Wednesday Larry Fedora Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora spoke with reporters Wednesday for his weekly ACC teleconference.

Opening comments:
"Our football team is welcoming this open week, a much needed open week, after 13 straight weeks of practices so it will enable us to get some guys healed up and also work on some fundamentals that we need to improve on. Hopefully we'll be a better team coming out of this open week."

What is it that makes Eric Ebron so tough for defenses to cover?
"Well, one, he has great speed for a guy that is 245 pounds and he can run routes like a wide receiver. He not only uses the defensive backs leverage, but he also understands how to break that leverage down and take advantage of it and then he's a big body guy that knows how to use his body. He's definitely a weapon for us all over the field."

What is the next step for him to get even better?
"I think he's still a young player. You got to improve each and every day so what we need Eric to do is just become more consistent and he's got the ability and we put a lot on his plate this past week. He was also playing defense, he's involved in our special teams and he was playing offense. I knew going into the game that he was probably going to have some problems offensively because we were asking him to do so much and he did. He had a couple of dropped passes that he doesn't normally have and so this week of fundamental work will really be good for him."

On the two-point conversions. Is that something that you call from the sideline?
"The second one was a bobbled snap. It's something that you work on every week and we didn't handle the snap correctly and so we have a designed play if that happens and our guys executed that play. The first one was called, yes."

Was it something you saw on film you thought you could exploit?
"We just felt like with the way they aligned the look that we had given that we would be able to take advantage of it. If you noticed we lined up the first time and basically that was to get a feel for what they were going to try against it and once we saw what we wanted we knew we could take advantage of it."

Although you cannot go to the ACC Championship Game, how important would it be for the team to still finish first in the Coastal?
"First of all, we've never done it here so that was our number one goal going into this season - to win the Coastal division and whether or not we're recognized or not it's still about our football team and what our goals are and what we can accomplish so we can't worry about what happened outside. It had nothing to do with this football team right now so that was a goal and it's still very important to us and it's still a thing that our guys are taking a tremendous amount of pride in right now."

How do you handle this bye week?
"A lot of it depends on when your open week falls in your season and what is going on so this is late in the season for us. 13 weeks straight of practices since August 2 and so we worked Sunday night with our normal practice and then we came back and worked out Monday, which we don't ever do because we're game planning on Monday, so we got some fundamental work and some conditioning, but more work with our seconds and our other guys who are red-shirting to get some work with them.

"Tuesday was more of a practice and still concentrating more on our two's and our other guys. Had about an hour scrimmage for our guys that are not playing and today we'll dedicate the entire day to Georgia Tech to get a jump there and they'll have Thursday and Friday and, well I say that. They're going to lift and get some conditioning in on Thursday and then they'll be off Friday and Saturday and then we'll come back and go to work on Sunday.

"For me, at this point in the season with these guys and the way we are right now it's about getting guys healed up that need to get healed up that we're going to need down the stretch and then also continuing to develop the depth that we have throughout the season and a lot of those guys have played for us. They played for us and they've done well so we need them to keep coming on."

Is it an advantage to have a bye week before Georgia Tech?
"Yeah. No doubt. I think probably if you asked every coach we would all like to have an extra week for Georgia Tech's offense. It's definitely very difficult to try and get prepared to defend in two days on a Tuesday, Wednesday or two weekdays in a week, so hopefully these extra days will help us a little bit."

Throughout your career how much have you used a primary ball carrier as a punt returner like you are with Gio Bernard?
"Actually this is the first time because never in the past have I had a guy that had those same kind of skills. That was a nice thing that Gio was able to bring to the table, but I've never actually had that opportunity in the past. There were some circumstances around Gio getting into that position during camp and never did he say 'hey I'm a punt returner.' It was just more we had a situation with T.J. Thorpe and Reggie Wilkins and from there it became okay, if I got to put the ball in somebody's hands in the open field, who would I want it in and I said, 'okay, can you catch punts' and we went from there."

Is there any reluctance to put your top ball carrier in that position?
"That guy takes a lot of hits usually in a season, but if you look at Gio and what has happened this year, he's only played 370-something snaps and 34 of those have been on special teams. He's had 340 offensive snaps and Gio is the kind of runner, he's able to evade most of those blows and so is there a concern? Maybe from me, but special teams is just as important as anything else that we do and that's our philosophy here and so there was never really a concern about it for me."

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