Monday PC Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's Monday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from head coach Butch Davis and Hakeem Nicks, who spoke to the media as the Tar Heels begin preparations for Saturday's ACC opener versus Virginia Tech.

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Butch Davis


Opening remarks:
"It's the next step in the season for us. The approach that we've taken with the players is just talking about the idea that every week – if we'll focus on us and if we'll focus on our football team trying to get better, then that's the best way for us to make strides every week and give ourselves the best chance to play well. Virginia Tech is a good football team, and I don't have to tell any of you that…

"Frank Beamer has done a great job since being the head coach there. They've done an excellent job in recruiting over the years. He's been able to replace talented players every year. I know last year they had an awful lot of players that went in the draft defensively, and they're at the stage of this program that you would like all good football programs to be, in that they don't rebuild, they just kind of reload.

"Watching them closely from the years that I spent in Miami, all of the same principles that applied to their good football teams are still evident. They're a very, very aggressive, very physical defense. They play well on special teams. They'll capitalize on every opportunity if you're not sound in all of the phases of special teams. They'll try to find something that you don't do well and they will really try to exploit it. They probably look my like the Virginia Tech team that I played against at Miami because we faced Michael Vick for a significant amount of the last couple of years that we were there…

"It'll be a very good game. It's the first ACC game, so obviously you want to get off to a good start and you want to play well and it all starts with how well we practice this week."

Is a game of this magnitude any more important due to the split ACC divisions?
"Probably only in a sense that at the end of the season that you're going to look back at all of these games… If you lose to Rutgers, and you win the next 10, would it make any difference? Now every game is important. If you beat Rutgers, and lose the next 10, does it make any difference? You do all of your reflecting about how successful you were after all of the games in the season is over with. This is the next game and it's a big step, and they are an ACC team, so we want to play well."

Do you feel like if you win this game, you're in the driver's seat in the division?
"No. All that does is give you a chance to focus on next week's opponent."

On the three freshmen defensive ends:
"For a first time appearance, I think they played well. They made some mistakes fundamentally in some things, just because of the enormity of being their first opportunity to play. Being on the big stage was a big thing to all three of them, but I thought that each one of them individually brought a certain element to the defense. They gave E.J. [Wilson] a chance to rest, so that he didn't have to play 70 snaps in a ball game. It gave Greg Elleby a chance to rest. So I thought that they did reasonably well and I would suspect that they should improve each week."

Have you said anything to the team to temper any overconfidence?
"We talked when we showed the film on Friday, and I think it's important regardless of whether you win or lose, but you to be honest with yourself and look at the performance. Because – and I said this after the game the other night – you're never as good as you think you are, and you're never as bad as you think you are. You may lose. There were some games we lost last year and there were some good things that happened in the game, but not enough of them to give us a chance to win the game.

"And I think that's where you're football team starts to show some growth and maturity, when they can realistically look at the film and say, ‘We won, but the reality is that we could have played better than what we played last Thursday night.' And we honestly could have. There were things in all three phases that we didn't do well. There were individuals and things that they didn't do well.

"And if they'll approach it every week from a healthy standpoint that they realize we're not being hard on them, but that some of the things we did on Thursday night are not acceptable. We're not going to live with it. They're going to have to do some things better than they did Thursday night, especially if you expect to improve every week."

Hakeem Nicks

On Virginia Tech:
"We are trying to keep our confidence level high and it's another big game for us. We need to put together another good week of practice and keep a high level of intensity. Virginia Tech is a great team. Their defense is very aggressive and physical."

On the practices leading up to the Rutgers game:
"Everyone out there likes to have fun and when our guys are flying around, we are having fun. We know if we practice hard and at game speed we will have no problem getting it done on Saturday. The environment is different as guys actually want to go out and practice, we want to make plays."

On the importance of the VT game:
"It is important, but we want to continue to practice hard and keep our momentum going towards Saturday. At the same time we take it one game at a time, but we just need to prepare well."

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