OPENING STATEMENT: What a big week when you have a game; such a unique rivalry only ten miles apart. I referred to it on the radio this morning as the ‘grocery store rivalry’ because wherever you go shopping you’re going to get a mixed group of fans here. It’s a unique area and a great rivalry between two outstanding institutions.
I’ll say this: this is the best North Carolina team that I’ve seen. They’re extremely balanced as a team, and what I mean by that is that they have such weapons in the kicking game, on defense and offense. Their offense has playmakers everywhere, including the offensive line. Sometimes people forget that offensive lines are playmakers. Their offensive line is just that. They make plays with the job that they do.
Defensively, they’re extremely good in the back end and at linebacker. In front they have a lot of people, rolling in a lot of people who are being very effective. They’re an extremely talented team, a well- coached team, well-prepared team and that’s why they’ve been so successful. It’s funny, an opener can be a unique game for all of us and they had a game get away from them there. But to win seven games in a row, you have to be doing a lot of things extremely well. We had good work Sunday, got in a little extra work Sunday on North Carolina. Had really good work this morning and it’s going to take that for us to continue to be ready to go.
Q. On how sticking to the process will help move on from the Miami game:
COACH CUTCLIFFE: You hope you’re an organization with great habits. If you have great habits, you just turn right back to the habits. It’s what you do. So we have a Sunday of ‘this is what you do.’ And what’s interesting with athletes, and I think this has been true my whole life, is that maybe sometimes we have a little harder time getting back to work when we win. We still want to walk on cloud nine at times. If you're a competitor and the outcome goes different than a win, then you better learn to get back out on that field and work. It’s not as hard as you might think if that’s what you do. If that’s the way we go about our business, and I certainly think our habits have helped us Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
Q. On the role of the team leaders through the week:
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Our two captains, Matt Skura and Jeremy Cash, were both great. They are both fierce competitors and they are saying the right things. They are conducting, not team-only meetings, but the guys in the locker room and the training room, the talk has been the right talk and it’s because not just those captains but our seniors. All of those guys have their minds in the right place. For the seniors, this is the last game against the University of North Carolina. A lot of things turn and focus on a football game for those guys, so I’m proud of the quality of that entire senior class. I continue to point that out to all of them each and every week regardless of the result of the ballgame on Saturday.
Q. On when he knew that the team was ready to move forward:
COACH CUTCLIFFE: After they worked in the weight room (Sunday). I was watching tape in my downstairs area, which I do a lot on Sundays, and I can kind of hear them working out and I can tell sometimes the difference. They go warm up in the speed and agility room, break a sweat, come into the weight room, and I’m sitting right up under the steps. It’s remarkable what you can tell sometimes by the sound of the steps, whether they're bouncing a little bit or whether they’re moving maybe a little slow. And then I asked Noel Durfey how we worked and he said, ‘outstanding.’ That was a good sign.