"I thought it was a dominating performance. The defense held them to 67 total yards, the offense had 400 yards of offense, had 43 minutes of time of possession on offense, 43 minutes. Five for five in the red zone, all touchdowns."
"Obviously disappointed in the 60-yard field position swing on the punt return. For the second week in a row, the guys worked too hard, our players worked too hard on special teams. Can't make bad decisions that are going to result in 60-yard field position swings."
"Guys giving great effort, guys out there going hard. We had that one series where we had a fumble and a sack, we got the ball in the short field, held them to a field goal, but totally dominating performance today. We had 16 minutes of time of possession for the game, 67 yards."
"We need to play cleaner, smarter. We've got a few mistakes that we've got to clean up that really seemed to cost us chunks of yards, which we've got to work on, but it's great to get a win, to go out and do what you need to do and get ready to get back into conference play."
“Offensively you wound up with some nice numbers, but the first three drives, really slow start. Just what clicked as the first quarter wound down, and what caused the slow start?
"We've been slow starting a lot. And when you play in tough environments, slow starts are really going to cost you. They're breakdowns up front, and it just seemed like with our young guys, it takes a while to kind of get in a groove a little bit, and it's kind of a simplistic thing to say, but it seems like that's really what happens. It's almost like they have to play to get a feel for what's happening in front of them."
"You know, but we've got to change that. We've got to fix that. Just a couple guys, it's like -- it's just a guy here and there getting cut free to be honest with you, and it creates negative yardage plays. You know, we have all the talent, we're young, and we just make those mistakes and we've got to keep grinding through it and get better, and hopefully little by little we're going to squeeze that out."
On throwing the ball despite the tough weather conditions
"We wanted to throw the ball, yeah. I said that earlier in the week that we wanted to throw the ball, even with the conditions. We probably would have liked to have thrown it more to be honest with you. We wanted to throw the ball today, and we just feel like that was another step. We wanted more balance this week. Last week we really wanted to work on the run game. The run game today still felt a little herky-jerky to be honest with you. It's these guys that were cutting free here and there that don't -- I mean, it's just ridiculous, and they're disrupting our flow running the football."
"But this is all part of it, and we've got to just keep growing. Those five guys up front, it takes a while to build them now. It just takes a while. It'll get better as we go."
Assessment of Patrick Towles’ play
Well, he had a couple turnovers that weren't his fault. Those were guys hitting him from the backside on sacks that were just ridiculous. I thought he played well. He makes a couple of great plays with his feet in every game. He throws the ball well, floated a couple early balls, but we didn't help him, right. That's the other piece of it early on offense; we dropped some balls. I don't know how many. I want to say we had somewhere between three and five real drops out there that didn't need to be dropped. They were good balls."
"So you know, I think he's playing well. I think he competes well. He has a real good understanding -- every week he feels more and more comfortable with exactly what we're doing, has more and more command of what we're doing. We've got to -- we have these young spots that seem to pop up now and then again and again. For example, our wide receivers, we feel like we're pretty talented out there, but we're really youthful and we make some silly mistakes, and they pop up, they show up, just like up front when we're going as fast as we can to squeeze those out of there which would give us a much more consistent performance."
"We're really not far off. Aside from one game, we really could have a lot of yards right now. You know, this is all -- this is a reflection of where we are with the youth of our team on offense. In that offensive rotation, we have 10 or 11 freshmen and sophomores in there playing. We've got to get this line firing more consistently. At times you see it and at times you don't."
Thoughts on where the team is at after week 5.
"Well, I'm seeing improvements each week in special teams. I really like our special teams play. Obviously given the obvious in the block in the back, right? But I like that. I like where we're headed in our throw game. I think defensively we're playing really, really strong right now."
"We have got to squeeze out the very obvious mental errors that are disrupting us right now because we won't get away with it against a team like Clemson, which is an understatement. And we've got to play -- we've got to really let it go here this week, and that's what we've been working towards, having the opportunity to really have some -- be able to do kind of what we do as a base but be able to have some game plan things that we feel can create explosions, and that's the challenge that we're at right now."
"You know, we went back to basics the last couple weeks and tried to keep things pretty simple and see if we could do that better, which we have. We took -- we stepped out against Virginia Tech and that was a total disaster, so we've got to make sure now are we ready to take another step here, because we have to, to be able to put more things in, if you will, so that we can become more explosive. You've got to create explosions. That's the name of the game in football right now, explosions. You've got to be able to get explosions, and on defense you've got to prevent those from happening."
"I think on defense we're doing a lot of things right now. We have the ability to play some base defense, which allows you not to constantly be in man coverage stress."
