“We played a really good football team tonight. The No. 6 team in the country. They’ve got some really good players, good coaches and we didn’t play the way we wanted to play obviously. We knew we were going to have it tough coming in here to their stadium and playing a game in this situation. I just was disappointed in the way we played in all three phases of the game. You’ve got to give South Carolina credit. They’re a good football team.”
How frustrating was it giving up big plays after focusing on that point throughout the summer and training camp?
“Yeah, we worked a lot on eliminating big plays and limiting big plays. You can’t give up two big plays like that. You can’t do that. You can’t drop a punt at the 50-yard line. You can’t do a lot of things that we did. But yeah, those were disappointing.”
On the play of South Carolina’s line versus North Carolina’s:
“I don’t know. I’d have to go back and really look at it to see. We knew they were good on the defensive front. We knew that. There’s no doubt about it. Everybody’s been telling us how good they were. It was obvious and we knew we had our work cut out on that side. Offensively, they’re big and they can mash you. They did a nice job of it tonight.”
Was there execution issues on offense due primarily to what they were doing on defense?
“I don’t want to take credit away from what they accomplished. They won the football game and did a great job but we’ve got to execute. If we execute like that it isn’t going to matter for us. We won’t have a chance so we’ve got to make better decisions with the ball. We’ve got to block better. We’ve got to run harder. All the different things. You’ve got to make plays and we didn’t make those tonight.”
Did the botched punt have an effect on the sideline in terms of morale?
“I don’t think it was a good thing. We had made a nice stop down on their end of the field and we were going to have the ball at about midfield I think. I’m not exactly sure where it was but we were somewhere in that area. You’ve got to feel pretty good about that but we turn around and put the defense right back out on the field. You can’t do that and win games like that. It’s just not going to happen.”
Thoughts on the defense able to make a stop despite the turnover on the botched punt:
“Well, that was a good thing. They went back out there. They didn’t let it bother them. They went back out there and played the next play. There was never a situation in the game where I felt like our guys gave up. If that was the case when we went back out from the rain delay they wouldn’t have gone after it and fought. That’s who we are. Those guys are going to fight all the way to the end. They’re going to believe they can win a game no matter what’s going on.”
What kind of positives do you take from tonight’s game?
“There were some good things out there. We had some kids make some plays. Bug (Howard) made some plays there at the end. He got in there and got going. We had some other freshmen that played tonight so that got a game under their belt in a hostile environment so that’s going to pay off for them. You’ve got Norkeithus Otis. I don’t know exactly but it seemed like he was all over the place. He’s playing really hard. It was good to see Darius Lipford in live action. T.J. Thorpe even though he made mistakes it was good to have him back out there. He hasn’t been out there since Dec. 27, 2011 is what he told me so those things were good. We’ve just got to get better as a football team.”
On Jadeveon Clowney’s performance:
“We feel like if we move the chains and executed we could tire him out. If you go back and look there were times he was pretty tired out there. It was about what we expected. He can make plays when he wants to make plays. He’s definitely a hoss. There’s no doubt about it. He’s a great player. We didn’t really change much. We chipped a little bit with the backs. I didn’t feel like he was a huge factor in the game actually. There were other guys that I thought made some plays. That could’ve been because we were overly concerned with him. I thought James Hurst did a pretty nice job against him. Now they moved him all over the field which makes it difficult for any offense when you’re trying to take care of a guy like that.”
Was there any sense of ‘Here we go again’ with the defensive struggles?
“I don’t think so. I didn’t sense that for any of the guys. I didn’t notice anybody’s head going down. We talk a lot about body language. If you make a bad play you’ve got to have good body language and you’ve got to move on to the next one. That’s the game of football. It’s going to happen. You’re not just going to shut a team out nowadays. You’re not going to just dominate a team on one side of the ball or the other. So you better be able to not worry about it and move on to the next play.”
How much of a disparity was there with the physicality of their offensive line?
“I mean they’re bigger than we are. That’s all I could tell you. I’d have to go back and look at the film and see if we were getting mashed. I thought there were a lot of times I want to give the running back a lot of credit. That guy broke some tackles now. We hit him in the backfield and he’s still picking up four and five yards. It’s Mike Davis, I believe. He did a nice job tonight. We’ve got to do a better job of tackling.”
Why call the timeout with five seconds left?
“Because I thought I could make them punt. And because I was going to try and block it.”
Comments on adjustments offensively:
“We knew we wanted to give our offensive line a chance and get the ball out quick and try to get the ball spurted out to make some plays out in the open field instead of pushing it down the field as much. That was part of the plan to help our offensive line with Clowney. It was to try and get the ball out a little quicker and try to get him a little frustrated because he’s not getting those big sacks.”
On problems with red zone success:
“I’d have to go back and really look at it. I can’t remember exactly what happened but I do know we stalled twice down there and had opportunities to get the ball in. We didn’t do it. We still have a long way to go. A lot of work to do. We’re in year two and I wish we were farther along than we are but we’re not. It was a good measuring stick for us. I didn’t look at tonight and say we’re so far way that we’ll never make it. That’s not the way I’m coming out of the game. I just don’t think we’re that far away. We’ve got to execute.”
On handling the Columbia atmosphere:
“I thought our kids handled the situation pretty good. I don’t think we were too geeked up. I thought we were just about right going into the game.”
Would you have called that timeout had they not thrown down the field?