Postgame: Interviews with UVA coach Mike London, players following Miami win

UVaHelmet_1UVA coach Mike London

On the game: “What a great win for this team. We never doubted ourselves and we always believed. It was great to watch a game like that unfold against a very good football team. I am so proud today of our effort on all phases: offense, defense and special teams. I am happy for our players – they deserve it. It is short lived, because we have a quick turnaround and have to go play our last regular-season game on the road. We are moving forward and moving on.”

On the halftime mentality: “We had the mentality that we were ahead, and if they don’t score anymore – we will win the game. In the second half, we scored points, got turnovers and did a lot of good things. That’s what you want to see – you want to see progress.”

On Khalek Shepherd’s performance: “It was an outstanding performance. Khalek is a selfless guy. I can’t say enough about a guy who has played his last home game and who has been such an instrumental part of our offense. He did a great job today.”

On the strong defensive performance: “The defensive coaches had a great game plan. I believe Duke Johnson is one of the best running backs in the country and he was held under his rushing average. Our players did a good job of taking their assignments. Turnovers, sacks and fumbles – the type of defense that we need to continue to play.”

On Canaan Severin’s TD catch: “That was a phenomenal catch, one of the best catches I have ever seen. I am so happy for him.”

On team not capitalizing on early momentum: “Our goal was to eat as much clock as possible. Our running game was doing a lot of things for us. At that time in the game, it was about taking time off the clock.”

 

Sophomore Linebacker Max Valles

On how the defense contained Miami’s offense: “The biggest thing is we stopped Duke Johnson and the running game, which forced them to pass. [Brad] Kaaya is a great quarterback, but he’s young, so we put him in a position where he had to throw a lot. We got them out of their offense.”

On creating takeaways: “It’s definitely good to get back to creating turnovers. That was us all season up to the Pittsburgh game. We got back to that.”

On how the team prepared: “We’ve got 25 seniors and this is our last ride. As one of the younger guys, I felt like I had to give it everything I had. As a team, everyone did his job tonight and it was a great win.”

 

 

Sophomore Quarterback Greyson Lambert

On what he said to Canaan Severin after his touchdown catch: “Honestly, I just ran over there and brushed his shoulders off a little bit. I didn’t really have words. It was crazy.”

On converting touchdowns in the red zone down the stretch: “We were able to run the ball pretty well all game. Some of it was the play design. Coach [Steve] Fairchild did a great job calling the plays, especially with that edge sweep to Darius [Jennings].”

 

 

Junior Wide Receiver Canaan Severin

On the TD catch: “I was surprised I even caught it to be honest. Greyson put me in a good spot to make a play and I made it. Lucky for me, I don’t think even the safety thought I was going to get it so he went behind me for the pick. Everything fell in place.”

On the win’s importance: “It was a big game. It was senior night and our record was 4-6, and we know that as a team we still can be bowl eligible, so the fact that the game was a do or die situation really made it big, so we came to play.”

On the locker room: “The locker room was ecstatic. That’s what we needed. When you lose four in a row, you need something to pick you back up. It would be easy to just put our heads down and say ‘we lost four in a row, let’s just play these last two and be over with it.’ But that is not what this team is about.”

On the second half: “We knew that we just had to come out there and play hard. We know that we have struggled in the second half in games this year, so we knew that we had to play rough and put some points on the board. Especially when we are facing an offense like Miami with their elite athletes. We knew we had to score against them and our defense did a good job of holding them.”

 

Senior Tailback Khalek Shepherd

On Kevin Parks’ injury: “First we just had to make sure that he is okay and that nothing bad happened to him. I already knew what he told me after that, with our next man up mentality I had to play well for him. He had confidence in me and I know that Coach Fairchild has confidence in me. I just had to show up and perform.”

On his performance: “I guess you could say that it was my best personal performance but I am not even looking at that. I’m looking at us as a whole team, and we came together today because we had a common goal that we were trying to reach. Our backs were against the wall and we just had to keep fighting.”

On the win’s importance: “Getting a win is great. These past few weeks we have been busting our tails and things haven’t really gone our way, but tonight it seemed like the ball was rolling in our favor because we have been working so hard day in and day out to be successful. Our motto since day one has just been ‘take it one game as a time.’”


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