Mike London: ACC Teleconference

Scout.com
Posted Oct 2, 2013


Head coach, Mike London talks Daquan Romero, Ball State, and more.

Below is the full transcript of Virginia head coach, Mike London's ACC teleconference.

Q. Mike, how does your scouting for a team like Ball State differ from a conference team or is it pretty much the same because of all the TV out there?

COACH LONDON: It's pretty much the same. When you scout an opponent, when you're evaluating an opponent, previous staff members that have coached against that team in the past, against the different coordinators, you try to gather as much information as possible.

The fact that a couple of the last two have been on TV for them, you have a chance to listen to the commentators and different things. It's basically what we've known about them, who we've known that's coached against them, the film we already get on them, and sometimes you add TV coverage, you go back and listen to some of the things that are said and shared.

Q. Monday you threw open the competition at wide receiver and center. Are you any closer to identifying starters for Saturday?

COACH LONDON: I believe we had a very spirited practice Tuesday and today. Quite sure that we'll have one tomorrow. It's one of those things you create competition at spots, the sense of urgency is given to some people. Sometimes you rise to the challenge or other people rise above your challenge.

I would say to solidify that would go into tomorrow as practice. It's been very spirited and competitive. But you will definitely see some of the names we talked about having an opportunity to go into the game and play.

Q. Oregon is coming to Colorado this weekend. From your perspective, at least theoretically, what makes the most sense in trying to slow Oregon's offense down?

COACH LONDON: To be honest with you, I'm trying to slow Ball State's offense down since we play them next. We did have the chance to play Oregon. Very explosive team. It's not a matter of you slowing them down because they have a system that's worked well for them. It's more of a matter of when you have the ball yourself, how you control the clock, understanding they're going to get their plays.

Again, Oregon is a very good football team that has a system that it's employed over the last several years, has recruited players in that system that have succeeded in it. I don't know if there's a way to slow them down. You look at the teams that played against them, they haven't slowed them down as well.

Q. Mike, I want to ask you about a play in a Pitt game. Quarterback was running, came to a sliding stop. A player came in and hit him. The replay seemed to show he hit him with the helmet. Pitt sent the play to the league office. Wondering if you know of any repercussions?

COACH LONDON: There's a process when plays are disputed. We can slow things down and look to see if there was intent or anything out of the realm of what's acceptable in the rules. I've gotten feedback from plays we've sent in through the proper channels. I'm sure they've gotten plays that they've sent in through the proper channels.

No one has said anything about that particular play, if there was anything being illegal about it. Again, they have an opportunity to go back and slow it down as much as they need to and see it as often as they want. When you put it on the Jumbotron, it looks like it might be something. Everyone gets upset or they get to the point where it appears that something may have happened illegally.

Thank goodness the ACC, Doug Rhoads, the officials, have a chance to look at things like that, slow it down, see the intent of the quarterback, see the intent of the tackler, if the trajectory has changed, angles have changed. They make a call based on the facts on the video.

Based on what they've seen - this being Wednesday - I've heard nothing from the ACC office.

Q. What do you tell your guys about tackling, lowering their head to protect themselves, trying to make more forward progress?

COACH LONDON: You always want to talk about the safety of the players. That's paramount to everything. You always talk about your face up, definitely your head up, never dropping your neck, wrapping with your hands up.

Obviously football is a game that the body positions change. You have a guy that's running. You go to tackle him. All of a sudden he starts to slide. Your change has to affect where that particular player is. That's the issue sometimes with tackling.

If you go back, look at it, the quarterback is sliding underneath. It changes his trajectory, changes his body. I thought that Daquan did a nice job, although it appeared it might have been helmet, it was shoulder pad, then the collision on the ground occurred. Always want to teach keep your head up, never drop your head. Always want to teach wrapping up, face up. You can't hit what you can't see. You teach those things, you drill them. Obviously that's a teaching point or teaching moment that occurred because you never want to put another player in jeopardy of doing something that's going to be harmful.

It's about technique. You like to have clean technique as much as you can. In a game, there's bodies flying all over the place and changing, sometimes it doesn't occur like that. But we teach the proper techniques of tackling.

Q. I think I've heard you talk about this somewhere, maybe on your radio show. You've probably seen the stat that Ball State has scored on the first possession in every game, offensive possession. Is that particular statistic something that you mention to your team? Is it a challenge in getting them psyched up for this opponent?

COACH LONDON: You mention it. It's a fact. When you have things in your scouting report that are factual, you can't gloss over it. It is something they've had an opportunity to do that. On defense you want to limit the points. Everything that happens, rushing, total defense, you want to limit the points. You want to make sure they don't get on the scoreboard. Ball State has done a great job, as you just mentioned, about putting scores up on their first possession.

Obviously defensively your job is to stop them from scoring, whether it's the first or last possession. So the challenge is made. The challenge is understood that this is a good offense. I believe they're 39th in the country in total offense, passing offense they're number 10, averaging over 300 yards per game. That's the challenge. I'm quite sure the guys will rise to the occasion.

Q. Did you see David Watford throwing to the receivers following the team's return home on Saturday night or did you see him on Sunday morning out there?

COACH LONDON: I didn't personally see him do that. I've heard that he organized those opportunities, and the players got together and embraced that. Again, it just speaks to no one is satisfied about where they are. We know there's improvement that's needed.

When you have players that take ownership, take things upon themselves to get better on their own time and volition, then you're moving in a positive direction.

Again, those guys want to win. They want to do well. All of us want them to do well and we want to win. They've taken a step to show that it's important to them, it's important to the team. I applaud them for that.

Q. Mike, you mentioned the other day that part of your frustration with the offense was the fact that the defense has sort of taken so well to this new scheme. Why do you think this defense has taken so well to the new scheme? What about it do you think really suits the personnel?

COACH LONDON: Well, you look at guys that are playing defensively, the style of linebacker, the style and length of defensive ends that we have. Those are the type of things that lends itself to the movement and the things that Jon has done in the past as compared to some of the other defenses he's had. It's about just finding and trying to put people and players in the right spots. Max Valles came in as a tight end when he came in, then he was a defensive end. Evaluating the personnel you have. He ends up being a stand-up linebacker.

Part of it is also placing the personnel. I think defensively they've gotten acclimated a little quicker. Again, we'll continue to have to keep playing good defense in order for us to be competitive in games and just keeping the progress of our offense as a focal point to get points and capitalize when the defense does create turnovers or short fields.



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