|Inside Carolina audio is available to IC premium subscribers. To listen, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.|
On the challenge of replacing Shaun Draughn:
"It's certainly not an enviable task. Shaun, obviously, throughout the course of the middle part of the season has really done a nice job. It gave us a good duo of having two guys that could stay fresh in the ball game. It'll be a challenge to try to find someone who can come in and deliver, not only the playing time, but to offset Ryan's production and contribution to the game. Like any of the other unfortunate things that have happened to us as far as injuries, it's something that's happened and we're going to have to deal with it and we're going to have to find something to compensate for it."
On who will fill the only running back position:
"We moved Anthony Elzy [to tailback]. He's been playing. When we lost the other two tailbacks, we moved him back there. And we got him a little bit of playing time in the game the other day against Duke, so I would suspect we will get a chance, the more comfortable he is and the more reps he gets during the week of practice, that we'll be able to get him more opportunities in the game."
Any thoughts of moving anybody to running back from another position?
"We're about out of options unless you've got eligibility. We checked the waiver wire this morning, and the ACC kind of frowned upon trying to take somebody off someone's practice squad, so we are who we are."
On Draughn's injury:
"He got speared in the back when he was down. That's how the injury occurred."
Have you talked to Ryan Taylor about red-shirting this season?
"Yes, we've talked a lot about it. When he first had the injury, the very first thing we said was ‘just get well.' That's priority No. 1. And then we would let the timing decide as to whether or not it would be prudent for you to come back and try to play and whether or not it would be in your best interest and in the team's best interest for you to red-shirt.
"He returned to practice probably about 10 days ago to where he could go full-speed live in practice. And after the first week, his knee was actually still a little bit sore. That all of the cutting and the braking and playing on the scout team – it's just so much different than going out and pushing sleds and running on your own. When you start pushing on guys that weigh 300 pounds and they push back, it's a big difference. And so that kind of carried over into last week.
"So I would say that, barring anything that would be extraordinarily disastrous, he'll probably red-shirt. That's kind of the plan now. For us to have allowed him to go the entire season and then to bring him back for the last three or four games probably isn't in the team's best interests and I don't think it's necessarily in Ryan's best interests, either."
"And he's okay with it. When we talked early right after the injury, he said, ‘If it's two or three [games], I'm coming back. I'm playing.' Here's a guy that's been our special teams defensive captain for two seasons in a row. He wanted to play. And once the reality of the nature of the injury… He thought he would bounce back a little quicker than he did."
Do you see the running game changing with Draughn out?
"Maybe a little bit. There are some things that Shaun did better as far as some our speed runs… Ryan obviously doesn't have the speed that Shaun did, but for the most part, during the course of the last game we didn't change our running game up too much. We just kind of stuck to the things that Ryan is good at – the inside type of stuff. We'll do something to compensate for Shaun not being there. I think we'll be okay."
Do you expect to your third-down and short-yardage responsibilities now that you are the featured back?
"I don't know. We haven't really talked about that. I'm thinking that I'll probably still keep the short-yardage downs. Hopefully, I'll make bigger runs so that we won't have a 3rd-and-short."
On the toll of 37 carries against Duke:
"My body is a little sore today. It was real sore yesterday. But I've just got to keep taking care of my body and I should be fine on Saturday."
On bowl talk:
"I'm just looking for the next win. If we were looking just to make a bowl, then you're not really setting your standards too high. I'm a guy who sets my standards high. So we're looking at the next one and just keep it going from there."
On grading the defense's performance against Duke after film study:
"We're always going to be hard on ourselves that we could have made a play here or there, but for the most part, our defense seemed pretty solid."
On Miami's offense:
"We've got a challenge ahead of us. You've got [Graig] Cooper in the back, you've got Jacory [Harris] and then you've got [Travis] Benjamin on the outside, so you get those three in any kind of situation and you've definitely got your work cut out for you. But the way we've been playing defensively, it's definitely going to be a fight. They're going to get some here, and we're going to get some there, but I think it's going to be an even game all the way around."