Quotes From Coaches, Players At ACC Football Kickoff
July 23, 2002
Coach Tommy Bowden
"If you go back and look at what we did with Shaun King (at Tulane), there's still going to be some misdirection, some opportunities for the quarterback to keep it. We're not going to totally eliminate that part of the package, but (quarterback Willie Simmons) isn't going to rush for 1,000 yards....Then again, I don't want to become so much of a drop-back team that you put a bulls-eye on the quarterback."
"Not so much (FSU's) loss to North Carolina, but the size of the score, and then NC State goes to Tallahassee. NC State was a seven-win team -- a good team, not a great team. They go down there and win, and then Maryland winning the conference, I think all of those things gave the conference some credibility and needed to happen. How that relates to this year, I don't know. We'll find out."
QB Willie Simmons
"To redshirt the first year and then to play backup the next two years, it's been a long time coming, but it's finally here, and I'm excited about it. At times, I contemplated transferring. It was the kind of emotions that every backup goes through, but I had a great group of guys around me, and Woody (Dantzler) was the greatest guy. To back up a guy like Woody made it easier because there was no animosity, no jealousy. Every time I got in the game, he was the first one to congratulate me when I got off the field, just like I was the first to congratulate him when he did something well."
"We're still going to be fast-paced with the no-huddle. We're still going to hit you quick with the hitches, we're going to throw the vertical route, it's going to be pretty much the same set plays, but now I'll be handing the ball off to the running backs as opposed to following guards through the hole. It's going to be the same basic package with a few wrinkles in it."
LB John Leake
"We want to prove a point this year, and we want everyone to be scared of us like they used to be. We want people to be scared to play with us in Death Valley....Willie and the offense are capable of putting up 50 points a game, if they need to, but both sides need to hold their end of the bargain."
Head Coach Carl Franks
"All three (starting QB candidates) are a mystery as far as knowing how they're going to react when they're the guy, because they haven't done it yet....You hope somebody starts doing very well and that it becomes very obvious that he's the guy."
"The immediate reaction (after a victory) should be to celebrate and have a great time that night, and then come in and get ready to play the next game. You don't want to get too high, you don't want to get too low. You've got to maintain some kind of equilibrium through the season, but every win is certainly something that should be enjoyed and celebrated to some extent."
"Our team will reflect my attitude more than anything else. If I've got an attitude that they say, "Hey, coach feels pretty good about us, he's got confidence in us," I believe that they will then exhibit that kind of attitude, that kind of approach to things."
RB Chris Douglas
"Some people ask, 'Winning one game, will you consider that a successful season?'. I don't think any respectable athlete in any sport would say, hey we've won one game, we're happy. We definitely want that first win, but we don't want to stop there."
"(The new $22-million practice facility) really shows the dedication to football at the University by alumni and outside supporters. It really brings a new kind of life to the team. This is going to be our season. We need to stop talking about it and be about it, and that building adds to it. We have a new face, a new game and we're just ready to go out there and do what we need to do."
LB Jamyon Small
"We've all won (in high school), and for me winning one ball game isn't enough. Winning that first game will feel great, we'll walk around campus with our heads a little higher, but you can't lose perspective that that's not good enough. We can only define our own success by the way we play. I'd love to celebrate eight victories a lot more than just one, and that's the level where we're trying to get this program, and hopefully I can be a part of doing that."
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
"What we've got to do is go out and see what kind of progress we can make in one year. But whatever it is, I think it's going to be tougher. The conference is definitely tougher."
"I can never remember a day where I said, 'I want to retire five years from now, or two years from now or one year from now.' Here I am 72, and I can't even believe it myself. But for some reason, I have no desire to retire. I don't want to retire. I want to do this until I die."
QB Chris Rix
"Playing quarterback at Florida State, you're going to get a lot of the glory, and when things go bad, most of it's going to fall on you. This year, I think some of the pressure is going to be taken off of me just because of the talent I have around me. We had the talent last year, but we didn't have the experience. That's not an excuse anymore, because we are experienced. I have a great offensive line in front of me, all returning seniors, and two of the best receivers in college football are coming back to join our receiving corps; and then our defensive line and it's supporting cast are going to take some of that pressure off. With the talent around me, it's going to be tough for us to be set up to fail."
