O'Brien Fires Back

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tom O'Brien didn't like recent comments made by UNC interim head coach Everett Withers, and he responded to the media following today's practice.

Tom O'Brien

"Their mental approach has been fine. They've worked hard like they have every week of the season. It's a big game. It's a big game and it's an important week for this football team. They've worked hard."

"I would say this… graduation rates certainly aren't where we want them to be and it's an ongoing process. Graduation rates are like the Titanic, it's tough to turn around because it's a six-year average. You are talking about how many years ago. I know that we've turned ours around. Our APR has bottomed out and it's headed back to where it should be and certainly my record as Boston College and 15 years as a head coach stands on its own. I don't know where that's coming from."

"Our academic support people were the first one certified by the national advising board so our people our doing a great job. At our school, number one, all classes have a syllabus. Our guys go to school, they are not given grades, and they graduate."

"It's a little tougher here, if you have to go to school and you are expected to have a syllabus and go to class. Our guys earn everything that they get here. Certainly all of our graduates earn everything that they get at this university."

"I'm just going to coach my football team and I'm not going to coach his but as far as the flagship, here was a guy who was on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis, that if you take three things that you can't do in college football, you have an agent on your staff, you are paying players and you have academic fraud. That's a triple play as afar as the NCAA goes."

"I don't know what he has anything to talk about or they have anything to talk about. If that's what the people want in their flagship university in North Carolina then so be it."

"They had players accepting money from somebody. Money is being given by someone to somebody, I think that's documented right. I don't know how it got there, maybe I'm wrong saying that. Those are known as far as the NCAA goes."

"Our practices were fine. Have I caused enough hate and discontent here? Our practices have been good. This team comes out each and every week. We put a ball club together with who we have on Sunday and then we get together to fight each and every week. It's been a tough year in a lot of respects but we've got the month of November ahead of us and we're looking forward to playing it."

"The crowd should be great, and it always is. Let me go back now that there has been statements made by both coaches, I was part of the greatest rivalry in college football, the Army-Navy game. There is no harder fought game ever than Army-Navy, but the greatest thing about Army-Navy is that once the game is over each school stands for the other ones Alma Mater. The game is over when the game ends."

"As far as our crowd, there better not be anything in the stands. We have a lot of dignity at this school and we have to show it. We can't lower ourselves to retaliations or fights or anything stupid like that. Our people have to be there in the spirit of the game and root like crazy and play hard just as we're going to play hard in the game. But after the game the game is over, let's move on."

"The Naval Academy is 150 years of tradition unmarred by progress. They've been doing that for years and years and years. That just doesn't happen overnight."

"The thing in rivalry game and emotional games like this is you have to play under control. As Coach Cowher says all the time you have to play to the edge, but you can't go over the edge. It certainly would behoove us to get off to a good start so that's what we want to do."

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