“We’ve got a much better taste in our mouth tonight than we have had, so it’s been good to get that taste out of our mouth. I thought our guys played well. I would say we played a complete game. I wouldn’t say it was a great game, but we played a complete game. We played hard the entire game. You’ve got to give a lot of props to our defense – the way they played in the second half. Anytime you’re going to get seven sacks [and] you hold somebody to 230 yards of total offense, they did a tremendous job. They kept them out of the end zone the entire day.”
On dominant third quarters:
“I don’t know. It’s not the halftime speeches, I’ll assure you. But it’s guys trying to come out with the same intensity level that we do at the beginning of the game. That’s always a struggle for any team – to come out just as intense in the second half as you do in the first half. I think our guys have maybe done a better job of that than we have in the beginning of the game.”
On Giovani Bernard:
“I think you have to give [ECU] credit for some of the things they were doing. They were getting an extra guy down in the box and moving people and bringing a guy quite a bit of the time.
“But I was really happy to see Gio get back out there – to see him get hits, see him make people miss, see him jump, see him catch the ball, see him get in the end zone. That’s just going to give him more confidence.
“This week in practice he felt better the next morning each day after practice than he had the week before. I was really hoping it was going to feel that way. The good thing is just talking to him a few minutes ago, he said he felt fine and felt really good.”
On sacks and the secondary:
“There were some coverage sacks, no doubt about it. Especially when you rush three guys and you still get sacks. That’s a heck of a job – first of all by the coverage, then second, for those three guys out front fighting their rear ends off to get to the quarterback. You’re getting basically two double teams ad one guy singled up, so that’s a tough deal. But we had a lot of guys get sacks, too. It wasn’t just one guy. There were a lot of guys that got their first sacks of the year. When you start getting that, it’s kind of like a feeding frenzy for sharks. When there’s blood in the water, they start coming from everywhere, and that’s a good thing.”
On Bryn Renner’s comfort level:
“He played well. You take the big drops that he had today and it would have been an unbelievable game – it really would. You have to give him more help on that other side.
“But he’s still making mistakes – he’ll tell you that. But the good thing about it: he’s learning from every mistake he makes. Everything is a new rep for him. He’s just gaining new experience. Ya’ll know the old saying about “The game is slowing down.” And there is a lot to be said for that when you know actually what’s going to happen and the game actually slows down for you. In some instances, it’s starting to work that way for him.”
On the running game opening up the passing game:
“No doubt about it. They were going to get people down in there to try to stop the run and it gave us things in the passing game.”
Big picture, what does this win mean?
“It’s big. First of all, you’re doing it in front of your home crowd and that’s big. And for our guys to get that taste out of their mouths’ and get back on the other side is big, because they know we’re going to work the same no matter what.
“See, you might as well enjoy Saturday, because we’re going to work. We’re going to work on Sunday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. And so you might as well go out there and have fun, because we’re running out of games.”
On the energy level:
“I was pleased [with the energy level]. In the first half, you think maybe it wasn’t there. But then you go back and you really get a feel for it. They picked up some first downs, so that makes it tough. But our guys, when [ECU] got into the red zone, they stood up. They didn’t let them get into the end zone and that’s what it’s all about.”
On Bernard not returning punts:
“Coming back, he didn’t have as many reps in practice back there catching punts. I just didn’t feel as comfortable putting him back there as I did the other guys from all the reps the previous two weeks.”
On Thomas Hibbard and the special teams:
“He hit the ball well today. What did he average? And we had really good coverage on all of those.
“As far as our special teams, in my opinion, you had a game changing play when the kicking team gets [ECU] down on the one-yard line. That’s a big deal. That’s a momentum changing play. That’s another game-changing play with our special teams this week, so we’re consistently getting one of those a week – that’s a good thing.”
Would you like to see Romar Morris on the field more?
“Yeah, sure. We just didn’t get the opportunities tonight. The thing that I know and I feel good about is when he does, he’s going to go out there and make a play.”
On the comfort level giving Bernard a full workload:
“I didn’t give it one thought. – I really didn’t, I guess you could say I felt comfortable, because I didn’t even think about it. If he tells me he’s going, then he’s going to go to work. I don’t think he’d want it any different way. But again, I didn’t ask him. ”
On Bernard as a receiver:
“What did he have five or six catches? Six for 52 yards and a touchdown. That’s the great thing about all three of those guys, they can catch the ball out of the backfield and in a lot of variety of ways. We put him down in the middle the one time and he made a really nice play. I think it’s a boost for your team any time you get anybody back – it really is. You gain confidence when you have starters back into your lineup. So that’s got to help.”
On Sean Tapley’s touchdown reception where he broke a tackle:
“We talk about all the time, when you get the ball in your hands, expect to score. Don’t be surprised. Expect it to happen. And I think he expected to score – he expected to make a play. There’s guys that you see catch the ball and they get tackled. You watch what he did today, [Eric] Ebron broke some tackles and made big plays out of it – that’s what you have to do be a great receiver.”
On the play of the second half:
“I think Lou and our staff has done a great job with the conditioning. I think our guys are in great shape. One, because we practice at that tempo all the time, so our guys don’t know any different. They’ll be they’ll be the ones to tell you how hard it was during camp, but that’s paying off now.”
On what the team showed you this week:
“That they learned from last week – and that’s big. Because if we can keep learning from the mistakes that we make, we’ll be a be a better football team at the end than we are from the beginning. That’s what’ you’re trying to do – you’re trying to get better and better as we go. If we could keep doing that and just keep stacking bricks on top of each other, we’ll eventually have that thing built.”
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