“We had beautiful weather this morning for practice. Really good work; we went about 30 minutes later than we normally do. With a little bit of fall break time, we let them catch up from their sleep. They also had time yesterday. Monday is our day off so we gave them the day off. We worked as a staff and I thought they came out spirited for a good part of it. I thought it was one of our better days."
“We need to put another good day in tomorrow and learn our plan. We have to continue, as we have talked about since camp, continuing to improve fundamentally as a team. When you play a team as talented as North Carolina you have to play extremely well fundamentally, or else they will make you look very bad, quickly. You have to block, you have to tackle, you have to do the little things because they have some great weapons on offense and some outstanding talent on defense. That is always going to take itself into the kicking game, so that will be one of the bigger challenges we have played in a while athletically. It is a big game; it is a big game to our players and more than likely it is to their players, as well. I am looking forward to being back home in Wallace Wade; I think that it is a good feeling to our players."
“I expect that we will have an outstanding crowd, with the circumstances like they are I am really looking forward to our students seeing maybe their first Carolina-Duke game. I want to see them come out in big numbers, and want to see a whole lot of Duke blue in the stands. We are excited about the opportunity.”
Psychological job to get guys back to playing at a confident level
“I addressed that very fact Sunday afternoon in the team meeting. I have done this for a long time; we have a good football team. The second half, the latter part of the second quarter and the second half of that game does not change that. I went position by position, in a pretty detailed review of our squad for them, for what I truly believe. They know I don’t lie to them. If I think we have a difficult match-up somewhere, I am going to tell them you are going to have to play a little better than you typically play. Position-by-position we have a good football team. Now, what you are going to compete for, you have to make that decision as an individual. That is the way the world works, and if you decide you are going to compete to be a winning football team you are going to pay the prices for that. That means you don’t change when you get your tail whipped; you don’t change when you whip somebodies tail. That is what it takes and you don’t lose your confidence in those circumstances. They know. We have enough leaders; enough guys who have played plenty of snaps. Nobody is going to tell Walt Canty he isn’t a good football player; he is. I could go right on through.”
“I think we have closed the gap, no question. I have said that about the league, which makes you feel better. We are not at a point that if we don’t perform at the level we are supposed to perform at, we are going to struggle with certain match-ups. We have a blend of experience of youth and some talented older guys. We have enough speed and we have strength, but we don’t have enough speed and strength to play on speed and strength alone.”