Coker Press Conference

On Sunday morning Larry Coker met with the media to discuss last night's loss to North Carolina. The Hurricanes are now 6-1 on the season and ranked 10th in the coaches poll. On November 6th, they return to the field against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

Opening statement:

Obviously we are very disappointed with the loss at North Carolina. We felt we didn't represent very well from the coaches and players, but also for the fans. We didn't represent very well and it obviously cost us in defeat. It is easy to point fingers at the defense and we have to play a lot better on defense. We have to get off of blocks. Offensively, you look at the opportunities we had to score with some field position that we didn't score. I think you have to look at those things and some of the foolish penalties we had. It wasn't the yardage, but some of the penalties we had were very, very foolish penalties. Certainly we are very disappointed. Obviously Brock Berlin played very well and the receivers really stepped up. Our pass protection was outstanding. Conversely we didn't get much pressure on Durant. We knew North Carolina was a very, very good offensive football team and they certainly were. We didn't have the ability to run the football. Those things add up and there are reasons why you lose. I think that is the reason why we lost. We didn't turn the ball over and I think if we would have gone there knowing we wouldn't have a turnover I would have thought it would have been very, very had to beat us. The last drive was a disappointment. It was 28-all and I think they are actually playing for overtime. We gave up some plays to allow them to get in position for a field goal to win the game.

On what happened to the running game:

We didn't have one. We didn't block anyone and we just didn't run the ball very well. It was pretty obvious. They ran the ball and passed the ball on us and we weren't able to run the ball on them.

On the struggles of the defense:

I think the main thing is we didn't get off blocks. That is the main thing—we got blocked. Plain and simple. Their offensive line blocked us very well and they got their backs in the secondary and there you have it.

On getting the team back on track:

I think we are a resilient and tough bunch. We have a lot of football left and some tough football games left. The beauty of college football is that we still have some opportunities. Our 24-hour rule is in effect and we will go through this game and try to get it corrected.

On the frustration of losing:

It is certainly frustrating any time you lose and don't play well. Even if we had won it would have been frustrating. I think our players have character and want to do well. It is not like we try to get blocked. It is a situation where we have to be as good as we can be. If we are as good as we can be I think that will be good enough.

On getting the team to not send in the season because of national title hopes:

I think we have a lot to play for whether it is the championship or not. It has to be about Clemson, period. It is more about us than the national title and it is more about us than Clemson. We have to get our ships righted, our ducks in a row, and all of those clichés you can say. We have to get it done and it is more about us than anybody else. I think we understand that and there are some things we are going to stress. We still have a lot to play for, I do know that.

On if RB Frank Gore is running down at all:

I don't think he is running down. I think he has had great practices. We had good practices last week—we didn't practice poorly last week. We were upbeat and fundamentally I thought we were good. No I don't think Frank is wearing down. I think he has a lot of wear and tear left in him. We just have to get him more opportunities by blocking better.

On North Carolina taking returner Devin Hester out of the game:

No doubt about it. That is the thing that is a little disappointing is they took him out of the game, but they gave us good field position. They were lucky a few times with the one that squibbed into the end zone for a touchback. Overall it was something that they had planned on doing and for the most part they were successful with that. We did get some good field position out of it.

On the possibility of pulling redshirts of freshmen defensive line:

We will talk about it as a staff and go over personnel. We want to try and get the best players on the field. If there is a young guy that can help us then it is certainly something we will consider.

On the possibility of changing the defensive scheme:

I think you always analyze what we are doing scheme-wise. Are we asking something our players cant do? I don't think that we are. I think the scheme has been successful for us, for the most part, for four years. There are some things that we have to consider, but we don't want to abandon what has been good for us.

On taking off a redshirt at this point in the season:

I hate to do it now. We have four games left and if a player is redshirting and I hate to do it now, but we might have to. That is fine and we do have four games left and a bowl game.

On the recent play of the linebacker:

We know what we have there and we know we have some young guys there. Leon hasn't really played a lot at middle linebacker even though he is a little older player. We have to play better at linebacker.

On the possibility that Louisville exposed the defense:

I think people are attacking us pretty well. These guys are good coaches and they understand. It makes it difficult against North Carolina because we weren't able to take away one side of the offense. They were able to run the ball and pass the ball. Plus, they had an outstanding quarterback that can be a running threat. If people have exposed us some, then they have done a good job of hitting those areas. Plus, North Carolina had two weeks to prepare and without question they did a good job. We knew—it wasn't like we went into North Carolina surprised they were going to be a tough football team. We were surprised that we weren't able to run the ball better, but we knew they had a good offensive team.

On the injuries to the offensive line contributing to the disappointing performance:

I think that is a good part of it. When you lose two starters you are a different team. I think the running part of it was a big part of it because you lost physical players in McMeans and Winston. The other side of it is the pass protection was outstanding. Brock wasn't sacked, but he did get hit some times after he threw.

On if there are any significant injuries to report:

We have some bumps and bruises, but I don't know of any significant injuries. We will find out more today, but we certainly hope they are not. Last night talking with the trainer there was not a list of a guys that was serious, but we will know more today.

On who the players were that suffered the bumps and bruises:

I can't really go into a list and I don't have it front of me. There are a lot of bumps and bruises that we had going into the game. This is important week for us to heal up physically and mentally too. I still think we have a good football team. We have work to do.

On if Devin Hester will see more time at running back:

We will have his package each week. He played more in the secondary yesterday than he has. Obviously he did some nice things and Dan Werner had a nice package for him with the screen and the speed he gave us to score to put us in a position to score.

On the number of deep fly routes in the passing game:

Yeah, we wanted to go the distance. We will do that every week. We didn't connect yesterday although there were opportunities there. They did a good job covering us and they were banging us around pretty good. It wasn't interference—I don't mean that and that penalties should have been called, but there were some bumps that through our receivers off a little bit. I think they did a pretty good job, but we had a couple or three opportunities that we weren't able to connect on.

On the leaders on defense:

I think we have some leaders. I don't think we have a lot of veteran leadership. I think Antrel Rolle is one of those players that really has got to step up. When you look at our defense we have a lot of young players. We have 10 seniors on this entire team and we play about five of them. We really know that going in. This was potentially a really strong class had the juniors not gone out, but that is college football now. When you lose a Vince Wilfork and a Sean Taylor off of the defense where there is definitely some leadership there. I think we have to develop that. It is hard sometimes to have leadership when you are not playing as well.

On finishing out the season:

It is kind of funny that maybe we don't enjoy the wins as much as we should because we are so accustomed to winning and spoiled. At he same token, I don't want us to get down in the depths because of a tough loss. Even though we didn't play as well as we could have played we still had a chance to win the game. I think the attitude and effort was there. It just didn't happen for us this week. The young players have to step up and move forward.

On CB Antrel Rolle possibly trying to do too much:

I think maybe a week ago he did, but I don't think he did last night. He made some nice plays and they caught the nice touchdown that he competed for well. They made a nice throw and catch—and we can live with that. The things that we don't like are making mistakes like leaving the tight end uncovered twice—like in the final drive to set up the field goal, but that wasn't Antrel. I think he tried to do too much last week, but I think he played within the scheme this week.

On if 12 players recording receptions last night is in indication of not having a go-to receiver:

Maybe you would like to see that if you had a Larry Fitzgerald or somebody like that. I think we have several good receivers and Lance Leggett might possibly be that, but I don't know if he is that now. I think we got some speed there and some guys really elevating their game. I have been very encouraged with what I have seen. To say that we really don't have a go-to receiver—I wont really say that. The tight ends have been as much of a go-to position on the team. I think we the receivers better this year than we did last year.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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