What changed in the second half against Louisville? Was it execution, play calling or something else?
“No, we called the same plays in the second half I called in the first half. We just executed. I can’t tell you who that group was that played the first half, but I thought we were tense, I thought we were maybe even worried about making mistakes, but we didn’t relax and play and for whatever reason they came out, really somewhere in the second quarter, you saw guys kind of get out of their own way and relax and play and then we started executing better at that point and it led to good things. The confidence built and we made some plays.”
Have you changed anything in practice this week to combat a slow start like the one against Louisville?
“We’ve obviously made a point to try to talk about starting fast, about getting back to the details and about the basics, but really it’s not a wholesale change, because I feel like we’re preparing the right way.
“I think to some degree the confidence that we built in the second half has got to help guys realize they can make plays. I’m not too sure that we went into the game expecting to or expecting that we could move the ball as well as we did. I don’t know, but we’re going to continue to do things the same way, but really focus on details and the basics.”
Bryn Renner said there was no doubt he was going to Erik Highsmith on the final offensive play of the game. Do you have a couple of “go-to” plays like that?
“Well, you deal with last-play scenarios. We work them a lot. We’ve worked them all through fall camp. We’ve prepared for that situation. In my mind, there was no doubt what play we were going to. It fit what thy like to do defensively. We had several options, honestly, on the last play, but based off the way they were going to defend it I think we all knew exactly where the ball was going to go and you knew it was going to be a competitive play and you were hoping that we’d come down with it. To be honest with you, the ball hit his hands and I thought we would. I thought we had a chance to win the game right there.”
Quinshad Davis appeared to be a primary target to start the game. Was that part of the game plan?
“Really, it was based off how they were playing us. They were playing in a manner that singled him up and that’s part of what we do. Any time you single up a guy we feel like he’s got to be able to make plays. He did a good job of that. We got him the ball and he moved the chains a couple of times. Had it not been for mistakes on snaps and penalties I feel like we had some momentum right there at the very beginning and we just derailed ourselves, but it was really based on how they played us and they changed the way the played us some in the second half and the ball got pushed in other directions.”
Larry Fedora said he does not think you can scale the offense back more than it is. Are you still working on the basics or are you slowly implementing new things?
“We’re tweaking what we do, but we’re still trying to keep it simple in terms of we want guys to be able to play fast. We don’t want to bog them down with a lot of thinking so we’re being careful about taking things that I know I absolutely want to run and taking things we know absolutely have decent answers and gives us a chance to give the ball to the right guys, but we’re being careful.
“It’s still a lot to learn in a quick period of time with a fast tempo and so we’ve got to do what they’re capable of doing right now and gives them a chance to play at their highest level and that’s to play and with confidence. So, yes, we’re being really basic with it. We’re being careful.”
On Romar Morris being named ACC Receiver of the Week:
“Was he really? Wow, that’s good to know. The last couple of games he’s continually gotten better. That’s huge. The fact that we found him in the sense that the quarterback got the ball to him when the defense dictated that the ball goes to him, because those aren’t necessarily plays that you’re focusing on that guy. It’s the quarterback being able to go through the process and get it to him and then him making plays that’s huge.
“To have a couple of weapons at tailback that can catch the ball in space and then run the ball between tackle, that opens everything up. The more of a threat he becomes, the ability to get him on the field in other ways, that’s tremendous for us.”
What challenges does East Carolina present?
“They’ll play hard. I know this is a huge game for them. A lot of these guys, they’ve grown up here close. This is an in-state deal and they’re going come and bring their very best. They’re going to be sound...
“Not to take anything away from East Carolina, because I’m not, but it’s really more right now about what we’re doing and how we’re executing than it is who our opponent is and that’s what our guys have to learn. Until we execute, it really doesn’t matter who we play.”
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