"Teams should be (scared of us), especially this year. Last year, like coach Bowden said, was the year to get us....We're not focused on last season. It's in the back of our minds, but it's behind us. It's buried, and we're focusing on this season... It can't be expressed through words what you can learn by going through (last season). You've just got to keep it inside you, and keep it as fuel for motivation for this year."
DE Alonzo Jackson
"(Last season) was bad. I live, eat, breathe, sleep football, and to lose repetitively like that, it's awful. The first year I got here, we won the national championship. The next year, we (got to the championship game), and then last year, to lose as many games as we did, it was embarrassing."
"Look at the tape of last year's games, and you'll see the progress. Take a look at NC State, then take a look at Georgia Tech. Then you go right on ahead to the Gator Bowl, and look at our spring game. You can see the progress coming. We can feel it as a team. We're ready to play. Everybody. We want to fast forward to the Kickoff Classic. Let's start it up. Why not?"
Head Coach Chan Gailey
"The college player is much more emotional, more enthusiastic, and there's a little more electricity on the practice field whereas the pro game is more business-like. I've been on the practice field for all of spring practice, and I've not yet run into a hardened veteran or a primadonna."
DE Greg Gathers
"I'll miss some of Coach O'Leary's speeches before the games...but I'm happy that we've got a new coach. We've moved on from all of this, and we've got a chance to get some redemption from last year for what happened, with all of the self-destruction (at the end of the season)."
"All southern people are laid back. When we're on the field, we're working -- we're working hard and busting our tails. But at the same time, (under new coach Gailey), it's a laid back thing."
PR Kelley Rhino
"Both coaches are excellent. (George) O'Leary obviously turned the program around during his tenure. He brought a kind of a toughness factor that you could see when he talked. Coach Gailey is more of a mild-mannered man, which is positive in a lot of ways. Both are great coaches, but they have different ways of doing things. I've got a really good feeling about Coach Gailey."
"We've got a lot of corners returning, and our coaches tell me straight up that they're worried about man-to-man, deep ball coverages. I'll play the nickel position, where I'll come in for a linebacker and play in more underneath-type coverages where I can just react and make plays."
Head Coach Ralph Friedgen
"One of the secrets to our success is that we were totally unselfish, we were focused on one goal, and everybody doing their job. What happens, as you know, when you start becoming successful, is that the 'I' pops in. 'Where am I going to get drafted? Am I going to make all-conference? I'm not getting the ball enough. They're not throwing it to me, that type of stuff. That's what you have to guard for in this situation."
"The fact that NC State and North Carolina beat Florida State brings tremendous credibility to our league. And the fact that Florida State is in our league has raised the level, and that's good. We have some really good coaches in the ACC, it's a very competitive league, and it's an exciting time in the Atlantic Coast Conference."
"In my experience, if you believe you can do it, it makes it easier to do it."
OG Todd Wike
"We didn't beat Florida State, so that's still one of the goals that we have. The league is getting better, and more teams are challenging Florida State, and that's a good thing. The schemes are a big part of it, but the biggest change is our attitude and the confidence we have going into games."
"The attitude of the team and how we approach things from when I was a freshman, and even from a year ago, is significant. For a while, our goal was to get to a bowl game. We broke the huddle saying, "Bowl Bound." When Coach Friedgen came in, he said, "Who plays a game to be fifth or sixth place? You want to be the best." That's when we started looking at things differently.
LB E.J. Henderson
"It's hard to change somebody's mind in just a year. Maybe after this year and in a couple of years we'll have the respect that we used to have."
Head Coach John Bunting
"We don't have a chance to be competitive and be a good football team this year if our secondary doesn't play extremely well. That's the strength of our defense. We should be allowed to play multiple coverages, multiple defenses, multiple fronts, change things up, change blitzes week to week because of the strength of that unit. They've really got to play for us to be any good on defense."
OG Jeb Terry
"Last year, our motto was 'Take respect,' and we might have to do it again because we're not getting any respect in the league. It's a little frustrating that we're not. I don't understand why we're not, and it's lighting a fire. A bunch of guys on the team are motivated. That's the best way to motivate us. Doubt us and we'll do our best to prove everyone wrong, and I believe we will."
"The whole league is shaken up now. It's interesting going into this season. Everyone's just kind of feeling it out. No one really knows who's going to be where. A lot of people are still picking FSU to finish on top, but that's no surprise."
CB Michael Waddell
"Our defense, with the way we're working right now in summer conditioning, if we carry our mental focus from this summer into the fall, I think we're going to be alright. There will be some young guys that step up, because they're doing a heck of a job right now."
