Why didn’t you want your picture on the cover of the media guide?
“I’ve been on the cover for the past two years, and we’ve had bad years. So I was being a little superstitious. I just wanted to change things up. Maybe if I’m not on the cover of the media guide, then we’ll win some games this year. It’s a little thing, but I wanted to make it more of a team thing.”
Do you have a lot of superstitions?
“Not really, not really. But I went home and looked at the media guides from 2002 and 2003, and I looked at the kind of season we had. I thought if maybe we put a little more of a team picture on the cover, then maybe the team will feed off that. I’m hoping that may happen.”
Do you feel like your success has been somewhat bittersweet, considering your team hasn’t played well?
“Somewhat, but I realize I can’t play all 11 positions on the field. All I can do is go out there and claw it out and play to the best of my ability. You know, just let everything else fall into place.”
Is the quarterback position as big a part of this league as it has been in the past?
“I think so. I think we have a lot of great quarterbacks in the league. Last year with Matt [Schaub] and Philip [Rivers] having the king of seasons that they had, that made having a lesser number seem like more. But across the board, and when you add Brock Berlin and Bryan Randall, that just adds to the amount of talent in the league.”
Do you think about how many wins the team needs this year to try and save the coach’s job?
“We don’t think about that. We just want to go out and improve, week after week. We know if we improve and we win games, then all of the off the field issues will take care of themselves. Our goal is to just go out and win games.”
But it is an obvious issue. Have you noticed Coach [John] Bunting act any differently?
“No. He hasn’t changed. He hasn’t changed his outlook on the season. He hasn’t changed his attitude toward the players. We’re just more focused as a team. We don’t want to lose. If you’re a competitor, you don’t want to lose at anything you do. We don’t want to lose games. All we’re trying to do is win games.”
What things have you learned to do differently now since you were a freshman?
“Just don’t take things for granted. When you realize it’s your last go around…God forbid I would get hurt or anything. A couple of years ago I could say, ‘Well, there’s always next year. I can’t say that now. I don’t take really anything for granted. I just go out there, workout, and I will treat every play like it was my last.”
Have you changed your game?
“I guess I wouldn’t take that big hit downfield anymore, probably. But, I don’t think my game has changed that much.”
How frustrating has it been for you to put up the numbers that you have without the team winning?
“It’s been kind of frustrating. But I’m not really a numbers guy; I’m a numbers in the win column guy. I want to be looked at as a guy who led Carolina to a bowl game and won a bowl game, rather than a guy that broke every record and not win a game. So, I just want to win games.”
What have you seen from the defense that gives you more confidence that it has improved?
“It all starts with the new staff members that we brought in. They’re focus has been to simplify things. A lot of our guys can run around and make plays, and they exploit their talents. For me watching from the sidelines – with the kind of talent that they’ve brought in – I think it’s going to take a lot of pressure off of me, because I don’t feel like we have to go out and score every time. I feel that will be a key for us. With them making plays over there, it will give us a chance to get our running game going. And if we can get our running game going, then it will open up our passing game. Hopefully, everything will lead us to getting some wins.”
What kind of a leader is Chase Page?
“Chase is a great leader. He’s more of a vocal leader, and he leads by example. If he can just rub off on the younger guys on defense – you know, we have a real young defense – then he if can bring his expertise and experience and the young guys feed off that; I don’t see any reason why our defense can’t be a top notch defense.”