“Well, that’s not the way we wanted to finish off a season but it is what is. Hopefully we’re going to learn from it and become a better football team. It’s the end of one and the beginning of another. We’ll all ready start thinking about the future and what we have to do next year to be a better football team. I hate it for our seniors. Those guys have been through a lot here at Carolina. I’m confidant the things that they’ve had to go through and the adversity that they’ve faced with that each and every one of them is going to be a better man for it in the long run. And they’ll look back and lean on those things, the problems that they had and what they had to do to overcome them, and because of it, they’ll grow, and again, be a better man.”
How do you explain the constant string of breakdowns throughout the season?
“The game of football is really pretty simple. If you turn the football over on offense and you don’t create takeaways on defense, you don’t stop the run, and you give up game-changing plays on your special teams, you’re not going to win football games. It’s just not going to happen. Offensively, if you just don’t turn the football over, you give yourself a chance. That’s one big, big factor. We gave it up twice early in the game, and kill whatever momentum you got. And then we tried the fake field goal, and we didn’t execute it. We shoot ourselves in the foot from the very beginning of the game and you don’t give the defense any help early in the game. And so they get worn down and they had a hard time stopping the run.”
What do you evaluate first in the offseason?
“Everything. We’ll pick everything apart. We’ll pick every player apart. We’ll look at every player we’ve got. We’ll look at every play that they played and what their problems were and what their mistakes were. We’ll do it with offense, defense and special teams. We’ll do it with each and every unit and then we will determine what was good, what wasn’t good, why it wasn’t good, how we get corrected. It’s what you do each and every year.”
Do you think that a win here would have built momentum?
“You’re always better off winning. There is no doubt about it. Because you can give yourself some positive momentum heading into the offseason and all of those things. We have a bad taste in our mouth, and that’s what we are going to have to use for momentum is that you don’t want this bad taste anymore, and what are you going to do to change that, and how much better of a team are we going to be next year, and what is it going to take for us to get there.”
What are the reasons for optimism with this program right now?
“We had five seniors starting on this football team all year. We’re a very young football team. I think we return ten on offense, and six or seven on defense. And even though the scheme may change defensively we’re still going to a better football team. We’re a better football team right now than we were coming into this game. It’s just the way it is, because these young guys have gotten experience all season. So they are going to be better football players right now when we start next year.
“I think the future is very bright. I think we have a lot of young talent that is just going to grow and mature. As you look across college football, there aren’t a ton of freshmen that are making big plays out there on the field, and even sophomores really. If you realize how many of them are playing for us as they develop and as they grow and they get bigger and faster and stronger and more mature, I think the future is very bright for us.”
Did Rutgers do anything that surprised you in the running game?
“No. They didn’t do anything different then what we prepared for. In all three phases, actually.”
Did their front four limit your ability to make big plays?
“A little bit. There was pressure with the front four that they created. They also did a good job of keeping their safeties high. We got behind them a couple of times but we weren’t able to finish those plays off. That was early in the game where we needed to have the one to Mack [Hollins] hit, and that gives you some momentum and good things start happening to you.”
Why has the offense been less explosive as of late?
“It’s a good question. I don’t know. It’s very disappointing the way we’ve played offensively the last couple of games. We’ve got a lot of work to do in the offseason. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get better, and we’ll find a way to get it done.”
What’s your take on your first losing season as a coach here?
“I don’t like it. Nothing about it that I like. It doesn’t taste good. There’s nothing good about it. Nothing.”
On bouncing back from adversity:
“You’re going to have adversity in every game. It’s coming some time. You can’t even blink, you just have to keep playing hard, and eventually somebody is going to make a play. You can’t sit around and wait for somebody else to make a play. If you’re a player you make plays, and that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Can you give us an update on Quinshad Davis?
“I just know it was his lower right leg. That’s all I know. When I was out there and talking to him, he was communicating, he said ‘I’m all right.’ He’s a tough kid. He gives you everything he’s got, all the time. It was unfortunate, but he’ll be ok.”
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