How did it feel after you scored on that first drive?
It felt great. The offense started off with a bang. We got up 7-0, and the defense came out and stopped them. Things were looking up for us. We were feeling it on the sideline, and we were working as a team. Then things started to snowball.
Why do you think it snowballed?
It's hard to explain. It seems like one thing after another bad happens. Good teams get over the bad things that happen. It seems like they happen to us again and again and again. We make a good play, and then we negate it with a holding penalty or something. We just shot ourselves in the foot every single time we tried to do something today, and the score shows that.
Do you think it could be because you are so young?
Being young is over and done with. This is the nineth game of the season. You aren't young anymore, no matter who is playing. Players just aren't playing well.
How do you feel about the final score?
Shocked, embarrassed, disappointed, and I feel bad for our fans. I feel bad for everyone who supports the Heels. We embarrassed ourselves today, and I hope our fans can forgive us for this. This is something [we] have to get over, but it hurts bad. It's humiliating.
How do you stay 'up' as a team with everything going against you?
We work on forgetting the past. We realize that we've only won two games, but we still can finish. Coach Bunting stresses finishing, and that is our focus right now--to finish this season off as positively as we can. A lot of people are doubting and have written us off--"They've only won two games, and that's all they'll win, but we have to continue to fight, and we will. We'll come out for Clemson next week and work hard and prepare and come out to try to win the game.
You guys stopped them on the first two drives, and they they hit for the 80-yard pass. How big was that?
That was really big. Plays like that just stab you. It hurts. You have to realize, "They got us," and move on. I think some of our problem is that we have to forget the past and continue to fight for the future.
What happened on that play?
It was play action, and everybody, pretty much, responded to the run, which has happened several other games. The guy was open. He should have been covered, but we blew the coverage and gave up a big play for a touchdown. We just didn't get it done.
What is it like to lose like this in front of your home crowd?
It's definitely bad for me. Going to class, my teachers say a lot about sports. I deal with the critiques, somewhat, in class trying to do my work. I get mad, but it's a part of the game. You just have to move on and try to ignore it.
Think positively is what I try to do a lot. I don't always focus on football when I'm out of this building. I think about other good things that I have and the future of Carolina football. I think about next week, the Clemson game. I know a lot of people are disappointed, but we can continue to make things better.
Why do you tink the future of the program is bright?
I truly believe that the coaches on staff are good people, and they are teaching the young players--and people like me--how to play football mentally, physically, and emotionally. It's not all about emotion; you have to go out and know what you are doing. You have to prepare. All the coaches continue to teach us that every week. They emphasize the little details. With the coaches we have, the future is bright even though it's down right now.
It looked like you guys were in the game early. How big was the long touchdown?
It was definitely a huge play. We came out and played a good first series. We had hopes of doing it again, and there it was--a big play that we just gave up too easily.
I know you are young on defnese, but were you surprised or shocked that you gave up 59 points?
Yes, it's a shock, but being young on defense is not an exuse. We've been through what, eight games now? That's a lot of experience. We should know better and be improving by now and making big plays and learning from our mistakes. It was a difficult game, but we will bounce back.
What does Coach Bunting say after a game like this?
What can you say? Encouragement, I guess--bounce back, don't put your head down, learn from your mistakes. Things like that.
Did he not say much?
A game like this, truely it hurts, and I guess he can't think of any words.
What happened on the 80-yard touchdown?
We were in cover-two, and he was split out fairly wide. As a corner, I don't have it, but my job is to press him inside, give him an inside release, but I pressed him outside release. That put a lot of pressure on my safety, and was too far outside for my safety to come up and defend.