"Looking forward to Saturday because of a lot of different things, but most especially because it’s senior day for our 17 seniors who are playing their last home game here at Byrd stadium. It’s always a bitter-sweet day when that happens, but you know something that you’re very proud of those young men with what they’ve contributed and what they’ve learned here and then as they end up going on to future endeavors. Look forward to that and I know that we have a very good football team coming in in Florida State. You look at their numbers and their numbers really say it all in terms of where they’re ranked nationally defensively. Offensively a very talented football team and one that we are really going to have to prepare well for in order to have an opportunity to win."
On if Shawn Petty was excited about switching from linebacker to quarterback
"Well he really had no choice. It wasn’t ‘Shawn do you want to do this?’ It was a ‘Shawn you’re gonna do it.’ So there was no choice when I talked to both he and Brian McMahon. But I think deep down in Shawn’s heart he always thought he was a quarterback and really relished the opportunity to go out there and play. And again, after the season is over we will evaluate where we go, knowing that we have guys coming back, we have guys coming in. But again, I just think that what Shawn has been asked to do is…just the more and more people that I talk to in this business and have been in the business longer than I have, they’ve never seen anything like it. For him to come and step in in the games that he has stepped in and will continue to play in just says a lot about who he is as a person and how tough a competitor he is, and just his willingness to do what’s best for the team. As a coach that’s what you appreciate and that’s what you’re trying to build in terms of your program is the team concept and whatever the team needs somebody to do, you want those guys to step in and do that. Shawn has done that for us, but I still think he’s going to be a pretty good linebacker."
On how Devonte Campbell has fit in to the offense
"I think Devonte has played quite a bit for us this year because of the two tight-end package that we’ve played in. And again, just knowing Devonte’s background when I got here and having the opportunity to know him even better. You know, Devonte didn’t play a lot of football in high school, but to see the growth and development that I’ve seen in him the past two years has been on the upward curve. He’s gotten better, he’s worked at what we’ve asked him to work at, he goes out and practices hard. I just see a guy that is working to get better and has gotten better and can work to improve in areas. But I really like Devonte and because of his abilities, we’ve been able to do a lot of two tight-end packages because of his abilities and how he’s produced when he’s been in there."
On the year Kevin Dorsey has had:
"Kevin hasn’t had the kind of year this year that I know he would like to have from a numbers standpoint I’m sure, but I appreciate Kevin from the standpoint of what he has done from a leadership standpoint and how he has gone out there each and every day and has practiced well and has worked with the young kids to help them come along. That’s when you’re an unselfish person when you do that. He’s a guy that takes a lot of pride in how he plays and how he prepares. I just wish he could have caught more balls this year, but he has done other things this year that has helped our team to be better. He’s always going to be a guy that I have a lot of great memories of."
On what Stefon Diggs status is for Saturday:
"I really won’t know about Stefon or Wes [Brown] or any of those other guys until later in the week. We will see how they practice and if they practice here during the week, and then Thursday we will have the update. I’m hopeful that Wes and Stefon will be able to play, but again, you can only go by what you see in practice and how they respond to the injuries that they’ve had. Hopefully they’ll be out there. But like I said, I will have to wait until the end of the day Thursday to see where we are with them."
On what it will take to beat Florida State:
"You can’t turn the ball over, that’s for sure. They’re very talented. You see thier defense, you take a look at it and see what they’ve done to people. The biggest thing that we have to do is not turn it over, be efficient with what we’re doing and make sure that we allow Shawn to be able to have time to throw the football. We’ve got to be able to run the ball. And then defensively, they’re very talented. They’ve got talented wide receivers. They’ve got talented running backs. E.J. Manuel is as good a quarterback as there is. And then in special teams, they are talented as well. The biggest thing is that we can’t make mistakes. We need to play a perfect game. If we want to have a chance to win, we’ve got to play a perfect game and get turnovers against them. That’s what we have to do."
On Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel:
"He’s a guy that has played for a few years now. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s got a good arm. He’s mobile. He’s got good people around him. He’s just one of those guys that has the ability to make plays. He can make plays with his feet or he can make plays with his arm."
