(Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen to the audio, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.)
Listen to Audio(3:26)
What are you thinking right now?
What I'm thinking right now? The touchdown pass, right now--that's what I'm thinking about right now. Overall, the defense played well besides the one touchdown I gave up. That can't happen.
What was the mood of the team like in the locker room?
The mood was good. We were still in the game. We just let it slip out of our hands. Like I said, the guys stepped up and did good. Besides that touchdown that I gave up, we would have been in the game.
What was the mood like after the game in the locker room?
We feel a little disappointed because we felt like we could have won that game, and we missed the opportunity again, like always.
What went wrong in the defensive secondary today--were you guys having trouble figuring them out, or was it just a couple of big plays that doomed you?
The one play that--the reverse and double reverse was kind of hard to defend. Then that touchdown that I gave up. Then another play that went to the tight end that we gave up. Sometimes we were in the wrong--some guys missed assignments, but that is correctable. Other than that they were good.
Was it like Furman in that they ran a tricky offense?
It wasn't like Furman. We knew they were coming out with trick plays, but, like I said, double-reverse and that's about it, that's the only trick play--and then another reverse pass. Those were the only two things, the only two trick plays that got us. Other than that, we have seen everything.
What happened on the touchdown that you gave up?
What happened? The quarterback rolled out, I was man-to-man. When he rolled out, I thought the corner was going to do a sit-down route. Then he ended up running the corner. That froze me and I couldn't get around. Then when I looked to find the ball I couldn't locate it, so that is why.
How do you as a player view the rest of the year at this point?
I believe, I mean--the rest of the year we've got to do something, we've got to win games. We just have got to come out and play hard.
Has this team lost too much confidence to be able to succeed?
That's one of the questions that everybody is saying, but we haven't lost confidence. The stuff, like I said, that they got, we gave up.
Do you start to question yourselves and think, "Maybe the talent isn't there on defense to do what we need to do"?
No, we don't question ourselves. The touchdown I gave up, the quarterback rolls, he's rolling and the last thing I'm thinking is the corner route.
So you feel like it's more about making plays and you guys aren't making them?
You try to make plays. You think he's going to sit down, and you try to cut him off. If he runs a corner and you sit down on an out, he got you--he beat you.
Listen to Audio(3:27)
Short week for you guys this week. Are you going to be ready to play?
We've got no choice. The game ain't gonna stop on Thursday because we're not ready, so--we'll be ready.
Is it too early for this team to start re-evaluating its goals? You had a lot of goals at the beginning of the season.
I don't know. I really don't know.
You are so down. It's strange to see you this way. Have you felt this way before since you've been here?
You know, I went through a 2-9 season early in my career, but it was less frustrating because we didn't have the talent. We didn't have the ability to go out there and win each and every game. A lot of times when we went 2-9 we were just outmanned. It's not the same thing here. So frustration? A little bit.
If there is anything to say to your guys in the locker room, what do you say to them now?
I've got to find something. I've got to find something. I can't tell you right now, but I've got to find something.
You talked about the frustration and it not being about talent. What is the difference making plays and not making plays?
If I knew the answer--If I could answer that question for you right now, I would have already answered it five weeks ago and [these] things wouldn't be happening so I don't have the answer for you.
How is the team's confidence, how is your confidence? Is it taking a hit because, as you've said, you've got talent, you've got the players, but you're not making those plays. And I don't mean you--I mean the whole team. Is there a sense that this team is losing any confidence?
I don't know. I don't know.
Where do you go from here? You are what your record is, 1-5.
That's it. You try to get to 2-5. That's where you go from here--you try to get to 2-5. Period.
The goals that this team had--are any of those still reachable?
Our goal coming into the season was to be ACC Champ. Do you think that is still reachable?
It doesn't look like it.
All right then.
So what do you hang your hat on?
You keep playing every week. That's all you can do. You keep playing every week, and you see what happens. You come in every week and you see what happens. Period.
Is there any kind of shake-up? Were you surprised not to see Joe [Dailey] in there at all, considering how things went? Anything maybe just to get a spark or something?
I don't know. I don't know.
You are a competitor so this has to be eating at you big-time.
A little bit. A little bit.
As a receiver, there is only so much you can do directly in terms of making plays. What can you do to affect the guys around you to help build some confidence and create some situations where you can be successful?
Listen to Audio(5:37)
…we play with a bunch of competitors here. We hate losing. We--hate--losing. That includes me, Coach Bunting and our coaching staff. So when you are 1-5, it's not easy. It's not easy walking around campus. I know the fans are upset, we're upset. I mean, it's just the way it is.
