time, the big thing with Logan - if I'm over there, I'm saying he's had 10 days before this game, and going to have nine days on the back end - I would probably run Logan a little more than he's running or than he has run. He's tough when he gets going, like (Florida State QB EJ) Manuel and (Kansas State QB Collin) Klein. I think Logan does a great job with the read option, he does a great job with the power read, and he can make all the throws. This is an excellent quarterback, and one that is going to be a great challenge. We can't let him get going."

On how weather affects Hokies' practice...
"They have an indoor facility. I don't think it's going to be interrupted. As consistent as that group is as a staff and as an organization, I don't see anything interrupting the continuity of what they're doing to get ready for us."

On how to improve on third-down offense...
"It's an interesting thing - you go 4 out of 12 and you're not having a good day, but if you go 6 out of 12, you're among the best in the country. You have to make a couple more plays - sometimes that's a little more time, a little better protection. Someone has to shake free and make a play - and also, you can't drop one. If you have an opportunity, you can't drop one, or if you have an open receiver, you can't not connect. We've worked it. We don't know what we're going to see from Tech. We are seeing more man-to-man, so obviously that means they have confidence in their coverage people. If you're playing "man", you get more pressure on the quarterback, and that's how they're trying to make things happen. We need to beat man-to-man and obviously protect, because they are pressuring in those situations."

On throwing the ball deep against man-to-man coverage...
"If you're going to take your shots, you have to hit them. And if you're going to take your shots against man-to-man, you need to protect. It's no secret we've been a team that has tried to take shots in every game we've played in. We have not been as successful in the last couple weeks as we need to be, and we certainly we need to be very successful in doing so Thursday night against this team."

On Olsen Pierre's emergence at defensive tackle...
"He is starting to make a lot of progress. He's playing with a little more energy, a little more confidence in his hand placement, in his transition to pass rush. We've just seen a little bit different [with him]. We've got a long way to go there with Olsen, but he's been better. I think that bye week helped him, those two practices last week helped him. So far he's carrying it over. We really need him to step up and take it to the next level for us."

On who else has been rotating on the defensive line...
"Corey King looks like he's getting off blocks a little better, moving his feet. He showed up against good competition, he just has to keep going. We're going to continue to work Earl Moore in there, Luther [Robinson], Curtis Porter is working with us now. Those are the guys - we've been working about six or seven guys in there."

On the implication of the next four games on the season's outcome...
"We're not talking about the next four games. For us, we're just trying to concentrate on this game. This team we're playing has done what we're trying to do. They've been to the championship game, they've won the division, they've won the ACC Championship. That's our only focus right now, on the Virginia Tech Hokies and what we have to do to play well. The bye week was long overdue for us - we got some guys healthy, got some guys some reps and some experience we desperately needed last week. And now we need to turn our attention to Virginia Tech."

On the importance of the running game...
"Clearly at Notre Dame it started to get away from us, and we had to abandon it. I think our running game was excellent vs. North Carolina. And then against Florida State, who is excellent at stopping the run; I thought we started off good, got derailed a little bit, and then we weren't converting enough on third down. Late in the game we were throwing it. I think we have to have patience in our run game. Where we've played our best this year is when we've been balanced. We need all three of those running backs to come through for us. Dallas Crawford has had a good week. I'm confident, as are the coaches, that he's ready for an opportunity. Clearly I think Randy [Duke Johnson] and Mike [James] are healed up and ready to go."

On what Dallas Crawford brings to the offense...
"He has a little different style. He's a little shiftier. He has excellent short-area quickness. He can stop and start. He's tough. Dallas is a tough competitor, and he has moxie. I've been really excited about what he has done the last four practices. Dallas is excellent in pass protection. He's smart and he's tough. He plays at good pad level, and like I said - he has moxie. He has a tendency to figure things out."