"South Florida is a good football team. We got a chance last night to get started taking a look at them. They had an extraordinarily impressive win against Auburn in a tough place to play -- a SEC team that's been perennially ranked in the top-10 for the last half-dozen or so years. And it was a very impressive win.
"Jim [Leavitt's] done just a great job at South Florida. You can see the impact that the recruiting has had over the last seven-eight-nine-ten years that they've had the program. Having watched the inception of that program in the very beginning -- back when I was still at the University of Miami -- one of the things that they've done is that an awful lot of the south Florida players that were traditionally going to some of the Big Ten schools, you'd see two or three go to Michigan State and Wisconsin and Indiana and Illinois, they've done a great job keeping a lot of those guys at home and in-state. And I think as a by-product of that, they've become a very good program."
On discovering UNC's big-play offense:
"One of the big issues going into spring practice was trying to develop complimentary receivers opposite Hakeem Nicks… past experience tells you that one of anything is not enough. We really looked long and hard at our receivers and that's the one area where several guys have developed. Certainly Brooks Foster has developed, Brandon Tate has developed [and] I think Kenton Thornton and Greg Little [have developed]. I think that is a good nucleus of receivers…
"One of the questions that we've also asked ourselves is ‘Are we trying to do too much?' I think that's something in our exuberance to try to fast accelerate this football team and grow and develop and push the envelope and try to challenge our players – defensively, maybe and certainly offensively – are we asking them to do more than maybe mentally that they're ready to do with this amount of inexperience.
"Sometimes you go ‘Okay, they're handling this good, they're handling that good,' the you go ‘ [Gosh], I'd really like to take these next steps,' and then all of sudden, some of the mistakes – the turnovers, the coverage issues that we're having – are we trying to be too sophisticated? Maybe not giving our kids the best chance, so that's something that we're having a lot of discussions about."
So do you try to simplify?
"Maybe -- in some particular areas, possibly. Each kid is different, and the problem is that when 11 guys have to play, eight can handle it and three might not be able to handle something. And so you're always put in the position as a coach of [figuring out] what's the best – do you challenge the three to try to catch up to the eight, or do you bring the eight back to the three? But our kids are trying to learn, they're trying to do the best they can and we're asking them to try to master an awful lot of things in a very short amount of time. We've played three ball games and we're really, truly trying to challenge them an awful lot, and maybe some of it's too much."
On the team's conditioning with the time of possession discrepancies:
"The conditioning aspect I don't think is an issue. I think being on the field is an issue. Regardless of how great of shape you're in, if you're out there an extraordinary amount of plays, you're going to get tired. And it's forced us to try to play a few more guys.
"We're playing nine defensive linemen, playing just about everybody that we've got suited up in the secondary and the linebackers just to keep guys fresh because so much of your special teams are comprised of your defensive players… not only are they playing the 80 defensive snaps, but they're having to play the lion's share of the 25 to 30 special teams plays."
On the controversial field goal on Saturday:
"We sent in our version of like ‘Here's what we would like for you to review.' We won't get a response back from the league office until probably late Wednesday afternoon or until Thursday. We had a list of a couple of things that we would have liked for them to review and clarify for us – that being one of them…
"A coach can call down and say challenge that, but you cannot have a television in your box. You cannot have any external device where you have the ability to watch T.V. replay and then call down and say ‘I think that that should be challenged.' So we're just trying to get some clarification as to exactly how – based on the television, if you saw the T.V. copy, the T.V. announcers reported that the challenge didn't come from the coaches, it actually came from a box where they actually had access to a television."
On Cooter Arnold:
"I met with Cooter this morning and we had a conversation and kind of a check-up on how's his life going – his due diligence in regard to all of the things that we had talked about that he needed to address – how those things were progressing. So we have had a conversation, but he is still suspended as we speak.
"He's not doing anything with football, right now."
On last year's 37-20 loss the USF:
"I can't remember last year too much, I'm sure it was different. Our confidence level is still up because we still did a lot of good things on offense and defense, but we did make some mistakes but we know what we can do."
On South Florida:
"Last year they were very fast. They play a little man single coverage. Me, personally, I don't think I had too good of a game. I know they are fast, a typical Florida team."
On the frustration of the last two weeks:
"It's very frustrating. Just the little things have killed us – turnovers and things like that. We've lost by a margin of five points the last two games, so we know we're close. We just have to get over that hump."
On the success of the passing game:
"The offense is doing [well], like I said the turnovers are killing us. We are still doing good things out there."
On Hakeem Nicks' 53-yard touchdown reception:
"I mean that is something he always does. Like I try to tell him to get down sometimes to protect himself, but he has so much heart and he wants to get in the end zone so bad. It definitely feeds off to the other wide receivers because we all compete with each other."
On the lack of a running game:
"Well it's just a combination of things. The back missing the hole, guys not getting up to the second level and guys playing off blocks. Whenever there is a problem it is something we can fix very easily, we just have to focus on it and keep working on it.
"We really have to start running the rock a little more and make that a consistent thing. I mean it's there, but it's got to be consistent. Which means everybody has got to be right every play, combination of everybody knowing what they are doing and we just have to execute."
On T.J. Yates:
"He's done a great job, he has earned a lot of respect. We like the way he stays focused throughout the week and he comes up ready to play. He is calm in the huddle and a lot of fun to be out there with. We want to block for him, we want to make sure to give him time to do what he does."
On the offensive line's success in protecting Yates:
"We've played tough. We're pretty physical and aggressive. If one of us doesn't have anything to do, then we're looking to … help out whoever needs help. And a lot of times when you do that, [it] stops the bull rush, keeps guys from doing stuff and that limits the defensive line and their moves. The offensive line and the backs have done a great job of being smart and reading keys and just seeing stuff before the play happens."
On his opinion of the offense:
"You know we have great receivers, you saw Hakeem on Saturday make a huge play. We have guys like that who can keep us in the game if something does go wrong, we can get it to them. They are playmakers, but you can't always rely on those guys. That's why we have to get the running game going and keep the defense off the field."
On South Florida:
"We have film today for the o-line. Last year, they were athletic and had a good defense. I have heard they are doing well this year. We are just going to get focused and figure out what they like to do."