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October 18, 2011

Q&A: Mike Archer happy to have Manning back

Defensive coordinator Mike Archer met with the media following Tuesday's practice to preview the Virginia contest and talk about his defense.

Archer sounded confident that former defensive tackle Brian Slay will stay at defensive end for at least the rest of the season and he was also happy to see linebacker Terrell Manning return to the lineup against Central Michigan.

A full transcript of what the coach had to say is below.

Can you talk about Brian Slay moving to defensive end?

It comes down to numbers, we don't have a lot. With the things that have gone on there, we just felt like that would give us the best opportunity and we're going to keep him there.

I guess you were pleased with how he played at DE against Central Michigan?

You're never completely satisfied, but for his first time being out there at that position and he had not played or practiced a lot; I was pleased. We just have to build on it and hope that he continues to get better because that's where he's going to stay.

Can you talk a little about the competition between Rashard Smith and C.J. Wilson at cornerback?

C.J. has played a lot of football, but I didn't feel like during the game against CMU that he was doing what he is supposed to do. Those guys are accountable to their teammates and us, so we made the change. They will compete this week, they're both going to play and we'll see who starts.

Talk a little about that Virginia offense, they've got those shorter running backs who run with a lot of power.

They're very good on offense, the last two years they've been over 400 yards on offense. Last week was, without question, their best performance of the year. They ran the ball for over 200 yards, you've got to stop the running backs. You've got to stop [Perry] Jones, you've got to stop [Kevin] Parks and you've got to stop No. 10 [Clifton Richardson]. All three tailbacks are good and all three made big plays against Georgia Tech. I've got to believe they're going to come in and try to run the football, in particular with our situation up front and our depth situation. And they'll throw it, they've made some big plays off play action.

Can you talk about preparing for two quarterbacks - they've been playing Michael Rocco and David Watford?

The offense has a few wrinkles with Watford, they do run the zone keep a little bit more, but they're going to play two quarterbacks, it's obvious and they put both in pressure situations. You just have to go play. You have to be aware who is in there but you're going to call the same defense.

Are they similar to an offense that you've faced already this year?

No, not really. They have kind of evolved. Early in the season, if you watched them against Indiana, against William & Mary, they've changed a little bit because they've found what works. They've built on that, which good football teams will do.

How strong is their offensive line?

They're huge, they're even bigger than Central Michigan's offensive line. They've got some older guys, the left side has got a little bit more experience than the right side. They're big, they're the typical Virginia offensive line that I can remember, they've always been big.

Have you seen growth from David Amerson?

Yeah, he's made some big plays for us, it's obviously when you have six interceptions. Now, I don't know if people are picking on him or if he is making plays because he is making plays and people have attacked him, he has been beaten on some double moves. I think the turnovers have helped us immensely, obviously - it's kept us in games and helped us win games.

How would you evaluate Terrell Manning's first game back?

It was awfully nice to have him back. He was extremely productive with a sack, nine tackles, a caused fumble and an interception. You miss play makers and that was what we missed when he was out. He made plays in that CMU game and hopefully that will continue.

Did having Terrell back in the lineup change the defense?

Yeah because you have a guy back there that can blitz and knows what he is doing. There's an experience factor and there's his personality and his leadership. We missed his play-making, but, more importantly, we missed the fact that the guy's a leader and he's played a lot of football games; he's helping some of these guys learn the defense.




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