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What were your thoughts on seeing Marvin and Robert on the practice field together, and two, how difficult is it to avoid playing the what-if game?
"Well, the what-if game, we did that plenty of times earlier, but it was fun to watch them. I thought that they did a terrific job. I think everyone was very impressed. They were explosive. They were powerful. You can tell that they had really put themselves in position to have a great workout today, and I think all of those guys really understood over the last couple of years how important it is to continue that momentum, because a lot of guys kind of shut down the training after the combine, and they kind of rested on their laurels after the season. And I think all of our guys did a really, really good job in the position specific drills they did in front of all of those coaches. And I think it was impressive. There was a pretty significant group of defensive line coaches and defensive coordinators that were there today that were looking specifically, because we've got a pretty good group of defensive players out there. And I thought Robert and Marvin both did a really good job."
On the value of Austin and Quinn representing North Carolina after what's transpired:
"They are Tar Heels, and they've been here. They certainly played a huge role in some of the previous successes of getting us to bowl games in the previous years. They probably had some impact in successful recruiting classes over the previous last couple of years. They'll go on, and they're going to have really good NFL careers, and their names are always going to be attached to the University of North Carolina."
How does Robert Quinn compare to other defensive ends you've coached in the past?
"I think he's clearly one of the better defensive ends. One of the things that makes Robert so uniquely special is that he is an unbelievably physically gifted athlete. He's got all of the raw athletic tools. I think he's got one thing that I've never coached with another defensive end or defensive linemen -- the wrestling background. It sometimes is a little bit understated. Just from a competitive standpoint when you're in a wrestling match it's you and there's nobody else. It's one-on-one. The balance, the coordination, the upper body strength that it takes to be a really talented wrestler has helped him enormously, and in hand-to-hand combat with offensive linemen he's got remarkable speed and burst off the edge. Pro scouts and the college guys like seeing the closing speed that he's got, and I know that they worked him out today a little bit as a standup defensive outside linebacker just to look and see if there would be the versatility to fit in their schemes and their packages. He did it some for us in previous years. Some of the 3-4 teams would like to look and see if he would be a fit in their particular scheme."
How much of an opportunity have you had to talk to Austin, Little and Quinn?
Periodically. They've texted me, they've called. Guys have shown up intermittently over the last two months or so. They'll pop in during a four-week period of time. Over the last two or three weeks a lot of them have been around, and as they've kind of gotten back, trying to work out and get ready for today. I've seen pretty much all of them in the last two weeks."
Greg Little sounded pretty contrite about everything that had happened and said that he had made mistakes and Dick Baddour had said it was important that they were remorseful. How important to you was it that they had learned from what had happened?
"I don't think there's any question that was an important part of the decision to allow those guys to work out. Clearly going back, all the way back to the fall, they clearly were disappointed. They were remorseful. I think they said it publicly. They've said it emphatically over the last couple of months. They've said it privately in closed door sessions just how disappointed that they were, how much they felt like that they had let the team and the university down. That they had hurt themselves, and it was legitimately sincere. And I think if there had been any point in time that we would have never believed or that [we thought] they were just saying it for self-serving reasons, they didn't need to [participate], but the idea to allow them the opportunity to work out today puts a little closure to it. It let's us move forward into the next season, and I think it was the appropriate and the right thing to do. I think when Dickey and Chancellor Thorp and I sat down, and we talked about it we as a group, we felt like this was the right, appropriate way to handle this."
What lessons did you learn from sitting out last season?
"I learned that every decision you make you've got to make sure that you think it out, and make sure that it is the best decision for yourself and the people around you. Don't be selfish, and don't ever take the game for granted. Don't ever take getting out there and playing for granted, because it's a privilege, and it can be taken away from you, and I never want to go to that place again. I never want to be out of the game of football until my body says I can't play anymore. I want to be out there on the field competing every day, and not being able to go out there and compete was the hardest thing for me. It was extremely hard not being able to go out and put my best foot forward for my team, but I hurt my teammates. I hurt a lot of people by the selfish acts that I had, but all in all I think those people have forgiven me and that's all that matters."
Was it hard for you to have your integrity questioned?
"Extremely hard. Extremely hard. I was always known before then to be an outgoing, gregarious guy that had fun and was cheerful, and I think when I made that bad decision, people looked at it as a chance to poke at me, prick at me, and try to break me down. It was extremely hard being questioned about some of the things that I love to do. Being questioned, 'Does he love the game? Does he want to be a professional?' My work ethic and stuff like that, and all I could do every time I had a chance to go out and perform is to get better."
Do you think any of this would have happened, any of this would have come to light at all if it hadn't been for a few tweets?
