Any of the reserves stand out on Saturday?
“He’s not a reserve, but Quinshad Davis made some plays in the game. He’s continuing to get better each and every game as a true freshman.
“Justin Thomason played, Jessie Rogers, T.J. Jiles had his first interception, Malik Simmons, I kidded with him, I said, ‘That was a great play for the ‘70’s when you ran back there and jumped on the ball when nobody was around and you recovered it instead of picking it up and running with it like you can in the year 2012.' But he had no idea what I was talking about. He was just excited, saw the ball on the ground and he wanted to make sure he got it, but a lot of those young kids really did, and again, that’s just going to pay off for us down the road.”
On Kiaro Holts' first start:
“He really played well. Was it the first snap he jumped offsides? That wasn’t what you wanted, but he bounced back and he really played very sound all the way throughout the game. He never got into problems with the defensive end in protection and Bryn [Renner] had plenty of time. There was never a time when he had to really strain at any situation. The offensive line did a tremendous job in the first half when Bryn was in there.”
On the offensive line, which has only allowed three sacks so far this season:
“They’re doing a nice job and it’s not just them. Backs are involved in the protection also and Randy Jordan is doing a great job of coaching those guys up. [Chris Kapilovic] is doing a great job with the o-line, the guys understand what we’re trying to do and then Bryn is getting the ball out and that’s always the key to the whole deal – getting the ball out of your hands.”
Were you concerned about sending Gio Bernard to return punts late in the game considering the score and weather?
“No I wasn’t concerned about it. He was the guy that I wanted back there to handle the punt. We had already talked about making sure we fair caught the rest of the punts for the game, so I really wasn’t worried about that.
“Plus it was good for him to get that confidence in the rain. That’s the toughest ball to handle in a game and to be able to do it in the rain and with that situation, it was really good for him, because, again, it’s probably going to come up somewhere down the road for him and his confidence will be that much higher.”
Did you receive any explanation about the punt return where it appeared Bernard had his facemask grabbed yet no flag was thrown?
“His helmet got pulled? … Might have been. I don’t know. I’m not allowed to comment on those things so who knows?”
Considering some of the scores we saw in college football this past weekend, do you think there is a lack of defense or if offenses are simply ahead of defenses right now?
“The game is not going back to what it used to be. Defenses are not going to be like that, because teams aren’t playing in a phone booth anymore. When Rick [Steinbacher] was playing you played between the two tackles and you tried to put nine guys in there and there wasn’t a whole lot of places to run and you got three yards and there was a cloud of dust and you did three more yards and a cloud of dust and all that stuff.
“Now you’re talking about spreading the field for 53 and three-quarters yards wide and then you take these fast, shifty guys and you get the ball in their hands and they’re in space and one guy has got to make a play and if he doesn’t make the play it ends up being a 20-yard play or a 30-yard play or whatever and that’s what is happening in college football right now. Everybody is spreading the field. People know how to throw the football nowadays. Everybody knows how to do it and offenses are ahead of the defense right now, yes I do believe that.”
On the ‘White-Out’ this Saturday:
“I think it’s a great idea. I really do and I hope all of our fans buy into it and everybody wears white. Is it okay to wear white at this time of the year? That’s an okay thing? I didn’t know fashion-wise if it was okay, but I hope everybody will do it. It should be a lot of fun and I think Kenan Stadium will look awesome just totally as a white out.”
What actions do you have to take to account for the aggressiveness of Virginia Tech on special teams?
“A long time ago in my career when I started studying special teams, you studied Frank Beamer and he was the guy that started it all really and so he really started emphasizing it and it took him a long way.
“They’re going to be very good. They’re going to be really good on special teams and we know that and that’s a challenge for us this week. We want to win all four phases in the special teams. We got to be better on kickoffs, kickoff return, punt and punt return. If we do that we give ourselves a great chance to win the football game.”
How do you prepare for the unique Virginia Tech defense?
“They really do a nice job defensively and Bud Foster has been there for a long time. I think the entire time that coach Beamer has been there. They’ve traditionally been very good, very strong on defense and they still are this year. They [struggled] a couple of games, but it’s not like people were running all over them or anything. Defensively they will present a challenge for us so our offense is going to have to play error free ball.”
On Logan Thomas:
“Yeah the difference with Logan is Logan can run the football and likes to run the football and he’s 260pounds. On our defense, the two defensive tackles will be the only guys that weigh more than him on the football field and that’s tough. You bring a guy on a blitz or something and he’s 180-190 pounds and he’s got to bring down a guy that’s 260. That’s a tough task. We definitely have our work cut out for us.”
How are you seemingly involved in every tackle on kickoff coverage?
“I think the main thing is just having a mindset that I’m going to be the one to make the play, I’m going to be the one to make the tackle and if everyone does that and everyone has that mindset it’s always going to turn out well for us.”
Have you seen a difference in the way your teammates address special teams?
“Yeah. Everyone just takes it so seriously, because all the coaches put such an emphasis on it and we break it down everyday on one play and out, so if you go and give everything you got for that one play and then you’re off the field.”
What does being good at the Ram position entail?
“It’s kind of like an all-around player. You got to be able to guard and help on the pass plays, but you also have to be able to fit in there in the box and help on the run too so I think it takes a pretty well-rounded player.”
What have you been able to do along the offensive line to keep the number of sacks down?
“As a unit we’ve been together for a long time, there’s a lot of comfort between us, we’re all really good friends, we communicate really well which is key for this offense that we’re running, so I guess that’s obviously translated well in preventing sacks.”
How do you try to internalize the opportunity to play at the next level but also stay focused on what is happening here at North Carolina
“You don’t, because if you go out there thinking you’re going to be a high-round draft pick you probably won’t, so you got to go out there and you got to earn it every week.”
Are you excited for the ‘White-Out’ this weekend?
“Yeah. Absolutely. We’ve never really done anything like this before. My senior year and it’s a big game against a good opponent, so it’s going to be pretty cool.”
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