What do you expect from the North Carolina offense?"They have a good offensive line. They have a few good running backs. They have a quarterback that makes good decisions, and they have some talented wide receivers so it will be a really good challenge for us."
Even though their quarterback is inexperienced, are you impressed by him?"He makes pretty good decisions. He does what they ask him to do. If you watch him on tape and you see where the open guy is, especially when he's like 40 or 50 yards down the field, he's getting that guy the ball. He knows where to go with it. I'm not putting him in Canton right now, but to me he looks pretty good."
Do you talk to them about going home?"I may have needled Raeshon a little bit about it but the most important thing that we have talked about is just doing the things that help us to be successful. Get to your mid-point; rerouting guys; tackling well; going up aggressively and playing the ball; playing with confidence; playing aggressive; staying on the edge; that sort of deal."
How do you deal with their two top receivers?"They are both pretty good receivers, but we play like men. We just go out and play our rules and we match the guys as the coverage dictates. We try to play aggressive because, if you start rolling against these guys, they're pretty decent. So we'll find out how good they are and how good we are and we'll go from there."
What do you mean when you say we play like men?"That is just a term that we use. Every time we go out, we try to play the way we put the coverage in. There are some coverages where we roll and there are some coverages where guys have a tougher job, and sometimes you don't have as tough a job. You have to go out and do your job; you can't play afraid. You can't play cautious; you have to play like the coverage is put in. And guess what, there are going to be times when you are going to get beat but that comes with the territory. But at the same time, if you do what you are supposed to do and if you are up to it, you should get your share of plays too. We try to get these guys to play like they have always played in high school and like we want them to play. It's just a term that we use. It's not a slam on anybody or anything like that."
Tell us about Pat Kuntz's play in the Stanford game."I would but I'd never hear the end of it from him (laughing). He did the things that we asked him to do. The guy was talking and Kuntzy took that as a personal challenge which he should have. Anytime somebody challenges you, especially if they are going to play across from you, then you should have a good game. I guess that guy challenged Kuntzy and the defense and the guys are tired of laying down to people, and that's a good thing. He had a good game and made some plays on his own and he made some plays within the scheme, so that was good. He played his rules and played pretty good. So that was a really good thing for us."
How has he adjusted to the move outside?"Honestly, I haven't really asked him that question. By his play, he has played mostly like he played last year, if not better. He's done a lot of things well, but of course, where there's always room for improvement, he's learning things as he plays out there. He's done a fairly good job up to this point."
Can you talk about Kerry Neal's play last year compared to this year's play?"He's still playing the Will. He's still playing the same position, doing a lot of the same things that he did last year. I think what is happening with Kerry right now, same as a lot of the guys, he's older and probably gained a little confidence now. He's more comfortable, repetition helps everybody, and he's done a pretty good job at that. So I think just going through it a second time; he's older, he's stronger, he's made some plays, and he's made some mistakes. He's a conscientious guy and learns from those things, so that's been a pretty good thing for him."
Do you like bulletin-board material and will you use it when you are a head coach?"Anytime someone says something you have to look at it, especially if it's a challenge. Without the bulletin-board material, it's already a challenge especially on the outside and playing man-for-man. But when a guy says he's going to do something, you just see if he can back it up. Everybody thinks it anyway but some guys go over the edge and say it. Those are the guys you should really get fired up for."
What would you do if one of your players said something like that?"I back up my guys. They say what they want; because I'm not the head coach, it's my job to back them up. If they say something or do something, as a position coach I have to help them understand first what they said and then what it is going to take to get done what they said they are going to do. I really don't get into that because our guys are good. We've got pretty good kids and they stay focused on the task. They really don't go out making bold predictions and statements that have no substance. Our guys are more focused on what we're supposed to do. We respect all of our opponents and we just take it from there."
How would you say the three freshmen are doing in your front seven?"I think for freshmen we have been pretty pleased with those guys. They give us a lot of energy and a lot of athleticism at the positions. I think they are all aggressive by nature, which is a good thing. They bite as puppies and that is good. So for the most part, we are happy with those guys. Of course, there is always room for improvement and you always want those guys to get better, and they will. When they start getting better, everybody will really be encouraged. Up to this point they have done some things well."
What have you seen so far out of Raeshon McNeil and Terrail Lambert? Are they where you want them to be at this point?"They are playing pretty good, but like I say, you always want guys to play better no matter what level you're at. You always want guys to play better, but they have made a lot of plays for us this year. We ask our guys to do a variety of things. They play zone; they play man; they play combo-coverage; they blitz. We ask our guys to tackle, so up to this point they have done pretty well. Of course there are times when you say, you should have done this better or you could have done this better. It's a learning experience for everybody and they are still in that learning mode also."
What would you like to see them improve on?"Just overall being consistent from a play-to-play basis; making all the plays that they get an opportunity to do. Now, those other guys are going to win too so you say that might be unrealistic but that's what you want as a coach and as a player you certainly want that. So I would like those guys to always make the play that they have the opportunity to make. Now, that isn't always going to happen but that's what you want."
What is the best taunt that you have ever heard on the field?"Oh man, not in front of the cameras (laughing). I've heard a lot of them. Some guys get creative out there but it's all in fun. For the most part, guys respect each other because I think everyone realizes how hard it is to really go out and play and compete and to try and do it at a high level. I know our guys do for sure; have respect for the other team. So that's good."
The players talk about feeding off the opposing crowd when they're on the road. Are you like that too?"Yeah, I love that. We like playing at home but at the same time, we love playing in the other stadium because it's like somebody just dropped you in and everybody's against you. It's almost like they feel you can't win in their stadium and you know you're going to get their best shot because they're in their comfort zone. They're in a comfortable setting and are familiar with the environment and when you give it to them in their place, it's always better like that. I love that feeling. There's nothing like it. There's nothing like it."