UNC-ECU: Locker Room Report

GREENVILLE, N.C.--The UNC Tar Heels got their first grid iron victory of the 2003 season in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium against the ECU Pirates, and <i> Inside Carolina</i> was there to bring you comments from the players afterwards.

Jeb Terry

How much have you worked on run blocking this week and what impact did that have?

Yeah, we've been working on it all week, and we ran the ball much better this week. We had to run the ball well, and we had opportunities and we didn't take advantage of those opportunities in the first half. We just came out and finally put together a good running game in the second half, ground it out. It was time for the offensive line to run clock, to win a game and we helped do that.

How does the rotation of the running backs after you guys, and what do you think of the system?

Of course, you want to have a hundred yard back, but as long as we're getting the yards I don't care where they come from.

What do you think was behind your second half success as compared to the first half?

The thing about coming out in the second half is that we felt our mistakes were the problem, we had the chance to make plays. We just tried to forget that, come out, play the game, take it to them and try to control the clock.

Did anyone speak up on that last drive and say "We hare going to take it down and score?"

I told the guys it is time for the o-line to win a game. We had the opportunity to do that in the Syracuse game, multiple times in fact, and I just said it is time for the offense and o-line to win a game, it is time. Get you're a—es ready and let's go out and win the game.

What did Bunting say to the team at the half?

He didn't have to say much to us. He said it was up or down for us from here. Hold the Rope, that was our motto for today, and don't let go, come out clawing and fighting.

How stopped in front of the entrance to the locker room, right beneath the band, and just stood there for a moment. What were you thinking about?

I was just glad to finally get a win. Our fans have come and supported us the whole time, and to come down here to see a game between two 0-5 teams…I just wanted to say it really meant a lot to me and I know it meant a lot to the other guys too. This is my last year, and I'm trying to enjoy every minute of it, and to finally get this win makes that a lot easier.

Chris Hawkins

What are your impressions of the game?

It's a real start. We have five more games, we can get five more wins. After today, this one is no where, we have to get going for next week.

Can you discuss the fumble recovery?

That was because our coach tells us to fly to the ball and we do that all practice. I saw the ball like that, went to it, and luckily it come out on my side and I went to it and good things happened.

What were the keys to today's game in your opinion?

The main thing we did was to play smart. We work on that every day and our coaches did a good job getting us in position and if we play smart there is no stopping us.

What does it feel like to get this first win?

It feels good, to get the first win and get that monkey off our back. We'll watch the film, see what we can learn, keep building and building. It's a start.

Larry Edwards

After forcing so few turnovers this season, was forcing a key turnover a focal point today?

Most definitely. Coach stresses forcing turnovers, hit the hands, and we work hard to do that.

What do you think about where the team is now and where it is going, now that you have that first win?

I think we have one of the smartest coaching staffs, we work had, we're going to keep working hard, keep getting better fundamentally and physically, just grow into our roles on this team and hopfully win a couple of championships and get a Carolina dynasty.

Are the freshman out there playing in order to get you guys experience or is it about getting the best production on the field right now?

It is kind of both. We're trying to come out and show we are a good freshman class. We came in with a lot of hype and we're trying to live up to that hype. We play hard, we're just like everyone else and we have to work harder and play harder and tonight kind of proves that.

You had a front row seat to see Puff Thomas play a lot of snaps this game, what did you think of his performance?

Oh, he played a great game. He's a great contribution to this team. Having him, and a lot of other players, like I said before we are only going to get better and keep trying to win championships as a Carolina team.

Chad Scott

Why did you feel like you got so many opportunities with the ball today? Anything in particular?

We all feel like we get our chances, we all work hard in practice and I just feel that anytime I get the ball I will do my best with it and that is all I can do.

Was it important to you that you were able to get back on the field and get the ball in your hands after that fumble?

Yeah, that was real big. They [the coaches] talk about playing the next play, the next snap, and I believe them getting me right back out there after that fumble was real big for me.

How does it feel to get a win and contribute so much today?

It feels really, really good. I was so proud to get a chance to contribute to my team today, and it feels really good.

How disappointing has it been to not play here after such success as a freshman?

It is disappointing, but at the same time you have to keep your head up. You have to make the best of all your opportunities whenever they come.

Coach Jeff Connors

What does it mean to you to come back here, and have you had much time to spend with friends here?

Well, we got in very late last night so we were not here very long. I had a chance to go out with some friends for a bit. I still have very positive feelings about this town, and I'm glad this game is over. At the same time, it was great for us to get on the winning side today.

What do you think of the team's strong second half performance from a strength and conditioning perspective?

Well, that's something you always have as a goal. I feel very appreciative of the efforts towards the end of the game. I particularly thought our offensive line was still going strong, helping out with the running game, and that was the real nail in the coffin.

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