COACH PETRINO: We’re looking forward to coming back home and playing a game at home. It’s been a month since we played in our own stadium, so we’re excited about that. Going to be playing a very good team in Boston College that’s got the No. 1 defense in the country. We haven’t seen anyone be able to run the ball on a consistent basis. They play physical and fast, do a great job of tackling. That’s certainly a challenge for us. Then we need to just come home and play well and find a way to get a win.
Q. Bobby, I know we’ve talked a lot about the youth on your team. I’m curious whether you’ve coached a team as young as you are, with the amount of true freshmen?
COACH PETRINO: No, not as many as we’ve had. I’ve had some years where I’ve coached where we’d had young wide receivers, young running backs, a couple times with a young offensive lineman or two, but not the combination of having young offensive linemen, receivers and quarterbacks. I thought they played their best game last week. They really did a good job growing up and understood the game plan. We showed a lot of improvement offensively.
Q. Even though there are some growing pains, I’m sure you expect coaching young guys, has this given you a good glimpse of what your future potential could be once these guys grow up a little bit more?
COACH PETRINO: Yeah. I mean, it’s exciting to think about what we’ll have here in the next three years with all the freshmen that we’re playing right now, and redshirt freshmen. Sometimes we think of our redshirt freshmen as our vets. I do think they’re doing a good job of learning the game. They’re learning how to play faster, learning how to play against great competition. I think in the years to come, we should get back and be a very good offense.
Q. Coach, I wanted to ask you about one of the youngsters, his development. Lamar Jackson, can you talk about how much he’s come in the last four or five games. Again, just watching, when he started out, he was strong as a runner. He’s come a long way as a passer. I wonder if you could address that.
COACH PETRINO: Yeah, I think he’s improved a lot as a passer. We all know how talented he is, how quick and fast he is, his ability to run with the football. But what really caught our eye in camp was how well he did throw the ball, how quick a release he had, how he had the ability to be accurate. Obviously when you get out in a game and the D-linemen are moving, linebackers are blitzing, safeties are disguising, early that was hard for him. He made some errors in decision. Sometimes you panic and don’t use your drops and your footwork. So he’s really learned how to calm down and utilize his technique. I thought that he had his best game in decision-making and execution last week.
Q. Boston College’s defense, up until last week nobody had really dented them. I think 228 was the most total yards they’d given up. Clemson pretty much moved it effectively. What was Clemson doing that nobody else has been able to do against them?
COACH PETRINO: Clemson took a lot of shots down the field and converted a lot of big plays, hit some go routes, hit some deep routes to the slot receiver. They were consistent in continuing to take shots and go after the man coverage. They never really did get their running game going or off track, but they did make a lot of big plays throwing the ball down the field.
Q. Is that something you can learn from or duplicate?
COACH PETRINO: Well, they really make running the ball difficult. They’re very physical up front. They do a great job in their gap control. Their linebackers are big and play downhill. They’ve kind of from a year ago made more of a commitment to man coverage, leaving their corners out there by themselves, continuing to do it time and time again. There’s no question we’re going to have to take some shots and hit some deep balls.
Q. Talk about Boston College, what are the three things you have to do to win that game on Saturday, three keys?
COACH PETRINO: I think number one is not turn the ball over. It’s going to be important for us offensively to take good care of the football, make good decisions. Eliminate negative plays, because they like to really bring pressure in passing situations, bring a number of different guys. The main thing we have to make sure we’re doing is going forward. Then defensively we’re going to have to stop the run and tackle well because they are going to challenge us with their running game.
Q. I know Boston College has a freshman quarterback. They also have another quarterback on the bench with a famous name, Doug Flutie’s son (actually Flutie’s nephew). What is it like to play against a team with a name like that?
COACH PETRINO: That’s a famous name there. I still remember the play. I’ve had the honor of getting to play golf with him. Enjoyed that, asking him a million questions. It’s a big part of their history.
Q. Looking at this game, there seems to be a matchup of two teams that are kind of mirror images of each other with respect to the fact that you’ll both be playing freshmen quarterbacks and defenses that have shown very well this year. Can you compare and contrast what that matchup will look like? Can you also speak to the development of your freshman quarterback, what he was able to accomplish last week at Florida State.
COACH PETRINO: Sure, yeah. I mean, both of us have been similar in the fact that there’s been times we’ve played really good defense. They’ve played it on a consistent basis game in and game out. Both lost some close games. When you look back, one or two plays could have made the difference if it went one way or the other. I really like the way Lamar is practicing and the way he’s developing. He’s starting to be more consistent. He’s having the ability to focus and do a better job in practice. That certainly carries over to the game. He had his best game last week as far as throwing the football. Was accurate. Made some good passes down the field. We made some big plays against a very good defense.
Q. Speaking of that defense, Boston College has played consistent defense, but last week it seemed like Clemson was able to expose a weak link in their pass defense. Is that something that jumped out at you right away?
COACH PETRINO: I think Clemson was consistent on just continuing to attack the coverages that they were seeing. They always do a good job of that. They always do a good job trying to find matchups. They’re not afraid to throw the ball deep. They’ve got a quarterback that’s a really good deep ball thrower. They made some plays down the field. The hardest thing with Boston College is finding a way to run the football against them. They’ve been tremendous against the run this year.