What were your thoughts when you were watching the time tick off of your last home game?
Wow! It’s just something that you wish you could rewind and go back in the game and have done things a little bit differently. We played a very hard game today, very hard. We went against a very good opponent. Did we play one of our best games? Did we play a good game? No. We were not technically sound. There are a lot of things we could have executed better. We made a lot of mental errors, a lot of penalties, shooting ourselves in the foot. Those are things, those are yards, that are fundamental to football. You just can’t have those and win the game.
The refs, on the other hand, there were a couple of calls that were kind of sketchy, especially with that fumble, I believe, in the first half. Key things like that could have made the game totally different.
Did you feel like the sack on the last drive was the back-breaking play since it lengthened the field goal attempt?
Back-breaking? There were a lot of back-breakers. You just can’t write this game off on one single play. There were so many plays that could have made this game totally different, could have switched it around. We should have been up at halftime at least by a couple of touchdowns.
But there is still hope for the rest of the season, isn’t there?
Definitely. Two more games—it’s a two-game season. Nobody has their heads down. It’s a disappointment, it’s a sad loss, but you know what, we are a positive team. That’s what has been keeping us going. We are positive, upbeat, up-tempo, with a lot of hope for next week and the week after that.
A loss is a loss, but you all clearly had the effort there today.
Of course, the effort was there. The hope is always there. Last week we put together a @#$! of a game--great execution, great everything. This week, we had a good week of practice all throughout the week. We came in with a lot of confidence. But the little things like mental errors with the pre-snap penalties, things like that, and battling a couple of calls of the refs--I’m not totally saying it’s the refs’ fault or it’s all on pre-snap penalties but everything combined added up to the scoreboard.
What about Virginia Tech gave you problems today?
They moved around pretty well up front. They tried to give us a couple of different blitzes. We had mostly practiced everything that we saw of them. We might have underestimated their talent a little bit, but we still handled them pretty well up front.
Do you think the sack on the last drive was the deciding play in this game?
No one play decides a game.
How did that play unfold from your view? It looked like you couldn’t have seen the guy coming.
I didn’t. I was looking the other direction. He came from the blind side.
Did you see Chad Scott?
I saw him, but at that time I looked he didn’t have his head turned. I didn’t want to stare him down.
What did decide the game then?
Them making more plays than we did in certain situations.
How much do you feel penalties played in the game today?
We had our opportunities. That one drive where we got backed up, that really hurt us, but we had our opportunities.
How are you emotionally, your last drive in Kenan Stadium, having it come up short?
It’s tough, it’s tough, but I don’t regret anything. I had a great career here. I’m all right with it.
You still have a chance to get to a bowl and end your career on a high note.
That’s the goal. We still have two games left. The most important game now is Wake Forest.
What about Virginia Tech gave you problems today.
I’m not sure. I don’t think they really gave us any problems. We just didn’t execute the way we know how to.
You guys competed two weeks in a row, and early in the year it looked like you were way up or way down. What are your thoughts?
We’re never going to stop fighting. That’s the mentality that we have. There is no question in my mind that it will carry over to the last games.
Was the defensive game plan more aggressive today? You guys were blitzing a lot and you ended up with a couple of sacks.
It’s not really too different from anything we ran in the past. Guys were basically fitting their gaps and playing. It’s the same scheme we ran last week, somewhat, and weeks before.
The sacks--I ran that blitz a couple times this year. It is actually just guys freeing me up. I know T-Rich runs a stunt on that blitz that freed me up. It’s great teamwork there. I just happened to be the guy open on the blitz. It’s great teamwork and sacrifice, one body for another.
On the penalty against you on Virginia Tech’s first drive, did you think it was a close call? Could you tell that the ball came loose?
At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do, but after it happened, I kind of thought, ‘Man!’ Then I saw the flags, so I expected it to be a late hit. I was just trying to set the tone early, and it came back to haunt me.
It looked like you all struggled with their offense early, but you had it figured out in the fourth quarter. What do you feel about the performance late in the game?
At halftime we went in and they went to the chalk boards, the coaches, to show us an opportunity to stop the run. We came out and executed and stopped the run. We knew V-Tech’s passing really wouldn’t beat us. They throw off of play action, so as long as we could stop the run--that’s football, period. If you can stop the run, it’s difficult for the offense to score. They went to the chalkboard, drew it up, and we went out and played hard. I’m just happy with the fight in our team. We don’t ever give up.
You have two more games, with the chance to make a bowl. What do you think about that?
Two more games, we’ve got to go out there and play as hard as we can and do what we know we can do. We feel like we can beat these two teams: Wake Forest and Duke. We are going to practice hard and get ready.
What specifically did you change to slow down Imoh?
The secondary played basically the same, but the front seven changed some things. I’m not exactly sure what it was, but it seemed to work. Our coaches are good coaches and they know what they are talking about. All we have to do is listen and be the chess pieces out there.
Is there any less pressure kicking a 35-yarder than being called out there to make one from 54 yards?
I guess there is a little bit less stress, I guess, but every kick is the same. You have to kick it the same way every time, no matter what distance it is. I just went out there to kick a field goal. I hit it good, it just fell short.
What did you think when you saw Darian get sacked?
I didn’t think anything of it. I just knew it would be a longer field goal. Nothing changed in my mind.
Are you more confident from in close?
I’m confident from anywhere on the field, as long as it’s in my range. I was in my range. I felt confident, I hit it good. I thought it was good when I kicked it. It just came up short.
Is that a distance you practice?
I hit that all the time in practice. I don’t know what happened today. I hit it good, but I guess the wind pushed it down.
What are your thoughts about the up’s and down’s from last week to this week--disappointing at all?
It’s disappointing, but everyone in the locker room gave me a high-five and said, ‘Good kick.’ They weren’t like ‘Awwwwww.’ They kept me up and told me to pick my head up. I got good support from my teammates.