Sept. 20, 2004
Louisville, Ky. - Head Coach Bobby Petrino and selected players made themselves available to the media for the weekly football press conference on Monday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. They discussed U of L's upcoming road game at North Carolina which is set to kick off at 1:35 p.m. ET at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
After the game at UNC, the Cardinals return home to host East Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 3 p.m. on Homecoming at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
On what it will take to beat North Carolina :
"We need to have a god week of practice. I think our players came back last night with a lot of excitement. We watched a video of North Carolina and went out and practiced. We actually practiced for almost an hour and 40 minutes. Today again is their off day. They have class today and we start up tomorrow for our normal week's preparation for a game."
On the impact of the unusual schedule/days off:
"I think they were positive for us. I think that we did is we went back and took it like a normal bye week where you go back and work on technique and fundamentals. We worked against each other and we got real good speed work. Then Thursday we did do some work against North Carolina, but still mostly working to improve ourselves. Then they (the players) got about a day and a half of because they didn't come back until 5 o'clock Sunday night to lift and practice."
On the impact the unusual schedule had on him :
"I got kind of antsy and didn't know what to do with myself. Normally on Friday you're in a different type of mindset and different mood, but it was different and hard and unfortunate that it was postponed because as it turned out they probably could have played the game. But at the time when they made the decision it looked like it was going to hit and there was nothing we could do about it. And the other thing that we were concerned about was that we had a lot of players on our team from Alabama where it did come through so we were concerned about their safety and what would happen to their house and all that so our players were in constant contact with there families."
On any serious ramifications from Hurricane Ivan (on the players/players' families :
"I think we came out okay. Tiger's right from Mobile and his mom's job is part of dealing with disaster so she was right there with it."
On the possible impact of another storm vs. North Carolina (Hurricane Jeanne):
"I don't know. Last night they told me it was going to go further east so hopefully it won't be there. We've just got to prepare for the game. And if it does come that way then we're going to be playing in the rain and take care of the football and get ready to run the ball and work to stoop the run."
On the impact working against UK's Shane Boyd will have on the defense against North Carolina's quarterback:
"They are fairly similar. Both of them have strong arms and are very good runners. The guy is much more experienced than Shane was. I remember watching him play 3 years ago. So he's a guy who's done a nice job. We had their video last year when we were preparing to play Syracuse so we watched a lot of their offense against Syracuse's defense. That was a shootout. It was a high scoring game that came down to a 2-minute drive. They have a lot of weapons on offense and a good offensive line so it's going to be something where they will really find out and learn some stuff about where exactly we are on defense this weekend."
On whether this is a good time to learn about his defense :
"Yeah, I think it is. I think it's something that our players will be fired up and looking forward to. I know when everyone saw the schedule when it came out they were counting this one as a win for us, but it's going to be a tough football game. We've got to go on the road to play a team that feels good about themselves and can score a lot of points. So I think it will be a great challenge."
On North Carolina's defense :
"They're young. They are playing a lot of guys. The first 2 games are the 2 that we're working off of. They're playing a bunch of young guys, some true freshman, sophomore linebackers, when we look back at the defense from the year before; it's a new coordinator so the schemes aren't the same. There are a lot of new players and they've made a lot of mistakes in their first couple of games but last week they came up with 5 turnovers and made plays to win the game."
On the success the program has had against BCS teams :
"I'm not really sure to be honest with you. I didn't read the article, but we've won some big games here recently. The win against Florida St. was something that's helped the program a lot, particularly in recruiting and identified a lot of the Florida recruits with that game. They still talk about it when we go out recruiting the kids from Florida about that win. And to be able to win last year against both Kentucky and Syracuse were both big for us, as well as the opener against Kentucky this year."
On whether he will address the excitement surrounding the game with the players :
"We've already addressed it. We addressed it when we started the season in the first meeting. We addressed it after the Kentucky game because I know you guys were talking and writing about it so if you're doing that they're listening and we'll have to continue to address that, but I think right know our players understand what we are getting ourselves into on this road trip and it's going to be a good challenge for us and all of our focus I'm certain, will be on North Carolina and preparing for this game."
On the status of Kerry Rhodes:
"Kerry should be back. Last night he still wore the yellow no contact shirt, but he'll be back Tuesday and I just talked to the trainers earlier today and they said he'll be ready to go on Tuesday."
On whether this game will take more of the offensive package to win :
"I think it will take our total package and all our effort. We'll certainly have to go in and execute and be able to move the ball and score points. I think it would be good for us to get ahead early and try to control the ball and put the pressure on them to throw the ball. In last weeks game they really made a conscious effort to run the football particularly after they threw a couple of early interceptions."
On controlling turnovers vs. North Carolina :
"No, we don't talk to our team a lot about offensive turnovers. We do work every day on ball security and tucking the ball away and making sure the quarterback keeps 2 hands on it when he moves. We are talking about our defense and creating more turnovers. Right now we're plus-2 and I think we need to be better than that."
On whether North Carolina is more dangerous after getting a big win last week :
"I think they feel good about themselves right now. They struggled in their opener and had to go into the 2nd half lat to win it. And then they played a very good Virginia team and got beat pretty good there. A lot of people didn't give them a lot of chance against Georgia Tech and they came back and got a nice victory. I know their offense is really confident and defensively they feel much better about the way they played."
On the key on defense :
"I think if our defensive front can get off blocks and make plays so we can play base coverage's and then be able to mix in some zone blitzes and run blitzes to help stop the run in some instances. We've got to cautious to because he can throw the ball deep and they got some good speed. So it's going to be a cat and mouse game back in forth in picking our time to come after them if we can hold up against the run not having to do that."