There are a couple of coaches that I'm really excited about, because they've never won at home. It's been almost two years and we were able to get a win for them and for Chad Scott, who I think is going to be well. It's all positive [feedback], which is really good.
Overall, I'm pleased with our team's efforts, as I have been, for the most part, all year. This young football team is trying to play well, play together, and play for 60 minutes. We needed almost every single second today, to get a win over Wake Forest, a team that has tormented us a little bit, in two different ways. The first year they came back from a big [deficit] and beat us in the second half. Last year, they absolutely out-classed us every step of the way. Today was a little bit different story. We were in it the whole game. Turnovers always play a factor--especially on the negative side. It hurt them and helped us.
The thing I want to focus on is Ronnie McGill and the way the offensive line has been blocking the last few weeks. They are doing a great job. What I want to do is run the football and take some pressure off the quarterback. That has helped a great deal.
It's great to win at home and beat a well-coached Wake Forest team that plays hard all the time. To see us block some kicks on special teams and see our hard work pay off is a big plus and a feather in our cap.
I told the team the 'Wake Forest Bowl' is now over. Enjoy it tonight, and we will get ready for the Georgia Tech Bowl next week.
Was that fourth-and-one a pride call because of the way some other things have worked out?
It's not a pride call. It's just a call we made. It's a call we pondered. We called a timeout to decide, and we decided to run.
When you first see the contact, were you worried?
There's not a lot of time to worry. It happens fast. I saw him get hit in the backfield, did you? I saw it, and that's a tribute to that young man. He's so tough and so determined. And he's a wonderful young man.
Don McCauley came up to me on the field and said, 'It's about time you start giving it to him.' We want to give it to a Ronnie McGill. We want to give it to a power back like him. We want to have a big fullback or a big tight end that can block for him. We will keep working to find that guy to do it. You can win a lot of ball games playing that way. He has great balance and reminds me of Don a lot of different ways--he's a tough guy, a slasher, and he has tremendous balance. The thing that's similar is that he's very humble. He's got a big smile on his face and loves to play football. He's the kind of guy we want on this football team.
What did you say to Don when he said that?
(Sarcastically) I said, 'Coach McCauley, you are hired.' I always ask for halftime stats. We had 27 plays at halftime, and Barclay had 27 carries. That guy is a horse. He is a player.
Was it a relief for you to win this game?
A relief? I'm excited about winning this football game. I'm excited about winning the football game at home for our fans. I'm excited about beating Wake Forest, a team that has tormented us--first year coming back from 24-0 at half and beating us, and last year actually humiliating us in Winston-Salem. That's big. In terms of relief, I'm not sure exactly what you mean.
There had to be some pressure on you.
I like to win every game I play. I know I'm not going to win them all. This season has been very frustrating, the way we've lost a bunch of ball games, but you don't have any relief when you coach. You have to line up and go next week. We are going to be celebrating for a few hours tonight, just like when you lose you are down for a few hours. Then you have to get right back up. That's what's been neat about this football team: despite the fact that we played poorly in parts of that second quarter against Maryland last week. We were playing well, but we came out this week and played better.
How big was it that your defense held Wake Forest to no points on the first two possessions?
Two blocked field goals--that was big. Rabbit Waddell is someone who has been a prominent player in this program a long time and has not always gotten a lot of credit. He's not always done everything he'd like to do. Today he made some big plays for us, and that's a tribute to him and his efforts for the football team.
You guys and Wake seemed to be two of the only schools who knew that Ronnie McGill was a player. How did you find him?
Wake Forest does a good job of searching under rocks for guys. Our staff has becomevery good at doing that also. We don't always have a player on so-and-so's all-time prep All-American list, and Ronnie McGill is another one of those guys. Andre' Powell discovered him because of the work he does at South Carolina.
The moment I saw the tape I said that this guy is special. I told Dick Baddour that. The first time I saw [Ronnie], I gave him a call and said, 'I found our guy.' I'm just hopeful that he will continue to get better. He had a cramping problem in summer camp, which reduced his time in practice, so he didn't start off the season as quickly as we'd have liked because of the cramping. He has demonstrated that he has that ability, and we want to build on it. I'm not going to say that he's the next coming of 'Choo-Choo' or Don McCauley, but I'll say this: that young man has a lot of hear and loves to play the game. When you watch him play the other phases of the game--he's probably our best pass protector and one of our top two or three special teams players. He covers kick-offs, and I'd like to play him on every single special team, but I can't because I'm afraid we'll wear him out.