Q&A with Hilee Taylor

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- As the Tar Heels prepare for Saturday's showndown with Virginia Tech, starting junior defensive end Hilee Taylor spoke with reporters ...

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AUDIO (9:32)

Q: Seems like the past few seasons, you guys have been able to bounce back from some disappointing losses. What is it about this team that has enabled you to do that, and can this team do the same thing?
Taylor: "Yes sir, a lot of it was mental. Coach told us we weren't out [played] physically, we didn't get a great effort, it was just the amount of mental steam. We've got a week to fix that, so we're going to spend more time in the film room as a group and try to capitalize on the mistakes that we made this past Saturday."

Q: Coach Bunting has said the defense needs to go on to the next play. What were the defensive problems?
Taylor: "It was self-explanatory. We'd just lean on the last play that we ran and we just didn't move on to try and out-do the last play that we did. So this Saturday we've just got to overcome some mistakes that happen ... and not let it snowball effect our whole game."

Q: Was this team better at moving on last year from a bad play?
Taylor: "It's hard to say because it was the first game of the season. Last year we had Tommy Richardson, he was a great leader, that's going to be hard to replace, but I think we got guys as a group that can replace Tommy Richardson, and Tommy Richardson was all that type of guy, he'd just tell you be relaxed and go play by play and don't let little things get to you."

Q: So do you feel like you are waiting for some leaders to emerge?
Taylor: "Oh, no, sir, I'm not saying that at all, we have great leaders, we're just at that point in time, that I think it was the first game and everybody was just going scarce instead of relaxing and moving on to the next play. We have great leaders."

Q: Coach is pretty vocal and kind of dumping on you guys, saying it's the defense's fault for losing the game. Do you agree with his assessment?
Taylor: "Absolutely, I mean I know y'all seen the game, and y'all seen it, the offense played well and the defense didn't. We had great expectations coming to this game, because training camp, we've been facing our offense, and you see how our offense did against Rutgers. We've been doing well against our offense all training camp, and they've been doing well against us, but we just felt that we should have played better than what we did and we know we can. Hopefully we prove that this Saturday."

Q: He said he told you that right after the game. Is that what he said right after the game, did he point the finger at the defense?
Taylor: "Yes sir."

Q: How do you feel as a defender about that?
Taylor: "That's the coach, I mean that's who I look up to. I respect him. He's the coach and he coaches us. You know one day you got to be a man and take the blame, and we took it."

Q: You guys struggled defending the run against Rutgers, Virginia Tech might even have a more powerful run game. What changes must you guys have make, especially upfront?
Taylor: "It's mental changes, that's all. Like I just said, it wasn't that we got out-physicaled. Great effort, that's there. If we get the mental aspect down, we can be a dangerous team I think."

Q: Your position coach just left Virginia Tech. Is there a special desire to beat Virginia Tech for him?
Taylor: "I mean absolutely. Any ACC team, that's all the desire that I need, but Coach Pearman, I don't know what went on in that situation. I know they recruited me out of high school and it was kinda between [Carolina] and V [Virginia] Tech. I got a whole lot to prove at this game as well."

Q: What have you learned under Coach Pearman?
Taylor: "He teaches us a lot, him and Coach Browning. As far as pass rushing techniques, playing with hands and being physical and relaxed. Coach Pearman is a guy, he doesn't let anything get him down or as well his players. So like this game this past week, he just wanted to move on and get to V. Tech."

Q: So he's pretty much an upbeat guy?
Taylor: "Upbeat guy all the time, you never see him sad. I've never seen him mad, ever since he been here."

Q: Was it difficult to get over this loss?
Taylor: "Saturday night and Sunday, yeah it lingered on, cause I wanted to know what went on, but after I watched the film Sunday, then I just wanted to move on."

Q: You think everyone else has done that?
Taylor: "Yes, sir. Pretty much that practice last night was Virginia Tech, moved on, we're ready for Virginia Tech now. We're ready to prepare for Virginia Tech now."

(Excerpts provided by UNC Athletic Communications)

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