Virginia vs. Penn State
Sep. 8, 2012
Virginia Head Coach Mike London quotes
On quarterback Michael Rocco and the team's effort:
"No player likes to come out of the game. They want to play, particularly when you're competitive and Michael is competitive. It's unfortunate when you're the quarterback and things happen like fumbles and interceptions. You're looked at as being the guy that's blamed for that: dropped passes, a tackle lets the rusher go and sack the quarterback. There's a sense of urgency to make a change. At that point in time, right after the mucked snap, I just wanted him to get on the sideline and look at the game a little bit. Phillip (Sims) had two series. He was okay. He did a nice job. Then we put Michael back in, and what a confidence booster for a guy like that to manage the team and manage a win. Predicated by a great job by the defense, I was reminded that of their four turnovers, they had negative-14 yards and only three points.
"So, it was a tremendous job by the defense. We weren't clicking on all cylinders, but enough to eek out a win here. That's (Penn State) a very good team; it's a very talented team. I understand that guys left and went on to different schools, but they were very big and athletic up front. They wore us out a little bit. We were battling with them. I told Coach O'Brien it's such a good team that he has. I know the stories following Penn State wherever they go, every game they play, questions here and there. The football field is where the games have to be played, and I'm proud of the way our guys gave a good effort to play and win this game."
On the defense:
"We played well defensively. They got the touchdown in the latter part of the stutter go-route, when thereceiver acted like he was going to block it and took off deep in the end zone. That wasn't because of botched coverage or anything like that. It was just middle layer playing the route. Like I just said, I'm very proud of this team. There's so many guys that you go through that play and help us play. They may play two or three plays, special teams, whatever it is. This week, the scout team guys and the rest of the team on the sideline, when they saw a tackledpass broke, they whole sideline was yelling "pass." They do such a great job with the play actions and the tight ends. Everybody was involved in this game. Like I said, it was a great job by the players and coaches. I understand it was close, but I'd rather be on the winning side of it than the other."
On Jake McGee's play (in the fourth quarter):
"I'll tell you, you saw last week the one-handed catch he made, and that catch down the middle of the field. If he doesn't make that, the game's probably over. Jake has made those types of catches in practice. He's another type of guy that we've got to get the ball to and find ways to do that. I'm very very proud of Jake for being a selfless player, and when he's called upon, a lot of times he delivers."
On Penn State kicker Sam Ficken:
"I understand there's a lot of pressure on kickers. But I also understand the pressure that can be applied on the other side when you can push on the guards and get your hands up like the one we blocked. When you start doing that, you kind of create that thing where the kicker knows you're back there - you're close. Maybe we got in his head. Maybe he just missed them. I don't know. We've won a game before where you try to get after a kicker (at Florida State last season). Just the pressure alone and the mindset that you can block one at any time, I think that's part of it."
On switching quarterbacks:
"Again, like I said, I brought Michael out to look at what's going on, to watch the game. I gave Phillip an opportunity to get in there He was a little rusty with some throws. I also believe that Michael has done a nice job and runs his team well. We have another quarterback that's a good quarterback that you have to give opportunities to. There was no, `you're coming out because you're bad,' or anything like that. It was another way to give a guy some reps and allow Mike to see what's going on. He did a great job with their formation, their line switch, the eagle front at the last minute and bringing personnel from all over. I just thought it was a good opportunity for him to see what was happening on the sidelines. Then he came back in and did a nice job, and that's a credit to him."
On Ausar Walcott and his career changes:
"He's chomping at the bit to be a defensive end that can rush the passer. If you remember a couple yearsago, he was a safety that we moved to an outside linebacker and now to defensive end. He put his hands on the ground and is learning how to pass rush. He applied a lot of pressure to the quarterback today. He had the quarterback under duress. He made some great plays. He just wants to play the game. He's a great young man who has had issues here. I'm so proud of him that he's turned his life around in terms of being that model, that player doing well in class and doing the things he's supposed to be, wanting to learn how to play football, being accountable to his teammates. He's made tremendous strides in that area."