On Garrison’s injury
I don't have any idea yet. I literally came from the locker room to here, so I don't know any of the details there. So I don't want to speculate on that right now." "But Christian has really become an integral part of what we do, so all we can do is say a prayer and hope for the best here, right? I don't know that information right now. But he's an integral part of our attack. We got a little sideways and he got hurt and we had to readjust a lot of things we wanted to do because he's in those packages."
Would you consider the special teams penalties, I think all three of them that were called back, would you consider using more experience on special teams if you had to?
"It's a catch-22. I mean, I really feel like we've got to develop these young guys, and you've got to invest in them, and we're hoping that's what we've been doing last week and this week is investing and that we learn, because we have a lot of veteran guys out there, but they get passed. There's a lot of running there, so you're trying to strike that balance, and we really like some of these freshmen a lot, and I think they're going to be really good football players. So I think we've got to live with some of this until we can kind of grow through it a little bit, and I think it'll pay dividends for us. You know, that's kind of where we are right now."
Q. At 3-2 and with five ACC games in a row coming up, how do you like where you are in the season overall big picture?
"Well, you know, we'd certainly like to be 4-1 right now, okay. But we are where we are, and we're improving. We're starting to watch the blossoming of these guys that we're talking about week in and week out right now. Obviously we'd like it to be more consistent, but in the same breath you see the formation of what's going to be a really good group of young guys, and that usually equates over time to real productivity."
"So you know, we get ready to go in ACC play right now, and we're going to go from -- we've been a little bit in the land of extremes, so what I want to see us do is come out on Friday night and play with a lot of intensity, a lot of confidence, and we've done that here in the past, and we're going to do it again. I want to see us take the next step as a team with great effort, and I want to see some execution against a really obviously top-10 opponent." "I would tell you that it's my opinion that we're in the toughest conference in the country right now, and I think I'm pretty qualified because I've been in all of them, and I've been in some of them when they've been the best they've ever been, okay."
"Our conference right now is tough, really, really tough, and we're in that division that's obviously the side of our conference that's the toughest that there is. We're playing three teams that are top-10, top-15 teams, and I think four really when you count Virginia Tech in there, because I think they are, you know, so our permanent crossover and three on our side. We're in a tough side of that division, and it's going to make us -- we're going to get better from it, and we're going to grow, and we're looking forward to it. Our kids are jacked up down there right now, jacked up to get back to work and go, simple as that."
Q. While taking on the best quarterback in the conference, maybe in all of college football, for a game like this, is there pressure for you to be more aggressive on offense, to do more trick plays, to be more outside of your comfort zone, because you're a guy who likes to pound the ball, use defense and make it a slow game?
"Well, as I said earlier, that's what I said, yes. I think we do need to create more explosives. I'm a guy that likes to see productivity, okay, and I've said that since I've been here. We came in here in year one; we had the runner-up Heisman Trophy running back with a big offensive line. We had one receiver. We pounded the ball, and we were very productive doing that. Year two, we had a quarterback here that was a spread option, and we mixed it with some power run game, okay. That's what we did because that's what the talent dictated."
"Year three, I mean, I don't know what to tell you, it never materialized. We went through all those quarterbacks, we lost our starter, that's yet to know." "Now we come in here, and what we're trying to do, you can see what we're trying to do; we're trying to become a much more balanced team that has a really good play action game and is a much more balanced throw. And yes, we would like to build more explosives through different styles of plays, but when we try -- even though I know it didn't look like it, it didn't look like it to me, either, okay, but we went down to Virginia Tech and that a little backfired on us. We were too young, we couldn't handle it and we became not good at anything to be honest with you, okay."
"And that happens sometimes when you're young and you go on the road in an environment like that. I just saw it happen to Stanford against Washington last night. You know, when you're in a pro-style offense, you'd like to have a leathered-up, mature offensive line. We're not quite there yet."
"Long answer is to tell you yes, we will and we do need to create more explosives. And to think that we're going to sit here and ground and pound Clemson, that would be great that happens, and you know what, if that happens, we'll ground and pound and ground and pound and ground and pound, but we're not going to go in thinking that we're going to be able to just do that. That would not be a great plan."
"Our object is to create balance, and that's what I think we've done differently. Year one was different from year two, year two to three, year three, who can measure, and now what we're trying to do is build balance, and I think you see that."
"So I think you can follow the plan here a little bit. It's not that hard. Our consistency is not where it needs to be right now. That's just the fact. What does that mean? Whether it's penalties, whether it's some missed blocks, whether it's this or that, if we had that right now, quite frankly we'd be pretty explosive right now, okay. We really would be, and you'd be in here five games in at 4-1, okay. Playing, by the way, some good opponents along the way, okay."
"We're getting there. We're getting there. We're going to face a buzz saw this week, so we're going to have to play at our top level, period end."