Tuesday Larry Fedora Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora spoke with reporters Tuesday for his final weekly ACC teleconference of the season.

Opening comments: “Yes, we're excited about finishing up our season at home in the Tar Pit. Especially for our seniors to have the opportunity to play their last game at home in this stadium is pretty special. To be playing one of our rivals also makes it that much more exciting.”

You mentioned the rivalry, and you were able to do something big with that this past week also at Duke. Just what it's meant to this team and what it's meant to this group as you move forward into another rivalry game.
“Obviously, the last week was big for us. Our guys wanted to make sure that we got back on the other side of the column in that rivalry. I mean, our guys understand the importance of rivalries. They understand what it means. They understand how important it is to our fan base and everybody in the state. So our guys will be prepared for Saturday.”

And then as far as when you look at recruiting with teams like NC State and Duke that you're going up against, when you have that victory in the game, whoever ends up coming out of these games victorious, how important do you feel it has over the years affected recruiting when you're going after the same players?
“Well, I think it definitely has an effect on it. I don't know if it's the end all for a kid. I mean, I think kids start leaning one way or the other according to programs and what they're looking for, offensively, defensively, all those different aspects. But I do believe that it does help. I think it surely doesn't hurt. So winning in the state is very important.”

It seems that you and your staff have put more importance on the NC State rivalry game than your immediate predecessor. What's different with the State game compared to other rivalry games?
“You know, in all of our games, we try to keep them it's the next game. When we get down to a rivalry game, it's not just another game. It's different. It really is. It's different because of the because of the rivalry. I mean, because of your fan base and the pride in your state and all those things. So I think that you have to put a little bit more into it.”

Is there a sense between in some of your players and in between the walk ons because a lot of students in state went to high school with a lot of the NC State players. Is there a different sense maybe than on another team because they're so local and a lot of familiarity with those players?
“We have a very unique situation because they're 20 something miles away. So you're around fans from the opposing team daily. I mean, you're around you read about it, you hear about it on the radios all year. So we're a little unique in this situation. I think our players are familiar with the guys on their team as well as their players with the guys on our team.”

Coach Larry, talk about being Bowl eligible for you guys. I know you've had an up and down season, scoring 50 against Notre Dame and last week putting it on Duke. What's it feel like being Bowl eligible?
“I'm really happy for our team, our senior class, because we were struggling there early on, and we just told them to keep believing in what they're doing, stay positive, and keep working hard, and they all did that. They had great attitudes and kept working hard and continued believing in what we're doing. Since then, great things have happened. I'm really excited for them that they have the opportunity to cap their season off with a Bowl game.”

Talk about your senior class. What will it be like seeing them for the last time on the field with their parents and all that stuff? What's it going to be like on Saturday?
“It's always very, very difficult. I mean, it really is, to see guys that have been in the program, for us, as long as we've been here. It's difficult to see them go. It really is. But you're happy for them because you know it's a new chapter in their life. You know, what I try to do is make the week as normal as possible.

“I think, in my experience over the years, those seniors that worry about it being their last game and worrying about their parents and worrying about tickets and all the things that distract them from being the player they need to be, next thing you know at the end of the game, they regret the way they played because their focus was elsewhere.”

Just curious how Marquise Williams responded to Hakim Jones' comments from NC State.
“He responded exactly like we expected him to. He just laughed. Marquise is a fun loving kid. He's got a big smile on his face, and he just laughed. He didn't make any comments. He just laughed about it.”

Larry, do you think that your defensive performance against Duke was your best of the season on that side of the ball?
“No doubt about it. I thought we played very well on that side of the ball. I thought our guys fit their gaps. They had great eye discipline throughout the game. We were where we were supposed to be, and we made the plays we were supposed to make.”

What strides have you seen in the defense, particularly in the second half of season?
“Well, I think we've kind of settled down. I think we've continued to not try to do things outside of what we're supposed to, stay within the scheme of the defense, and just do your job. I think we're getting better at that. When we do that, I mean, you're going to give up less big plays.”

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