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Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 13, 2007



November 13, 2007


HEAD COACH Chan Gailey


How different is North Carolina than they were last year?


“They’re just as strong and physical as they have been. They’ve got a lot of young players, a lot of very talented players. They’re a very young team. They’re throwing it more than they’re running it. In years past, they’ve been more of a running team. That’s how they’re moving the football. They play with a lot of enthusiasm. They’ve finished a couple (games), and haven’t finished a couple. That happens with young players a lot.”


How has Dan Voss played in his extended time in place of Nate McManus? Is he likely to stay at the left guard spot?


“I think he’s become a better player each week. He’s learned how to play the game. It wasn’t like he went through a spring practice and earned the spot. He got thrown into it mid-season, and had to go play a lot. To me, it shows at least that he was prepared mentally to play. He had to learn how to play at the speed of the game on an extended basis. I think he’s done a good job so far. Time will tell on that. We have at least two more ball games, and hopefully, he’ll continue to get better.”


You said a while back that Cord Howard was coming along. Has he made a big leap?


“No. It’s moving slow. It’s not jumping by leaps and bounds. Part of that is injury and sickness and making sure you have confidence in that shoulder. You come off shoulder surgery, that’s not the easiest thing in the world.”


What is your assessment of T.J. Yates?


“He’s pretty mobile. He can move around. He’s not going to run for 50 or 60 yards in a game, but he can get out of the pocket, get on the edge and throw the football with accuracy. He’s an accurate passer, and he’s making pretty good decisions. That’s what I see right now. They’re putting him in a position to do a lot of good things.”


Now that you’re bowl-eligible, have you talked with the team about how the scenario could vary based on how you do in the last two games?


“Oh, sure. The older guys know that. It’s the younger guys you try to educate on the system about where you fall in the conference and where you fall in the overall record.”


What does finishing .500 in the ACC schedule mean to you?


“Anybody that has any pride about where they are and what they’re doing, that becomes important. To say that that is the driving force, I can’t say that. It’s certainly something that’s in your mind, and you’re aware of it. You don’t want to let down the people who have come before you that have done that. I think our seniors, in particular, that’s something that’s important to them.”


What is the plan for Tashard Choice this week?


“Very limited today and tomorrow. We’ll see about Thursday, how much we try to test it.”


With a guy like Choice, is there a limited effect on his performance in most situations?


“Had he been out two weeks, then it’s another scenario. You’d need to see him practice. But he played Saturday. Now you try to get him as well as possible to go play the next game, just make sure he knows the game plan and what he needs to do. Even if he doesn’t get the full-speed stuff, he gets the walk-throughs and the half-speed stuff so that he understands the timing, the reads and what we’re trying to get done.”


Most of the time, players with hamstring injuries pull up, but he seems to bounce up and get back in. Is it difficult to know how to proceed with a guy like Choice?


“Yes, but it’s not nearly as difficult as him being out completely. That would be a lot more difficult to figure out. It’s a nice problem to have, to have a young man who’s going to fight through some pain to get in there and play. That’s a great problem to have.”


How big a target is getting a shutout in a game?


“I don’t think you ever start out the game with that in mind. If you get to the third quarter or the fourth quarter, and you’ve got it, then it’s something guys start to talk about. But I don’t think it’s something you ever go into a game with. You’re just trying to stop each play, stop each drive, then it builds onto stopping them for a quarter. The rest of the team has got to factor in that, too. The offense has got to not give them the ball on their end. Special teams has got to not give them the ball on their end. You’ve got to make them go the long way. It’s a team effort anytime something great like that happens.”


As far as the bowls go, do you think they’re looking this week for an enthusiastic fan reaction?


“I don’t know about that. We’re just going to go out, play as hard as we can and try to win the ball game. All that other stuff normally takes care of itself.”




Jonathan Dwyer, Fr., RB


How does knowing the game plan effect what you are doing when you are running the ball?

“Knowing what the blocking schemes are and where (the linebacker) is going helps you to most likely end up getting the most positive yardage. That is just one thing I had to learn, to be more patient and follow my blockers.”


What is the biggest thing you have to still get better at?

“Everyone has something they have to improve on. I have to be able to learn more of the game. Everything I need to be aware of is getting my vision better and getting a little quicker. So I can improve myself each and every year. “


What kind of mentor is Tashard Choice?

“Comical. It is a fun mentorship. He helps me out, he’s my big brother. He helps me out with anything that I need, not just on the field. He gives me advice. On the field, he tells me what I miss and what’s going to happen here. He is pretty much another (running backs) Coach (Curtis) Modkins.”



Tashard Choice, Sr., RB


How is your hamstring feeling?

“Pretty good. We have been doing some work on it. It’s getting better and it will probably be day-by-day.”


What kind of things are you doing as you work on it?

“Ice, stretching, massage, different things that will help.”


Were you surprised that it (hamstring) was still an issue Saturday?

“A little bit. I guess with having a knee injury I could have not had a chance to run on it at first. Not being able to explode then going back out there and running probably aggravated it a little bit. So this week I have been able to run on it more, trying to get it back, and strengthen it more.”


Have you been trying to rest it a little bit this week?

“Yes, rest it as best I can. It’s hard to rest when you are in season, going through every week. So I have to try to stay off it as much as I can, make sure I can stay in with the treatment during the day before I have practice.”



Djay Jones, Sr., S


What stands out to you about UNC?

“They are a good pass team and attack mixed with a combination of the running game. They have some great receivers who make plays. We just have to go out there and win the match-up, be one-on-one, and when the ball is in the air it has to be ours.”



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