“I was really pleased with the way our team played tonight from the very beginning. It was a point of emphasis this week because everybody said we were a second half team and that we couldn’t start fast so we spent a lot of time talking about starting fast, making things happen from the beginning and we did that from the second or third play of the game going downtown for the touchdown and then coming back and blocking a punt and I think everybody was excited about getting something started early in the game. We had great energy level all week in practice and it paid off for us.”
You set school records for most points scored and largest margin of victory. What does that say about this team?
“It says this team is very capable of doing some special things and if we keep preparing the way we are preparing the last couple of weeks and we keep playing with a lot of energy then we can do some really good things and it’s a lot of fun playing out here, it’s a lot of fun playing in front of our crowd and our kids really enjoy it.”
There were a lot of underclassmen on the stat sheet. What have you seen out of them through the first month of the season?
“It’s great to get as many reps as we’ve gotten with them, because that’s only going to pay off down the road for us when those guys have to play for us, because it’s going to happen. They’re going to have to play. Kiaro Holts started the game at left tackle today and did a great job the entire game, but we got a lot of guys reps. You’re seeing some really good things. Quinshad Davis had a really nice game and he’s coming into his own. He’s starting to feel more and more comfortable. Every rep that those younger guys get, the better we’re going to be as a football team.”
You have not given up a touchdown since the first half against Louisville. What have you liked since then?
“First of all, they’re playing with good energy level and, after that, we got a lot of guys flying to the football. We got a lot of guys running to the ball so you’re going to have less missed tackles, you’re going to have less bad things happening. When you got a lot of guys running to the football good things usually happen.”
On two shutouts at home this season:
“Yeah, two shutouts in the same season [for the first time] since 1996. I mean that’s a heck of an accomplishment for our defense and they’re taking a lot of pride in what they’ve done and they know what they did wrong in those few quarters that we had bad games. They have worked really hard at improving on it and making sure they don’t do it again.”
With six guys scoring touchdowns today do you think the offense is getting a better sense of who its weapons are?
“No doubt about it. Just like Quinshad doing what he was doing tonight. We’re starting to establish some guys and they’re starting to feel more comfortable and so we’re able to do more things, because you got guys that can make some plays.”
How does your mindset change when you have a lead like today especially with the weather like it was?
“There comes a point when you’re just wanting to get out of the game, especially injury free. You want to get out of there and make sure everybody is healthy. My mind immediately starts going to the next [game] and what we’re going to have to do this week and I’m thinking about all that during the fourth quarter. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but we had it in hand and the staff did a tremendous job making sure the intensity level was there during the second half and we got a lot of guys a lot of reps. Those were very valuable reps for Marquise Williams and that’s just going to help him down the road if he’s got to go in there and play for us.”
On the improvement in tempo by the offense:
“We really are. We had 79 plays tonight and we basically ate the clock the entire fourth quarter. Our tempo is much better than it was at the beginning of the season and our guys don’t even notice it. That’s when you know things are right. When they don’t even notice that they are going fast anymore. There’s not a whole lot of effort that goes into it, because it’s just what we do. As soon as the play is over it’s offensive linemen getting to where the ball is going to be, eligible [receivers] looking, finding the signal, getting lined up and quarterback – let’s get it going. We’re getting to a point where their comfort level is high with it so there’s not a whole lot of effort that goes into it anymore.”
Do you think today was a good confidence booster for the team heading into ACC play?
“I hope so. We’ll take all the confidence we can get, but we know Virginia Tech is going to be a really good football team and we’re going to have to play a complete game that’s error free. We had errors out there tonight that we’ve got to get corrected and we will. We’ll correct those tomorrow and we’ll start preparing.”
Was there any hesitation to send Gio Bernard out there to return punts when it was 66-0?
“No, not really. [I said], ‘hey go back there and fair catch it.’ Wasn’t a whole lot to worry about after that. He doesn’t want to fair catch it. He wants to make something happen so I put the handcuffs on him, but that’s not different than I would do anytime in a game when it gets like that.”
What does Pete Mangum mean to this team as far as providing a spark?
“First of all, the guy is what a Tar Heel is all about. The guy plays the game one way all the time. He walked-on here, he earned his scholarship, he earned his keep, he’s earned all the respect with the players on the team – they all love him to death and you watch on the kickoff, you watch with the punt block how many big plays is he making in the game just on special teams alone and then he’s playing defense also. He brings a lot to this football team.”
On Quinshad Davis:
“The kid is very talented. He’s going to make a lot of plays for us this year and in the future and he is really starting to just feel comfortable with what he’s doing. He’s not big-eyed anymore. He doesn’t have those big fish eyes that a lot of freshmen do when they go out there. He has a comfort level with what’s going on and he’s going to get better each week.”
Was there a vulnerability with Idaho on punts that you thought you could take advantage of?
“The scheme that they used we felt like we designed a block that we would get there. I’m a little disappointed. We should’ve blocked three of them tonight. If they don’t jump offsides on that one, Romar [Morris] is going to block another one so that was a little bit disappointing, but I’ve never done that. I wanted to get that done.”
The did move the ball a little bit in the second quarter. What type of adjustments did you make?
“It wasn’t any schematic adjustments there, it was just ‘hey let’s get our energy level back where it was. Let’s keep running to the football’ and there was a lull there so we did. We made a conscience effort about making sure we were running the football.”
Do you stay vanilla, playbook-wise, in a game like this ahead of a big game like next week?
“That’s not what we did intentionally, but as the game went on there were things in the game plan that we didn’t run, yes.”
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