BOBBY PETRINO: Well, we’re working hard in our bye week. We’re excited to have it. It’s a long time to go without a bye. Coming off a tough loss at Wake Forest, where our offense played well at times but wasn’t consistent enough, and had the ball twice in the red zone and didn’t score touchdowns. So that hurt us in the game.
Defensively we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re working hard on technique, fundamentals and scheme, and what we really want to do is finish strong and win these last three games.
Q. How would you kind of grade or assess Lamar’s play this year?
BOBBY PETRINO: Lamar has played really well. He’s throwing the ball well. He’s doing a lot of great things in the passing game, going through his progressions, taking care of the ball for the most part. He’s done an unbelievable job running the football and executing the offense. You know, we just haven’t been able to give him enough help in areas where we can stop teams and score enough points to win.
Q. How do you think he’s handled that this year, not really having the success and the wins and losses you guys have had?
BOBBY PETRINO: You know, he’s a great young man. He comes to practice every day and works extremely hard. He is a great competitor, so obviously he doesn’t like to lose games, and he works hard every day to get better. So you can’t say enough about that.
Q. Where do you think you’ve seen him improve the most from last year?
BOBBY PETRINO: I mean, he’s improved probably in all phases of the game, but his understanding of defenses, understanding what exactly we’re trying to do offensively, his ability to get the ball out on time and accurate. He makes a lot of great throws each game.
Q. Typically I know the Heisman is supposed to be an individual award. Typically it goes to the best individual on a good team, though. Where do you feel like Lamar’s performance this year is relative to last year, and do you think he deserves to be in that conversation for the Heisman despite the fact that maybe as a team you guys aren’t quite where you would like to be?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I think he’s playing really well, and obviously is one of the best players in the country. We’re not taking care of business as a team enough to really get him into that talk and what he’s doing, but when you look at his numbers and what he’s done individually, you know, he’s certainly one of the best players in the country. Now, I don’t see all the other players and obviously know there’s a lot of great players out there, but what Lamar does week in and week out really is amazing.
Q. I know you guys talked in the off-season about his future and what he might need to do to develop to get ready for the next level at whatever point that comes in his career. Have you seen the strides in that direction, and what has your advice been to him about whether coming back for another year is a good thing or — in terms of preparation for when he does get to the next level?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, you know, as you’re going into a season and during a season, you never talk about what you do after the season is over with. You just focus on what you can get done, how you can perform individually, how you can help the team win games, and just do the best that you can each week in practice and each week in the game.
He certainly made huge strides in his knowledge of the game of football and his ability to throw the ball accurately, throw it deep. Obviously he’s one of the greatest athletes there is as far as his ability to run and the speed that he played with. But we don’t talk anything about that. The time and the place for that is when the season is over with.
Q. Just in general across the country, dynamic tight ends seem to be a little more rare, tight ends who can both block and catch. How have you seen the role of tight end change nationwide, especially the past few seasons?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I mean, it’s changed in probably the last 10 years from the big, physical on-line guys that can really block to guys that now play multiple positions, not only tight end but play in the backfield as a fullback, play split out as a wide receiver. So you’re always looking for that guy that can do multiple things. It’s one of the toughest positions there is in football because you have to run block, you have to pass block, and you’ve got to run routes and catch the ball and run after the route. You know, it’s a very unique position, something that you have to work hard at in recruiting. We’ve always been fortunate to have some really good tight ends.
Q. Length of college games is growing a little bit longer the past few years. Would you be a proponent of a rule change, keeping the clock running after 1st downs just to shorten games a bit?
BOBBY PETRINO: No, not at all. I think that’s why you see some of the great college games and the great comebacks and everything that there is in college football. I don’t think that we need to try to shorten the game at all.
Q. I was wondering in regards to the early signing period in December if it’s your expectation that all of your commits will be signing?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s new to all of us, new to everybody in the country, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. You know, obviously the best thing for us would be if we get them all signed when you can in December. I’m certain there will probably be one or two or a number of guys that don’t feel comfortable yet and maybe haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet. I know there’s a lot of unknowns out there. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how it all plays out.
Q. Do you have a feel yet of this is going to be a good thing overall?
BOBBY PETRINO: You know, I think it’s going to be a good thing for staffs that are intact and are going to stay intact, and I think it’s going to be a shocking thing for some players that all of a sudden there’s a new staff in place. You know, I guess there’s just so many unknowns. I really don’t know.