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Boston College 17, Virginia Tech 3: Jeff Hafley & Phil Jurkovec postgame press conferences

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Jeff Hafley:

Opening statement:

“Special night, emotional night, the red bandana [game], Welles’s mom - just so proud to be part of that. Appreciate all the students coming out, they filled it again - that doesn’t go unnoticed. For them sticking with us, that meant a lot when we ran out of the tunnel. It gave us a boost.

Proud of the way the team played defensively, they had 250 total yards, under 80 yards passing - our defensive staff and players did a great job. We took the ball away, almost had a touchdown off of it.”

On Phil Jurkovec’s return:

“This wasn’t something that we were hiding or planned - he got cleared last Friday and hadn’t really practiced, and just being honest with you, I called him in, and would have said at best 50-50 chance with the amount of reps he was going to be able to take that he’d really be able to play.

I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize or get him hurt. We wanted to guide him but let him make the decision. He walked in to coach Cignetti and I and said “I’m playing” — when Phil looks in the eye and says it like that, you listen to him.”

On bouncing back:

“Four losses in a row is hard... you find out a lot about your team when you struggle; even finding out about myself, what kind of head coach I am. You find out a lot about yourself and your team when things get hard. Our guys pushed through and I’m proud of them.”

On letting Jurkovec start given injury risk:

“We wouldn’t have let him play if we didn’t feel confident about him getting hit.”

“It’s probably the most confident, fearless, and best leadership I’ve seen from him since we’ve been here.”

On adjusting to VT’s backup QB:

“It’s not as hard as you think - they don’t have enough time to change their whole offensive gameplan. I saw him on a couple snaps, try to figure out what they’re going to try to do with him, which is what he does best. We figured they’d try to run the ball, throw screens — which is truthfully what the other guy did too. They’ve really leaned on the run game, the RPO game, the screen game - they haven’t been throwing the ball downfield as much.”

On Mike Palmer’s performance at safety:

“Jason [Maitre] was unavailable - Palmer was a guy we trusted and relied on, has played a lot of football back there. Mike was our starter, then Jason became our starter — he never pouted, he took care of his body. He played really well tonight. His attitude’s been awesome, I have a ton of respect for him.”

On the offensive line:

“Credit to coach Applebaum - with Vrabel out, you move positions... we rush the way we do, protect Phil the way we did - that’s a really good night.”

On the sideline scuffle:

“Did they have my back or did I have their back?... that was a blur to me. I got pushed and that’s all I remember. We all have each other’s back, that’s the cool part about this team. That’s why I love coaching these guys.”

Phil Jurkovec

“I knew if I was going to come back, I can’t play tentatively - so just said a few prayers and then went out and did it. Had to run like I know I can - you can’t run without confidence.”

“It was a pretty ugly game. It wasn’t very pretty throwing the ball. What carried us was the offensive line driving the defense back, and the defense holding them to no touchdowns. It was a tough game... I was proud of how tough [we] were.”

On announcing he was playing:

“When the injury first happened, I thought maybe a couple games, but it didn’t look good. The surgery went well, and the way the bone broke it was good for blood supply, and it healed very well, so a few weeks ago we were looking at it like it’s healing well, maybe I can come back... and it progressed every week.”

On the INT followed by the fumble recovery:

“I saw Joey Luchetti running down the field; it should have been a touchdown, it was a bad ball... Jaelen, never giving up on the play - that’s the most proud I’ve been of a play [by Jaelen]... it just showed so much heart.”

On Grosel’s role on the team:

“Awesome. Some QB rooms might have big egos, guys not willing to help each other out... Dennis has been amazing, the ultimate leader. He works for the good of the team. Whatever the team needs, he does.”

What game day was like, the emotions, etc:

“I was fired up, had the emotions. It’s weird being out for a while... I felt good, but there were a little bit of nerves about my wrist and just getting back out there again.”