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Listen to Audio (10:57)
“Like I told the players in the locker room, you don’t win significantly meaningful games unless you win as a team. We started preparing to win this game on Tuesday. We had very good practices, our players were focused, they watched film, they took advantage of every single practice rep during the week. I think our team handled the ebbs and flows of the game. There’s always going to be challenges…turnovers, them getting an early 7-0 lead…Our kids responded.
“I thought our football team responded every time there was a challenge. Every time (ECU) had some momentum or every time they made a score, (we) came back with a very struggling offense like we’ve had. It was a very good performance to have in excess of 400 yards (with) what everyone deemed a “struggling” offense.
“I thought T.J. Yates was outstanding today. His composure, his poise, his percentage of completions was very good. He was smart with the football. He was keeping every body in there routes.
“I thought our offensive coaches did an outstanding job in a way to try to find roles for our kids as they grow, because we’re playing so many young guys.
“Another significant contributor was that our offensive line got to play together for a week. Last week’s performance, they struggled a bit They didn’t’ get a chance to practice all week. Obviously this week was a little bit better. Jonathan Cooper was able to come back in and play some. We’re still a long ways away, there are still things we’ve got to continue to strive to get better.
“A rock solid core of this football team, clearly, is our defense. That’s the anchor that you hang on to. You know that they’re going to go out and that they’re going to compete. Robert Quinn was spectacular today. The pressure he had off the corner always gave us a chance to put them behind the count.
“On all three phases, we did enough good things to give ourselves a chance to win. I was just proud of the effort that our team showed.”
On the development of the young wide receivers:
“I don’t know who is going to wear those numbers in the next 25 years, but whoever comes in, I would ask for number 88. I would try to make sure that I’m the heir apparent to that. Everybody’s got some intangible that gives them a chance. (Erik Highsmith) just puts himself in a position to make sure that he gives himself a chance to catch the ball and be in the right spot.
“I love the focus and the concentration that he had on the ball because a lot of young kids would have stuck their hand out there and it bobbled, he didn’t catch it cleanly, but he maintained his focus and he kept running and he gave himself a chance to catch it the second time around.
“Each one of those kids is finding little bitty things that they can add to try to help our offense. “
On the running game:
“I thought our running game, as the day went on, got a little stronger and a little stronger. They started to make some good runs. We’re very lucky we’ve got a good combination with Shaun and Ryan, they are kind of the thunder and lightning deal. They pull for each other and they keep making plays.
“If you go back a week ago and look at the last 18 minutes of that Connecticut game, I think we kind of carried a little of that confidence and a little bit of that mindset of how we like to play into this ballgame. We did need to be more balanced, get the tight end, get the backs involved, get the wide receivers involved, find ways to help out the running game.
“We’re still a long ways away from being the kind of football team we need to be, but this was a good step forward.”
On the offensive line’s improved protection:
“There’s any number of reasons, one is the quarterback getting rid of the ball. That’s always a starting place when the quarterback is smart with the football and doesn’t take sacks, that’s a beginning. I think being able to run the ball and not play behind the count, trying to stay out of second and (long) and third and (long), those are sack fests just waiting to happen. You’re lucky if you can get out without giving up a lot of sacks.”
Listen to Audio (2:48)
On the offensive line's performance:
"It definitely feels good to just finally get on a roll and have everybody just going... Last week was one of those things were it was short notice that Lowell [Dyer] wasn't here playing. So we got comfortable with Cam and everybody else got comfortable with each other and we just let it loose today."
On the wide receivers:
"Erik Highsmith -- I can't even talk about it. He came to play today. He definitely showed up and he was a big surprise. We expected a lot out of him, but not as much as he gave us."
Listen to Audio (2:02)
On the fiery nature of the game:
“When we went down there to ECU [in 2007], I had boys spitting on me and cussing at me and punching me after plays. A lot of boys on defense were doing that. So there was a lot of junk talking, but I’m glad I didn’t let my composure get away. The boys had to calm me down a couple of times.”
On his halfback throw:
"We've worked on it a couple of times in practice. I didn't think Coach Shoop was going to call it, but he trusted in me and I threw it out there."
Listen to Audio (4:02)
On the offense coming to play:
"We answered some of the criticism that we got during the week. We took it to heart and came out here and played very hard."
On the win:
"It was great. Everybody was happy. Everybody knew that this game was so big for us and so big for them. We emphasized so much just finishing the fourth quarter and getting through and just overcoming some of the adversity that we've had."
Listen to Audio (3:10)
Did you know that touchdown pass was coming to you?
"Yes, I knew it was. When he called the play, it was 'X-corner,' as a matter of fact. He called it and it was wide open, so I just caught it."
Did you expect to be sitting here surrounded by reporters three games into your career?
"No. No way. But after Dwight [Jones] got hurt, I had the opportunity to do a lot of things, so it's worked out for the best."
Listen to Audio (1:57)
Can you describe what happened on your touchdown pass?
"It felt good. They wanted to use me and my speed for that. It was supposed to be a double move, but it didn't -- it turned into a straight go route. And when the ball was in the air, I just hit another level and I went after it."
So you changed the route in mid-stride?
"I did, because the safety stayed on the other side of the field, so I was like, 'I might as well keep going straight.'"
What about the bobble?
"I thought I was going to drop it at first, but I was like, 'I can't. First touchdown, student section -- I've got to grab it.' So it felt good."