Opening remarks -
"We have a great opportunity again here on national television. Last year's win over UVa got us going in the second half of the season. That team was very competitive as you remember and got to a bowl. We fell short of that. That's exactly where we are as this year. Obviously the injury to Larry [Edwards] takes its toll. We're going to have to play with a young player there and possibly two. We're going to do everything possible to make that player or players effective. Everybody needs to rally around that player or players."
On one or two areas that have fallen short and why -
"It's because of a lack of consistency that we haven't run the ball as effectively as we would have liked to. It's about stopping the run on the other side of the ball. We've created some bad situations on our own – I'm talking about the penalties – just not thinking and losing focus on a certain play. It really hurts the team. The offensive line staying on track instead of deviating… We need new production out of the older faces. We need to make sure our split is right when we run the skinny post. Those consistency things and doing things right, we have a few younger players on offense. Now, with a couple of younger players on defense. We practiced D.J. all week and boom he's out. You cant rep everybody, there's just not enough time. That's something we're going to work on this week, getting Cooter Arnold some reps, because he's a talented guy that can help us."
On the running game and the new offensive system -
"When there's any change, there's things you must do over and over again. The accumulation of the repetition is something we're still looking at. We are a different mentality with our run game. I would call us more of a power running game that hasn't showed itself yet. There's been a couple of occasions where it has because Ronnie [McGill] is a power runner. Barrington [Edwards] has done some good things for us too in pass protection and running the ball."
On the team's confidence -
"Being around this game for so long as both a player and a coach, I've experienced it both ways. The experience of your team needs to help. That's where Larry will be more sorely missed this week. These guys just have to look at the game play-by-play. Confidence or not, just play. I've said, quit looking at the scoreboard, don't be thinking about the fourth quarter. Just play the play. Confidence wise, if you do things right, things will work out."
On drawing on past turnarounds -
"The competitive nature of some teams changes, too. Some of the kids that are still new are learning about that aspect of football in the ACC. As they continue to grow, those things should continue to get better."
On losing streak in Charlottesville -
"It's something that has a lot to do with what Virginia's done. In '02 we were up 21-0, then a kickoff return excites them. There are momentum swings. There's that story about the interception at the two they ran back for a touchdown. I've heard that story about 25 times. This is a different time and opportunity, and the opportunity is great. My thinking about that is let's go out and have fun playing Thursday night on ESPN. This game is so much mental, we've got to pack it in all quickly. This is the beginning of the second half of the season for us."
On keeping focus in practice -
"I think this is a time where all of our focus is on the mental aspect of the game and doing the fundamentals the best that we possibly can in a short period of time. All the focus is on Virginia. This is a routine change for them and maybe it will be good for them. I don't want to deemphasize fundamentals and technique – we can't afford that. Maybe the routine change will have some benefits.
On getting a feel for how the team feels -
"We have a group of guys that took a hard look at what we're doing and seeing how close we are. Emphasize the positive and move on. Monday was a typical night of practice and we got a lot done. Today we'll put the pads on and work on those things vital to being a good football team – like better tackling. I recognized these losses have been tough on the players and coaches, but you've got to move on."
On Martel Thatch and Garrett White -
"We will practice them both today."
On Hakeem Nicks' availability -
"Nicks practiced last night and he's going to play barring some major setback. Once again, he's a warrior."
On fans frustrations -
"My response is always the same. Absolutely, yes; I'm frustrated with myself and what going on. I look to the future of what's going on with the program – not many disciplinary problems, a great job with recruiting, redshirting 22-25 players. That gives you a chance to be good. I hope we play better in the second half of the season to have some momentum. Should fans be frustrated? Yes. Frustrated to the point that they think the program is going in the wrong direction? No. I also get a lot of support. In terms of ownership of the program, this the University of North Carolina's football program."