Here's more on the "Urgency" bruhaha from Tuesday. These are some quotes from players and coaches that didn't make it into my stories yesterday, but are very telling that they all feel something more must be done to get the UNC game effort replicated often as this season continues...
Mario Butler, Sr., CB
(On maintaining intensity at all times) Even in practice. That’s one thing we’ve been trying to focus on is picking up the intensity. Monday through Thursday, that’s when it all counts. When you turn it on Saturday, you can’t just flip on the switch. It’s got to be something we do through practice.
(On if the lack of intensity is a reflection of overconfidence coming off last season's ACC title?) I don’t think so. This is a new team, we can’t compare anything to last year. We have to just keep on pushing on. Mistakes are going to happen. But what we need to do is play with great effort and hopefully replace everything else.
Anthony Allen, Sr., B-back
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(On what more he can do to evoke that urgency from teammates) Well I just have to make sure that not everybody is out there talking the talk and instead is walking the walk. It’s easy to everybody trying to be a leader and going out there talking about it and not being about it on the field. It’s one thing doing it in practice and it’s another thing about doing it in the game. We have to make sure that we carry it into the game.
(On not being a permanent captain, but still being a leader) I look at it as the same thing. Since I got here, whenever I see something on the field, I call it out. I tell guys and try to get them motivated and try to get them going.
(On why the lack of focus) Guys just ain’t playing 100 percent. They’re playing until they feel like their job is done, when instead, you can go beyond that: making sure guys get guys cut off, getting guys blocked and getting guys on the ground.
(On if he feels the lack of urgency is tied to complacence over ACC title win?) I think that might be it, but I really can’t tell you what everybody else is doing. I can tell you what I’m doing. I’m trying to go out every play and play it like it’s my last play. But we’ve got some guys that are just going out there and just running through the drills. We just have to get on the same page.
(On frustrations of seeing the full team not put forth full effort at all times) It’s very frustrating. I’m not saying I’m perfect myself. There are plays I’m taking off myself. But we’ve just got to make it a whole team effort. A whole team thing that we’re going out there 100 percent every time.
Paul Johnson, head coach
(On what he's seeing) We’ve got guys who have been playing for two or three years who are doing things that there’s no explination for. So it’s concentration. Paying attention to detail. All those things. We’ve got to do a better job of getting through the basic fundamentals. But some of the stuff that we busted in the game’s really unexplainable. They can’t explain it when you show it to them on the tape, either. We didn’t need to help them as much as we did. Now we move on.
T hese are guys that have played for two or three years. It’s not new stuff. It’s just mental lapses and focus and concentration.
Some of the mistakes are young guys we’ve got young guys playing, but some of it’s not.
(On whether the change in defensive scheme has something to do with the lack of urgency on the defensive side of the ball) I said it when it happened, I didn’t want to lay all that on (former defensive coordinator) Dave Wommack. That wasn’t all Dave’s fault. Guys have to make plays, too. There’s a point when you can’t change coaches every time you don’t tackle somebody or you loose a man in man-coverage. There’s enough blame to go around for everybody. We’ve got to coach better, and that starts with me. We’ve got to play better and play with a little more urgency.
(On why this problem never manifested itself before) The thing that we have done the prior two years here is not beat ourselves and that is what we have to get back to. You can’t have all of those missed assignments and mental errors, we aren’t talented enough to do
that and there are very few teams are that talented enough to do that. We can’t punch the clock, we have to play with some urgency and play like we are upset with somebody. That’s the only way that I know how to play.
(On if more leadership is needed) You have to have some leadership, have some guys step forward and have some guys challenge other guys. We have to do that as coaches, as well. I don’t know I can get after them any more than I’ve gotten after them the last four weeks. You can’t make someone want to play. Like I say, physically, we were out there. Just mentally. Mentally, we weren’t into it.
(On how many leaders a team can have) I don’t think one or two players can do it. It has to be a nucleus. You have to be hungry. There are no easy games. All we can do is keep talking about it. Like I said, I’ve got to do a better job. If they haven’t figured out that we can lose now, then we’re not very smart
(On state of the team) I don’t know what state this team is in. We’ve still got eight games to go. This team could be pretty good if they were to play with a sense of urgency. But they’ve got to decide. Can’t nobody. You’ve got to be hungry. Either you want to be good or be mediocre. You can’t turn it on and off. Theyre’ not talented enough to turn it on and off. They’ve been told it from Day 1.
(More on leadership) And that’s where I talk about leaders. They can talk all they want. ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.’ Just do it. you don’t have to tell somebody. Just go do it.
(On how he convinces the team it isn't time to panic and there are 8 games to play) It is time to panic. It’s time to play with urgency. Well, I don’t know if you call that panic, but I’m talking about play with some of urgency. We need to go to Winston-Salem and play like our hair is on fire. That’s the way that we need to play. And that’s the way we’ve got to play every game.