They would never admit this, but I think sites like this calling for his (own) head force his hands to speak. I think he finally took enough heat over this behind the scenes that someone inside the AD's own circle suggested he make a statement, or Aoki himself asked him to do so for recruiting purposes. So....there's that. Not much, I know.
Down side: the entire statement is an indictment of what a POS AD he is. He's not comfortable enough in his own skin to fire a coach he hired. That is now absolutely crystal clear. He can't admit a mistake.
So, the ACC is tough to win in? OK, how about that stellar out of conference schedule that sunk ND at the start of the season. How about the pasting put on ND by one of the worst teams in the country, Lafayette. Do they have to find a way to win more of those as well?