“What a way to cap off a tremendous week. I’ve got to say thanks to Belk for their partnership with this bowl and the job that they’ve done [and] the Charlotte Sports Foundation… This is a first-class bowl. Everything we did, all of the activities, our kids had a great time. A great week.
“I’m really proud of how these guys played tonight. We didn’t play perfect. We didn’t play our best game, but we played well enough to win a football game. We did enough offensively. Defensively, we really played well in the first half. I thought we dominated really in the first half. And we had game-changing plays in our special teams that we expect.”
Did you have a feeling your guys would be this ready to play?
“You never know. You’re 28 days away from the last game. But I can tell you this – we got 10 or 11 practices in and our guys did a great job of preparing the same way they had the whole season. They’re focused – their intensity level in practice was the same. So I’m going to say it just boiled down to great preparation and that’s why they played the way they did tonight.”
On the defense’s ability to get pressure up front:
“I thought the defensive staff did a tremendous job scheming their protections. We showed some different things up front with some twisting and some stunts and we brought some extra guys. We were playing a defense that we had never really played because we didn’t have any linebackers and I thought those safeties did a really nice job.”
What are your thoughts on the future when you consider the play of T.J. Logan and Ryan Switzer?
“I’m really excited about the future now. We’ve got some young kids like Ryan and T.J. and Mikey Bart and Brian Walker, Des Lawrence, Lucas Crowley, Bug Howard – these are all guys that are true freshmen, not counting the red-shirt freshmen that played for us this year also. I’m excited about the future; I really am. We’re going in the right direction. Recruiting is going extremely well. There’s a tremendous positive buzz around the state of North Carolina about the Tar Heels. Good things are coming in the future.”
What’s the timeline for a decision on naming an offensive coordinator?
“We’re still in a holding pattern right now. Really, we wanted to get through this bowl game and then I’ll turn all of my attention to that. I don’t know if I have a day that I feel like I have to have it done. But we’ll get the right person. We’ll hire somebody that’s going to come in here and fit with our staff and that’s going to run the system.”
How did you handle play-calling duties tonight?
“We had scripted the first 12 like we have all year. That doesn’t change. And then what we did was we put Walt [Bell] upstairs. It’s a little bit easier for him to see everything from up there [and] brought Randy down. And then in between series, we were scripting them again. We’d go two or three or four plays in a series and then Walt was sending them down. Kelvin [Anthony] – he’s one of our managers and he did the signaling for us. He did a great job with that, also.”
Are you shocked at how well your defense played tonight?
“I’m not shocked. They’ve been doing great things all year. There have just been games where we’ve given up a play or two here that were very critical. And tonight we really didn’t do that, especially in the first half. From what I remember, we were dominant in that first half defensively. We were all over the quarterback. I don’t believe they ran the ball very effectively in the first half, so our defense did a tremendous job.”
How important is finishing 7-6 as opposed to 6-7?
“Winning’s always very important, believe me. So finishing 7-6 was critical. Not only that, but for this football team, starting 1-5 nobody thought we’d be sitting here today. At least nobody outside of our locker room. And those kids just kept believing and kept playing hard and they got it done.”
Does that make a difference in recruiting?
“Sure it does. Every win is critical to your success.”
On Marquise Williams’s play:
“He didn’t play his best game. He didn’t. He’d tell you the same thing. But he did enough for us to win a football game and that’s all that we worry about.”
How would you evaluate these game in terms of playing well in all three phases?
“We were probably pretty good in our special teams and I think defensively we were probably good for about three quarters. Offensively, we were probably about 50-50 throughout the game, actually.”