"Brandon Tate will be out for the season. There was speculation after the game in the on-hands physical examination that there was the possibility of some damage to his knee. But you never know until you get the X-rays and the MRIs. And until they actually do the scope and go inside, they won't know the complete severity of it, but he did suffer a tear of the ACL and the MCL.
"And although that's tough for our football team and it's certainly tough on him – he's a great kid and a valuable, integral part of this football team – the good news is that he will be back and he will recover from this. I shared with him that two of the best receivers that I ever had the opportunity to be around as a coach both had equally as significant and damaging injuries.
"Michael Irvin in his rookie year with the Dallas Cowboys tore the same thing, and obviously came back and went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, went to a lot of Pro Bowls and helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls. I also had Reggie Wayne, who had almost the identical same injury, and he did it in practice – like Week 9 or 10 in his junior year. Obviously, all you have to do is turn on the T.V. on Sunday to see what Reggie Wayne continued to do in his college career and subsequent to that.
"So Brandon will get back. He was fortunate that there was no other further significant damage to PCLs and cartilages and those kinds of things, so as tough as it is for him and us, there was a little bit of a silver lining in that.
"What that means to this football team… The coaching staff last night and throughout the course of today and continuing on probably this week and the next couple of weeks, it will put us in a situation to look at expanded roles for different guys on the team. I told the players yesterday after we finished watching the special teams film that there are going to be some guys that we're going to ask more out of.
"That we're going to need you to step up and give us plays or minutes or time in roles, whether it's on special teams – because we've obviously got the role to fill with Brandon on punt returns and kickoff returns – so we're going to talk about some things and we've got a couple of candidates who have worked as backups during the first six weeks of the season. And then how we would manage the receiver thing.
"Who would come in, who would play and how we would manage that, so some of those things will be a work in progress. And it won't come to any type of final solution in the course of one week. There's no way… "The challenge this week is obviously going back on the road against an ACC opponent. Virginia has had just really good success the last couple of weeks as they've transitioned offensively into more of a traditional Virginia offense… So this will be a big challenge as a team to go on the road against a very physical team that's playing with a lot of confidence."
"If he's not the most explosive player in college football, he's really close. To replace a punt returner, a kick returner and a receiver of his caliber – you just can't do it. But we're going to find someone that's going to play really well in his place."
On his right shoulder injury right before halftime:
"Yeah, I was fine. I jogged in early [at halftime] because it felt a little jammed. It feels like a bruise now, but I'm good. There's nothing wrong."
On Tate's injury:
"You hate that for a guy like Brandon. He's been such a vital part of this team, and I'm sure he'll still be a huge part, just in a different way. He'll bring younger guys along and help us in every way possible, so my heart goes out to Brandon and his family."
On the Virginia rivalry:
"We haven't won there since when, 1981? I was not even thought about being born. I actually went out to dinner with the Chapman family – Bill, Will and Bowen – and he said they hadn't beaten them since Will was born, and he played here eight years ago or so, so it's just something that's always in the back of your mind. Being a Carolina fan and a player for this University, it's just a tough place to play."
Talk about your play in the win over Notre Dame:
"I just knew I had to step up and continue making plays when I was called on, and I knew they were calling me a little bit more when Brandon went out. I just had to step up and make plays."
Have you talked to Brandon?
"Yes. I talked to him right after the game, and I talked to him yesterday and I talked to him today. I just told him to keep his head up. Things like that happen – it's football. Just rehab and do whatever you have to do to get healthy."