"This is without question the athletically-gifted football team [that we've played]. They're playing extremely well. There's no visible evidence on film of any weaknesses. They've got talented running backs, explosive wide receivers and a quarterback that's the most efficient guy that we've seen – Jacory Harris is playing extremely well.
"[They have] a very aggressive, fast defense that has a lot of depth. They play a lot of players. Special teams-wise, they've got two electrifying kick return/punt return guys that certainly have the opportunity to score at any moment and kickers that kick the ball extremely well, so this will be a real significant challenge for our team."
On UNC's recent success against Miami:
"We've only played them twice since I've been here. Both of the times we were just fortunate enough to hang around and be in the game and we kind of withstood some of the explosive plays that they are so very capable of making. Two years ago, both of the teams were struggling to find themselves, both with brand new coaching staffs trying to find players. Certainly last year's ball game went right down to the wire. They drove the ball clear down to the end zone at the end of the game and we were just very fortunate that Trimane Goddard made an unbelievable interception."
On how UNC matches up with Miami:
"We're going to try to lobby the NCAA to see if we can play with 13 or 14 guys on defense. They're really talented. Just watch the way in which they dismantle people. The score was closer than the game ever thought about being against Oklahoma and they just totally demolished a Virginia team that we could barely make first downs against. They're very talented and they're as fast as they've always been on defense. They play a lot of defensive linemen. Their secondary is very gifted. Everybody is pretty much familiar with how talented and the depth they have at the running back position.
"We've gone through an awful lot of injuries and we're playing a lot of young kids, so it's going to be baptism under fire for our football team."
On Ryan Houston now carrying the load:
"It's not by design. I can tell you from all of the places that I've coached, you'd like to have two or three running backs that are significantly contributing to every single game. But we lost Shaun Draughn on the first play of the game with a fracture in his shoulder and so Ryan had to step up. We had two other tailbacks injured earlier in the season, so we were somewhat depleted in that area. Ryan continued to be able to shoulder the load and responsibility. He's a big kid and he's physical and he's strong. Thirty-seven carries is probably more than you would like, but in that particular game, it's what we needed to do to try to win the football game. He was up to the challenge and accepted the responsibility of it."
Are you comforted by the fact that Miami is coming to Chapel Hill this weekend and you don't have to go down there?
"I think every coach will tell you that you like playing home games better than you like going on the road. It's something that the growth of your program is measured at times by how well you play on the road, and eventually, if you're going to be any good, you've got to win your games on the road. But in playing at home, there's more familiarity. Your routine is not nearly as dramatically altered as it is when you have to get on buses and get on planes and go to hotels and you're dealing with the distractions that go along with traveling…
"Obviously, you like the idea of playing at home. In the three years that we've been here, I think we've only had one non-sellout crowd, so that speaks volumes about the passion and the commitment for the football program and the direction that our fans and alumni and student body like seeing the program is headed. As with all home games, you just hope that the fans become an integral part of the game itself and not just as spectators."
Do you feel any nostalgia when you play Miami?
"It's an ACC game and it's a home game. We're scrambling to put together a season that gives us a chance to become bowl eligible, so every game down the stretch [matters] – this one, next week at [Boston College] and then N.C. State the following week. Having spent so many years in South Florida intimately involved with the program, it would be ludicrous to think that there isn't some special significance, but when the game gets started and all of that stuff, it really doesn't… It's still about the execution and the performance and the preparation of your players.
"The first one [in ‘07] was somewhat unique and unusual just from the standpoint that it was the first time, but now three years into it, it's more about that they are the opponent, they're the other team and they're real good."