"This will be a big test for our football team for a variety of reasons. One, bouncing back after a disappointing loss to N.C. State. Going on the road – there are several things, obviously, that we would like to get accomplished these last two ball games. We'd like to win these games, we'd like to play better [and] we'd like to get off to a better, faster start. We haven't done that very well on some of the road games… And I said it yesterday on the phone teleconference, I thought that the mood of the players, surprisingly, was actually pretty good, as disappointing as the game was…
"You look at our football team, and the youth and the inexperience, and then you take a look at Georgia Tech. Their defense right now [is] playing as well as any defense in the country. They're No. 6 in total defense NCAA-wise, and you take a look at their top-22 players on defense, [and] they have 18 juniors and seniors. You take a look at their offense and the success that they're having, and this was an amazing stat – for me it jumped out last night as we were watching film – that their offensive line, going into last Saturday's ball game, had a collective start of 151 games.
"When you compare some of those kinds of stats to what our offensive line and to what our defense and the youth of our defense when we play some particular downs, we've got six freshmen on the field. Some downs we've got five on the field. So there's a little bit of a dichotomy between the makeup of both of these teams. But the expectation for us is that we've got to continue to get better. We've got to find a way to improve the things that we're not doing well."
On the future of the offense:
"The vision that I've got for this offense – long term-wise, I'm talking '08, ‘09, '10, '11, down the stretch – is that you truly, really want to be as balanced as possible. When you have either shortcomings and or lack of performance, then your shortcomings get exposed considerably more and you don't have that balance. We never envisioned in our wildest dreams that we were going to go into N.C. State and throw the ball 48 times.
"I don't want to throw the ball 48 or 50 times, because if you're doing that – there are the rare exceptions when maybe one or two opponents that you're just torching them. They're just so bad that they can't defend themselves against the pass, and you're just lightening them up. But if you're just throwing the ball 48 or 50 times in college football, you're usually behind… For us to be a good football team in years to come, we've got to be a much, much more balanced football team that you run and run when you want to and run when you have to, but you also can run when you want to mix it up."
On playing hard these next two games:
"I think certainly a lot of it has to do with pride. I think it has to do with respect. How you try to play, how you try to finish the season. If we had 25 seniors and 25 juniors, it would be a significantly different story. But every time all of these young kids play, all they do is have an opportunity to get better. There's ‘aha' moments in every film session. I mean, they literally go in there and go, ‘Gosh, I wish I had known that before the game started.' Well, next week you'll know it and next year you'll know it."
On pushing the younger players:
"You have to coach to the level that your players can execute. And I think, maybe at times, we've been a little bit guilty – I know I have. I see some of these kids on our football team as what they are going to become. I really do. I look at them and I go, ‘Man, I can't wait. Twenty pounds from now and two more offseasons and one more training camp and this is what this guy's going to do.'
"And you have to go back and say, ‘You know what? He's 18 and he's not there yet.' You keep trying to put the cart in front of the horse a little bit, and I think that sometimes we've asked our players to bite off a little bit more adjustments on defense and those kinds of things, trying to get all of these guys accelerated, and sometimes it's maybe actually hurt them"
On losing the N.C. State game:
"Obviously it is a hard game to lose, the first for the seniors, they are our rivals. We are going to keep fighting and we are not going to give up. We are playing for our coaches, teammates and fans. We are just going to go out there and practice as hard as we always have and keep our heads up, try to finish the season out with two wins."
On Georgia Tech's defense:
"[It's] just the variety of the blitzes that they bring. And not only that, but also how much they bring them. They blitz up to 55 times in a game, which is a lot of blitzes. You know you've got your work cut out for you, and you definitely have got to keep your head on a swivel [and] keep your eyes up and looking around."
On playing his final two games as a Tar Heel:
"I am just happy to be playing with the guys I am playing with. I love every guy on the team and I love our coaching staff. There is no where else I want to be or anyone else I would want to play with. At this point we are playing for each other, the fans and our coaches. We are not going to roll over just because we are not bowl eligible."
On the two interception returns against N.C. State:
"The team was pretty down after being down 17-0. Charlie Brown making that play before the half was big for our defense and our offense to get momentum to come out the second half to do what do and shut them down the second half."
On Georgia Tech:
"They are an off and on team. Sometimes they come and play like they are an A+ team and sometimes they come out a little flat. I think we are just going to half to play to a high standard and things will work out for us."
On not being bowl eligible this season:
"It hurts that we are not going to be able to go to a bowl. This team is never about quitting, it is about trust. These last two games we are going to get focused and win out the next two games hopefully."