Wednesday Everett Withers Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina head coach Everett Withers spoke with reporters Wednesday for his weekly ACC teleconference.

Opening Comments
Well, obviously last week coming out with the win, that was very important for us, getting off to a fast start. We've talked about that with our football team. We felt like for the most part operationally things went well. I think offensively we played well. We were able to run the football, and I do think that we'll have to step up our game this week against I think a very good opponent in Rutgers - very good defense, very good offense, very physical offense. Hopefully we can make the jump from week one to week two, which you hope that's your best improvement from week one to week two, and we hope to be able to do that.

Just wondered, you mentioned everybody needing to step up their game this week. How can Bryn Renner do that after a near perfect performance on Saturday, statistically anyway?
I think Bryn had an exceptional game and played really well, but he played within the system. All we're saying is basically what we need to do is -- and I said this last week, and I'll say this throughout the year -- if our football team offensively, defensively and kicking game, plays well, and especially if that offense plays well, Bryn will play well. That's what we need to do -- we need to clean up areas in protection calls and line calls on the run game and we've been working that this week, running right routes, right depth, those type things, just the little things. And I honestly believe this: If we work the little things, then we'll have a chance to have some success, and that's basically what I'm getting at.

I think back when the players were at the Kickoff, they were saying that playing well around Bryn was a key for the offense. Were you pleased with the way that they did that?
I was pleased that we did play well around -- there was a couple times we didn't get, I think, a 3rd and 1 one time. We let a guy run through. We've got to get that. We've got a back like Ryan Houston, and we can't miss a block inside. We had some instances down there on the goal line. It was, I think, 2nd and goal on the half yard line, and it took us a couple times to get it in, things like that that we can be better at. But I thought for the most part, we played well around Bryn. We want to continue to get better around Bryn, and like I said, from week one to week two, we want to make a marked improvement.

What concerns does Rutgers pose for your defense?
This offense is basically an offense that's coming in from Pittsburgh with Frank Cignetti. I think it's more of an offense going back to what Coach Schiano has done previously, running the football, play action pass. I think they've got a good offensive line. I know they've got some injury concerns up front. But I still think this is a really good offensive line, I think an efficient quarterback, some talented running backs with some of the guys. I think they've got three guys that really are talented running the football, and they've got some kids on the perimeter receiver-wise that scare you with size and speed. They've got weapons in the right spots. They've got two tight ends. We feel like one of them for sure is definitely a threat down the middle of the field. So when you build an offense that's a two-back pro-style offense and you've got wide outs, good run game, good tight end down the middle, that's what you're trying to build in an offense, and they have those pieces in place. So we're going to have to be good in a lot of areas on defense this week.

With Devon Ramsay's injury, do you anticipate seeing Christian Wilson playing any at fullback, and have any younger guys kind of stepped up to give you a little depth? I know Curtis was the only guy in your depth chart at that position on Monday.
Obviously with Devon's injury that's -- we're really sad for Devon because Devon has had some injury issues here in the past, and Devon has been a really good player for us at fullback, one of the leaders on the offense. You know, when you lose a guy like that, you lose leadership as much as anything. But yeah, what we will do is our personnel packages will handle it. We'll be able to handle it a little bit more with some of our guys. Christian may be one of those guys. Curtis Byrd has done a really good job in that role over the last year or so, so we feel confident there. We'll be able to get two two-back sets, we think, with different personnel packages.

I was just wondering, with the coaching change happening so late down there, can you just talk about some of the biggest challenges you guys faced during camp and how happy you guys are now that the games have started and you have something a little more tangible to focus on?
I think probably some of the biggest challenges was the offense getting to know my temperament more than anything else. The coaches themselves were pretty much in place. Obviously we elevated a guy to safeties coach. Coach Kaufman and myself have been working together the last three years putting together game plans, so he knows what I like defensively, and he's carrying on with that, and offensively nothing really changed as far as personnel and staff members. Probably the biggest issue was just my temperament on the practice field for our offense and just getting to know me, and those guys were able to do that. One thing I've done I think over the last couple years anyway is I've gotten to know a lot of those guys on offense. The offensive line kids I meet all the time because the offensive line room is right next to the secondary room. They give me a lot of crap the last two years about getting after those guys over there in that room, and they go, 'Coach, we love it when we hear you getting after those guys over there, and now they get a chance to hear me get after them a little bit. It's been a good transition. We've had very little hiccups in everything, and it's been fairly smooth.

I know the focus is on wins and losses right now. Can you give me an idea what the response has been like in recruiting in terms of the response to the interim label and picking up with some of Butch's old recruits?
We've gone full speed ahead, making phone calls and talking to kids, and it's been a very positive one, and we want to continue that. I think the interim label has been, really to be honest with you, it hasn't been a factor with most of the kids we have committed and kids that we're recruiting. We just want to continue on with it, and these guys here are very good recruiters. We've got a very good recruiting staff. If anything I think we've really picked it up, to be honest with you.

I know a lot of people are talking about Bryn. Were you surprised by it, or had you seen that sort of consistency all summer?
I've seen it really all summer to be honest with you. Nobody expects the ball not to hit the ground during a ballgame. But I've seen the guy just light it up in the summer, just making the right reads. The thing that's so remarkable about the guy is he's his own worst critic. He'll complete a deep ball, and he'll say, I didn't make the right read or I didn't take my full drop, and he'll be talking to himself and that type stuff. So he's a little bit of a perfectionist. He's really hard on himself. But very excitable young man, and the kids love him. All the kids, offensively, defensively, they just love being around him.


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