"Obviously it's a big week for our football program. It's certainly a big week in the state. Anytime that you are playing an in-state rival and certainly anybody in your own conference, it adds to the drama [and] it adds to the anticipation of the game. N.C. State is playing extremely well right now with the three game winning streak… They forced [Miami] into just a horrible day throwing the ball. They got three interceptions and as we started to get into their video and their tapes last night, one of the things that they are doing extremely well is [with] the turnover margin. The three games that they've won they've never lost the turnover ratio for that particular game. They are protecting the football and their defense is creating turnovers. The quarterback is playing very, very efficient. I think the biggest difference from the beginning of the season, as with all new coaching staffs, is finding your identity.
"Changing the quarterback with Daniel Evans, they've been much more efficient throwing the ball [and] getting big plays downfield. They've got a couple of wide receivers who have got a lot of speed. Certainly Blackman is really dangerous – he may be the [best] of all the opponents that we've faced from the standpoint of kickoff cover and punt cover [and] presents one of the biggest challenges that we've got. Schematically, defensively there are some similarities between what we saw against Maryland. They are a very active defense. Almost rarely do you see them be stag, just line up – this is the front [and] this is the coverage. They really forced Miami into some bad situations because of the pressure that they put on them.
"So we'll have our hands full this week getting ready and getting prepared. I think our guys, the more that we can stay healthy, the more that the same guys can continually play the same positions week in and week out, our expectations of them is that we should start playing better. Not having to juggle so much on special teams [and] leaving some guys alone. Same thing offensively and defensively. Getting our guys on the field all the time so that there is carryover game day experience. It should be interesting and exciting week."
On the defensive improvement:
"I think fortunately for the most part the front seven has stayed, once we settled on guys they've stayed pretty healthy. I'm so thankful that Kentwan Balmer and Hilee (Taylor) and Aleric Mullins most of those guys have been solid, they've been there. There is some carry over learning about fits and schemes and support and gap responsibility and how to fit certain runs and who is responsible for support and who is responsible for turning a play back. And even for Quan (Sturdivant) and Bruce (Carter) there is a learning curve for those guys. They just didn't know, it wasn't that they weren't talented enough they just didn't know what they were supposed to do.
On Richie Rich's rapid move from running back to defensive back:
"It hasn't happened very often, to be honest with you. A lot of times you move a guy, and a lot of times he just plays as a scout team player or maybe he's a second or third-team guy, and he gets to kind of grandfather himself in maybe into the spring time.
"One of the interesting plays is that on 3rd-and-2, they went after Richie on that little short hitch route to the boundary, and I think without his quickness and ability to jump back in there and put his hand in, they might have converted on 3rd-and-2 and we would have never had the 4th-and-2 incompletion. And who knows, with a minute left to go, you don't want to face the other team throwing it into the end zone like we were doing against South Carolina.
"He's done a very, very good job of trying to learn and grasp things. Any time that a player has to make an adjustment like that, one of the things is how much do you really buy into it and is it something that he embraces? You can only tell that by how often he's up there seeing Coach Pagano [and] seeing Coach Lovett… I'm very happy with the way that he's adjusted to that."
On not looking ahead to N.C. State in previous weeks:
"For us as a football program, we've got to take them one game at a time. And when you play them, you can't look at them early in the season and say this is who they are. Eight games later, they could be a totally different team."
On N.C. State:
"It's a big game with a lot of hype and it is lot of fun to play in. The past two years since I have been here, we have won and done well. It is just a great atmosphere and it is very intense. Guys are excited this week getting to watch some film and get into the game plan. The game is a lot of fun to play in and we are preparing for it right now."
On if the coaching staff has changed their approach this week:
"Not really. I haven't really seen anything different. We're just going to keep doing week-by-week like we do, and prepare for them the same way."
On the three-game winning streak against N.C. State:
"We take a lot of pride in that. That's something that we would love to continue. I'm going to bust my butt this week to make sure it happens. We don't want to lose that – since I've been here, we haven't lost to them and I don't plan on it."
On if he considered N.C. State the primary UNC rival growing up:
"I always kind of had it in for Duke… I always loved to see Carolina beat Duke, because I've seen some great Carolina-Duke games, so it's always been Duke for me."
On the strategy involved in using pressure to intimidate quarterbacks:
"Hit him and hit him hard. Be relentless. That's what our coaches teach us – relentless effort [and] that's what you see when you see us play. [We] just try to go out there and make plays."
On the rivalry game this weekend::
"You can't doubt the rivalry and the emotion that goes into playing NC State. New coaches and both teams have a lot on the line; it is definitely going to be a big game. It is going to be a hostile crowd. I think we beat them the last three years so they feel like they have a lot to prove and so do we."
On N.C. State:
"They are a very talented team. They have a stable of running backs, great receivers, good offensive lineman so we are going to have to attack them in a lot of different phases. A team that is so balanced has a lot to throw at you, so we are going to have to be prepared for a lot of different things. We are going to go out and execute the game plan and we'll see what happens."