UNC-MD: Locker Room Report

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--Tar Heel football players Kyndraus Guy, Jesse Holley, Kareen Taylor, and Matt Baker share their thoughts with the media following Carolina's heart-breaking 33-30 overtime loss to the Maryland Terrapins in Kenan Stadium.

Kyndraus Guy

You didn't get the win today, but what about your two tackles for loss and your interception that almost went for a touchdown?

I don't care about individual stats. The only thing we practice for, we run 300's for, that we are in the weight room for at 6:30 [a.m.], 5:30 wake ups, is winning. That's all that matters. If I didn't make a play, I took on my two-on-one's, I pursued to the ball, I am around the ball d--n near every play - that's what I want. We want W's.

What is it like to lose on two huge plays by Maryland?

They executed better than we did. We were disrupting their offense, we had interceptions - Kareen [Taylor] got one too for a touchdown - it showed that we took some risks. In the end they came out victorious.

You got the loss today, but the defense did some good things. What can the defense build on?

We have to continue to do the little things right. Maybe one play somebody didn't have their hands right. But we are going to continue doing some things to prepare for Duke.

Does this defense have to have a short memory and forget the last play and look to the next one and forget the last game and move on to the next one?

We have to go to the next play. It's frustrating because they did make those two big plays. They were desperation plays. As you could see they didn't even - they just threw it up in the sky. We should have capitalized on it defensively. We are going to watch film and see how we can correct things. If we get into that situation again, we'll already know what to do, we can capitalize, and hopefully we can come out with the W.

Do you also have to forget about this game and look ahead?

We will dwell on it a little bit for tonight because we feel like we could have done some things differently. We are going to come in tomorrow and forget about it. We have to get prepared for Duke.

Tommy Richardson looked particularly emotional after the game. Did he have anything to say to the team in the locker room?

His first words: 'Do not put your heads down because we have to go out here and play Duke.' We will not take Duke lightly. His biggest thing was, 'Let's play; we still have to play this season - the season is not over.'

Jesse Holley

Is that about as tough a loss as you've had, the way that one unfolded?

Yeah. Like I told the guys in the locker room, this game is played in inches - it's a game of inches. Several plays in the game, an inch [this way] and we win, an inch [that way] we lose. That's what it came down to.

You can't take anything away from those guys. They fought tough and made the plays when they needed to. Like I've said before, in a football game it comes down to three or four plays that need to be made. Whoever makes those plays in a tight game will win the game. They made the plays to win the game.

We were right there. We fought hard. We have worked so hard to learn how to finish games. We played so hard. The outcome wasn't what we wanted, but hey, we still have two [games] left. We have to keep working.

It seems like you really have a tough path to get to a bowl game since you have to win next weekend and then the following weekend in Blacksburg, Va.

It's football - that's what it is. If you are a competitor you love it. I'm a competitor so I love it. That puts our back against the wall even harder now. Now it's time to see where the men are and where the boys are, 'cause the men are going to come out and fight. Men will fight like they are supposed to. Boys will run and hide and make excuses; men will come out, stick their chests out, throw blows, and whatever happens happens. I think we have a bunch of men on our team. We have to go back to work and get ready for Duke next week - it is what it is - and let the chips fall where they may.

Did this have the feel of a bowl game with all of the emotional swings back and forth?

This is the ACC; it's a bowl game every week. It's the ACC. There is nothing like it. Week-in, week-out you see teams get knocked off. They had a lot on the line, we had a lot on the line. They came up with the plays they needed to win the game - hats off to those guys. It's time to go back to work.

Did you feel like you had slammed the door on them when you went up 10 points on the interception return for a touchdown?

Again, this is the ACC. Teams don't give up in the ACC. They may fold in other conferences but not this conference. Teams fight to the finish, and we knew that. It gave us a little bit of breathing room, but they came right back and made two huge plays - 80 yards on one and then another long one. They made two huge plays, and that is what football is all about, especially in this conference.

Kareen Taylor

What was the difference today from the last two home games when you have really been able to stop your opponents?

We did stop them - put a bunch of it on us, blown coverages. You've got to make a play, and when it is time to make a play - I didn't make one when the tight end scored, then there were the two blown plays. Other than that, the game was pretty much over.

Your interception for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter put you up 10 points. Are you saying this one is on the defense?

It's not on the defense. It's not on the defense. We played hard. There were just certain turns of events with some blown coverages. That happens and when you have a blown coverage everybody sees it. When you make a mistake that is seven points quick.

Does this feel like one you let slip away?

Yeah, we let this one slip away. You saw it for yourself. It was in our hands. It just slipped through our fingers.

In a game of inches where there were some plays so close to going in your direction that went in the other direction do you think you all will be kicking yourselves when you watch the replay?

Every game, that Monday when it is time for film session, we always kick ourselves in the butt because there are things we could have done better and things we could have done more.

You guys have a two game season left now, right?

Three - we have a three game season. We are going to win the next two. It is a must-win, and hopefully we go to a bowl.

Matt Baker

Is this the most frustrating loss, because of the way it happened and what was at stake?

More so what was at stake and the way it happened - not only to blow a 10-point lead but to come back and then lose in overtime, but more so what was at stake.

This puts a lot of pressure on you to end the season, doesn't it?

Yeah. We have Duke this week, and that is all we have right now. From our standpoint we have Duke. When that one is over we will look at Virginia Tech, but we have Duke first. We have to worry about one at a time.

Even though you lost today, do you feel like the offense got back into synch after having several weeks where you looked out of synch at times?

Our passing game was, but we couldn't run the ball to save our lives for the most part. That's a tribute to Maryland stacking a lot of guys in the box. We didn't do a great job running the ball. Our passing game clicked. I glanced really quick and I think we went over 400 yards of total offense for the first time all year or pretty d--n close to it.

What went into the decision to kick the field goal on third down at the end of regulation?

That was Coach Bunting's decision, and I stand by his decision. I know there are some people belly aching: 'Come on, give it another shot.' I'd say if we had a 6-5 leaper receiver then we could take a shot and throw it up and if he doesn't catch it we kick it.

But you risk a lot of things - you risk the game by going for it on third and seven with no timeouts. You don't have enough time to run the kicking unit on if say, I trip and fall off the snap, if I drop the snap and I have to fall on it. A sack, a tackle at the one yard line, there is not enough time to get the field goal unit out there. It was a good decision.

This team is good at bouncing back, don't you think?

Yeah, this team is full of fighters. We fought back, got down, fought back, got into overtime. Today got away from us, but we will fight back and be back for two more ball games.

Did any of the coaches or any of the players say anything after the game about this loss and how to handle it?

Coach Bunting said a little. I'm sure he'll elaborate more when he speaks, but he said we are this close (holding index finger and thumb one inch apart). We have been this close a lot this year, but that is not good enough. You can't just be this close because an L is an L. Everyone in the locker room was 'Pick your head up; keep your head up,' but it was a pretty numb feeling, and it should be. It was a tough one to take. Come tomorrow, this one is over and it is on to Duke.

Inside Carolina Top Stories