On playing NC State -
"This will be a big challenge for our football team to get ready for the schemes that they run, the styles that they run and how physically gifted that they are."
On evaluating the Maryland game film and the possibility of a QB change -
"I had a chance to spend some time with the coaching staff. We came in, we graded the film, we had [position] meetings, we made corrections with the players and then we got a chance last night to spend four, five hours just discussing all the stuff - what's going to go on for the NC State game, the Duke game, how we're going to run the football, how we're going to protect, all the things that've got to get better. So obviously a big point of discussion was: is it an appropriate time, do we need to make a change? We might not, but we also might need to make a change."
On the three close losses this season -
"I don't think you ever evaluate the body of the entire season until the season is over with. Let the season play out, play as good as you can every week, win as many games as you can and when the season is over, reflect back on shortcomings, strengths, weaknesses and how we can be a better football team in 2009 - but right now is clearly not the time to look back. There are too many challenges ahead."
What do you need to do better to win close games?
"If you just look at last week's performance, we've got to run the ball better, we've got to protect the ball better ... the games that we've played well, we have played efficiently, we've played smart, we've made good decisions, we've played well against the run from a defensive perspective - certainly Maryland had a lot of success running the football and NC State has two great running backs; those two kids are as big and strong and as good a runner as anyone we've played against this year."
On Saturday's tough loss -
"It was a very tough loss knowing everything that was at stake. Just looking at the whole thing - getting that win back from Virginia Tech on Thursday and then losing to Maryland on Saturday, you feel like we didn't take care of our part of the deal. But we still have a chance and hopefully we can bounce back."
Reflecting on the state of UNC and the rivalry since the last time NC State came to Kenan Stadium -
"Carolina football has taken such a big step up from two years ago. You get real excited for any game, no matter if it's McNeese State or James Madison ... with NC State having a new coach and with Butch Davis [here] it's refreshed the rivalry."
On the team's mindset this week -
"We still think we're in this ACC race. Our goal at the beginning of the year wasn't to win seven games, it was to win the ACC and we still those goals are within reach so we're going to keep practicing hard and keep going ..."
On his increased role on the team since Brandon Tate was injured -
"Everybody's always waiting their chance and Coach always tells us 'Your opportunity could always be one rolled ankle away.' So you've always got to be prepared and be ready. My chance came I'm just going to make the best of it."
On the UNC-NCSU rivalry games -
"They are real competitive. To them it's like a championship game for them to beat us. And right now, with the way we're going, they're looking to mess up what we've got going and we're not going to let them do that."