"One of the things we talked to our players about yesterday, you can't just look at what we did [against Miami] and think all evils and ills are fixed. There are some things we did to allow Miami to get back into the ball game and other things we didn't do very well. Those are certainly going to be focal points. I talked to the players about challenging themselves to look critically at themselves. 'What can I do better?' We're starting to make progress about studying and watching film, but from a physical standpoint 'Are there things that I can do as a football player that will allow me to perform better.' We're not talking about lifting weights, but from fundamentals and techniques. To challenge themselves during Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday's practices, to take that message to the practice field.
"This will be an enormous challenge for us. The challenges continue to get better each week. South Carolina, with the exception of a 12-point loss to LSU -- arguably the best team in the country -- this is clearly the best football team that we've played. Their defense is as talented and fast as any I've seen."
On Brandon Tate's contributions:
"This weekend Brandon had 223 yards of contributing offense from reverses, to receptions to kickoff and punt return. He's a field position changer. Because of his speed, he can take any play to the house. Those are the things people see Brandon do. But some of the not so obvious are where he's gotten even better - the routes he runs when he's not the primary guy, blocking downfield. He's been a very, very valuable part of this offense."
On winning the time of possession:
"It's the growth of our running game that has made a significant difference. And also the games have been competitive to the point that everything is still part of the game plan. It's very difficult to win the time of possession when you're down a significant amount and you're having to throw an awful lot, it's almost impossible to win the time of possession. But when the game is closer, it's easier to have that kind of success."
On the improving offensive line:
"Offensive line and the secondary are probably the two units that playing together as a unit is the most critical. Those guys are all connected and they've got to be on the same page. But the offensive line is growing and getting better. It was a bit of a transition losing Scott Lenahan because Scott has the most experience and took all the snaps with the starting unit during training camp. For Lowell [Dyer] coming in, the first week was a bit of a struggle, then against Virginia Tech he did a little better and last week he made some really good strides. But it took a while for him to get comfortable with everybody else to do all the line calls."
On Hilee Taylor:
"There are so many things that I think Hilee represents in such a positive manner. Not only is he a captain, but he's a phenomenal young man. His character, his integrity ... he's one of our best recruiters, he's one of our best practice players. My biggest regret is he's not a freshman or sophomore - we'd love to have him for a few more years. And on game day, when you ask a kid to spill his guts and leave everything on the field, when Hilee Taylor walks into the locker room, there's no question in my mind there's nothing left in the tank. You get everything out of him. Although we don't have very many seniors on this team, the ones we do have, you couldn't ask for better examples for our young players. They watch him, and Kentwan Balmer, Connor Barth, Scott Lenahan, Joe Dailey - we've got some seniors who are doing a great job of leading by example."
On whether he's glad he took the UNC job:
"Absolutely I am thrilled to death that I took this job. And I look forward to many, many years here in the future."
On the upcoming challenge against South Carolina:
"Well you know I kind of got recruited by SC and Coach Spurrier, I know he likes to throw the ball. I know it is going to be a good game for the secondary, I think we all we'll put more time in this week and get together this week, study the routes and concepts and everything like that. I think there will be a lot of preparation for them this week and hopefully it will pay off."
On the irony of playing safety when recruited as a wide receiver for South Carolina:
"Isn't that something, I think it will be fun. I think I am starting to learn this position a little more and I just trying to put myself around the ball, hopefully good things will happen to me."
On his first impressions of South Carolina:
"Their defense is raw, man, on Sunday's I usually just watch one or two of their games. Their defense is really talented and they have a real talented running back. Their secondary, I think they're number one in pass defense I think in the nation and their receivers are going to make plays."
On the progression of the secondary this season:
"We're improving. We are real young still, but if we keep putting in time the sky is the limit. We've made good strides in the rush game. ... We all are starting to bond a little bit more and starting to trust each other a little bit more. You know we had the injury to Kendric that really hurt us. But I think J. Strong and Tavorris Jolly really responded to that challenge. Hopefully we all can keep grinding and keep putting in more time, and hopefully we will be better."
On putting in time for game preparation:
"I usually get up around 6 a.m. every morning to come and watch film with coach. Recently some guys have come with me and that's helped out a lot. I just think the more time we put in, the better we'll be, so I encourage the guys to come in."
On South Carolina's occasional rugby style of punting:
"That means I am just going to try and have to get the ball somehow. The rugby kick it is hard to return kicks, so I just try to have to get the ball somehow."
On the absence of the touchdown passes in the last three games:
"I think teams have been backing up and watching the deep routes. So we've just been making great plays getting first downs and moving the chains."
On the guidance from former receiver Jesse Holley:
"He just told me to block and run good routes. He told me you aren't going to get the ball every time, but just to do your assignment. So I just I went into this year thinking about that every time I go out."
On losing his shoe during a big catch last Saturday:
"I think I could have scored if I got a little farther inward. When my shoe can off, I couldn't really get any traction on the ground, but I think I probably could have scored."