“First of all, you got to give credit to Louisville and Charlie [Strong] and the job that he’s done with that program. I thought they’ve done a nice job. He’s really increased his talent level in the three years he’s been there. I’m proud of the ways our guys played in the second half. The challenge to them at halftime was to go out and give everything you had, fight, scratch, claw to do the best you could possibly do in the second half, because the first half was gone and we totally threw it away in the first half. I was proud of the way the guys played in the second half.”
What led to the team throwing it away in the first half?
“I think it was, from what I can remember of the first half, it was lack of effort, lack of intensity, lack of passion, lack of enthusiasm, a lot of mental mistakes, you name it. Whatever could go wrong went wrong in the first half. You’ve got to give Louisville credit, but we can’t football the way we played in the first half.”
What was wrong defensively in the first half?
“That’s hard to say. I have to go back and really look at the film and try to figure it out, but I would say there were a lot of missed assignments early on in the game. I think in the game of football you got to put a lot of energy in it. You got to play with energy. You got to play with enthusiasm and when you keep giving up play after play after play after play eventually you just don’t have it anymore. I think that’s what happened early in the game to the defense.”
Did the loss to Wake Forest beat you twice as far as the first half today?
“I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I really don’t. I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I got to do a much better job as the head coach of getting these guys prepared. That’s my job.”
On Bryn Renner in the second half:
“Bryn did a very nice job in the second half. I mean a very nice job. He did. He gave us a chance to win the football game and not just Bryn. There were a lot of guys. Romar Morris made all kinds of plays today to give us an opportunity to be in that football game. I’m proud of a lot of those guys in the second half. I really am, but the thing is, we’ve got to learn you cannot wait for something to happen. You got to make something happen and when something doesn’t happen you still got to make it happen. You can’t sit back and wait for somebody else to do it. You got to go out there and do it yourself.”
On the last offensive play. It looked like Erik Highsmith had the ball in his hands and had it ripped out:
“He did. Bryn made a great pass to him. I think Erik did a great job of getting to where he needed to be to get the ball in his hands. He had both hands around it at the time and the [defensive back] did a great job of getting the ball out. Just give the guy credit. He made a play. When he had to make a play, he made the play.”
How can you use the positive from this game moving forward?
“Oh yeah. We’re going to take this and we’re going to learn from it I promise you. We learned a great lesson today. This team is not done. We’re in our third game of new systems in all three areas, but what we did learn today about the Tar Heels is that there’s a lot of fight in them. They’ve got something inside of them and that alone will give us a chance. We’ll get better, but we will definitely learn from this mistake and we will get better from it. We will work harder in practice and it still comes down to how you prepare and we’ve got to get better doing that.”
Did the defense lose confidence in the first half?
“If they didn’t’ I don’t know how the didn’t’, because it was god-awful. It was bad, so I’m sure they did. I know Vic [Koenning] and [Dan] Disch and them just simplified what we were going to do in the second half and it was just a challenge to the team to go out and play as hard as you can in the second half and show what you have inside of you and they did that.”
Do you remember somebody scoring against you on every possession of a game?
“No. I cannot."
What was wrong with the center-quarterback exchange?
“That’s a good question too, but you know what? It happened in practice this week too and we didn’t get it corrected.”
How complex was the game plan today compared to the previous two weeks?
“It was actually less than the Wake Forest game plan. It really was. I’m not sure we can cut it back any more than we cut it back. We got to execute what we do. The keys to victory haven’t changed and we’re not executing the keys to victory and when we do that we’ll have a chance.”
On the blocked punt and forced fumble that gave you a shot to win:
“That’s two big plays. Game changing plays in the special teams and going into the game – let’s have one game changing play and obviously because of what happened in the first half we needed more than that and we got them. That gave us an opportunity to win the football game. We thought we could block a punt. We had it schemed up, we thought we would have a chance and Romar [Morris] got in there and got it and then we put the ball in the end zone and then on the kickoff return, I don’t know who it was, I couldn’t tell, but I know somebody knocked the tar out of the guy. I think it was the kickoff return was it not? Okay. The guy put the ball on the ground and I hope he’s all right, but that gave us an opportunity and we just didn’t capitalize there at the end.”
How difficult was the decision not to have Gio [Bernard] travel with the team?
“It’s always difficult when you have a good player that isn’t able to go. It’s always difficult, but, again, the two guys that played behind him stepped up and played very well and they’re going to continue to play this year and they’re going to continue to play well.”
Would you say Morris made some significant growth today considering the type of game he had to come through in?
“Yeah. He scored two times I believe and he had a pretty nice kickoff return and blocked a punt and he was all over the place and that’s the kind of player he is. He can do a lot of things for this football team and he will. As the year goes on and he keeps maturing he’s going to help this football team a bunch.”
Can you address the penalties?
“Again, I can’t remember what all the penalties were in the first half. The first half is kind of a blur for me. I know that one there at the end was tough, but that’s the little things you do in practice everyday that when that happens in practice and you don’t address it then it comes back and bites you in a game at a critical time. When really nobody thinks it’s that big of a deal in practice if a guy flinches or whatever. When you get in that situation in a game and you do it and it hurts you and it did.”
If not for that false start does Renner walk in to the end zone on that play?
“Yeah it was a good play for what they had. We thought he was going to walk in.”
What were the first words you said at halftime?
“I wasn’t calm. I wasn’t calm. I don’t remember the first words I said, but I wasn’t calm at all mainly with the coaches about getting things addressed, simplifying things, making the adjustments we need to make and then get with the team and do that.
“Then for me with the team, it as just I was disappointed in the effort and the enthusiasm on the football team in the first half and that’s not who we are. We can’t play that way. Nobody can play that way. Nobody. I don’t care who you are. You got to play with energy and enthusiasm and passion. That’s what the game is all about and I think hopefully our guys learned that in the second half.”
Can you talk about Quinshad Davis getting a lot more balls thrown his way?
“He’s a very talented young player who is getting more and warranting more time and more throws, because he makes plays. I was disappointed he didn’t make that play on the long ball that I think it surprised him, because Bryn made a beautiful pass to him there, but Quinshad is going to get better. Every rep he gets he just gets better and better. You see that light get a little bit brighter, because he understands truly what college football is all about.”
Follow IC on Twitter @InsideCarolina.
Like IC on Facebook InsideCarolina.