A great deal of tonight’s credit has to go to McNeese State. They played better than us in a lot of phases. The only phase they didn’t play as well in was with Brandon Tate. Brandon had a phenomenal game. He played extraordinarily well on offense. He played extremely well on special teams. We talked about it going into the season. He is a special guy. The Chicago Bears have Devin Hester and every time he touches the field, he has a chance to change the complexion of a ballgame. We’ve talked to our team, when he walks on that field, we need to do everything we can to give him a chance to be as successful as possible.
Translation: McNeese State came in ready to play and but for the play of Brandon Tate we would have been the embarassment of the ACC and given the way Virginia Tech, NC State, Virginia and Clemson played this week...that is saying something.
We’ve clearly got to play better. We didn’t accomplish very much offensively or defensively. We didn’t establish anything. We have been slightly hardheaded. In retrospect, some of the big plays we got in the passing game were things that were there and they were there because of the nature of which they were playing defense. They were playing a lot of eight-man fronts, trying to give you bad plays in the running game and they succeeded. We kept trying to be hardheaded in establishing the run and trying to get some momentum in the beginning of the season. Certainly it’s a coach’s responsibility, it’s my responsibility as a head coach to make sure we execute and we play better. We were very fortunate.
The way McNeese St played defense both frightened and confused UNC. Davis takes the blame here for basically trying to stay with the running game because it was a goal going in to get that part of the offense going. The problem here is McNeese State was ready to handle the running game and to keep flailing away at something that was not working really served to damper the Heels confidence on offense. Hopefully this will get better. If not TJ Yates is in for a long season.
I told our players a couple of weeks ago it’s the media’s job, it’s the alumni’s job and it’s the fans job to deal with predictions and expectations. It’s the coaches’ job and the players’ job to deal with reality. You have to look yourself in the [mirror] tonight and find out what it¹s going to take to play much better next week.
Translation: You boys were reading your own press clippings in August. You need to focus on playing the game and let the expectations take care of themselves.
The toughest thing was not really knowing the first 30-45 minutes how long the delay was going to be. We took it like it was a halftime. We tried to make some adjustments. Then we found out it was going to be extensive and exhaustive so we told them to just go to their locker, sit down, put their iPods back on and pretend like it’s pregame. It’s no excuse, because both teams had to deal with it. To say that we came out flat after being up 14-0 would be a little bit of a cop out because they had to do the same thing.
I appreciate not wanting to point to this as an excuse for the level of play in the 2nd half. And yes, McNeese had to deal with it too but the fact remains that the other team used the break in the action to regroup whereas UNC used it to go flat. To me that is a coaching issue with a mix of players being out of focus at the same time.
"I hink he came out of the game totally healthy. He made some big throws down the field. The play that he made to Hakeem that set up the touchdown, that was a gigantic throw. It was probably as good a deep throw as he’s had in the two years I’ve been here. I think he was probably a little nervous today. He made have put a little undue pressure on himself.
Translation: Yates was completely healthy....he just was not very good.