Following North Carolina's 28-17 victory over Virginia Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill, head coaches Everett Withers and Mike London spoke about the game, UNC's first win in an Atlantic Coast Conference season opener since 2000.
UNC 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. Giovani Bernard is the first freshman back since 2007 to rush for 100 yards (in a game). So that's a pretty nice stat."
"Dwight Jones has caught a touchdown pass in every ballgame. 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 turnovers......
"Just like we talked about last week, (it's all about) 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 (and) 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 play of the offensive line.......
"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 home run, then you get two or three (yards). Then you hit another home run. That's the run game sometimes."
"People think you always got to be getting 50 (yards on plays), you've got to be getting 20 (yards). 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 (yards) today."
On having three serviceable 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."
"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 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 on defense.......
"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 (allowed) are what's important. If they're not scoring, they can't win. I'm about trying to have one more (point) than they've got."
VIRGINIA HEAD COACH MIKE LONDON
On his team's missed opportunities in the game.......
"We got down there for the first field goal, it was wide right. It was well within Robert's range. Then later on we flipped the field, at about the same yard line and had an opportunity for a fourth down play that we thought we could make. Rober could have kicked it again, but we thought we had a fourth down play based on what they showed us, and we thought we could execute and make it."
"We decided to try to go for it and try to get some points. We also had a fumble down there, so you can't do things like that when you're playing a good football team. And they're a good football team. It went back and forth. If you look at the statistics, there wasn't one side dominating the other side."
"But they won where it matters and that's on the scoreboard. They score more points and had more opportunities to put it in the red zone than we did. My hat goes off to them. They played hard and they played good."
"There were a couple of plays out there that showed the presence of what a quarterback has to do. I thought he made a couple of good throws. We talked about earlier on a scramble situation if everyone is cover it's okay to hold on to the ball and try to get positive yardage."
On overall team evaluation........
"Everybody is going to have to take a step up. Everyone that is playing, from the freshmen up to the fourth or fifth-year guys, we have to play better and we have to put points up on the scoreboard, and we have to stop teams from scoring."