Good morning. Even though it was an early morning it was good to get back here from North Carolina with a win. Brock Berlin was named offensive player of the week for the ACC and Devin Hester again for special teams. They were certainly a couple positives from the game. It is nice to get honors and we are very happy to get those players recognized. Of course we are going back to North Carolina this week to Chapel Hill in a different hotel and we are playing a different team. Their record is 3-4, but they have beaten two good football teams. I think without question North Carolina State is a good team and I think Georgia Tech is a good team. They have won all three of their games at home. We know what we are in store for—another tough road test in the ACC. Offensively they have a tremendous quarterback in Darian Durant. He is one of those that we don't like because he is a running back playing quarterback. He can pass and creates a lot of problems. They have excellent running backs in Lewis and McGill. They have a very explosive receiver from Florida, Pollock. He catches a lot of balls; he's not big, but very flashy and is an outstanding football player. We have to get back to basics. Obviously we had a couple players injured (Tyler McMeans and Santonio Thomas) that will not be in this game. We did get good news and we feel they will be back before the season is over. They are in a cast now and they will rehabilitate and hopefully we can get those players back sooner than later. Derrick Morse will step up at guard and we have used Kareem Brown some inside as well as Teraz McCray so we should be fine inside. It hurts us a little bit with depth, but it should be a good situation for us.
On if there is a surprise with where the team is ranked in the coaches poll and having only one first place vote—assuming that you voted for yourself:
We are moving on up. You can presume it is me. I'm not really surprised. I have seen these teams play and I think we are a good team. I don't know if there is a great team out there. I know that LSU looked special last year when they beat Georgia and OU late in the year. When you look, OU has struggled some and Southern Cal obviously struggled against Stanford and Cal. It is a toss up. We just have to play. I am not surprised that we don't. I think sometimes you get a perception that Southern Cal is this or whomever. I think sometimes it carries over like the political debates. I need a spin-doctor out there.
On the improved play of the offense in the past few games:
The big thing is we haven't put in a lot of secret plays. It is the same things we have always ran. The thing that I see is the offensive players are starting to take ownership. Coaches didn't all of a sudden get a lot brighter. The players have a lot of pride and understand that when we have opportunities and don't play as well as we can it is frustrating. They know they are better. When I challenged them a few weeks ago it wasn't personal. I asked them if we are expecting too much, then let us know. If we are not good enough to do these things, then let's talk about it. They felt they were good enough. The big thing is they want to be good and put in the extra effort to be good. How good can we be? I don't know, but I like the direction we are going.
On jumping on the North Carolina defense early to try and take them out of the game:
I think that is a misnomer. We played the number one team in the nation and we were up there a couple weeks ago. With the defense it is a week-to-week deal. If you look at who they have played, they have played some of the top offenses in the country. If you look at Utah and Louisville—teams that really racked up a lot of points on them. We are not trying to jump on them early. We are going to try and have a good game plan and have some explosive plays. We know the stats, but it really doesn't matter for 60 minutes on how we play and how they play.
On the recent performance by QB Brock Berlin:
I think he is improving. He is getting more comfortable with what we are doing. This is his second year in the offense and he was around some new receivers. I think he is playing with a lot of confidence. The thing that amazes me is that he has never flinched. There has certainly been a lot of criticism as you are going to have as a quarterback, but he really has never flinched. He has never doubted himself or if we were behind in games. He has never doubted himself throughout the course of this thing. He is such a tough competitor and guys have really rallied around him. What I am alluding to is leadership. Guys believe in him that he can make some plays. He encourages that and we are starting to see that. I think it is improved play and we have a good package for him.
On WR Roscoe Parrish stepping up as a go-to receiver:
Roscoe Parrish in practice prior to the Georgia Tech game was making phenomenal catches. Making those plays in practice and being so quick. I can't imagine trying to cover him one-on-one. When we saw late in the game when they were dropping the safety down, you know you have an advantage with him out there. He has a way of doing things in practice, in games, and his attitude. Those are all things that carry over.
On the performance the wide receivers lately:
I have seen much improvement. These guys are getting better and are more confident. I think they have confidence in each other. The quarterback, the receivers, and the protection are improving and if we get open then we have chance to make big plays. We had a chance to make more big plays last week, but we didn't come up with a couple catches. The thing is I am seeing, as a former quarterback, is throwing catchable balls and that is what I am seeing right now. We will work on drops and we will get that corrected, but first of all we have to be protected and throw a catchable ball and that is starting to happen.
On OL Derrick Morse filling in for McMeans after losing the starting spot prior to the season:
I think the thing he has done is learn the offense. Derrick is a young player as a redshirt freshman. The reason why he is getting a chance to play is he has some ability, but he practices and plays hard. We will try to teach you the plays and that is where we are now. You can't be an out of control player and that is helping him.
On if there is a concern at offensive line with the injuries:
No not really. Anytime you lose a player it is a concern. We are a little deeper than we have been. I think Derrick Morse did an outstanding job last week stepping in for McMeans. I think the more work they get the better they will be. I think we are getting better at the offensive line. I was very encouraged with what I saw from the offensive line against the number one defense in America on the road. For us to have 400-plus yards and 40-plus points is a great tribute and it starts with the offensive line.
On the injuries adding up:
Any time you lose a starter it can hurt you, but guys have to step up. It is going to happen. We are going into our seventh game of the year and we are going to have some bumps and bruises along the way. North Carolina can say that too. It is this time of year and who can stay healthy and work through those things.
On a young team dealing with publicity and pressures of playing at a big-time university:
I think you have to realize is that we start out in August expecting to be good. We are playing and practicing and then all of a sudden we beat Florida State. Now we are in game seven and we are one of the top five teams in the country. Now they are getting a lot of publicity. Devin Hester—they didn't even know how to spell his name. Now he is in the papers and USA Today. What I told the team the on Sunday was ‘for every game you win, the stakes get higher.' You have to win the next one and the next one. It adds a lot of pressure. I told them that I want them to put pressure on themselves to get up and go to class on time, be respectful, have assignments done, and be tremendously pressurized. Have a great practice today and now when we play on Saturday you better be out having fun. If you are not, then we have a problem because the stakes do get higher.
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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