I think the percentage is like nine percent if you lose the turnover battle but win the ball game. And I give credit to our kids. You don't realize what it's like down on the sideline when the defense has to go back out on the field [after a turnover] and they never batted an eye. They never batted an eye. There was such calm on the sideline. I was probably more excited and jacked than the kids were. They just went out and kept competing, kept competing. Hats off to the defense for going out there and stopping them, especially on the goal line."
Do questionable penalties force defensive players to think twice about being aggressive?
As a defensive-minded coach – and I've coached defense for 23 of my 24 years – you never want to slow those guys down. Never. And I always tell the guys, ‘I've got the first one. The first one's on me.' You never want to take the aggressiveness out of your defense. I want them to keep playing. I believe this. If you attack the quarterback and try to harass the quarterback, then the rest of the offense will fall. And that's our mentality."
On his discussion with the referee during a media timeout against Rutgers:
"I looked up and I think Corey Holliday told me the penalty total was 7-0. And so I said, ‘Well, I better get something done out here, do my job.' So during the T.V. timeout, I went out and asked him about the helmet-to-helmet stuff that he was calling against our defense on their quarterback. Their quarterback was about 5-10.5 and then he was ducking. Quinton Coples is 6-7, so how do you tackle a guy that's 5-10.5 when you're 6-7 without hitting him in the head? That's what I asked him and he couldn't tell me why. But we had a good conversation out there. He listened and I did a lot of talking and I think I got a point across."
On Devon Ramsay's knee surgery:
"I went by after practice [on Tuesday] and saw Devon and his mom over in recovery. He had successful knee surgery. The plan now obviously is his recovery and to see if he wants to come back for a sixth year. We've got to do a lot of paper work with that, but we're just happy that Devon is going to be okay.
On Norkeithus Otis's recovery from a concussion:
"Norkeithus started practice [on Tuesday] and practiced again today, so we feel like Norkeithus will be ready to go on Saturday."
On the team huddle entering the fourth quarter against Rutgers:
"That was about this team taking ownership. What I did was I went to Kevin Reddick and I said, ‘Hey, it's time to get these guys going. We need to own the fourth quarter.' So Kevin and a bunch of seniors and the other leadership guys got the team together on the sideline.
"Here's what you need to understand – you want your players to own the team, not the coaches. If it means more to the coaches than the players, then you're not going to have a very good team. If your team is about more than the coaches, then you've got a chance to have a good team. So those guys got the team together on the sideline and said, ‘We have to go win the fourth quarter.' I felt like we did that and that's why we won the football game."
It seemed as though UNC blitzed more against Rutgers than normal. Did their offense dictate that?
"We felt like we could attack their protections that they were doing offensively. We felt like if we could get this quarterback looking at pressure, we could have some success in stopping them in their passing game and even in their running game. So their offense dictated our blitzing. Some offenses won't let you do that."
On the new alignment on kickoff returns:
"So many people kick the ball in different directions. They kick away from a certain guy, so we have a deep guy, we have an off returner and we have another halfback back there. So if it's kicked short, we have somebody that used to catching balls catching the balls. We base our returns off where people kick the ball and we wanted guys back there that could make plays once they catch the ball."
On why Gio Bernard started over Ryan Houston against Rutgers:
"The whole premise was that we wanted to give Gio some more touches and just see how he did. He was hurt all last year, so just the chance to give him an opportunity to be the lead back was part of our experiment. And we felt like it went well. Gio will get a bunch of them this week. Ryan will get a little more and we hope that we can get A.J. Blue more.
'Everett Withers Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.