On the players needing to take more of an active role in preparation:
"I will tell you that we will never be any good at North Carolina until players take ownership for their own preparation and performance. Every place that I've ever been, coaches really never had to do anything but coach. The locker room and the environment were set by Troy Aikman and the guys that we had on offense and defense.
"They set such a high standard in expectations of themselves and when you have that culture – and it takes some time, coaches have to be responsible for creating that culture – but then at some point in time you have to hand the baton to the players. And when that atmosphere of accountability transformed itself at Miami, then the program took off…
"We just don't have that many seniors and we don't have that many juniors on the football team and it's very difficult to expect kids that have never played in college football games – they're fighting for their lives. They're fighting to just -- ‘What's my world? The other ten guys, you guys are kind of on your own. I've got my own issues right now. I'm trying to learn the scheme [and] learn what the coaches what me to do.' And it's just part of that process."
How long does that take?
"It's one of those things that happens 10,000 times and then all of a sudden [snaps his fingers], it happens. Guys just get it at some point in time. Some will learn it faster than others, but when kids are really, truly committed and they are in the boat and they're drinking the Kool-Aid and they know that this is the right thing and they start buying in 100 percent and they grow up and they mature and they start playing, then that starts to happen."
On how the Dallas Cowboys' 1-15 season has helped him in this rebuilding process:
"It teaches you that there is a process and there [are] things that you're going to have to go through and they are inherit to every single situation that's like this. This situation is no different than other coaching staffs that go to programs where they've had a history of unsuccessful teams and programs that have been down for a period of time.
"We went through it with Jimmy [Johnson] at Oklahoma State. They had gone through some bad years and stuff at Oklahoma State and it was the same in 1979 as it was in 1989 as it was in 2007."
On leaving T.J. Yates in the entire game versus South Florida:
"You want to see him fight through adversity. He's the quarterback right now and there's no reason to believe that we should make any kind of a change. You just want to see him [and] how he processes and battles through that."
On defenses teeing off on Yates with a stagnant ground game:
"Until we can become a much more balanced offense -- and balance truly isn't about 35 runs and 35 passes -- that looks like balance, but it's not. It's being effective. And the flip side can be true. You can be a very talented running football team and if can't throw the ball effectively to make them honor the pass, then you're running into eight and nine-man fronts all day long."
On any positives from the South Florida game:
"[USF] only accomplished 100 yards of offense against us in the second half. We created some turnovers, which was encouraging, and maybe the discovery of a little bit of a running game."
On how to prepare for Tech's special teams:
"You better be fundamentally sound. You better really spend some time, and we will – we'll probably spend extra time during the course of the week."
On the team's morale after South Florida loss:
"We're a little down, because anytime after a loss you know your team is going to be down. We came in here yesterday and looked at film, and we are going to correct a lot of things on and off the field. Hopefully, we'll get in here and do what we have to do and be ready because we know they'll [be] ready."
On the South Florida game:
"We had a lot of mental mistakes against South Florida. They came out and did what they had to do. They made major adjustments to our mistakes and that's something that we didn't do. We didn't create enough turnovers [and] we didn't do the things that we needed to do."
On any progress the secondary has made:
"We're communicating a lot better and there's always some things that we've got to get fixed. We're young, but we can't really use that excuse anymore. Everybody has a role and that's what we have to do…Everything just has to get cleaned up."
On Virginia Tech:
"I watched film this morning; you know they are real physical. Their receivers are as good as it gets when it comes to blocking for their running back or quarterback. They have speed on the outside as well. They have an All-American running back in Brandon Ore and a new quarterback who is a pretty good athlete. It's going to be a real challenge for us this week, but if we read our keys and do what we're supposed to do, it will be a good game."
On dealing with the team's struggles:
"You have to be able to accept failure and any time there is failure, you have to bounce back the next week. That is the good thing about sports these days – there is always a next week. You just try to correct all your mistakes and come back and have a great game the next week."
On his first game in college:
"It felt pretty good. I was excited, but then nervous at the same time. I felt a lot of pressure. I did not want to get in my first college football game and mess up. Overall, I think I did alright for my first college experience."
On why it's taken so long for him to see action:
"The coaches were just trying to make sure I was ready. They didn't want to put me in and then I mess up, hurting my confidence. I understand what they were doing because if I got in and messed up, every time after that I would be timid. I trust in all of the coaches -- we've got a smart coaching staff, so I just believe in them."
On Virginia Tech:
"Virginia Tech's got a tough football team, and I just want to go up there and help our team win. They say Virginia Tech has one of the best defenses in the ACC, and right now with our offense, we're just trying to win games and trying to put together a good run and pass [scheme] to beat Virginia Tech."
If he's ever crossed the goal line without a helmet:
"Yeah. As a matter of fact, in high school, my helmet always came off. I don't know – I think I've got a funny-shaped head or something, but my helmet always comes off for some reason or another."
On the players needing to prepare more:
"We've been preparing pretty good, but it can always be better… We can always have more guys watching more film. We can have more guys out there doing stuff to help the team… We can always build on our team."
On Houston playing quarterback in middle school:
"I can still throw it, man – I keep telling Coach [Davis] to put me in for a halfback pass."