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Virginia at North Carolina
Sept. 17, 2011
North Carolina Postgame Quotes

North Carolina Head Coach Everett Withers

“It’s good to be 1-0 in the ACC. That’s the bottom line. I thought we did some really good things today…winning the game. We rushed for 222 yards today. Anytime you can rush for 222 yards is a pretty good day for us. Gio Bernard is the first freshman back since ’07 to rush for 100 yards. So that’s a pretty nice stat. Dwight Jones has caught a pass in every ball game. Another nice stat. I thought we got some guys in the game (like) A.J. Blue. An opportunity to get him in the game is huge and have him run well. We can go back (to practice) and get better. It was good to come out with a good ACC win today at home and hopefully that carries momentum down the road for us. That’s the objective – to keep getting better each week.”

On reducing the turnovers:

“Just like we talked about last week – the mindset. I think our kids went into the game with the mindset that we’ve got to protect the ball. The one we had was a quarterback-center exchange so we’ll go back and work on that next week. We’ve just got to keep protecting the ball. The ball is the issue. If you’ve got the ball nobody can beat you.

“You just have to keep working on it. Guys got their hands on the ball and you hope they keep getting greedy about wanting to get their hands on the ball. “

On Giovani Bernard:

“He’s got a low center of gravity. He’s got good vision. He knows how to set up blocks well. I think he understands our blocking schemes. Some backs don’t understand blocking schemes, but he understands where he needs to be, who’s leading him. He does a good job of deciding when to go outside and cut back. It’s just a natural trait for him.”

On the offensive line play:

“I thought our offensive line did a great job today. The run game is about building it up and getting better with the run game. The early part of the game sometimes doesn’t look so pretty. Then you hit a run, then you get two or three (yards). Then you hit another run. That’s the run game sometimes. People think you always got to be getting 50, you’ve got to be getting 20. It’s not like that. I thought our offensive line stayed on task, the running game stayed on task and we were able to run for 222 today.”

On three running backs:

“They all have a unique ability. I think they are all great teammates with each other and they want success for each other. When you have depth like that in the running back, you want to use it. ”

On trick plays:

“I’ve been a defensive coach for a long time and you’ve got to put that stuff on tape. If you don’t you’re going to have 10 men standing on the line of scrimmage trying to stop your run game. I think you saw A.J.’s success running the ball in the second half because he had thrown that ball in the first half. We just want to make sure if there is something there we study it each week and see if we capitalize on it.”

On stopping teams in the red zone:

“You’re always trying to get teams to kick field goals in the red zone. If you’re giving up touchdowns in the red zone, that’s something that takes a little bit out of your emotion on defense. I think that had a lot to do with the first half.”

On giving up more than 400 yards:

“The yards concern you, but you can go (look) on tape and you can correct some of the things that happened to you. The points are what’s important. If they’re not scoring, they can’t win. I’m about trying to have one more than they’ve got.”

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