It has been a very busy day for seniors DeVante Parker and Lorenzo Mauldin as they are at the ACC Kickoff (media days) in Greensboro, North Carolina. They have been doing different interviews and photo ops all day long. They just met with the media for a little Q & A, and here it is.
Q. What’s it like being a receiver in Bobby Petrino’s offense?
DEVANTE PARKER: It’s a good experience. We know that Coach Petrino, he likes to put up points on the board, so that’s the best thing about being a receiver in coach Petrino’s offense.
Q. What’s the reception been like from the ACC and what do you expect in the opening game against Miami?
DEVANTE PARKER: We just expect to come out and play hard like we did in the bowl game, even though we’ve got new players and coaches and stuff, but we’re just going to come out and play hard and try to get a W.
Q. Without Teddy Bridgewater moving forward, what can you say about this offense and your expectations of it as far as how you’ve kind of gelled so far as a receiver out there?
DEVANTE PARKER: You know, Teddy was a good quarterback, but we’ve got another quarterback coming up in Will Gardner, and he’s a good quarterback. We expect to do good numbers this year with our new offense.
Q. The past few years you’ve gone through a couple different transitions as far as conferences: Big East to American Athletic which was a little bit of a new look, today ACC, which is completely new. Talk about that experience and just how it keeps your mind fresh and open.
DEVANTE PARKER: We know that we’re in a better conference now, so we know we have to come out hard every game and give it our all, and we’ll be fine.
Q. You’ve made a lot of catches that were actually pass interference and you caught the ball anyway. Can you explain the concentration, the ability, the agility, whatever, that goes into being able to do that?
DEVANTE PARKER: Well, I think it’s just God-given talent. I just go and get the ball whenever I can. It’s just natural to me.
Q. What does it mean to be on all these award watch lists, and you’re one of the premier players in college football kind of entering the season, growing up playing at Ballard High School, what does it mean to you?
DEVANTE PARKER: It means a lot, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t come out here and produce, so those preseason awards don’t mean anything.
Q. Are you louder in the locker room or out on the field?
DEVANTE PARKER: I’d probably say out on the field. Out on the field.
Q. Why such a long time to think about that? What’s the debate?
DEVANTE PARKER: Because I’m pretty loud in the locker room, especially arguing with my teammates all the time. We just like to have fun, but I’m pretty loud in the games, too, talking smack to the other team. That’s just fun.
Q. Just talk about the change from Charlie Strong to Bobby Petrino. What’s the biggest difference, and you guys have had so much success the last couple years. How do you keep that going?
DEVANTE PARKER: The biggest difference in Coach Petrino, he’s more a vertical type of coach, and he’s offense based. Coach Strong is more defense based. That’s the difference between them two.
Q. That helmet, is that a game helmet?
DEVANTE PARKER: Yeah, it’s a new game helmet.
Q. Does that affect your vision very much at all?
DEVANTE PARKER: No, it doesn’t affect my vision.
Q. That’s pretty cool.
DEVANTE PARKER: Yeah, it’s nice.
Q. Moving into a new league, getting to go see some new places, play some new teams at your place, any one particular thing or place you’re looking forward to going to or one team you’re looking forward to facing?
DEVANTE PARKER: I’m looking forward to going to Death Valley because I heard that’s a pretty tough environment, and I just would like the chance to go there and play and see how it feels.
Q. Lorenzo, everybody talks about Coach Petrino and offense. Talk about what the defense will be this year. I know there’s a change in the alignment.
LORENZO MAULDIN: First off, I want to say that moving from the defensive end position to the outside linebacker position under Todd Grantham’s defensive scheme in a 3-4 pro style. Coach Grantham is a more experienced guy with the NFL. He pretty much coached in the league for about eight years, and he’s bringing that style of defense over to the University of Louisville after leaving Georgia. I like his scheme. It’s complex but very — I just like it. It’s cool. It’s cool. I love it. I love it.
Q. You look at the success that Louisville has had throughout the last few seasons in different areas. When you look at the ACC, what’s going through your mind in this conference in a competition that you know you’re going to have moving forward?
LORENZO MAULDIN: That’s just the main thing, competition. The ACC has a lot of talent in it, and it just feels good to be in the ACC, first off. You know, I feel good to say that Louisville is in the ACC now. We finally get a chance to get recognition nationally because we’ve gotten plenty of times where they said that Louisville doesn’t play anybody. So now we get a chance to play some nice powerhouses. You’ve got the FSUs, the Clemsons and the Notre Dames, and you get a chance to go out nationally and say we beat these teams.
Q. I’ve got to ask the hard-hitting question about the hair. Is that just for media day? Is that just to kick things off or is it always that color through the season?
LORENZO MAULDIN: I actually just changed it a couple of months ago. It’s for the season. I will be playing around with red, so you’ll see red hair flying around, you’ll know it’s me.
Q. Last year the defense gave up 158 points. Is that too many? Is that too few?
LORENZO MAULDIN: Altogether, out of 13 games, I’d say that’s few. We’ve held a lot of teams under 20 points. That’s an accomplishment for our defense since for the last three years we’ve been playing here, or I’ve been playing here. I feel like that’s an accomplishment for the defense, and we plan to do that or less this year.
Q. There are a lot of golfers that start a round of golf and they have a number in their head what they want to shoot for the day. Is there a number in the defensive head about how many points you can, should or it’s okay to give up?
LORENZO MAULDIN: Well, initially you don’t want to give up any points. Your initial point in going into a game is to get a goose egg. There was only one game last year where we had that. We want to be around the 80, 70, 80 points throughout the season, just from coming out from being the No. 1 defense in the nation. We plan to fall back on that this year.
Q. What is it that you all have to do to get beyond the team that Teddy Bridgewater used to play for and just be Louisville football?
LORENZO MAULDIN: Our style basically is just to come into each game week in and week out aggressive. We have to be aggressive in order to keep up to the style of play when Teddy was here. Will Gardner, he’s a good quarterback. He’s light on his feet and he has a good arm. I mean, if he can fill — he has some shoes to fill for Teddy, but he’s going to come along. Teddy didn’t start off the guy he is, that he is now. He has a long way to come, and I believe he’s going to step up to the plate and come through.
Q. I understand that in the past you guys have had a very strong rivalry with Cincinnati and playing for the keg. What’s it going to be like this year not having that and playing a lot of new teams?
LORENZO MAULDIN: Well, I just want to say all those trophies are with us and they’re stuck with us. (Laughter.) You know, like I said, whatever challenge that we’ve got, we’re able to step up to the plate. It doesn’t matter what team we play. I mean, they’re humans just like we are, so we can just go out and play a team, and the odds will be in whoever’s favor.
Q. It is a whole new schedule for you guys. Is there a game that kind of sticks out that you kind of — your eyes get a little bigger for that you can’t wait?
LORENZO MAULDIN: You know, going into a season you always want to play the toughest team. Of course everybody wants to beat the defending national champion just to say they did it, and to be able to take that title at the end of the season. I would say the top three for me is Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame.
Q. I just wanted to ask you about Coach Petrino. You guys are all aware of kind of what he’s been through in his personal life, what happened at Arkansas. How was he welcomed there? Is that talked about? Did he come in and talk to you guys about that or is that something you don’t talk about?
LORENZO MAULDIN: See, right now I’d just say we’re not worried about that because what happened in the past happened in the past. Everybody deserves a second chance. Right now we’re just worried about the 2014 season. We don’t care what he did. Right now we’re worried about the present and we’re worried about the future.