Golden: We had guys crying after ND loss

Read on to see Al Golden's final comments on the Notre Dame game, what he's saying about trying to stop UNC running back Gio Bernard, and more.

On moving on from the Notre Dame loss:
A: Yeah, I hope. The hardest thing is that they invested a lot in Notre Dame. It's not like they weren't prepared. They invested a lot, so that hurts. What also hurts is opportunities lost, opportunities that went past our heads, whether it was our drop passes or roughing the punter or some of the penalties that we gave them that aided them in the first half or getting the ball back in the plus forty five with two minutes to go and not getting any points there. I told them that I was glad that you're hurting. We had guys crying. I'm glad because that means that they are investing; they're not blaming. They're only looking at themselves and what they could have done better as are the coaches. That means that they put a lot into it. We didn't play well. I think we left that behind after watching North Carolina in film because they are really good.

On UM's defense and where it has gotten better throughout the season:
I think our linebacker core is improving. I don't think there's any question that our linebacker core is improving. The first play that Kirby takes as a player in college is in the back field, and he looked like he deserved to be there and belong there and that was a tough stage for him to break in. I think our depth will be better there…Kirby back off an injury, Gionni back off an injury, Denzel back off an injury. You know, Jimmy's been hobbled for three weeks now, and he looks a little bit better. I think we need to continue to get a better pass rush from the front four. Ivery saw his first action in defensive tackle. It's still not pretty; it's not what we want yet, but he's competing. I think our tackling has been pretty good. I don't think our tackling is bad right now. I think Deon Bush has really helped us out with that. I would say that [Anthony Chickillo] has had some opportunities. You go back and watch NC state; he had a sack that got away from him, the same thing in Bethune. He's had some opportunities, though, where he's beaten his man and had an opportunity for a sack that he just let get away. I think if he just stays with it, just stays with the system, those plays will come. To be honest with you, I don't know about his numbers. Before the Notre Dame game, three games before he played really good football for us, three games in a row. He graded out very well. Notre Dame wasn't as good. He would be the first to tell you that he made some errors in the game that are uncharacteristic of him. He knows that and that's the challenge for him this week – get back and stay focused.

On the past six weeks of competition:
I'm not going to sit here and tell you it hasn't been a tough six weeks. It's been a tough six weeks. You're playing six and seven out of conference, you know. So, if I was in that meeting, while the schedule was being made, I probably wouldn't have voted for that.

On the amount of penalties that UM has been getting:
The head coach can't escape that. We made great strides last year in our penalties as a team. Right now, we're going backwards a little bit. We did a good job against NC State... I think if we're all honest with each other, I think the stage got some guys and that's the truth. The only way to get through that is to go through the fire yourself and to experience it. We had some penalties that were very uncharacteristic of some guys in that game, and, again, I have to do a better job preparing them for that stage. One of my guys pointed out to me that that was everyone's first penalty of the season, except for Feliciano. So, it was kind of bizarre. [Notre Dame Game]

On Gio Bernard (North Carolina's star running back from St. Thomas Aquinas):
We got to tackle well. He spins on contact, and he's got a low center of gravity. He's doing a really good job on cutting the ball back and he's got an excellent offensive line that can get out in front of him. He can run inside and outside. But certainly we have to scheme to stop him, and we have to make sure that as we do that we don't compromise the explosive plays on the back end.

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