“Yeah, we didn't get it done tonight, obviously. So you have to give a lot of credit to Baylor and what they accomplished tonight. They were the better team out there on the field tonight.”
Did you guys have any idea coming into this that that offense for Baylor would manifest itself the way it did today?
“No. I didn't believe they would run for 645 yards. Actually, no, I didn't ever think that, no.”
What was the challenge trying to prepare for them knowing you can't see Chris Johnson that much?
“Well, we knew -- we thought they would throw the ball more than they did, you know. We probably were going to need to, you know, throughout the entire game, put more people in the box. We didn't think that they would run the ball like they did, you know, didn't think that they would have that kind of success. We have to give the guys credit for what they did. They played a lot of guys at the position.”
What went through your mind and what did you see differently after the fumble in the third quarter?
“Well, I mean, it was not -- nothing that we did differently. We knew we were down at that point and we were going to have to -- you know, we were going in to score and they turned around and took it on the next play and took it back, you know, 80 yards. So it was a 14-point swing on one play, basically. We didn't take care of the football going in the end zone. You know, we drove the ball right down the field, did everything we thought we could do, and as we go forward the end zone, we turned the ball over and it turned into a 14-point swing.”
What was the main challenge of stopping them from the running game? Why were they so effective?
“A lot things. I mean, a lot of guys not being where they needed to be in their gaps. We had missed tackles in the open field that we had to make and didn't make. And we just -- you know, they blocked us and we didn't get off the blocks. So it's just as simple as that.”
Coach, knowing their quarterback situation, what was your expectation in the offensive game tonight?
“We thought they would do basically what they had been doing. We thought they would throw it around a little bit more. We knew that the quarterback, No. 13, would run it a little bit more (inaudible) the quarterback runs. That's what we were expecting. And all they did was come out and just run it down and throw it. They got to have the same game plan, but when they realized they could just continue to run the football, there's no need to throw it.”
Were there any hiccups with Keith Heckendorf calling the plays tonight?
“No, we didn't feel like there were any hiccups. We did it basically the way we've been doing it where we talked about what we wanted to do in between the series with the scripts and then he called. It was not -- I never thought it was an issue.”
How much was it scheme and how much was the simple fact that you guys were just dominated at the line of scrimmage?
“How much of it was scheme and how much of it was that we were dominated with the line of scrimmage? Let's say 50/50. How about that? Is that good?”
Larry, how do you kind of reconcile what happened tonight in the context of the season, winning 11 straight and breaking through with a record season in the fourth year?
“We had a lot of positive things happen with this football team this year and we came a long way when we think back to where we were Jan. 6 about our program and what was going with our program from the outside, I couldn't be more proud of this football team. Our senior class and the legacy that they're leaving, what they accomplished this year, and they set a new standard, you know, for the guys in that locker room. So those guys in the locker room, younger guys, guys that are all going to be back, they know what it takes now. They know what has to be done. The classes that we're recruiting, they know what the new standard is, what they're going to be measured against. Is this a good team? I think so. We know we've got to do -- as a coaching staff, what we'll do is we'll come back in, we'll evaluate just like we do every year. We'll see what we have to tweak, what we have to adjust, and if hopefully we'll be a better football team next year than we were this year.”
”Tonight, you take away one play, you can still win a game like that. How close does that say that your program is to being in position, even if everything isn't right, to still beat teams like Clemson and Baylor?
“You can go back and look at our season. We are just four or five plays away from playing in the playoffs and continuing to play. So we feel like as a program, we're not that far away. We're really not that far away. And I think our guys understand that now. And I think maybe our fans understand that now for the first time. The vision that we have been talking about and selling for the last four years, they're seeing it come to fruition right before their eyes. They're like, 'wow, this can happen at Carolina. Why not Carolina?' And we have been saying that for four years, and now I think people are starting to understand that we can be as good as anybody else in the country.”
Coach, you said earlier in the week that you were prepared for Baylor to put players on the field that could play even though they were down with injuries. Were you prepared for everything that they tried to pull today on offense, all the different players?
“They did some things that they haven't done, you know. But, I mean, you've got to give their staff credit for -- they knew they were down quarterbacks and they knew that 13 was very limited as far as the way you could throw the football. And so they put a plan together of Wildcat and every form of quarterback style of running game that you could possibly run. And they did a great job with it. But they've done that all year. I mean, they're down to their third and fourth quarterback and still had a chance to win all their games. I mean, so they've done a great job of that all season. I don't know if people can give that staff enough credit for what they did. There aren't many teams in the country that end up playing their third and fourth quarterbacks and still win 10 games.”