BOBBY PETRINO: We’re working hard on our preparation for Clemson. It’s been a short week, so we came in and practiced Sunday night, had a good practice there. Our players have had a very good attitude and worked extremely hard, came back and practiced physical on Monday, and then yesterday was a Thursday for us. So with the short week of preparation, I’ve been happy with our attitude and our work ethic. We know we’re facing a very, very good football team, and it’s going to be a big challenge for us.
Q. Starting off 0-2 in 2015, obviously the games have been close. Now when you look back on film and you’ve had some time to kind of digest the two, what are some of the biggest takeaways you have right now on some of those key areas that you want to try and minimize those issues?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, offensively the number one thing we need to do is eliminate the turnovers and the timing of the turnovers. One of them led to a touchdown that we ended up losing by seven points, so that really hurt us. Defensively we’ve got to be able to get off the field on 3rd down better and do a better job of stopping the run on 1st down, and really the first drives of the game and the first drive of the third quarter have really hurt us on defense. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, and our kids are willing to work hard, so I’m encouraged with that. But it’s a lot of work.
Q. And then as far as your quarterback situation, you’ve utilized different people, Lamar obviously, Kyle last week. What can you say about the quarterback position right now, what you’ve gotten from it, and how it kind of looks going forward?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, you know, we’ve been able to see the talent and the excitement that Lamar has and his ability to throw the ball and run the football, but he is very young. It’s a different game between high school and college, but we’re going to keep working at it, have him improving. He is a very electrifying player with great ability. Kyle came in last week and operated the offense. He understands how the offense works and his experience shows. He was able to distribute the ball and allow us to move it down and get a couple touchdowns.
Q. What’s been the most difficult part about having to turn around after a game, and in this case a couple of losses, and game plan for a team like Clemson in just four days?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I mean, it’s a short period of time, and the number one thing that you try to do is make sure that we get them fresh, that you don’t overwork and that you get off of the soreness and the things that go into a very hard-fought game that comes down to the fourth quarter. So we’ve had to cut back on some of the physical things you do on the field and work harder on the mental part of it. It’s always been important, I think, to be able to get to the game fresh mentally and fresh physically.
Q. Coming off the close loss to Auburn and then going down to Houston, how would you characterize the mood of the team?
BOBBY PETRINO: Well, we don’t like to lose, so obviously that hurts and it’s disappointing, but the best thing is we put it behind us on Sunday and needed to move forward and get ready for Clemson. Our attitude and our approach to our preparation has been good.
Q. You touched on the quarterbacks there a little bit, but I don’t know if you were asked specifically, do you have a starter to announce at all or are you going to wait until tomorrow?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, we’ll just wait until tomorrow.
Q. Would you envision a scenario where you use Kyle and Lamar both, the way we saw them last week, or if one guy is doing well, will you stick with him?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, there’s a possibility that you’ll see more than one quarterback in there, but hopefully we get in there and get off to a good start. I think that’s the number one thing we’re looking at is to try to start faster, take care of the ball, not turn it over, and score some points early in the first quarter.
Q. How do you summarize to the guys the importance of this game, and is it more important than it would have been had you all not lost the first two?
BOBBY PETRINO: It’s the first conference game and it’s against a great opponent, one that’s ranked high and it’s at home on a Thursday night. Our guys will be excited and focused and ready to play. We just have to go out and execute and do the things on the field we’re capable of.
Q. What did you see as you reviewed the Houston film as the major reasons why the running game didn’t get going until the fourth quarter, and anything that you guys have addressed to try and get that going better, I guess, this week?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, we’ve been working hard on the running game, on our assignments and our technique, our pad level. Our running back is hitting the hole on time, and blocking downfield, which I think our receivers have been doing a good job of. But it’s still a work in progress.
Q. Just wondering if you guys have been able to pinpoint or identify some of the issues that have allowed the first two opponents to gain a bunch of yards rushing the ball.
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, it’s been a number of things. One is being sound in our gap control and playing our responsibility and not trying to do too much and relying on our teammate. The other one is to tackle better and do a better job of wrapping up and not letting people get yards after contact.
Q. Have you been surprised that tackling has been something that’s been an issue?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, a little bit surprised because we tackled really well in spring ball and we tackled really well in the fall camp, so it’s something that we continue to work on and we’ve got to do a much better job of.
Q. Are you at all surprised to be sitting here 0-2 or did you think going into the season that it might be a slow start for you guys because of either the quarterback situation or the defensive losses you suffered after last year?
BOBBY PETRINO: No, we didn’t think we’d be sitting here 0-2. We’ve had two very competitive games. We knew we had a really challenging opening schedule and two very good football teams. But we felt like we had our opportunities to win both games, and we are young, so what we have to do is learn how to win, not how to make mistakes and lose games, so that’s something that we’re working extremely hard at.