“We had just an overall great team effort today whether it was the offense, the defense or the special teams we constantly made plays when we had to make plays. Yeah, we gave up some plays in some situations, but what our guys did was they never blinked in the face of adversity. They just kept playing, they kept going. Nobody got down when something bad happened, they just kept going and that was probably the best part about today.”
Did Sean Tapley’s kickoff return for a touchdown ignite the team?
“No doubt about it. You take it the distance on the kickoff return team and we’ve felt this year we’re just one play away or one block away. They bounced the ball back there and I’m sure that threw their timing off a little bit and he handled it clean and our guys got on everybody and he made one guy miss and then he out-ran them. That ignites your team, because our guys expect to make plays in the kicking game now. They expect it. They expect a big time play and that’s half of it, because when you believe it’s going to happen it usually does.”
What do you think today does as far as making a statement for your program?
“Well it’s still early in the year, but this was a great measuring stick for us. This is Virginia Tech. They’ve dominated the Coastal division and we needed to go out and play a complete game against them and we talked about it being error free. We had 87 penalties and we still came out on top so I can’t say enough about the effort of our football team.
On UNC churning out 339 yards rushing:
“Yeah that’s just a great overall effort by our offensive line, our tight-ends, our receivers, our running backs, our quarterbacks, our offensive staff. They did a tremendous job, they really did, and we talked about fighting and scratching and clawing for every inch of soil out there and that’s what they did today.”
What did you think about the pressure on Logan Thomas?
“I thought they did a great job all day and there were some times where they didn’t get to him and it seemed like he sat back there, but let me tell you. That guy is a big guy back there. Ya’ll see him down there on the field? When you got Sylvester [Williams] standing next to him and Sylvester looks small, that’s a big guy. He really is and he’s a good football player. If you give him time he can make some plays on you. He can throw the football. He’s shown that, but I thought the guys did a nice job of getting to him when they did.”
What was the idea behind snapping the ball quickly on the fourth-and-one when Gio Bernard scored early in the second quarter?
“Well I really was going to punt the ball, but the offensive line was cranking on me about let’s run it, let’s go for it and I was mad because we didn’t get it on third down. Probably if it hadn’t been a quarter change I would’ve punted the ball, but the longer I thought it was more about if we’re going to win this football game we need to be aggressive and the guys went out and executed. Nobody expects to go 70 yards on the play, but that’s Gio.
“He’s standing there and I say ‘look, you got to get six inches here’ and he was just like ‘I’ll get more than that.’ I don’t think he ever worried about. I probably worry a whole lot more than he does.”
On the performance of Bernard:
“I think first of all he gave credit to the offensive line and, again, I’m going to give credit to the offensive line. Those five guys played their rear ends off today. The blitzed a lot. They came after us, played zero coverage, one and our guys kept Bryn [Renner] up the majority of the time and then they did an unbelievable job blocking in the run game and they had great confidence. They felt like their tempo was really good and they were like ‘coach, they’re sucking air. We just got to keep rolling’ and that light is coming on in their head about the tempo about what it can do to a defense, what it can do to a defensive line and our guys feel like they’re in pretty good shape and they’ve got that confidence moving.
“Gio – you give him a hole, give him something, give him a crack and he’s going to make some plays now. He’s going to make a lot of plays and you look at some of those and think wow, four yards here, maybe, and all of a sudden that turns into eight and that turns into 12 and then it’s 30 and 60, because if you don’t get on him right now he’s got a chance to take it the distance.”
Have you found a role for Marquise Williams? It appears you have.
“Yeah it’s something we’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now that we felt like we’d bring out in ACC play - getting him involved in the offense. He definitely has a role on this football team and that also gets him in the flow of the game a little bit more so that if something happens he’s already been out there, he’s been hit, so he’s going to feel more comfortable… It’s a nice little adjustment and then Bryn love playing wideout when he’s in there.”
Except for two plays, the secondary appeared to do a nice job.
“Yeah, they played well. We felt like if we could make them one-dimensional and you hold them to 41 yards rushing we didn’t feel like they would beat us throwing the ball today. We really didn’t and they didn’t. Yes, they had some yards and we knew they’d have some yards, but you still got to put it in the endzone and they weren’t able to do that today and our secondary did a great job. We gave up a couple of big ones, but other than that the played sound throughout the game. The guys caught the balls and they made tackles. There weren’t a lot of missed tackles out there in the open field.”
How nice is it to have so many capable weapons such as Romar Morris, A.J. Blue and Sean Tapley on offense?
“It’s nice and then you’ve got Qunishad [Davis] and [Erik Highsmith] and [Eric] Ebron and [Jack] Tabb so we got some guys that if you get the ball to them they’re going to be able to make some plays for us. That’s the thing that Bryn is starting to understand in this offense. He doesn’t have to make every play. All he has to do is distribute the ball where it’s supposed to go. There was a series when we took it down and scored that there were probably three calls that we made and really not a place to go and Bryn made a play. He found somebody and got the ball to them, we picked up positive yards and that’s just showing his growth in this offense and how far he’s come."
Can you talk about your red-zone production on offense? You were four-for-four today.
“That’s huge, because that was something we were struggling with a little bit in the past few weeks as far as finishing drives off. That was one of our keys to victory this week – finishing. Finishing the play, finishing the drive, finish in the end zone and not kick field goals. I thought our keys responded very well to it."
On Quinshad Davis taking another step forward this week:
“They manned him up with a really good cornerback. You got a true freshman and corner that is about 220 pounds and six-foot-three and Quinshad went head-to-head with him and I think he had four or five catches versus press man and did a heck of a job. That’s not easy to do and he’s mad because he didn’t catch a couple of those fade balls. He’s mad he didn’t get the ball in his hands on those. You watch that kid and you watch him how he progresses in the next couple of years. It’s going to be special.”
What is at stake for the team this year?
“We’re shooting for the Coastal Division championship. That’s what we plan on doing and that’s been our goal since the beginning and we’re going to continue with that goal so this is one more step towards that goal. We know if you’re going to do that you got to go through Virginia Tech.”
Does it make any difference to your team that you cannot officially be designated Coastal champions?
“Nope. Not at all.”