UNC-Syracuse: Locker Room Report

- Inside Carolina
Posted Sep 6, 2003


CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--Darian Durant, Isaiah Thomas, Ronnie McGill, and Chase Page, share their thoughts following the Tar Heels' heart-breaking 49-47 loss to Syracuse in triple overtime.

Darian Durant

How mad does it make this team feel that this one got away from you?

It's devastating, really. We played our hearts out; everybody left everything on the field. Just to come up short in a game like this really hurts.

What did you see on the shovel pass--did you see the defender?

My read is the defensive end. At first he came down, then he redirected himself towards me when I shoveled it. It was a little late. It goes like that sometimes, but that game should have been over a long time ago.

What happened after the big lead when they came back on you?

I don't know, to tell you the truth. Maybe we got complacent. It's hard to point a finger at one certain thing about what happened. It's a team effort, and we just didn't play for a full 60 minutes on both sides of the ball.

On the shovel pass, did you have other options?

I had two receivers out there, and I didn't feel too confident throwing the ball because my primary receiver wasn't quite in the end zone. Like I said, my read was the defensive end--he committed to me, I looked for the pass, and then he redirected. I thought I had time to shovel it, but, obviously, it was too late.

This is one of those games that can wreck your season. What can you do, as a leader, to prevent that?

The main thing we need to do is bounce back. We have a week off, and we need to recommit ourselves to the basic fundamentals. We have a long season ahead of us. We can't say that this game wrecked our season. We have a long way to go.

Is there any play or situation that you'd like to have back, more than any other?

I guess the interception. We could have at least gotten three on the board. They ended up missing a field goal, so maybe that would have been the game. But you never know. There are a lot of situations where we didn't execute, and that's what hurt.

When you played football in high school, did you ever think you'd be Carolina's all-time touchdown passer?

No, never. It's a big accomplishment, but it would be better if we had a win to go with it. But I'll take it.

Is it hard to enjoy under the circumstances?

Oh, yeah. Winning games when you set records makes the record a lot sweeter. It's not all about records. It's about winning games.


Isaiah Thomas

What's your impression of your first college game action, compared to high school?

It's a lot faster and a lot more emotional. There is a lot more emotion in the game.

What are your feelings about how the game got away from you today?

I'm not sure. We came out excited and fired up, and I think we waited to get back fired up. We let the fire get down a little too low.

When it was 34-17, what happened--was that a point when the game shifted and let the fire get down too low?

Instead of accelerating, we just stayed at one level.

You guys had the big stop down at the goal line. Did you think that would turn the game more in your favor?

I believed that it would have. It's hard to say. Guys are really hurt. We played so hard and tried so hard all week, coming from 37-0 [last week]. We're still improving. We scored more points than we did last week. We're going to get better and get ready for Wisconsin.

At what point was it obvious that is was going to come down to one defensive play?

For me, it was overtime. All you need is one stop, but we got a flag. Then we lost momentum.


Ronnie McGill

Did you think, before the game, that your biggest play was going to be a touchdown pass, hearkening back to some of your high school days?

Well, I didn't think it was going to be, but I knew we had it in our playbook and it could have a chance of happening. Maybe I would throw a touchdown, but it didn't matter. I just wanted to go in and get a win.

You had a good touch on that pass. A lot of times in high school, the quarterback is the quarterback because he's the best athlete, and then he changes to a running back in college and loses the ability to throw a good ball. Do you still have a pretty good arm?

I have to because I played quarterback for the first three years of high school. It's just something that I'll always have and can use. Plus, we've practiced that play for a while. We just never ran it because we never seemed to need it.

You had a lot of yards last week, but no points; this week you really put up the points. Can you take any positives from this game?

As a team, we improved a whole lot, so that's a positive. Willie [Parker] ran the ball really well this week, and it seemed like the line was blocking a little tougher. Everything on offense seemed to pick up; at the end, we just lost it.

Why do you think that is? To me it didn't seem like we came out with the same fire in the second half that we came out with in the first half. Man, by the time they caught up with us, we were just picking it back up and they already had the momentum. It seemed tough for anything to go right for us.

Is that pass something you worked on this week?

We've had it for a while. He put it in the game plan on Monday, but I wasn't expecting him to [call] it unless the game was in the fourth quarter. He threw it on everybody by surprise, and, good for us, it worked.


Chase Page

It seems like any confidence that this team has is fragile, is that the case?

Nothing I can say in the huddle--I can scream and yell all I want and say "Come on fellas. Let's go, let's stop this." If guys don't get where they need to be and do what they need to do, it doesn't matter.

We've got guys who want it and love it, emotional guys. You should have seen people in the locker room after the game. I mean it was ridiculous. Psh-sh-sh-sh-sh--people don't do their jobs and bad things happen; they get yards.

Coming off last season, losing these first two, can you guys hold it together after having this one get away like it did?

Hey, it's a long season. We are going to bring our lunch pails and hard hats like Coach said and go back to work. I want to win. We didn't win today, but I was out there busting my a--, having a good time. That's why you play--to compete and fight.

We're not going to say, "Well d---, we lost this one; we're 0-2. Let's give up." In 2001, they were 0-3 and won the Peach Bowl. It's a long season. We have a lot of games left, and we are going to get better. We will be better, and we are going to keep fighting.

What happened after the score was 34-17? It was like they got a spark and you guys started to struggle?

Momentum is like the biggest thing in football. Whoever has the momentum, that's the deal. I was actually resting on one of those plays. It was the first play of the drive; they did a play-action and scored. We just deflated after that.

We fought back on the second overtime. We stopped them; they missed a field goal. We were fighting, but those things happen. Bad things happen. We didn't finish like we needed to.


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