After reviewing the tape early this morning, it was kind of a surprise to see what I thought I'd see, particularly on defense and the kick-off coverage--not very good, poor execution, not very physical. We have a heck of a lot of work to do as a coaching staff as we get ready for Georgia Tech. because we are going to see some of the same. We're going to see a team that can run the football well, a team that has skilled players returning kicks. We have a lot of work to do.
Offensively, I was pleased for the most part with the way blocked up front. I would like to have seen us make a couple more plays on balls we didn't quite pull in. It's a shame that the game got so far out of hand that we couldn't keep running it and had to throw a lot. That's something we don't want to do and we can't do if we expect to win. We have a lot of work to do this week in preparation. I'm not going to dwell very much on this defeat. Like I said yesterday, it doesn't count for more than one [loss]. We have to go on and really work hard on this defensive group, particularly the young players who got their real first exposure to big-time ACC football--and we knew that going in. We have to help them play better.
Did you get the sense that once the players got behind and didn't have success early that they began to get down on themselves?
I wouldn't say that--I'd say because, maybe, a few of them are very young we got kind of disjointed and out of sync. I've seen this happen before too: a lot of guys then try to make up for other peoples' jobs. Somebody tries to do somebody else's assignment--very confused. It showed itself fairly early on and got a little better and then got worse at the end. [In] this game of football, you have a responsibility, and you have to take care of your responsibility and not try to do somebody else's. That happened and that's where we as coaches have to come in and get it straightened out.
Is that something you can coach in practice, or does it take game experience?
It's some of both. You'd love to have a lot of experience, but we don't so we have to practice it, and practice it, and practice it well. That's the only thing you can do in terms of preparation is practice well. There was no mystery, for the most part, on everything Virginia did. We knew what plays they would run in terms of the run game, and we practiced those. We just have to practice them better.
You said yesterday that you would know a lot more about specifics that you would need to address this week. Can you go into those specifics to get better for next week?
It's execution of the technique in the particular defense that has been called. It's not just details, it's Fundamental Football 101. It's getting somebody in the gap and controlling that gap. If we do happen to stunt, it's executing the stunt.
After evaluating special teams and defense, are you inclined to make any personnel changes at all, or is it a matter of just getting the guys to do the things you just mentioned?
I think, for the most part, it will be the same, but there is a very distinct possibility that there might be a change or two, giving somebody else an opportunity to play, but we are not at that point. We have tonight and tomorrow morning to work on that.
After assessing your new defensive system for two weeks, are you still happy with that system or should it be tweaked in any way?
I think we need to work on the fundamentals more, and I think we need to, as you always do, tweak your defensive system. You always do that, week to week.
You have talked about needing to run the ball to stay in the game. Was there something you saw with Virginia's run defense--you did run it pretty well--but did you think they had more issues in the secondary or that you just needed to run the ball to stay in the game?
I want to run the ball to stay in the game because you control the clock even more if we can do that. When you get down by so many points, the runs boil down to draws and scrambles. When the game gets out of hand like that so quickly, it takes the run game kind of out of it.
You said after the game yesterday that you had not been happy with the way practice had gone since camp broke. Can you elaborate on the difference between camp and the practices and what you haven't been please with and what you want to see different?
Overall, I don't think that we've been as intense as we need to be since camp broke. I think we, as a staff need to re-assess exactly the standards to which the players are being held I practice. We need to pick up the tempo in practice--and it's not all the time, perhaps one day a week. Last Wednesday, I wasn't happy with practice. That' can't happen.
In order for us to be a good football team, for us to have a chance to be a good football team, we have to practice well every single day. We don't have the kind of experienced players that can afford to not practice well. Some players can get a way with it; some teams might be able to get away with it. We are not going to be able to do that.
Note: Skip Seagraves (left ankle) was the only injury from the Tar Heels' loss to Virginia.