T.J. Yates Q&A (w/audio)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- T.J. Yates will be the starting quarterback when the Tar Heels take the Kenan Stadium field Sept. 1 for the season opener. The red-shirt freshman talked to reporters Thursday after being named the starter ...

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How do you feel finding this out. Are you relieved? Ecstatic?

"It wasn't much. Coach Davis just told us that I was going to be named the starter and that it wasn't by any means set in stone or anything and that we'll keep having a good competition because this is only for the first game. Keep getting better every day and push each other just as much as we were before."

Did this seem a long way off last year during your redshirt year?

"Yeah, pretty much. Last year, me and B.J. Phillips redshirted and we didn't really feel like we were much with the team and part of the offense. Having this [happen] feels really good. ... Back in high school I was pretty much thinking I'd be playing basketball in college, so this is probably the last thing I thought that would ever happen."

What do you think you did that set yourself apart?

"Just worked really hard with Coach Shoop and the other quarterbacks. They should get just as much credit as I do, because Coach Shoop and Coach Davis pushed me really hard and the whole team worked each other. ... Just try to make the least amount of mistakes - not always trying to make the big play to impress the coaches, but do what they say, keep it simple, get the ball in the playmakers' hands, just do my job."

So is decision-making the priority in getting this job and keeping it?

"Yeah, I think so. Coach Davis says it won't be the guy that makes the biggest plays, but [rather makes] the least mistakes. Just get the ball to Hakeem [Nicks], Brooks [Foster] and [Brandon] Tate and let them do most of the work."

How much confidence do the wide receivers you have and offensive line you have help you play more comfortably?

"A lot, especially with the receivers. You might not always make the best throw, but they can definitely make up for it. You overthrow a ball, Tate will run up under it. The offensive line, you feel so comfortable and just need to worry about looking downfield and pay attention to your reads. ... You could try to throw it to [Hakeem] to have him drop it, but it's almost impossible. Throw it high, throw it low, throw it to the side and he's going to catch it - he might catch it one-handed."

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