“Good to get a win, especially here in the Tar Pit in front of our fans. Our players deserved to have some fun today. We work extremely hard. We talk about it. We’re going to outwork people and you get an opportunity to have fun on Saturdays. That’s what you’ve got to do. No matter what happens, we’ve got to play the game one way. I thought there were a lot of times today that we were playing the type of ball we want to play. Then there were other times where we didn’t. We’ve got a lot to correct. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement in all three phases. But there were some bright spots out there today and I’m sure you’ll ask me about them.”
Is this the type of passing attack you expect out of your team in terms of making plays down the field?
“No doubt about it. That’s who we are. You push the ball down the field a little bit more. We made some explosive plays. I thought we were much better in that area of the game today. I know it had to be hard on Blake (Anderson) with the play calls because you just never felt like you got into any type of rhythm on offense. A lot of that is because we didn’t run the ball effectively today.”
What went well for the Tar Heels defensively in the first half despite the struggles on the opening drive?
“I think the main thing is that we just settled down after the first drive. Let me tell you, it was huge getting the turnover down there in the end zone on the first drive. They go 78 yards. They march all the way down the field and get down to the one or two somewhere down in that area and don’t get it in. Then we get the ball back so that’s huge. I thought our defense especially in that first half really played well.”
On the amount of turnovers forced against Middle Tennessee State:
“I think our guys did a nice job of hitting. I thought they did a nice job of wrapping up. I think they did a much better job of tackling today. I think the emphasis that the coaches put on them in practice. I think the kids bought into it and they created some takeaways. Some of those were in the air and that was a great thing.”
What happened on the kickoff coin toss mishap that led to Middle Tennessee State receiving the ball to start the game and the second half?
“Well that was our strategy going into the game. We felt like it would help them out and wanted to see if we could get more time with the defense on the field… It was really just a miscommunication between the captains and myself. I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again. It happened last year too. Y’all remember? Okay. Good. “
Does a little mistake such as that one concern you in the sense that it could lead to bigger issues?
“Sure it concerns me. All the little details that we screw up do. When we go back and look at the film that’s all we’re doing is dissecting each and every play. We don’t just say, ‘Hey good play.’ It’s all 11 guys on the field and did they do exactly what we expect them to do with the technique we teach them. If they don’t their grade goes down. We’re looking at the details on every single play in every phase. Every thing that happens in a game and that is a big thing to have that type of miscommunication and that happen in a game. That’s a big thing that can’t happen.”
Do you know if the captains said they wanted to kickoff or what exactly happened?
“I really don’t know. I wasn’t real happy. I didn’t really listen to what they were telling me. I’m not sure exactly when I realized it. When I was talking to the guys on the sideline about getting ready and all of a sudden someone said we’re kicking off and I said okay. Then Ron Cherry was looking at me like I was an idiot. I didn’t know why he kept looking at me like that. Then I found out afterwards. It’s a poor job on my part.”
How does a bye week prior to the Georgia Tech game help with preparation and potential success against the Yellow Jackets?
“I hope it helps us. We had it last year and we weren’t successful with it. We’re going to try to make the most of it. We’re going to try to get as many reps as we possibly can and get ready for our first conference opener.”
How were the Blue Raiders able to limit Eric Ebron’s production in the red zone today?
“We had a couple of things that we were trying to go to him and they shut it down. They did a nice job with him. They know he’s definitely one of the things we’re trying to get done down there in the red zone and they did a nice job. One play we had in for him I would’ve bet that it would’ve worked and it didn’t. The safety sat all over the top of him and did a nice job so you’ve got to give them credit. They were coached up.”
How much of the struggles in the running game fall on the cohesion amongst the offensive line?
“I’ll be honest with you that was the biggest mystery to me. Coming out of that game, the entire game I’m trying to figure out why we’re not running the ball effectively. Until I sit down and look at the film it’s hard for me to say. I’m sure it’s a combination of a lot of things. I don’t think it’s one guy that’s just not doing his job. That would be easy to see in a game. I think it’s just a multitude of things. I think it’s one guy here. On the next play another guy here. A lot of that has to do with youth upfront and that experience of knowing. There are sometimes where you’re going to have to make an adjustment without being able to communicate. If you’ve had multiple reps with each other you know that adjustment is going to be made on the snap. Those aren’t happening right now. But I’m not going to put it all on the offensive line either. I’ll have to look and see what the running backs did.”
Comments on Darius Lipford:
“We talked about that last week. We’re now getting Lipford and (Norkeithus) Otis on the field at the same time in some packages. Now you’re seeing both of them make plays. I think again he’s just going to come along more and more. There was a big hit on the kickoff, that was him. Every play like I said earlier a little light bulb goes off each time he has something happen on the field. He’s becoming more comfortable with just going hard and that’s big for us to have both of those guys playing the way they’re playing right now. It’s going to be huge.”