Where would you rank last week’s effort in the way that you executed in terms of the games you’ve been here?
Venables: Losses are all the same, they count the same. I wish we could’ve done more as coaches to help them find a way to win. On every opportunity we came up short, so it’s time to move on. If we had a big win, it’d be the same thing, there’d be the distraction of people anointing us, playoff contenders, and things of that nature. That’s what you fight through during the season, try to maintain focus, continue to improve, stay together, have leadership, and all those kinds of things. I think our guys have confidence in each other and certainly our systems. Going forward, I think we have really good leadership, I felt it the first three seasons. It’s proven to be the case. Our guys recognize our backs are against the wall in regards to the ACC. After today, we try to get once step closer in our preparation. We are going to need a strong performance Saturday night against the explosive North Carolina offense. That’s where our focus is now.
Was this past weekend one of Stephone’s better or more active games he’s had?
Yeah he was part of the game and was very reminiscent of the Ohio State type of performance, whereas he was very confident and one step ahead of the whole game.
What happened with the two big running plays late in the game?
Venables: Just over pursuit.
On those two plays were you telling them “try to go get a turnover, all we need is a field goal”?
Venables: Yeah I was telling them to go get the ball back.
North Carolina is down a couple of offensive lineman, does that change things for you to go put pressure on Marquise Williams?
Venables: They get it rid of the ball so fast and they snap it so fast. You don’t have a whole lot of time to do anything, hopefully you get your hand in the dirt and play some technique and put your eyes where they belong. I think that’s a system where they snap it that fast to try to dumb you down a little bit. They do well, they’re averaging more. There’s more attempts at running than throwing. This is much different style of a spread offense than what we saw a week ago.
The mobility of quarterback this week, you guys haven’t had to face someone like him yet, what does he bring to the table?
Venables: The designed quarterback run is always tough. If it was a team that could just run with a quarterback and a little bit of throwing, then that would be a lot easier, but they have excellent skills, a good system, and know how to distribute the football. So that’s tough. He’s big and he’s physical, breaks a lot of tackles and makes a lot of throws with guys hanging off him. He’s got great strength to him, so that’s element you wish you didn’t have to face, but we do. Hopefully we’re cognizant of rush lanes and recognition. Again, sometimes you’re not going to be the perfect call, but if the guys are playing with awareness and effort, they can cover up mistakes. Sometimes you think you made a perfect call, but really it’s just guys played with good effort and good technique.