"We're not feeling very good right now. We got our tails kicked on Saturday and on Wednesday, so we've lost two in a row. We've got to get a heck of a lot better. We need to get our guys healthy and playing better. We had a great practice this morning and hopefully we'll have a great one tomorrow. We know we've got to be ready to play a Wake Forest team that's an awfully good basketball team."
Is there an emotional adjustment in going from title contenders to a team that needs a lot of work?
"Well, it's not as much fun, I can tell you that. I like the stress, the pressure, the expectations of having dreams and goals to win the whole thing. I don't like to struggle and we're struggling a little bit right now. I like my team to be very confident, almost to the cocky stage, but not quite. So this is a different ball game for me and a different ball game for our kids. But it's something that is reality. We have to go through it and fight through it.
"I told them in the locker room after game that we can quit and go belly up and just go through the motions, but I choose not to do that and they need to go along with me on this one. So that's what we're having to do. We can say we're young and we are young, but that's an excuse. We can say we're beat up and we are beat up, even more beat up today than we were on Saturday, but that's an excuse also. Some way, somehow, we've got to find a way to fight through it and do the best that we can possibly do."
Besides winning games, how can you revive the kids' confidence?
"It's hard because no substitutes for winning and how effective that is in giving your kids confidence back. But each and every day, I think that we've got to try to be positive with him, as long as they're giving us great effort and great concentration. It's hard to give a kid confidence when they're not doing a good job concentrating, going the wrong way or running the wrong play or something like that. There is a fine line. We have to be demanding. We need to make sure they get those things taken care of and then we can try to give them some confidence and then I think you can be more legitimate. If they don't take care of those things, then it's really hard."
How concerned are you about the backcourt?
"That part hasn't changed since the preseason. I said the experience and the depth of the backcourt is something that we're thin on numbers and thin on people that have done it before, the experience factor. We had never had a point guard that had started a big-time game and we still have those concerns. Larry [Drew], at times, has done a really nice job, and then he hasn't been as consistent as he wanted to be first, much less me and much less the fans, but he's had some games where he's been really effective like the Virginia Tech game at home a couple of weeks ago. And then the last two games have really been a struggle for him.
"So he's got to get more consistent. He didn't even practice today because he got hurt in the Georgia Tech game, so we've got to get him healthy before we can expect him to be effective. Marcus Ginyard has missed quite a bit of time and hasn't played to the level that he wants to play. So now all of a sudden we're talking about Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald, two freshmen, and it's hard to be really successful as a freshman in the ACC unless you're really special. So the concerns haven't changed."
Will Drew be ready for Wednesday?
"I have no idea. He didn't practice this morning."
What did you do so successfully in the Virginia Tech game that you can replicate going forward?
"Shots went in. I know that sounds so trite, but it's true. Everything looks better when the shots go in. Not blaming it on Larry by any means, but Larry hit a couple of big threes against Virginia Tech. On Saturday, he was 1-for-8. When the ball goes in, things are smoother, they've got to come out and guard you a little bit more and it opens things up on the inside. We've got to do a better job in every phase. We've got to guard better, stop dribble penetration. In the second half, I think Malcolm Delaney's ankle started bothering him more and hopefully we played a little better on the defensive end, too.
"We didn't quite get that defensive intensity, especially in the first half, against Georgia Tech. There are so many areas, but we need to have some good things going for us and the ball bounce our way a little bit. It's a crazy game, because we have a two-point lead against Georgia Tech and a guy goes right down the middle of the lane and Deon [Thompson] steps in there to take a charge and it's a bang-bang play. Last year, those calls seemed to go our way. We'd get the charge call and this time it was a block."
Are there any possible lineup changes for you in the near future?
"There could be the next game, because Ed Davis and Larry Drew didn't practice today… We haven't made any specific plans to do anything yet."
"[Davis and Drew] are the only two that didn't practice. Ed sprained his ankle in the Georgia Tech game and I think it really limited his effectiveness, needless to say in the second half… Yesterday he was swollen quite a bit. He did take part in the Special Olympics clinic we did, but he wasn't nearly as active as the other people. And Larry was limping around because he hyper-extended his knee in the Georgia Tech game."