Monday PC: Ritcher, Hudson Meet the Media

<B>Raleigh, NC -- </b>Wolfpack tight end John Ritcher and defensive back Marcus Hudson met with the media today, and here is a sampler of what they had to say.

Tight end John Ritcher
Obviously mistakes are standing between this team and a great season. Why all the mistakes?

I wish I knew the answer so we can correct it. I don't know, to be honest with you. It's something we need to change with the turnovers and the penalties. Those are things that have really been hurting us all season, and it's got to stop for us to win these next three games.

Is this something that's going to plague you guys all season?
I certainly hope not. I don't know if it's focus, guys nervous... but it's something that's got to stop. It's something we're going to go through tonight and work on correcting.

Have you talked to Jay at all any the last day or so and how's he doing?
He's my roomate so we've talked quite a bit. He's doing good. Some of those interceptions you can't really blame him for. The one with the defensive lineman... the kid made a great play. I've never seen anything like it. The kid swam our tackle and caught the ball almost in one motion. It's hard for Jay to prevent that.

He's still in good spirits.

Coach Amato said after the game it's his fault. If that's the case, what do you think he could change?
I appreciate him doing that, for him taking the blame but it's our job to execute. It's our job not to make mistakes.

I think he does a lot. Our motto's discipline, and he tries to enforce it the best that he can.

Can the team refocus now?
Yes, we want to make it to a bowl. We want to make the best bowl we can so we need to win out. I don't know the logistics of going to the Peach Bowl, the Tangerine Bowl, the Continental Tire Bowl or whatever. We want to make it to the best bowl we can. We want to win out, and we can still make it a successful season.

Is Georgia Tech more difficult to prepare for given their defensive style?
Every team brings their own challenge. We need to protect Jay and hopefully we can do that with the running game and some of our protections.

It's going to take some time this week to learn what they are doing, but we've got a good coaching staff to get us prepared for that.

How did Coach Amato address you guys after the game?
He was quick to take the blame on himself. He said he's got to come back and get us ready for Georgia Tech on Monday. I thought he handled it very well.

Is it times like this when you find out what teams are really about?
Yes. We have a good group of leaders in Pat Thomas and Andre Maddox. They've been quick to pull the team back together after some tough losses. We've had some tough losses this year, and I expect them to do that tonight.

WE always have a meeting on Mondays where it's just players with no coaches. They say what needs to be done, and they've done a good job of rallying the team and bringing us together.

Have you seen the ACC standings where 10 teams are 4-4 or better?
I don't doubt it. We have a great conference. You can't overlook anybody. Actually, I was telling our trainer on Monday that I'll guarantee UNC will win this game over Miami. They've got great players, and everyone in this conference [does]. If you take somebody lightly you're going to lose.

What made you think UNC would win?
We've played UNC, and they've got unbelievable athletes and good coaching. I just could see them bringing it all together.

Do you believe this team has the character to pull through this?
Definitely. We've got good leadership and good coaches. If any team that I've played on since I've been here can do it, we can.

Cornerback Marcus Hudson
Can you talk about your thoughts on how thigns have gone?

It's a frustrating process. Every week you go in expecting to win, and have confidence feeling that you can beat the opponent. And you come out of the week with a loss, all because of penalties and turnovers. It's frustrating. It's something we're going to have to deal with.

It's part of our growing process because we've still got a young team.

Is there anything more you can do that you haven't already done?
Go back to day one of the camps and fundamentals. Holding onto the ball, lining up onsides, just taking care of the ball.

Is it tough transitioning from corner to safety and now back to corner?
It's been a little difficult. It's looking at the broader picture and learning the whole defense as a safety. You've got to know all the assignments and where everyone's going to be.

At corner it's just man-to-man. It's probably an easier task, but you've still got to have the skills and ability.,P. Has the staff talked about moving guys around in the secondary?
It's been up for grabs all year. We've got a three-man starting rotation at the safety spot, and we've got a three-man starting rotation at the corner spot. It wasn't a question of who's going to be where because we have a bunch of athletes who can play a lot of positions.

How often have you used the six-DB package?
In a way it's almost like our base defense. I would call it 'Base 1' and 'Base 2.' Sometimes coach Herring calls 'Base' when he really means dime or nickel. It's second nature to us now.

You play Georgia Tech this week and they have a good quarterback in Reggie Ball. What's your thoughts on him?
It's just another opportunity to make plays against a great player. There's no doubt that Reggie Ball is one of the great quarterbacks in the league. He's mobile, he's got good throwing skills, and he can think.

It's going to be a good challenge but that's what we expect.

Calvin Johnson, their true freshman wide reciever, has made 7 touchdown catches. Is he impressive?
No doubt. He's one of the biggest receivers in the league. Everybody wants competition and nobody wants to back down. We see it as another opportunity to make plays.

Can you talk about you coming back and making the most of a second opportunity?
I'm just thankful for every day I get. It's a second chance. Football could have been taken away from me last year, and I'm just thankful.

I just take advantage of every play I get it. I know football's not going to always be here in the future. Someday it's going to end. I just enjoy every moment I have, regardless of if we win or lose.

It teaches you how to work with others, compete, strive for the best, and it teaches you how to fight to be a winner.


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