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North Carolina versus Citadel postgame quotes

Posted Sunday, September 6, 2009

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Chapel Hill, NC - Postgame quotes about the North Carolina versus Citadel football game.

Carolina Head Coach Butch Davis:
"It's good to win the first ballgame. As I talked to the team before we ever played tonight, I said `I want you to go out, have fun, play hard and know that the game is not going to be perfect. There's some things that we're not going to do as well as when the season unfolds.'

"We felt like our defense was going to play extremely well. I think our speed, our ability to put pressure on the quarterback, the ability to minimize run after the catch and minimize big plays...they just did a great job of creating turnovers and handling some sudden change situations.

"Offensively, we felt good about the ability to run the football. We ended up rushing for over 250 yards and I thought that that was one of the keys. I wanted to try to get our offensive line a collective opportunity to play together. We didn't play as well in the passing game as, certainly, we're going to need to. It didn't come as a total surprise, playing as many young wide receivers. I think we'll continue to improve over the course of the next couple of weeks.

"Grant Schallock, this was his first opportunity to punt tonight, and we felt like he handled the moment well. He was able to handle the tempo, the pressure...they blocked four punts a year ago and we knew they had the ability to put some pressure on the punter. I think our protection people did a nice job.

"Our kickoff cover unit was outstanding tonight. It really set a great tempo.

"I think everybody was interested in how Da'Norris Searcy would do as a punt returner, and I think he showed tonight that not only does he have running skills, but he has good hands, the ability to make some people miss and he can give us that big play that we certainly missed the second half of last season.

"It was a good night from the standpoint that we were able to play 70 players in the ballgame. Our second offensive line needed that opportunity.

"It was a good start, but by no stretch of the imagination is the best we'll play before the season is over, but it was a good way to start the season."

On any disappointment over missing out on a shutout:
"If it meant shutting them out or allowing a lot of those kids to play, then absolutely not. I think it's so valuable when you get opportunities because we haven't had many of those in the preceding two seasons. We're going to need that valuable opportunity to grow some experience and some depth. To miss out on a would have been nice, but not at the expense of playing all those kids."

On the passing game:
"In talking to some of the kids after the game, they were nervous. There's no getting around it. Josh Adams said, `Coach, I gotta be honest with you, I was nervous. I've never played in front of that many people and that much noise.' He dropped one early in the game and then he made a phenomenal catch on the sidelines. As those guys gain some poise and get in the game, that stuff will certainly go away. Those kids have got great hands. We've just got to emphasize the passing game and it will continue to grow to balance out the running attack."

On the defensive line:
"We've got five defensive ends that played tonight that had the ability to really put some pressure on the quarterback. He was under duress, when he got the ball off he got hit an awful lot of times. I think the ability to play that many guys kept everyone fresh. Certainly Robert (Quinn) was applying some heat from the backside. He did a good job coming off the edge, as did Michael McAdoo and E.J. Wilson. When we really needed to dial it up, those guys came through for us."

Greg Little
On His Touchdown
"It was kind of scramble. We tend to go over that a lot in practice, just practicing the entire play. I tried to just find a window where I could get open. Then I just got the ball and tried to make a play, and I just scored. It was just electrifying. I mean just trying to play hard and ending it off with a touchdown."

On the team's jitters
"We have some young guys on our team, but we're still going to hold ourselves to a higher standard. You can believe me, I'm going to push myself and my fellow receivers until we're at a point where we're not dropping anything. We're going to go even harder and spend time after practice and before practice where we catch it and get some balls in with the quarterbacks. I'm going to push these guys and myself to be the best I know that we can be."

Deunta Williams
On almost keeping the Citadel scoreless "The only thing I wish we could have changed was that doughnut. We had the doughnut going, and I thought we were going to keep it. I was a little mad when they made that field goal."

On his two interceptions
"I should have had four to be honest. I should have dove on the first one and I don't know what happened on that last one."

On his promise to make plays
"I feel like last year I wasn't in the position to make a lot of plays. I just worked on trying to put myself into position. I actually had a dream about having three picks today. I was telling some of the guys about it and it almost came true, but not so."