But, the difference between being upset and going out and doing something about it is what's going to make this team. Yeah, we're 1-5, but there is plenty of football left. So we've got to take the competitiveness that I know we all have, including the coaching staff, and turn it into a positive and get going.
You have talked about the external pressures. Now those pressures grow a little bit more. How do you deflect, ignore, get away from those things that are starting to bear down on you now as the losses pile up?
That's what's going on outside those doors. You get into that and you are definitely done. Inside these doors, we're positive, and we will remain positive. We will take coaching, we will continue to work hard. You start worrying about what's going on outside there, you may as well quit. But we are not worried about it, we understand, because we have high expectations of ourselves too. We don't want to be in this position.
What's it like to hear boos coming from the stands from the small number of people who were left at the end of the game. What's that like?
It's never easy getting booed. We don't want to hear it, but can you blame them? I mean, they expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves, so we've got to take the boos away by going out and winning.
How hard is that to shake off if you hear that from the fans?
For us, I really don't think it's hard for us to shake [it] off. Like I said, when we walk in here, it's all about us. It's about family, and if guys are going to start worrying about that, you kind of get outside the family. So we don't worry about that stuff. That is not what we can control. We are trying to take care of things we can control.
How would you describe what happened on the interceptions? Bad reads? Locking in on one guys?
One of the interceptions was what we call a peer progression read, so I am [looking] from one receiver, to the next, to the next. So I locked onto him, which is my job, but I did not see the guy in the hole. And that is my responsibility--I've got to see him. I didn't see him, and it was a bad interception. It's got to get fixed. It's bad.
Was that the first one you are talking about, the slant?
Yeah. I mean, we practice it all the time, and I didn't see him.
What about the large [number] of penalties--how frustrating is that?
Very frustrating. We were moving the ball, and you penalize yourself. Psychologically, it brings you back. Obviously, on the field it brings you back. You find yourself driving, maybe we're down and you've got to start over again. We try to build on positive plays, and when you have a positive play and you take it back. It's obviously tough to get over.
Listen to Audio(4:13)
When did [the injury] happen?
It happened before the game even started. I tried to fight through it for four quarters.
What happened? Did somebody bump into you, hit you?
Somebody hit me in between my shoulder and my neck, right on my collar bone, so--
Is that sort of an example of the way this thing has gone? You can't even get through pre-game and you get hurt?
We are going to do thing hard. It's not just a simple mistake; it was a freak accident. Things happen when you play football fast. You are going to get nicked up here and there. It is up to the person who takes it to take it and roll with it. You can't give up. So even though I have a little injury, I can't let teammates down.
I'm still going to go out there and fight. So you have to roll with it, you know. Things are going to happen. It's up to you to put yourself in a position to bounce back from it. There are [other] examples of things that happen.
When you were down in the first quarter, you just aggravated it, I'm taking it because you were down for a bit.
It hurt pretty bad, but I couldn't give up on my teammates, so I had to go back out there and just strap it on and suck it up--keep going and keep working.
As a leader, what do you do in this short week before Virginia to get your defense ready to play next on Thursday?
Just tell them to go out there and play hard. Just tell them that we can't waste any opportunities. We have to take things on and off the field and apply them and invest everything we can mentally and physically into what we have to do. We have to get things down pat, know what we have to do, we have to be focused, and we have to be ready to go.
It's going to be a short week, so we have to expect to come in and not have a lot of time. It's going to take that much more effort to lean the offense, learn the scheme, learn what we have to do. So we have to make a lot of sacrifices this week. We have to invest a lot of time in order to put ourselves in position to do the right thins we have to do.
After the game today when you were walking off the field, what was going through your mind?
I don't know, a lot of different things, but mainly my shoulder hurt. You know, I'm just hoping I can get through this right now, get things going, and bounce back from this game and this injury, and just hopefully help my team this upcoming short week--we have a short week--and I hope there is enough time to get a lot of stuff done and get myself healthy enough to help my teammates.
You are 1-5 with six games left. First reflect on the first half of the season, and then where do you go from here?
This is--lack of focus really hurt us this first half of the season. I feel like we haven't been on the same page offensively, defensively in one game yet. We've got a lot of room to make a lot of strides and become better.
With that said, the second half is about who is going to do what, and what steps we are going to take. Are we going to let things get so heavy on our back that we are going to collapse and fall, or are we going to take whatever strides, stand tall, and come out of our situation in the possible situation we can. We can't give up on ourselves. Our backs are up against the wall now, so it is our decision as to whether we are going to crumble or come out swinging.
You've been through a disappointing season, your freshman year. Is this starting to feel the same way?
No, I won't let it happen. As a person, I can't let it happen because too many people on this team have done too much and have invested so many different things that I, myself, I refuse to let it happen.