Transcript of Hurricanes coach Al Golden's teleconference with reporters Sunday recapping the Ohio State win.
Do anything to celebrate your first win at UM?
"Besides sit in a traffic jam? [Laughter]. No. My kids were at the game. My six and four year old were at the game. I got to see them right after the game, so that was nice. Other than that, we just kind of were a little bit wired when we got home. Then I just went to bed, got up and started all over today."
Your thoughts on the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC?
"I think it's tremendous for the ACC to bring those types of media markets to the ACC. Incredible move. I think Commissioner Swofford and the presidents of the ACC. [New York] No. 1 media market in the country. Pittsburgh. To bring those TV sets, kind of exposure to our conference is a win win and a tremendous move."
How you plan to counter teams keying on Lamar Miller after his great start to the season?
"I don't think anybody game plans to stop the run better than Ohio State has the last seven years. I think clearly we still have some things we have to iron out in the passing game. But with Hurns, Benjamin, [Streeter], those guys providing a passing threat and a deep vertical threat, we'll be able to remain balanced. We'd like to be a balanced team. We got in a situation where we got ahead last night and ran the ball the last nine minutes of the game. I think our staff would like to stay as balanced as we can."
What do you have to iron out in the passing game?
"We protected the passer a lot better in this game which was a concern. We made some really good throws on third down. Our third down conversions were good. We've been excellent in the red zone. Both quarterbacks have been really be good in the red zone. We have to eliminate the interceptions and we just have to make sure we can be as precise as we can be in our offense. I think we will be. We want to be a balanced attack. We got ahead and ran the ball a little more than we w wanted to do and we wanted to keep doing it."
Your team had a big day on pass defense, allowing just four completions for 35 yards. What are your thoughts on their effort?
"I thought we put good pressure on the quarterback, which was good. I think having JoJo Nicolas at safety for a second game -- he had two weeks to prepare -- that helped tremendously. Sean Spence was in there getting us in the right formations, the right adjustments, right defense, helped tremendously as well. I think it was a combination of a lot of different things. We were getting more pressure than we had been from our four man rush. Sean made a big difference for us."
Red zone defense has been exceptional thus far (1 TD in 9 drives). Reason?
"I think it's a mentality. We're trying to finish halves and we're trying to finish games. I think we're in good condition. I don't think there are any lapses in focus or any diminish in our effort down there. I think the defense has been letting all the previous plays go that have allowed a team to arrive in the red zone. Their mentality right now is just to play the next play or the next series. We haven't conceded anything on defense. When a team gets down in the red zone and gets moment, it becomes psychological and it overwhelms the physical aspects of it. Our guys are mentally tough and in good condition and finishing those drives better. I think on offense we're making better decisions down there for the most part. We just have to continue to protect the ball better. It was big."
Did you ever imagine finishing Saturday's game with a nine minute drive right down the field on Ohio State?
"We wanted to finish the game on offense. We wanted to be able to pound it at the end. Again, it was a great test for us. It's just a team that has not let up a lot of yards rushing. It doesn't matter if its Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa, they've only given up 10, 100-yard rushers in the last seven years. That's unheard of in college football. I was proud of our effort, clearly having two running backs who had carry the load helped there. I thought the offensive line played well. I thought there were some really good second level blocks and a lot of good second effort play by our running backs -- especially Lamar."
What did you think of Jonathan Feliciano's first career start?
"I think he did good. He's a guy that really prepares hard, very bright young man. Powerful. He's 320 pounds. So he gave us size and strength in there. At the same time, he wasn't overwhelmed by the moment against a really good team. That was positive."
What did you see on film from Jacory Harris' two interceptions last night?
The first one he came because he came off his initial read too quickly and he went to his secondary read and didn't put enough loft under the ball. The second one, we said last night after the game he had to go to his checkdown. But his checkdown wen the wrong way. Again, we can't heed the quarterback so it's no excuse. We can't compound a bad situation in that the checkdown is not where he needed to be in that situation. He should have thrown it out of bounds. He tried to make a play and ended up costing us."
Were you satisfied with Jacory's play?
I'm satisfied. But look, I'm like everybody else. We don't want to be a team that has lots of turnovers. We got to get that fixed. It's a situation where he did manage the game very well. He did make some really good throws on third down to help us have a good conversion rate on third down. He really managed the game well. He got us in the right plays in that nine minute drive at the end of the game. He made two really big-time throws in the red zone. Did a lot of good things. I wish it was his second start with us, but it was his first. I expect him to be much improved against Kansas State."
Dalton Botts appears to being a really good job punting. Your thoughts?
"He's a very mature young man, very process driven. He just takes care of business. Hopefully he'll stay focused. He's been very good. We expected him to bee this good once we saw him in training camp. He's carried over into the games. That was a pretty big stage there Saturday night and he wasn't phased. So we're excited about that. We have to continue to cover kicks really well for him, but so far, so good."
Kendal Thompkins tackle on punt return defense was really big. Can you talk about that?
"It was a big-time effort. He did a really good job keeping the ball in front. We kind of got on different levels there which was unfortunate. But again, you have to give credit to their returner. I thought he did a nice job. I think it was Hall on that one. That was a big play. I think our kickoff unit was good, which he was on. Kendal's starting on three special teams units for us."
Do you have to calm guys down after this 1st win?
"We told them last week, we're going to be consistent. We're going to be the same coaches everyday. We're going to be the same team and the same players everyday. I hope they understand. I hope they enjoyed it, slept well last night. But we had a good day so far today in terms of guys making their commitments to study hall, training room and all that, which shows me they're taking a mature approach. We'll be back out there tomorrow, get ourselves ready for a really good Kansas State team. It's going to be a great challenge for us on Saturday."
Can you decipher anything from Kansas State's two wins over Eastern Kentucky and Kent State?
"To me, I just look at them as a team. When you evaluate their team, we look at their personnel and then we look at their schemes. Other than that, it's really important for us to focus on improving ourselves. Again, we because we had the staggers in terms of guys being suspended, I really expect our guys who played in their first game to make improvement. I expect Ojomo, Forston, Harris and Benjamin to make a lot of improvement from last week to this week. I would prefer to have continuity. But getting that win and getting stronger and having two weeks of the same lineup will be really important for our team."
Did you make it out of the game Injury free?
"So far it's look like we're injury. We'll learn more about some guys in the next 24 hours. But it looks like we're injury free."
Can you talk about Brandon Washington's first start at left tackle?
"We want to settle in. We want to make sure we're playing the best five. Brandon is a guy that can play all the spots up front. We'll see how it evolves. The standard is higher for Brandon because he's talented. We need him to perform better, play better and practice better on a daily basis. Again, it was a good test against a very good defensive line. That 52 and 54 were as good as anybody we'll see. We had our hands full with those guys. Hopefully, we'll continue to make progress. Brandon has to continue to play at a high tempo and carry it over into the game."