"The NCAA, when they came to me with their inquiries, I believed that they were coming just to investigate because we had so many guys come back when we could have had a lot of guys leave as juniors, and I felt that they wanted to find out if anything happened with that situation, which nothing did. And when they got us in there, and questioned us, they asked me which trips I went on, and I told them the truth. And that's how the trips and stuff came about. It wasn't from a tweet or anything like that. That was somebody from the media who found a tweet. To be honest with you, the tweet was when I was actually in the airport, when I said I live in Club Liv, so I get the tenant rate. I was in the airport if you look at the tweet. I can pull my account back up. It was around 6:00 AM in the morning. I wasn't even in Miami, and I wasn't in the club or anything, but whoever got it made it say 3:00 AM or whatever. It was an unfortunate situation, and I'm passed it."
Did you watch every UNC game?
"Oh, everyone of them. I watched all of them. I went to a lot of them. I just wanted to watch the D-line. We had a young D-line, and I was trying to watch. I was pretty much coaching from the sideline after the game. They'd ask me how they looked, what they did well, what they didn't do well. I was pretty much like a sideline coach."
What do you think of next year's D-line?
"Special. They've got a young boy, Sylvester [Williams]. He's going to be special. I see a lot of me in him, and just in everything I went through, I can make sure he doesn't make the same mistakes on the field and off the field that I made. And Quinton Coples is a freak of nature. They've got Tydreke Powell, Donte Paige-Moss, and hopefully Michael McAdoo can get back out there on the field. I'm hoping he can. It's looking promising, and if he gets back out, there the kid that's special, and they're going to have good fun next year. I know they've got Coach Robinson, and he coached some ballplayers [at LSU], so I'm definitely excited to watch the Tar Heels, and hopefully I get to come to a game or two this year."
When did you realize you did something wrong?
"When the NCAA came and said I did something wrong. The NCAA never suspended me or never ruled me ineligible, so I was still baffled. If I did so much, why couldn't you just tell me exactly what I did? They never came out with a rationale or [said] exactly what I did."
Who did you tell about trip in '09 to California?
"What do you mean who did I tell?
You went to Performance out in California, the camp. Did you tell anybody at UNC that you were going to that camp?
"Nah, they had no reason [to know]. It was during the two weeks we have before training camp. The difference between UNC and every other school, every other school gets out the first week in May. UNC has May semester the last two weeks before training camp we get out. It was a grind session. I wanted to get away, and go work. Myself and Cam Thomas went out there with Kentwan Balmer. I didn't think I had to call the university and say, 'Well, I'm going to California to go train and work.' It was something where I was trying to get the edge on everybody else."
But you didn't pay for it?
"No, I didn't pay for it."
And you didn't think that was a problem? No warning flag went off in '09 that that was a problem.
So in '10 when you take trips to Miami, two?
"It was three."
Did you think at all about any of those three, because my guess is we're talking about Vontae Davis, who you've known for your whole life. Correct?
"Yeah, I've known him for a long, long time."
So in your mind still even those trips that's who you went to go see, correct? You went to see Vontae?
"Yeah, I went to go hangout with Vontae."
So did he pay for those trips?
"No, he didn't. They were paid for by a third party."
A third party? Not the agent you signed with?
"No, it wasn't an agent."
You want to share with us who paid for it?
"I'd rather not."
But that's why you're in trouble, right? Those trips?
Even when you took those trips, you didn't think to yourself this is a bad thing?
"The person that paid for them I've known them since my freshman year of high school, and the rules state if you had a pre-existing relationship that if I've known you before my freshman year of high school, you could pay for me to do whatever, but like I said the NCAA never came out with a rationale, so I don't exactly know. But I accepted things, and they said that were impermissible or whatever, and I paid the price for it."
Is that on UNC then for not taking your case to the NCAA?
"Nah. It wasn't on UNC. I made a mistake."
Do you look at mock drafts and newspapers and all that stuff to see where you're going, and you're not concerned?
"I'll be honest. I've looked at it a couple of times here and there. Like I said it's a once in a lifetime experience. You only get drafted once, so I'm just curious what people are saying. It's kind of motivates me when I something negative, and kind of puts a smile on my face when I see something positive."
Do you have a list of teams you'll go out and visit or have already visited with?
"I talked to the 49ers yesterday, but I've got 12-14 teams, so I've got about three straight weeks of flying in and out of town."
What's been the biggest challenge in this whole process, answering all those questions over and over again, or dealing with the physical stuff?
"No, I wouldn't say any of it was real challenging. I kind of expected a lot of questions were coming."
At what point was rock bottom for you?
"I guess once I got the final verdict. Me and my dad after that day or so were like, 'You've got to put it behind you. Make better of the situation. Make a positive out of a bad situation.'"
People are comparing your explosiveness to Shawne Merriman. How do you take those sort of comments?
"I guess that's a pretty good comparison. He was a real dominant player for numerous years, and he did his thing while he was there. That's a pretty good comparison."