(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 (11:44)
“I told the players in the locker room tonight that there is a lot of steps that you have to make as you are building a football program and certainly tonight was a very positive step for us at Carolina. But more importantly, I hope our football team learned a really valuable lesson. The preparation we had prior to tonight’s ball game was probably about as good as we have had in the 18 months I have been head coach. I think we were disappointed in ourselves in the way we played two weeks ago versus McNeese State and our players really responded. I think they showed a lot of pride and perseverance.
“We were tough on them in practice. We challenged them in kicking the football, protecting the quarterback [and] making good decisions. Tonight’s performance was a by-product of an outstanding job by our coaching staff of getting these guys prepared and our players really worked. As the game unfolded, we knew it was going to be a very loud, a very emotional and intense setting and I think our players showed a lot of maturity about the trip.
“For the first time, there was a lot of seriousness about just getting on the plane. We talked about this prior to coming up here. These are business trips. You are coming to play a game and play the best you can and not coming to go to Disneyland. Our kids really responded and handled that well.
“We were very fortunate to create some turnovers because Rutgers is an explosive big-play team. The quarterback is a good player. I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination that the score is indicative of the talent nor the coaching staff Rutgers has. They are a very good, well-coached team but they made some mistakes and we fortunate to capitalize on the mistakes and were also fortunate we didn’t make the same mistakes.”
On holding Rutgers to a 0-for-9 mark on third-down conversions:
“When you have success on third downs, you hate to say this, but it’s almost not about third down, but how you played first and second down. If you’re at third and one, two or three, you’re probably not going to do a very good job of keeping them from making third downs. If you’re having some success in your pressures and batting some balls down – I thought our pass defense at time was very good – that brought up a lot of second and 10s and 12s. Negative plays in the running games. If you can take teams and put them off track, it gives you a chance for a better third down defense.”
On winning outside of N.C. for the first time since 2002:
“It’s good for the kids, and certainly it’s good for the program. I’m glad I wasn’t a part of all of those 20 losses. I probably wouldn’t be standing here today if I was. But it’s good for the program. Any time you get a chance to play on national television and have a good performance and play well, it’s a good team win.”
Listen to Audio (2:25)
On overcoming a slow start:
“It’s just a never-say-die rule – just keep pushing and keep punching. We kept throwing our punches and it was the same thing you saw against Fresno State. They were just pounding and pounding it out, and in the second half, they were able to gash them with runs, and that’s kind of the things that we did.”
On if the McNeese State game helped to focus the team:
“We definitely came back with a swagger that we wanted to bounce back. We knew that that wasn’t us – that’s not how we play. We came out and we wanted to make a statement that that was not us, and there’s no better way to play than on Thursday night on national television.”
Listen to Audio (2:50)
Did you see anything on tape that you could take advantage of?
“We saw some tendencies on film, but our guys just did a good job of beating them and getting open. We’ve got some of the best wideouts in the country in my mind, and it’s easy to throw it to them. We definitely exploited things when we had the chance.”
On finally getting a road win:
“It just feels so good to go on the road. We’ve had so many road losses. We lost every game on the road last year and it shows so much about this team and how focused we were this week and how prepared we were coming into this game. It feels really good.”
Listen to Audio (4:25)
On his hand injury:
“My thumb – in the joint – got caught. It was first on a play when I was blitzing and the running back was blocking and I just hit it weird. But I stayed in there, and then I just fell awkwardly on the ground. I kind of busted it up. It’s a little sore.”
On the navy blue pants:
“It’s something that’s new, and it gives the team a new feel. I mean, the same old, same old [leads] to start playing like the same old, same old. This is kind of a surprise. We thought we were wearing all white, and we got out there, and I think a lot of the guys enjoyed it. I don’t know how it looked on television, but I don’t think it matters a whole lot.”