Oct. 30, 2007
"Practice yesterday went well, I think our kids were down initially, but I was pleased with their effort. I tried to get their mind set. That it's now a four-game season and we need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We need to do what we can to win the football game. This is a really important one. North Carolina is a team that is very talented and very young. I see them getting better each and every week. They play very well at home and I think the fact that we are getting them at their place and very late in the season is going to be a real test for us."
On what needs to happen over the next few weeks to get the season back on track:
"Well, if we win two of these four we are bowl eligible and I think we will have to see how that plays out with the rest of the league. We have to improve our tackling and we need to make more plays on both sides of the ball. We are letting a lot of plays get away from us, whether it's catching a pass, making a block, making the interception, or getting on a fumble. I think in order for us to be successful, we need to make those plays and not let them slip away from us."
On the injury to junior tight end Dan Gronkowski:
"Well Joey Haynos is going to be very important for us right now. He's going to have to pick up Dan's blocking duties for us too and hopefully we will get Dan back in a couple of weeks. I also think that Jason (Goode), Drew Gloster and Tommy Galt have got to step up to fill Dan's role."
On the seniors and their mind set after last weekend's loss to Clemson:
On what the team has to do to have a "successful season":
"Originally last night I thought they were a little down, but as practice went on I could see that they weren't going to have a let down and they finished with one of our better practices of the year. I think they are still hurting a little bit from the last two losses but I still think they are focused and determined to have a good season."
"I think having a winning record is very important to us having a good season, but making a bowl game is very important at this point. When you look at the long haul which sometimes is tough to do, there are some positives in this hard situation. All the injuries have hurt our season, but at the same time we got a lot of experience for some of our younger guys."
On North Carolina QB T.J. Yates:
"He is very productive. He's thrown a lot of interceptions but he's also throws a lot of touchdowns. His efficiency rating is so high, so it shows you that he is very good at getting the ball up the field. He has very good receivers and good blocking tight ends. They have a lot of talent on the team and they aren't young anymore because they have played their ninth game so they are much more mature then at the beginning of the season."
On the growth of North Carolina's team since the beginning of the year:
"It seems that they aren't making as many mental mistakes as the beginning of the year. They aren't missing as many blocking assignments. You can see that their freshmen are learning from their mistakes and they are getting much better."
On winning this week's game:
"We have to put everything behind us and keep doing what we do. If we keep on working hard then everything will come along for us and that's what we have to keep doing. We can't feel sorry for ourselves and we have to keep on working hard during the week and I hope it will all fall in place for us."
On the next 4 games:
"These four games are very important. We put ourselves in this position so we have to win three out of four and that's our goal. We have higher goals than that, but we have to just focus on one week at a time and we have to get a win this week."
On the challenges facing the defensive line:
"Last year, a lot of teams got a lot of yards against us but we still got the win. This year teams have gotten yards against us and we are losing. I feel its time for us to come out and make a statement and shut other offensive lines down and to build up our self-esteem. If we fix our problems like missed tackles, we'll be okay."
On getting over the Saturday's loss:
"After Coach Friedgen talked to us after the game on Saturday we got over it. It is what it is, we have taken a few heart-breaking losses this year but we are going to have to move on anyway and try to become bowl eligible."
On the "four-game season" and the pressure to win:
"If we can win the rest of our games, we could still be 9-4 like we were last year. It's a lot of pressure but last year we were on a good six game run and there wasn't any pressure last year."
On what determines success for the season:
"I think making the bowl and winning the bowl game will definitely determine a successful season for us."
On the upcoming game:
"We definitely need this win as far as becoming bowl eligible. Right now we are not in a good spot in the division so all these division games coming up we definitely need to win."
On injuries affecting morale of the team:
"I think the morale is more damaged by losing than when we lose people to injuries. We have lost a couple of people but it is time for other people to start stepping up so that we can win. Once we begin winning, good things will happen."
On seniors stepping up:
"I see a lot of people who usually don't speak say `this is my last year' and talking to the freshmen to get them more involved. People are beginning to get more uptight which they should be because we are not in a good position right now."
On bringing up his morale:
"It usually takes a couple of days to get over a loss especially one like that (game vs. Clemson). Sometimes it helps to watch the game film and sometimes its never as bad or good as it seems but in this case it wasn't as bad as it seemed and there were a lot of bright spots. But I'm refocused and the team is refocused and we are ready to go for North Carolina."
On the biggest positive from last week's game:
"There are a lot of things that to be learned from this past game and hopefully we can make those adjustments and bring them into North Carolina."
On having another week of uncertainty regarding him being the starting QB:
"I am fully expecting to start and I don't know what is going to happen. If I don't, I don't and Coach Friedgen will make that decision. I am coming prepared this week as a starter and I will hopefully help my team to a victory on Saturday."
On viewing the next four games as a playoff:
"We have to take it one game at a time. We want to go to a bowl, a really good bowl. The season is not lost. We have four games left and if we take it one game at a time and treat it like a playoff situation, that approach should be good for us."