What was your perspective on the last offensive play of the game and do you think there should have been a flag thrown?
“Well you guys know that the rules state that I can’t talk about those kind of things. He had both hands on the ball and the ball was either going to go to [Eric] Ebron or it was going to go to [Erik Highsmith]. We made that decision and based on the coverage they had two guys on Ebron and so Bryn [Renner] put a good ball on Mookie and we knew there would be a guy on him and in that situation you've got to make a play. If I had to do it over again, I’d make the same call and he’d make the same throw and Mookie would make that catch. He had both hands on it and that’s all you can ask.
“You've got to give the corner credit. He made a nice play when you had to make a play, but there were really two plays. The two-point play the series before that was another critical situation so you got the two-point play that we don’t get and that one and that’s the difference in the game.”
How tough is it to keep some consistency and continuity going when you lose so many skill players to injury?
“It makes it difficult, but it’s not something that you really can cry about. It’s just the way it is. That’s life. That’s the way football is and so it gives somebody else an opportunity to step in and make a play for you. You get either a younger kid or maybe a guy who doesn’t have the experience who gets the opportunity to go out there and play and do what he needs to do. We’ll figure out what to do and go from there.”
On Romar Morris’s outstanding performance against Louisville:
“Well almost. He put the ball on the ground, so it’s hard for me to say too many good things because he put the ball on the ground, and those guys know that’s the most important thing we do is take care of the football, but other than that he really did play extremely well.
“On the sideline he was eager. He was very in to it. I don’t think there was ever a point in the game where he felt like we were out of the game and that’s the way he played. I’m sure that energy level that he was at carried over to some of the other guys in the second half also.”
How do you think Renner responded after a few tough possessions to start the game?
“He was no different from anybody else in the first half. It was atrocious. He was struggling, but the thing that he did… when things aren’t going right it’s not easy to flip it around like that and I thought he came back out in the second half and Bryn was flawless really. He put the ball where it was supposed to go, he gave the receivers a chance to make a play, he distributed it, he checked it down. The one to Romar that went for the touchdown he checks it down to Romar, so he’s doing the things in the second half that he needed to do and by doing that and playing within the system he gave us an opportunity to win a football game.”
What is the focus in practice this week? How do you build off the second half while also trying to learn from the first half?
“It’s not like we go in week-to-week and all of a sudden say, ‘Well this happened, let’s change this.’ We have a good sound philosophy in all three phases and, yes, mistakes were made and all I’m talking about right now is playing with the energy level that it takes to play the game the right way.
“The game is supposed to be played one way and that is full speed all the time and if you can’t play with energy and enthusiasm and excitement then you shouldn’t play the game. You should go somewhere else and do something else, but that’s the only way the game of football can be played and that’s what we’re focusing on.
“Today in practice we had great energy level and that was the challenge before practice and that was the challenge from the guys that are on the scout squad to the punter to whoever. Just decide that you’re going to have a great day at practice before we ever step on the field and the guys did a nice job of that.”
Saturday was the first truly hostile environment you have played at thus far. Did you think the crowd affected the team negatively in any way?
“I don’t think so. I really don’t, because, to me, that’s a fun atmosphere to go into. Where it’s packed and people are calling your mom names and they’re cussing at you and they’re trying to get into your helmet and they’re spitting on you and all those things. That’s fun. That should get you going. That should get your blood flowing and that makes you pull together, because it’s you against everybody and there’s 55,000 people. To me that’s a lot of fun.”
On Notre Dame joining the ACC:
“I think it’s a great thing for the conference. I really do. I think it shows the strength of our conference. I think it shows the vision of the leader of our conference. I think the future is very bright. I think it will get brighter as we go actually and I think it’s going to be a great thing. It really is.”
Kevin Reddick blitzed on 40 of Louisville’s 71 plays on Saturday. Is that an unusually high number and what was the strategy there?
“We were wanting to get pressure on [quarterback Teddy Bridgewater], but also, at the same time, the thing we needed to do, because that kid could run, so Reddick was coming in a lot of situations with his eyes on the quarterback so if the quarterback tried to breakout through a lane or something, Reddick was there to take him and so that was kind of his responsibility.”
How much is the zone read a part of your offense and do you plan to use it more or less in the future?
“A lot of it depends on the defense. We run the zone read just about in every game, but it’s based on what they’re doing defensively. A lot of it has to do with the defensive end or the backers, whether they’re squeezing, scraping or what action they’re taking on the backside, so it just depends. That’s hard to say if we’ll use it more or less. We didn’t use it much in this game, because of the style of defense they were playing.”
Can you give an example of a player, NFL or otherwise, that you think would be a prototypical Ram and a prototypical Bandit in your defense?
“I’d say [Quinton] Coples would have been an ideal Bandit, because he’s big, he’s athletic, he can rush the passer, but he can also drop and do some things. He’s like a big outside linebacker, so he would probably be perfect for that position.”
“The Ram, heck [someone from the crowd suggests Da’Norris Searcy]… alright that’s good. Yeah that’d be good. That’d be great. In fact, if we could get all 21 [former Tar Heels] that are in the NFL to come back, I’ll take them right now. We’ll find a position for them.”
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