Spring FB Interviews

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora, Gio Bernard, Sam Smiley and Sean Tapley spoke to the media following the 12th practice of spring on Wednesday.

LARRY FEDORA
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Players have to buy in with their hearts and minds during a transition. How has that gone so far?
"I think it's good. I think all these coaches have done a great job of building relationships with these guys. It's a little bit harder for me, because there's a hundred of them that I've got to deal with. They're working with their positions and they've done a great job with that. But that takes time. You don't build relationships overnight and these guys will understand that we truly care about them not only as football players, but as people."

How have the offensive lineman learned to pick up on the faster pace?
"Well, I'll say everybody understands it right now; what we want. But they don't understand the true speed of what we're going to get and I think some of it is kind of shock and awe to them… We're getting closer. We did some things, we got 16 reps in a 5 minute period and that's what we're shooting for."

What are your goals for Saturday?
"Number one is to come out healthy. That's number one. Number two is for all these guys to have fun. Fly around and just play the game and have fun. That's the only two things I want out of it."

What were the positives you took out of Monday's scrimmage?
"We got in 170 plays, that was positive. We didn't lose anybody physically, so that was good and we got a bunch of really good reps. We made a lot of mistakes. We had some really good things happen. There's so many things that we're learning from every rep, so every rep we get is so important, because it's new. Anything that happens is new, so we can't get enough reps in my opinion. I felt good about us being able to get those reps in and then turn around on a short turnaround and have a really good practice today."

What is the format for the scrimmage on Saturday?
"We'll start off and we'll just put the ball on the 35. There will be no kickoffs or kickoff returns and then we'll play it like a game. We're going to play it. We'll split the team and we're going to play it. The only thing in the special teams area, we'll put a punter out there and a snapper and a return guy and that's it and wherever he catches it, that's where the ball is. Everything else we'll do just like a game. Second half we're going to run the clock. I understand there's going to be T.V. timeouts and everything involved so we're going to try to run it as close to a game as possible in the first half and then run the clock in the second."

Will you place to one's against each other or is it going to be picking teams to try to even them out?
"Well because of injuries and stuff we've had to adjust quite a few things in that area and so this will be a little different than what I'm used to, but we'll see how it works."


GIO BERNARD

How does this offense take advantage of your skills?
"I'm a smaller type of guy and just kind of getting me out in the open field one on one with guys that are corners, are linebackers. I think that's the main thing… Everybody makes fun of my height, but I use that to my advantage… With this whole new offense it opens everything up for me. I think it opens up everything for everybody so we're excited."

Can you describe your role as a leader on this team despite the fact you're just a sophomore?
"It's something I pride myself in. Everyone looking at me as that leader kind of figure and I just let my game be that leader. Just going out there and working hard everyday, working myself and trying to get better… let my game be my leadership and just see how it goes from there."


SAM SMILEY

What are the biggest changes going from corner to safety?
"Mindset… you can't be scared. You got to get on the horse and help cover everybody."

Who has stood out on the defensive end this spring?
"Jabari Price. He was hurt last year. He hurt his finger. He came back strong. He's faster, stronger. He has the mindset to kill."


SEAN TAPLEY

Coach Anderson said you are a player that has stood out this spring. Why do you think he singled you out?
"I'm out here balling. I'm doing the best I can do making plays. Those are probably the reasons Coach would say that, but I'm out here grinding."

Is there more emphasis on conditioning this year versus in the past?
"There's a lot of emphasis on it. Once the ball is dead you got to sprint as fast as you can and get lined up."


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