"It's good to win the first ballgame. As I talked to the team before we ever played tonight, I said, 'I want you to go out, have fun, play hard and know that the game is not going to be perfect. There's some things that we're not going to do as well as when the season unfolds.'
"We felt like our defense was going to play extremely well. I think our speed, our ability to put pressure on the quarterback, the ability to minimize run after the catch and minimize big plays they just did a great job of creating turnovers and handling some sudden change situations.
"Offensively, we felt good about the ability to run the football. We ended up rushing for over 250 yards and I thought that that was one of the keys. I wanted to try to get our offensive line a collective opportunity to play together. We didn't play as well in the passing game as, certainly, we're going to need to. It didn't come as a total surprise, playing as many young wide receivers. I think we'll continue to improve over the course of the next couple of weeks.
"It was a good night from the standpoint that we were able to play 70 players in the ballgame. Our second offensive line needed that opportunity...
"It was a good start, but by no stretch of the imagination is the best we'll play before the season is over, but it was a good way to start the season."
On any disappointment over missing out on a shutout:
"If it meant shutting them out or allowing a lot of those kids to play, then absolutely not. I think it's so valuable when you get opportunities because we haven't had many of those in the preceding two seasons. We're going to need that valuable opportunity to grow some experience and some depth. To miss out on a shutout -- it would have been nice, but not at the expense of playing all those kids."
On the passing game:
"In talking to some of the kids after the game, they were nervous. There's no getting around it. Josh Adams said, 'Coach, I gotta be honest with you, I was nervous. I've never played in front of that many people and that much noise.' He dropped one early in the game and then he made a phenomenal catch on the sidelines. As those guys gain some poise and get in the game, that stuff will certainly go away. Those kids have got great hands. We've just got to emphasize the passing game and it will continue to grow to balance out the running attack."
On the defensive line:
"We've got five defensive ends that played tonight that had the ability to really put some pressure on the quarterback. He was under duress, when he got the ball off he got hit an awful lot of times. I think the ability to play that many guys kept everyone fresh. Certainly Robert (Quinn) was applying some heat from the backside. He did a good job coming off the edge, as did Michael McAdoo and E.J. Wilson. When we really needed to dial it up, those guys came through for us."
Are you disappointed that you missed out on the shutout?
"I am kind of disappointed on that, because that would have been a great way to start my senior year and to start this season overall. Six points is still pretty good to me. I'm still satisfied."
Do you feel like this team picked up where it left off last season with forcing turnovers?
"I felt like we picked it up and turned it up a notch. That's what we need to do. Everything that we did well last year, we need to turn it up a notch. And the things that we didn't do so well, we need to fine tune and get them to catch up with our strong points."
On almost tossing the shutout:
"The only thing I wish we could have changed was that doughnut. We had the doughnut going, and I thought we were going to keep it. I was a little mad when they made that field goal."
On his two interceptions:
"I should have had four to be honest. I should have dove on the first one and I don't know what happened on that last one."
On his preseason promise to make plays:
"I feel like last year I wasn't in the position to make a lot of plays. I just worked on trying to put myself into position. I actually had a dream about having three picks today. I was telling some of the guys about it and it almost came true, but not so."
On his play:
"I'm just trying to get quarterback sacks and create plays. And if I don't get the sacks, help the secondary get some interceptions. I'm basically just out there to make some plays."
Did the quarterbacks expect any shock that you got on them so fast?
"I guess they don't expect someone to run 10-15 yards to come catch them, especially a defensive lineman. So I guess there is a little shock and that awkward look like, 'What are you doing?'"
On his 77-yard punt return for touchdown:
"Coach [Charlie] Williams said `Fair catch it if you're going to have anything,' but I was going to try to return it anyway. I saw it was going to be short and I guess the Citadel thought I was going to fair catch it. But I just ran up and caught it. The punt pressure team made good choices and cleared the pathway, and I just ran through it. Once I got past the punter I just ran straight down the field. I didn't slow down because I didn't know if anybody was chasing me from behind so I just ran as fast as I could."
On his touchdown catch:
"It was kind of a scramble, we tend to go over that a lot of practice, just practicing the whole entire play and then it kind of broke down a little bit and I tried to just find a window where I could get open and then I just got the ball in my hands and tried to make a play."
On the dropped passes:
"We're some young guys, we've have some young guys on our team, but we're still going to hold ourselves to a high standard. I'm going to push myself and my fellow receivers to where we are at a point where we're not dropping anything and we're going to go even harder and spend time after practice and before practice where we catch it and get some balls in with the quarterbacks.
"Guys are wanting to get the ball in their hands and want to make a move just a little bit too early. Just some (more) focus and concentration, that's pretty much what it is. Guys were just eager to make a play and then kind of forgetting about securing the catch first."
On the dropped passes:
"You don't expect anything like that, it is definitely something we're going to have to work on. A couple of those balls could definitely been thrown better. We definitely have to do some work in the passing game.
"We're usually not like that in practice. So it was definitely a surprise."
On the running game success:
"We've been working on our running game so much in fall camp and the off-season. Those guys are being so physical up front and our running backs are just getting the ball and running North and South. Those gadget plays, running around the end, they definitely helped spread the field out as well.
"The running game is going to help us tremendously in the play action pass, but on a lot of those play action passes they were backing up pretty far on us so we didn't get too many shots down field, but that opens up the running game tremendously."
Why the running game is working so well:
"The offensive line, being extremely physical up front and opening up those holes for Shaun (Draughn), Ryan (Houston), and Jamal (Womble) and the wide receivers when they were running the ball – they were just very physical up front."
On A.J. Blue in the offense:
"It's a little different, I've never done anything like that, but he's definitely a guy we're going to have to get the ball to, as he showed tonight, he's a very exceptional athlete and it's just going to be another wrinkle in our offense."
On Greg Little's touchdown:
"Anything we can do to get the ball into Greg's hands – he can do some special things when he gets the ball. He can break some tackles when he gets the ball because he's a big, strong, physical guy and he can catch."
On the dropped passes:
"I think we did okay. From practice and scrimmage I think we are capable of a lot bigger things. Hopefully during the season we'll get a lot better.
"As the season goes on I think we'll eliminate the drops."
On why the running game clicked:
"We practice against one of the best D-lines in the country if not the best, I feel like we can go out against any other D-line and go block the plays like we should.
"It was the O-line, it was good calls, and effort on my part, so all of a sudden it's clicking."
Were the dropped passes were typical?
"It is definitely not. I mean, I'm not going to say it was a lack of focus, but you just got to catch the ball, that's what it all boils down to. In practice we catch them left and right."
On A.J. Blue in the Wildcat:
"Great change of pace, great change of pace. I told him when we were rooming together (during training camp), ‘Just gain the coaches' trust and go out and show them you know what you're doing, and they'll call your number. He showed up."
On the difference in his second year:
"I feel very comfortable. Knowing what the line is going to do, knowing all the schemes and all the plays, I wasn't trying to force a lot of things."