On Monday afternoon, Bobby Petrino met with the media for his weekly press conference. He talked about Syracuse, previewed Clemson, and said that “there’s a good chance” that DeVante Parker will play on Saturday. Check out the video from thecrunchzone.com or just read the transcript below. Or do both, that is also an option.
Looking back on the Syracuse game, it was a big win for us. It was a good win for us. Again our defense played extremely well. They not only stopped the run and hit the quarterback, but they scored four points. We watched the video. We saw improvement. We hurt ourselves in the first half with penalties and we turned the ball over. There definitely was improvement in the second half.
The other thing I’m excited about is that you can see the competitive spirit and the players competing extremely hard to compete and win the games.
Right now, as far as offense goes, we’re not explosive. We’re not a team that’s going to go out there and rack up 700 yards. We’re working to try to find a way to win the game, which is new for me. I haven’t been in this type of situation where you’re real strong on defense and offensively you’re working just to make sure you score enough points to win.
Our special teams gave us a lift. We did an excellent job punting the ball and getting it down inside the 5 two times in a row. We did a good job on our return game with the opening kickoff. We covered kickoffs really well. I think that’s one of the things I was most excited about was seeing young guys on our kickoff coverage team sprint down the field and show toughness. Stacy Thomas had a couple big hits for us. All of that is a real positive.
We have a great challenge ahead of us. Clemson’s a very, very good football team. They’re very explosive offensively. I think it’ll be our biggest challenge that our defense has faced to date as far as their ability to throw the ball deep, a running quarterback, a great receiver — they have a lot of pieces in that offense.
Defensively they’ve been very good. Last week they were extremely good against North Carolina State. They’ve shown to play great defense, both stopping the run and defending the pass. So, it’ll be fun. It’s a great trip for us. When you looked on the schedule, and you say, ‘hey, we get to go play in Death Valley,’ these are the type of games that the players we recruit and the guys that are here came here to play in.
We’ve got to have a great week of preparation and go attack the week and go down there and play very good football to come away with the win.
Will DeVante Parker play on Saturday?
There’s a good chance. He’s been running routes now for over a week and had a good weekend. Today will be an off day for him. And then he’ll have an opportunity to come out and practice tomorrow and then take it on a day-to-day basis from there.
We have two of them available to play. I think I might’ve made a mistake the other night when I said Will (Gardner) was available to play. He was available in an emergency capacity, kind of what I said going into the game. It’ll be interesting to see how he comes out and practices this week and what improvement did he make.
Reggie improved during the game. I thought he handled the adversity well again. We like to get off to a quicker start, but he did do a great job in the fourth quarter, made some big plays to allow us to win the game.
Left Tackle Jamon Brown
He got a little tweak on his ankle. He should be fine. He came back in the game. He’s been in treatment the past couple games. He’ll run with the team tonight, so he’ll be OK.
On playing at Clemson
It’s something you look forward to and enjoy. It’s gonna be very similar to last week. That was a loud place. I don’t know if it can get any louder, even though the crowd wasn’t that big. On that first third down and everyone started screaming and yelling, maybe it can’t get any louder than that. The stadium will be big. There will be a lot of people there. The field’s the same length. The goal post’s are the same height. We have to go in and enjoy it. This is one of the things that’s exciting about being in the ACC — the venues we get to go play at. This is our first real experience in that.
What we need to do is have a good week of practice, focus on that, getting better and then go play football.
On choosing between Bonnafon and Gardner
Execution, dedication throughout the week, how prepared they get. How much understanding they have of what’s going on. Basically it comes down to going out and executing in practice.
What goes into the final decision on DeVante Parker?
I think he’s gonna be good to go. That’s all the indications I’ve gotten from the medical staff. You never know what happens on a day-to-day basis. Between our medical staff and the group that did the operation, they gave him the thumbs-up to practice on Tuesday. He’s been running and doing routes. They went out and threw last night. He ran routes and did everything. Today is his day off. He will get in the pool and do some conditioning in the water. Basically stay off the foot for a day. All indications are he’ll be ready to go, it just depends on how it goes in practice.
How long does it take for a player to return from that kind of injury?
Four days would be good for me. That’s a hard one to answer. You never really know that. He’s a special talent. I think there’s going to be some issues with conditioning. Do you have soreness in areas, muscles you haven’t used? We have to be smart with how we practice him and see where he is.
Running Back Brandon Radcliff
His acceleration, his burst — he’s been running really hard. After the first contact he keeps driving his leg and breaks tackles. He’s done a really nice job for us. To be able to break tackles and get into the end zone two games in a row … You can’t get all of them blocked. You have to make one guy miss to get into the end zone.
On coaching a team led by it’s defense, not offense
The No. 1 thing I’m trying to do is just really understand that we’re 5-1 and we’ve found ways to win the game. We are what we are. It’s new for me. It’s not something I’m used to, not being able to go out and just call plays freely and throw the ball deep and do all that. But we’re not really there yet. We’re not there in the protection aspect. We’re not there in experience at quarterback.
That was the beauty of my first year here, Stefan (LeFors). Stefan knew how to change any play, so you could just go out and call ’em up and then if it wasn’t there or there was something that would hurt our protection, he could change it. We’re a little less experienced and we’ve seen more of a variety of defenses. You have to be a little more conservative and not hurt our defensive play. That’s what new to me is that we understand that our strength is on defense. We have to drive the ball, wear them down and get the ball in the end zone and then win the game in the fourth quarter.
Does it feel like you’re 5-1?
Yeah, definitely. Heck yeah. It’s hard to win games. Any time you win games, it’s a great deal. You look around the scores this week, Notre Dame beat Stanford 17-14. They should feel great about that. That’s a great win for them. It’s been a battle but we’ve really done a good job of finding ways to win the game in the fourth quarter. I’ve enjoyed our players on the sideline in the fourth quarter and seeing their mentality that, ‘hey, we’re going to go out and win the game.’ The way they’ve rallied around each other says a lot for their heart.
On Clemson QB Deshaun Watson
He can really wing it deep. that’s the thing that jumps out on film. He can throw it deep. He can make plays with his legs. That’s always a big challenge.
On this past Saturday’s wild day of upsets in college football
The parity. It’s close. You can’t make mistakes. It’s hard to win games. The competitiveness throughout the country has really tightened up. Each week you have to go and prepare. I said that as we were joining the ACC. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re going to win the games because you have better players.