UNC-Duke: Larry Fedora Postgame
“I think we finally put together a complete game, in all three phases of the game, offensively, defensively and special teams. I thought other than the three turnovers we had offensively, it couldn’t have been a more solid game for us.”
Did you have any sense that they were ready to perform like this?
“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve felt that way every week. But, I’ll tell you what, these guys did a great job. They knew we had a short week. They prepared themselves. They did the little things that we asked them to do all week so that they would be ready to go and they wanted it. We thought the most physical team would win the game and looking at that game we thought we were more physical.”
Is this the team you expected all year long?
“It was the team I expected to grow to. I didn’t expect it early on because we were too young in too many places. I think you saw now, up front in the offensive line is that these guys have started to gel and get better. 315 yards rushing, even in the defensive front, holding them to 116 yards rushing. I mean, that’s pretty dang good.”
Is this the most excited that you’ve seen them coming out of the tunnel?
“They were really excited. It’s been two years we haven’t gotten that thing. And it was 21 out of the last 24 years, so there was some pressure on these guys and they wanted to get it done. They not only wanted to get it done for themselves, but they wanted to get it done for the guys the last two years. So I’m happy for the senior class, and we’re on to the next one.”
On T.J. Logan’s performance:
“He had 116 yards. He ran the ball extremely hard, if you watched the way he was spinning and breaking tackles. He did a nice job all the way around tonight.”
Is there a sense of your team turning a corner?
“I hope so. I think what it does is it builds confidence with these guys. They know they can do what’s expected of them, and they can if they just take care of their business and do their job and play hard, good things will happen. And I think they saw that tonight.”
How big were the two forced fumbles to start the game?
“It’s huge. We get two turnovers right off the bat and put the ball in the end zone and probably could have put the ball game away if we don’t turn the ball over three times in the first half.”
How impressed were you with your running backs from top to bottom?
“With all of them, it didn’t matter who we had out there. That why I say, you have to give a lot of that credit to the offensive line. All of the running backs, whether it was Romar or T.J. that were getting the brunt of the carries, those guys were running extremely hard. They were running with a purpose.”
On the defense picking up the offense after turnovers:
“That’s what happened tonight. Marquise, he doesn’t want to put the ball on the ground; he’s got a lot of pride. And that happened and he was mad at himself, really. And I can hear defensive guys, ‘don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it.’ Again, we’ve talked about it this whole year, that no matter what, if they just stay positive and keep encouraging guys, good things will happen.”
What was the reason for running the ball effectively so early? Was it scheme related?
“It wasn’t scheme. You have that intention in every game. We do. That’s what you want to do. But we haven’t had that type of success, but tonight we were having that kind of success. We were knocking them off the ball. The backs were running hard and that was opening up a lot of things for play action passes and those kind of things.”
How important was it to bounce back from Marquise’s three fumbles and make stops?
“It was huge. For the defense to go out there in those situations and hold them to three points after those three fumbles, that was big. And that just gave a shot of adrenaline to the entire team.”
Did they not know about the helmets until you showed them?
“No, they didn’t know. I had some of the seniors question the pick. They were like, ‘black, white, blue - what are we doing?’ I don’t know. I just told them to shut up and wear what I put out there.”
On some of the players taking selfies of the helmets before the game:
“They were excited, like little kids at Christmas. It’s really amazing. They like the chrome, we’re 3-0 in chrome.”
How do you ensure that there is no letdown going into next weekend against N.C. State?
“We’re playing the team in red. That’s all you’ve got to say.”
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