"Last year, we saw that at the end of the year, even though we lost those games early, they helped us a lot. They helped us prepare for other games last season. We played against some of the best teams in the nation, and that gave us a lot of confidence."
NORTH CAROLINA STATE
Head Coach Chuck Amato
"This is what we all try to do, is to get where (everyone) expects us to be a little better, and how it is handled, we won't know until the end of the season. If we can't handle the preseason expectations, we'll never get to where we want to when you look at the big picture."
"(QB Philip Rivers) has got to get better. Being the same makes him go backwards. You get better or you get worse, you never stay the same. He's been so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed since spring practice started, it's like it was when he was a freshman....He can't help but get better. He strives to be the best and works every angle he can to become better...That thing between his ears puts him ahead of people because he's so intelligent about the game and what he has to do."
QB Phillip Rivers
"Coach (Chuck Amato) is so intense. A walk-through is intense, and your mind is always focused. He's really team-oriented, no individuals, but he lets you go out there and play. There aren't very many stipulations as far as playing the game. You play to win and do whatever you've got to do to win. And that's the way we've been. We're kind of on the edge. We've won seven games two years in a row, and, it's nothing to be satisfied about, but it is something to build on."
FS Terrence Holt
"I hope that Florida State is at their best when they play us, and that we're at our best so the best team will win. By beating them during their 'down period,' you don't really get the credit you deserve for beating the old Florida State. I'd rather that they be known as the top team in the conference that they've reloaded and ready to go when we're ready to go. I think we'll get the credit we deserve from that."
Head Coach Al Groh
"We open with Colorado State, Florida State and South Carolina, all three bowl teams from last year, and I like it very much. I like the level of competition, and I want to get this young team ready.....Then we have a bye week (after the South Carolina game), which will give us an excellent opportunity to ascertain where we are, which players are ready for more, which plays we're ready for."
"A lot of our future is in the development of our young players, and they're going to learn how to play by playing in the games. That doesn't mean some of them are going to play 75 plays in that game, but to begin the process whereby some players will be ready to play more plays by the end of the year, the sooner the process starts, the better. Secondly, with South Carolina and Florida State already having been scheduled as our first two games, given that the last game many of these players played in they arrived at in a yellow school bus, I thought it might be to our advantage to play another game before we take them to Tallahassee."
LB Angelo Crowell
"We have a full year with this coaching staff under our belts. We come into this training camp knowing what the coaches expect, and that was open last year. We know the system, and all we need to do is go out and execute. They'll be doing a lot less coaching this year, and the talent will be able to come out."
WR Billy McMullen
"It's wide open. FSU can be defeated. You just need to go out there and play the first, second, third and fourth quarters and play smart. We need to go out there with the attitude that we can win, and then we need to do it."
"As soon as you hear 'Wake Forest,' your first thought is Ivy League, nice little sweet boys that might have the chance to play a little football once in a while. I'd like to get to the point that when people play us, they'll know we play tough, hard-nosed football....More importantly than just winning, I'd like to get to the point where every Saturday, when we play people, they know they're going to face a tough, hard-nosed, physical football team. And when the game's over, they might beat us, but I hope they go back to the locker room and say, 'Wow, we're glad that one's over with.' That's the attitude we'd like to have."
"The key for us is to remember that we won six football games (last season), but every one of those was hard-fought. We didn't have an easy win....If we are competitive again and are able to win some games this year, I wouldn't expect any of them to be any different."
DE Calvin Pace
"If we'd won the games we were supposed to have won, then we would have been in a bowl game. But yes, (having not been invited to a bowl) is definitely going to make us more hungry."
"The coaching staff's whole philosophy is about family. They treat us like men and don't get in our faces and humiliate us. It's all about playing hard and executing once the conditioning is there."
"I didn't want to go to a program where they were already established because I didn't want to get lost in the shuffle. My vision was to help turn Wake Forest around, and so far, it's working. I think we'll make it to a bowl game this year."
RB Tarence Williams
"No team is invincible. If Duke beats Florida State or Maryland, I won't be surprised. The ACC is very competitive, and anything goes. Although Florida State lost to Carolina and State, they're still the powerhouse of the ACC."
"It's possible I could miss the first game or the first two games with my injury, but as of now, I don't know. I hope I won't miss any games."