Da'Norris Searcy
On his tightrope punt return
"Coach [Charlie] Williams said `Fair catch it if you're going to have anything,' but I was going to try to return it anyway. I saw it was going to be short and I guess the Citadel thought I was going to fair catch it. But I just ran up and caught it. The punt pressure team made good choices and cleared the pathway, and I just ran through it. Once I got past the punter I just ran straight down the field. I didn't slow down because I didn't know if anybody was chasing me from behind so I just ran as fast as I could."

The Citadel Head Coach Kevin Higgins
Opening Comments:
I thought that in that first half that our defense really stepped up and did a nice job stuffing third down conversions. They did a great job in the first half. I thought that they were on the field too long and they got worn down, and that was obvious to see as North Carolina pounded the ball and we were a little bit sloppy tackling. I thought that those guys came and really did a nice job shutting down some things that North Carolina was trying to do. Certainly the interceptions and turnovers hurt us on offense in the first half. We did have two picks; that was encouraging to see. Our special teams caused two turnovers, we had the two field goals (kicker) Sam (Keeler), which was a positive. I think what we¹ve got to do now is draw upon the things we did well, make sure we recognize what those things are, and figure out the things that we didn¹t do real well, work hard on those here in the next two weeks before Princeton, and continue to get better as a football team. I told our guys in the locker room that was a very good football team we played against. It was a top-10 type of defense, and we¹ll have a chance to get much better here if we continue to work in the next two weeks.

On the Bulldogs' struggles in the running game
Well, North Carolina¹s front four and linebackers is as good as anybody in the country. That group is as good as Florida, the national champs last year. I don¹t think there is any question about that. We struggled obviously running the football. We thought that would be a real challenge for us, and we didn¹t quite have the protection we would have liked to have had, and we made some turnovers that you can¹t afford to do in a game like this.

On the rotation of quarterbacks for The Citadel
Our plan going into the game was to try to get Miguel (Starks) in some different positions. They did some things from a defensive standpoint, some adjustments they made which really I thought was good on their behalf. I thought Miguel did a real nice job running the football. He had a couple of nice runs downhill, got us a first down a couple of times, and I think that we¹ll be able now to continue to use him in various packages as we prepare for Princeton and the rest of the season. And obviously we need to find offensive weapons to help us as we try to get the running game going.

On the play of quarterback Bart Blanchard
I would say a quarterback in particular needs all the work he can get. Bart, no excuses, his ankle is not 100 percent, but I¹m sure there are a bunch of throws he would like to have back. Playing against a real good defense, he¹s going to learn from that and hopefully not make the same mistake twice.

On the play of Bulldogs' freshmen
Well, I think a couple of freshmen stepped up. (Remi) Biakabutuka held us own, had a couple of nice runs. Boateng, another freshman, had two interceptions for us. I thought that some of the guys on the defensive line, not freshmen, but stepped up and did some real good things as well.

On the Tar Heels' containment of receiver Andre Roberts
Well, a lot of it had to do with we were trying to get our wide receiver screens going; they were just so fast inside, their pursuit did a great job of getting them to the football, and we probably didn¹t block as well as we would have liked to on the perimeter to get him more yardage down the field.

On the play of punter Cass Couey and the Bulldogs' punt team
This team has blocked, one kid (Tar Heel linebacker Bruce) Carter blocked five punts last year, so we they would be coming. We worked on the speed punt all camp in anticipation of that occurring. I thought for the most part our punt team did a very nice job from a protection standpoint, and Cass did a nice job of getting the ball out, and I thought for the most part Bobby (Jarvis) did a nice job on the snaps. Those are all things that we have to keep building on. There were a lot of things that went well from a special teams standpoint.

On Tar Heel defensive end Robert Quinn
Outstanding. Every time I looked up he was in the backfield. He¹s an outstanding player; he¹s got an extremely high motor. He runs to the football extremely well, and he is difficult to block off the edge.

North Carolina versus Citadel postgame quotes
UNC head football coach Butch Davis.
photos by Gene Galin

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