“We’ve got the difficult task of trying to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Wake Forest. As a football team, we clearly didn’t play as well as we certainly would have liked to, and certainly a lot of that had to do with Wake Forest. We’ve got a big challenge this week with Maryland. Ralph Friedgen’s team is very, very talented on offense with a lot of speed at wide receiver and two very talented running backs. They’ve got a big, massive offensive line, so they are going to really challenge our run defense and a very young secondary.
“[On] the defensive side of their football team, [Erin] Henderson – the linebacker – is just really a talented player. They’ve got two guys playing at linebacker that run sideline to sideline and they’ve got the ability to make plays. We certainly have to be a much more consistent football team, eliminate some penalties to have a chance to be in the game and have a chance to win.”
On if a stadium renovation rendering will be ready for this weekend:
“With the architects and the company that we’ve hired to do this project, they’ve made several visits and every time they come to Chapel Hill, they spend an hour or so. We’ve toured our building and we’ve toured our stadium and walked around and talked about somewhat of a wish list, that these are the things that we think we need to have. And certainly, the administration, the athletic director and the board of trustees have talked about all of the other things that go into the non-football related [items].
“The academic support system is an enormous piece of this project, but also some multi-purpose lounge areas that can be used for functions, non-athletic related. [There’s] the potential for maybe a 1500-2000 seat restaurant type of a thing on campus that can be used for orientations and freshman banquets and just an array of different things. We’re hoping to have something by this weekend, and it will certainly just be kind of like a phase one look at it, because there will be continual tweaks.
“I don’t think that by any stretch of the imagination that we’ll have a finished product until probably mid-spring… The target date to say, ‘Okay, this is the blue print, this is the way it’s going to look, and now let’s just start tearing stuff down’ probably won’t come until March or April.”
With the special teams breakdown, how does practice change to fix those problems?
“When you have some issues like we’ve had, it starts by looking at personnel. Do we have the right guys, first of all, on the team? Do we have them in the right places? Are we teaching the right drills that give them a chance to make the plays and be in the right position? That has been a little bit of an unfortunate thing for this team in the midst of injuries and guys missing [games], and it’s the ‘trickle down’ theory that when a Brooks Foster can’t play on offense and when you miss a couple of guys because of suspension or injuries defensively.
“And now you rob your special teams to become the guy that’s going to be the starter on offense or in your nickel package, and then all of a sudden, you get battlefield promotions and have to move guys around. So guys that took 200 reps during training camp and the first month or so of the season, all of a sudden now are playing different positions and you find yourself having to re-coach and re-teach some things.
“But the first part is to look at the personnel, second part is looking at the coaching and then thirdly is trying to shore it up and make sure that you can eliminate it. But absolutely, you watch more video, do more drills and you spend more time on it in practice, because special teams is without question the fastest and quickest way to lose ball games. Every play is a 40 or 50-yard play and if you don’t play good in special teams, [then] it’s almost impossible to overcome offensively and defensively.”