Viewing the game tape today was kind of what I expected. It's real disappointing because we certainly had several opportunities to win the football game. I said to you yesterday afternoon, after the game, we were one play away from winning that ball game, and that's exactly what we were.
There were several opportunities with the ball on the ground three times, one of which we recovered and the referees ruled that he was down. Another ball loose and it checks back up into the punt returner's hands. I don't know how it could possibly happen like that, but it did. And then we had one ball loose on the sideline and our own player kicked it out of bounds by misfortune. We had our hands on two other balls for interceptions--didn't get them.
We had several opportunities to stop them from moving the ball. We didn't play really good run defense; we started playing better in the fourth quarter. As you know from watching the game, we had some problems blocking their interior defensive tackles yesterday. They put some pressure on Darian that we didn't expect.
Of course, the last [offensive] play of the ball game, he has a very quick opportunity to throw the ball to 'Jaws' and doesn't pull the trigger. Then he starts to throw to Chad. It's hard to tell from the tape whether Chad is in position to see the ball coming, but if he dumps the ball to Chad we are going to have a first down, possibly even a touchdown.
It's an unfortunate loss because we had every opportunity to win. Our special teams played extremely well. I'm very proud of those guys. Overall, I'm very proud of the way the team played throughout the game--they played hard.
You just named a bunch of things that you are proud of and the one-play issue. You haven't said that after some losses. You touched on it some yesterday, but is that encouraging despite the final score?
Yeah, but it still counts as a loss, like I've said of those enormous, lopsided losses count as one loss. A big win counts as one win. This one hurts because you could have really done something special by beating two teams in a row, which is what we want to get done before the season is over. And we wanted to beat another Top 20 team.
We had that opportunity and we let it get away, so it's real frustrating last night and the frustration sets in again this morning when you wake up. I barely slept last night, and then you come in and watch the tape and it frustrates you even more. What we have to do now is get over it. Just like you have to get over a big win versus Miami, you have got to get over a difficult loss.
You mentioned their defensive tackles giving you trouble. Is that one of the reasons the run game didn't produce the total yards you would have liked?
Chad Scott gets over 120 yards rushing. Any time you get that from one runner, you feel really good about it. There were a couple other things that we did running-wise that we might change for next week in terms of who is in the game and how we run some of that option stuff that we did. But we didn't have as much time to throw the times we did throw, and that is what is disappointing on a few occasions--he got flushed out. We had some receivers open and people we could have hit, but we had too much pressure.
After winning one home game the last two years, you go 4-2 this year with several big wins. Can you reflect back on the games in Kenan this year and what you will take from those?
I think it was an exciting year in Kenan, even the Louisville game which was a 10-0 game at halftime. There are probably two losses that stick out in my mind most. One is Louisville, and I'm sure this one will for a while. We played exciting football. Our fans had an unbelievable fall here watching us play--storming the field twice, taking the goal posts down one time. We had some great night games here: the Georgia Tech game, the NC State game, and then the Miami game. I think everybody who watched our team play was excited about the way they were playing, saw the improvement we made, and I think a lot of them are really excited about our future.
With the frustration that still seems apparent today, does that make it harder to get over this loss, or will it be easier because you had a chance to win at the end of the game?
There is a little bit of both right now. The players aren't here [now], but when they come in tomorrow I can guarantee you two things: 1) all of us as a staff, including the head coach, will be excited about seeing those guys; 2) when we go out an practice tomorrow night our players will do what they've done all year--get excited about being back together and preparing for the next opponent.
There are still a ton of things to play for. We all know what we need to do. There is the old expression: we control our own destiny. This will be a slug fest over there in Winston-Salem, against Wake Forest. I understand they are already sold out. There are still a whole lot of good things out there for us if we take care of our business.
Yesterday, you played one running back, other than one carry for Madison Hedgecock. Can you tell us how it played out that way?
Ronnie [McGill] hasn't practiced very much or played very much. If he practices all week and practices well, he will certainly get in the football game [this week]. I want to get Jacque Lewis in the game--he's an important part of our football team. He also was a little limited last week, early on.
Jacque was available. Chad, obviously, had the hot hand the week before, and you have heard me say before if one guy gets hot I'm going to keep going to him. We are going to feed that horse. Chad played very well yesterday again.
Is there any news on Skip Seagraves' injury, and have you formally petitioned the NCAA and the other parties involved?
We are in the preliminary phase of doing that. I am still extremely anxious to get that done for Skip. I'm hopeful that the NCAA will strongly consider this because this young man was robbed of his senior year, and he's done all the right things here. He's on track to graduate. Each occasion should be considered for its own merits, and there are a lot of merits here for Skip Seagraves.