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"I told the players in the locker room that it's been a long time in my memory – I don't know that I've been prouder of a football team with the courage, the will and just the commitment and passion they made to each other this week in practice and in the way that they played today. It was a hard-fought win. Rutgers is a good football team. But I think the will of our kids in wanting to hang in there and persevere… We didn't play as well as we would have liked to in the first half, but I was very proud of our players and coaching staff with some of the second-half adjustments we made. Guys just kept hanging in there. Given some of the things that we've had to go through the last six or seven weeks, their determination says a lot about the character of these kids and how much that they believe in each other and how much they trust each other, that they wanted to win for each other. I couldn't be prouder of them."
Did it surprise you that Rutgers utilized the wildcat formation as much as they did?
"Yeah, a little bit, but looking back on it against FIU, that was the thing that allowed them to win that ball game. They had struggled with some of their conventional, traditional offensive things that they had tried to do in that particular ball game and they had scored their winning touchdown with that. You had to kind of think that with two weeks to get prepared and two weeks to look at what we've been doing in the first two ball games, how we played the option against Georgia Tech and how we played some of the spread option that LSU used, we assumed that they were going to have some schemes.
"It was going to take a while for those things to manifest itself and for us to get a [handle] on it. Sometimes games are like prize fights; you don't want to get knocked out in the first round and you want to live to fight the rest of the fight. Hopefully you can win it in 15 rounds and that's kind of what we did today."
On the state of the program:
"We recruited every single one of these kids to come here and to be champions and to be starters at some point in their career. For some kids, it happens in the second or third year of their career, and for some kids, maybe it has to happen in the first year of their career. For those kids to just stay in there and keep believing in what we're teaching… I know one thing – I know that we're building one [heck] of a football program and we're going to continue to build a football program. With effort like we got today, I think the future of Carolina football is very bright."
On if the veteran defensive players are trying to carry the defense:
"We don't want to put too much pressure because we've got guys that aren't here or what not, but I think everybody, as far as the defensive line and the secondary, they played a great game. I'm really proud of those guys. I'm more happy about them than I am about myself. Just for them to step up and make plays like they did, it's all great for the team."
Which play was your favorite? The pick or the block?
"I would say the blocked punt, just because everybody's been saying, ‘Get a blocked punt, get a blocked punt' for so long. It's been taking a long time, but I finally got one."
On the defense's ability to get pressure on the Rutgers quarterback in the second half:
"We just went out there and played with great effort and played as a team. We borrowed off each other. Each one of us would make a play and that helped build momentum. That's what gets us going."
On this victory:
"This is great. It's a great opportunity to show everybody what Carolina football is all about. I think we've had a lot of close games that we probably should have won, but pretty much everybody that was done on us needs to understand what Carolina football is all about. We have a lot of pride, and that's what we take into every game."
All wins are important, but is this one even more so with the 0-2 start?
"Absolutely. Going 0-3 would have been devastating for us, especially because we were making the same mistakes as we were the past couple of games with the fumbles and the turnovers."
On winning a close game after losing two by six points each:
"It's good. Just to get a ‘W' – no matter how we get it or how ugly it is, we were just happy to get a win. After a couple of close touchdown games, just to flip it around for us feels good."
On the reverse call on 3rd-and-2 late in the game:
"Coach Shoop dialed it up and everybody was with it. Everybody agreed on it. It just happened to be that they called the perfect defense – they brought two off the backside. It was the perfect call for that play. We weren't upset with the call because everybody agreed with it. They were packing the middle so hard. Putting a reverse on them might have put the game out [of reach], but everybody was fine with it."