On Brad Craddock and the kicking competition:
"Every week since he had his problems earlier, I’ve had he and Brandon kick it against each other in the week. Last week, Brandon wasn’t very good and Brad was outstanding in practice. We decided to go with him based on the performance that we saw during the week in practice and he went out there and preformed. What he did on Saturday, that’s what we expect every time that he goes out there to kick. And I think he understands what he did wrong, the mechanics and the technique that didn’t allow him to kick as well as he would have liked to. He’s been practicing and working and hasn’t gotten down on himself and we haven’t lost any faith in him and he went out there and preformed. So we’ll see how this week goes. We kicked Sunday and we’ll kick tomorrow and we’ll kick Thursday and we’ll see where we are after Thursday. Because, you know, we chart all of that, between punts and kickoffs. And this week we told Nate Renfro, you know, we’ll have him and Brad have a kickoff in terms of the punting job to see who is more consistent. Because we have to average more in the punting game than what we are averaging right now."
On how they have dealt with adversity and his outlook moving forward:
"You can see a team that is out there competing for 60 minutes. These are just lessons in life for these young men. We have gone through some things this year that you normally do not go through in football, but that is how life is. Sometimes someone in your family has a health issue or goes through general trials and tribulations, but what you have to understand is you are going to have tough times in your life, in school, and in football. It is how you deal with those tough times that determines who you are, and who you are as a team. I think anybody that watches this group of young men play, they can understand that this is a team of competitors who will go up against adversity. I think this is a program that sticks behind the guys who are playing and the best guy will play. I am more concerned with beating Florida State and the next team the following week than worrying about what has happened in the past. Since we had injuries last year to the defense and injuries this year to the offense, hopefully we have gone through the cycle and we won’t have injuries next year."
On Florida State defensive lineman Cornelius Corradine:
"He is an outstanding player. The speed and athleticism of their defense is great. If you take care of one of their defensive ends they have another on the other side. Cornelius is very quick, very explosive and has good moves and you have to be very sounds and use good technique to be able to block him."
On what the senior class has done over the past two years:
"The seniors this year have been very good. I think that these guys have really done a good job of heeding the message of what this program is about and what we want to do here. They might not get all of the wins that they would have liked, but the one thing that I think they should feel good about and be proud of is that they have really laid the foundation for what this program is going to be about going forward."
On his hopes for the crowd this Saturday:
"I think that all the fans coming out has been great. I would love to see the place filled this weekend to pay respect to these seniors and also to this team for how they are battling and handling everything that has happened to them. These guys have come to work every day and they have done all of the things that we have asked them to do. That’s why I would like to see a sold-out place a great environment for this last home game. "These players are just going out and playing each play like it is the last play they are ever going to play. For some of these guys, they have two games left in their careers and then it is over. The numbers are staggering: 2.4 percent of college football players go on to play professional football after college. If you have 100 guys on your roster, only maybe two players will go on to play football after their college career. The average lifespan of a player in the NFL is 3.3 years. A lot of players are not going to play long enough to get the pension that is received after three years. "One of the great things about college football is the pageantry and the little things that you do for these kids. For example, as the season went on, we changed up the pregame introductions. It is really hard for these kids because of what they have to go through. They have two full-time jobs: they are students and they are athletes. They take classes all day long and come out with a degree from the University of Maryland, which presents them with such great opportunities. For these kids to go out and come to practice after that, it makes you really respect them and what they go through. "That is why you want to see people out there in the stands to appreciate what these kids have done. It is always a sad day as a coach when you have that last home game. It gets emotional because of the attachment and ties that you build with these young men. The wins are always great, but when you can help make these young men better people, better students, and better athletes, and then to see them go out and play and get their degree and know that you played a role in that development and maturation, that is what it is all about. That is why senior day is a little emotional. You feel for these guys who have spent so much. Anybody that is out there is a competitor, but the end is growing near. Hopefully we can fill the place up and get a lot of fans out there because these kids have given everything that they have to make the program better and represent this institution in the best way possible on and off the field."