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What was your reaction to being chosen for the defensive coordinator position?
"Our whole staff reaction has been 'Hey, tell me what we need to do - give me my job, whatever role you want me to play.' Whatever he needs me to do, be the defensive coordinator, then that's (what I'm going to do). ... Coach Withers and I really worked well together because our philosophies and thought processes are the same."
You've been able to work with Coach Withers, how do you think he'll do in the head coach position?
"He'll do a great job. I've watched him lead our defense through the last couple years and watched him handle those guys and the thing with Coach Withers is what you see is what you get with him - he's real - and that's what the players will see."
How do you process this tough situation, losing a head coach you were loyal to and had a great deal of respect for, and then go forward with your job?
"In life, you'll have ups and downs and things we deal with - and in this business we've all been through tough situations, be it the things that happened here last year or firings. It's a tough, sad situation but it's also a fact of life and what you have to do is take what happened, learn from it and move on. We loved Coach Davis, he's the one who brought us all here, set a foundation, and it's our job to take where we are and go to the next step. Because our bottom line is the loyalty to these players."
What do you tell recruits when you talk to them about this situation?
"Recruiting is recruiting - and it never ends if you're doing it right. What I tell guys is that this is The University of North Carolina and it will always be The University of North Carolina. I don't know why any young person in the world wouldn't want to be a student on this campus, and certainly with the atmosphere we've created here with college football and college athletics, it's a no-brainer. ... That's what you say: this is North Carolina. I've said it since the first day I got here, I'm truly blessed to be a part of this University, this staff and now to move forward with Everett Withers. ... We're still North Carolina, we'll always be North Carolina."
When Coach Davis told you yesterday afternoon in the coaches meeting that he was being dismissed, how was it received?
"How do you think it was received? It was shocking news. It's the hand you've been dealt, now what do you do? Do you want to lay around and cry or get some answers and go to work. There was a shock factor, and then we all had the press conference we went through, and I take my hate off to these guys for getting Coach Withers in place and given our young people - and they don't get talked about a lot but need to be talked about - that's the young people that walk in and out of this door every day. I can say that the way I say it because I've been one of them. I was on the team when Coach (Mack) Brown left - I was on the team. I know the feeling."
Will the season starting so soon help focus everyone on that as opposed to this coaching change?
"Yeah, I think that'll help everybody once we get back into football - that's why you do this, it's a fun part. What happened to us last year during the season, we were pretty focused in terms of what our job was. We didn't spend a lot of time worry about things we can't control over."