CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Following North Carolina's impressive 28-7 victory over Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon in Kenan Stadium, UNC head coach Butch Davis and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson spoke to the media.
Davis spoke highly of his team's effort defensively and special teams-wise as the Tar Heels improved to 7-2, while Johnson lamented his team's inability to cash in on opportunities.
North Carolina Head Coach Butch Davis:
"Obviously we were thrilled to win the game. This is the first time our football team has played an offense like Georgia Tech, and trust me, before the game, you have no idea (what could happen). There is a lot of anxiety among the coaching staff and the players. Did we prepare enough? Were we able to execute well enough to give our kids a reasonable fighting chance to get into the flow of the game? As I said throughout last week and this week, the buzz words were 'Assignment Football,' and with the exception of one big, long run near the end of the ball game, I was very, very pleased with our defense."
"There are some unsung heroes. The defensive line probably won't get credited with very many tackles but their ability to gobble up blocks and hold the line of scrimmage and to be consistent and not jump off the fullback and make some plays was a big key to it. The discipline of our linebackers and secondary guys was really good. "
Thoughts about stopping Georgia Tech on fourth down twice early in the game:
"We talked last night in our team meeting that we knew that they were going to go for it quite a bit between the 40 (yard lines). It becomes a four down game. Two fourth-down stops were huge. It's almost like a turnover. That's just like getting a fumble or an interception because it's going to come at a good field position for us. We talked offensively all week long that we need to be able to run the football. We needed to have some time of possession. You need to be able to give your defense some time to rest."
Thoughts about the success of the UNC kicking game:
"One of the biggest factors I have to believe was the kicking game. We really played well special teams wise. Terrence Brown was terrific, as was Brooks Foster, Cooter Arnold and Johnny White as the gunners. We were able to continually try to keep them on a long field. They are not a football team that you want to play and give them great field position. You do not want to give them 50 yards away from the goal line because they are going to make a lot of first downs."
"I thought Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston were equally effective and a big part of the game, being able to run the football, move the chains, make some first downs, punish the defense a little bit and punch it in."
Thoughts about the keys to UNC's rushing success against Georgia Tech:
"Certainly the running backs are part of it, but the offensive line, Richard Quinn, Bobby Rome the fullback---you've got to give them certainly some credit. I think (Georgia Tech) having some respect for the passing game was part of it. That's where as we grow this football team. If you can be really balanced that some weeks you have to throw the ball against Boston College for 300 yards, some weeks you may have to pound the rock a little bit, but you want to be able to have both of those at your beck and call.
Thoughts about scoring on the first offensive possession of the game:
I thought that Cam (Sexton) made a great throw on the fade route and Brooks made just a phenomenal catch. Cam threaded the needle just before the safety could get there, that was a critical play to be able to dig yourself out of a big hole. Scoring early and getting a big lead it's never going to take Georgia Tech out of that offense. It really gives you a chance to play with house money.
Thoughts about Hakeem Nicks, who set the school record for receiving yards in a career:
He is one of the best, big stage players I've ever been around. He loves to compete. He loves to play. What the fans and the media see on Saturday is just a minor glimpse into what we see during the week. Every single day during practice, he runs his routes like that, he makes circus catches. He's a great leader.
Thoughts about the dark blue jerseys:
"At this school, we will always be Carolina Blue. There will never be a question about the color of the uniforms. Maybe once a year we'll have a little bit of diversity. The recruits love it, the players love it, it probably makes Nike happy."
Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson:
Thoughts about the fumbled punt in the fourth quarter:
"From the field position standpoint, you know, fumbling the punt I thought that was real momentum. I thought we had some momentum going - drive the ball down and get some penalties. And then we got the chance to pin them you know down inside the 20, we don't get that down. And we come back and hold them and they get a really good punt and we drop it and go. You know once it goes there, it made it a tough game."
Thoughts on his team's inability for most of the game to produce points:
"We hit the big play finally (late in the game)---you know, we just couldn't seem to hit big plays. We had lots of chances in the second half. We had the ball on the perimeter a bunch of times with two-on-two out there and then the ball carrier. And they took advantage of some short fields. So move on. You know honestly we moved the ball, we just couldn't get any points. I mean, I looked and in the first half we had double the first downs, we had double almost time possession. We couldn't get any points."
Thoughts about switching up quarterbacks in the second half:
"I was trying to change up (quarterback changes) to see if we could get a little jump-start going. We didn't do a very good job. We were trying to run some low scheme and block some linebackers and they ran right through it. We were playing without both tackles and we lost both guards in the first half. It changed the whole game, we got the ball and then go out there and lay it on the ground the very next series---you know, lights out."