Q&A with Larry Fedora, Part V

PINEHURST, N.C. --- Larry Fedora fielded questions from reporters for an hour at the ACC Kickoff. Read everything the Tar Heel head coach said in InsideCarolina.com's multi-part transcription ...

There’s been a lot of former players back on campus the last few years. What does it mean to you to have former lettermen and NFL stars back around the program?

Think about when you were in college guys, it’s the four or five and, maybe in some of your cases seven or eight years of your life. So, you ought to enjoy that experience. When you go to college, that ought to be the best experience you’ve had in your life. You want those guys to come back. When they step foot on that campus, just like when you guys when you step foot back on the campus where you went to school, all those memories start flowing. It’s a good feeling.

You want those guys to come back as much as possible, and for them to feel comfortable coming back is very important to me. Because those are the guys that built what we have. Those are the guys that laid a foundation for where we are, whether we’re where we want to be or not, they still were a part of this program and I want them to feel comfortable. I want them to want to be around the program. To see Dre’ Bly out there hanging out with our guys and talking to them, I mean that’s – wow. That guy was a three-time All-American and he’s hanging out, just hanging out with our guys. What an experience. If I’m a college football player right now and Dre’ Bly is out there playing dodge ball with me, wow. Jonathan Cooper. Guys like that, that are legends at Carolina that are hanging out with those guys. That’s huge, I really do believe that.

When you guys were putting in the drainage system in the field, how close were you to actually changing surfaces?

We talked about it. We went back and forth talking about the pros and the cons of it. We’re in the South and if you can grow good grass, then grass is still the best surface. If you can grow it and it’s cost efficient then why not do it?

You’ve coached on other surfaces. What’s best for your offense?

That’s why we’re on grass.

Was it your call?

I’d like to think so. Probably not, but at least they asked. Bubba (Cunningham) was nice to ask me. If I had my pick, I’m going to go with grass. I’m a grass guy. You can win on either.

How big is it as a next step at Carolina to have an indoor facility?

I think it’s important. I think it’s very important to continue to make the commitment to the program that we need. That’s one of the next things we need. There’s a lot of things that need to be done if we’re going to keep up with the arms race out there. And believe me guys, it’s an arms race. You guys know, as you go to all these programs around you see what’s going on. It’s constant building, non-stop. That’s just the way it is. That is college football and college athletics.

What are some of those other things?

I would love to renovate the building that we’re in now. That building was built in 1998 and it was the Taj Mahal in 1998. It has served us well and it’s still a great building, but there are a lot of things I’d like to do to it to improve it, and we will here in the near future.

Do you feel like an indoor facility is on the list?

Oh yeah, definitely. I don’t know what the timeline is, but it’s definitely on the list and it will probably be sooner than later.

Is it the first thing on the list?

Oh, I don’t know. If you’re asking me on my list? Yeah, that’s it.

What else?

I’d like to make improvements in our weight room; I’d like improvements in our locker room, our training room, our equipment room, our Hall of Honor.

Do you ever worry about being wrong with what you’re telling recruits about the NCAA?

No, not really. I don’t. I tell people that I’m positive, they know I’m positive, they know how I feel about things and they know the way I am. I’m pretty energetic; I’m pretty passionate about what I do. It’s my job to set a vision for our program and where we want to go as a program, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing that to the best of my ability and to what I know. I’m comfortable with what I’m saying and I’m comfortable with what I’m doing. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t do it actually. I’m not going to sell my soul.

You said earlier that the NCAA decision isn’t the determining factor for a player to choose where he’s going to spend the next four years of his life…

I think that’s a part, but I think it’s a small part. I think everybody out there makes that out to be a big deal, the biggest deal. And I don’t think that’s the biggest reason why players choose a school. I think when you guys ask them they’re going to answer you, but I don’t think that that is the most important factor to them in making a decision. I think there’s so much more that Carolina has to offer, to why they choose the University of North Carolina.

What are you thoughts on the flipside of that? Where a school might be getting someone to come because of the fear factor of the NCAA decision here?

That’s going to happen and that’s been happening in recruiting forever. It’s what ammo do they use? In this instance, it’s the scare of the NCAA. They’re going to use something, so right now that is the fodder they are able to use. They are hanging their hat on that. We’ll see what happens in the spring.

You didn’t sign up for any of this (NCAA investigation)? How have you kind of stayed sane knowing it’s stuff that happened before you got here and you have no control over?

What are you going to do? Think about it if you’re in my shoes are you going to lay around and cry about it and worry about it? You really don’t have a lot of control over it. Again, it’s establishing a vision of where you want the program to go and being positive, and helping guys hopefully seeing the same vision that you have for the program and getting them to take it where you want to go.

I don’t control it. I wasn’t involved with it before when it happened. I was brought in to get it corrected and make sure we do things the right way and that’s what we’re doing. I’m very confident that we’re doing things the right way. Some of the things that have been put in place are phenomenal. Our agent program that Paul Pogge is running is unbelievable. Y’all ought to spend some time with Paul and find out what he’s doing with that program. It’s really cool and he’s doing a great job with it and our players are really responding well to it.

How has the new staff jumped right in with recruiting, in terms of recruiting their territories and responsibilities?

They’ve done a great job. When you jump in you feel like you’re behind, because you don’t know an area, you don’t necessarily know all the coaches in the area and you don’t necessarily know the recruits, because you haven’t been in that area. You’re going 100 miles per hour and those have jumped in and are doing a great job of really getting into their areas and working hard on it, and evaluating and building relationships with as many as kids and as many coaches as they can as quickly as possible.

You were asked what you could’ve done with the situation you inherited. You could’ve left and gone other places to coach. Talk about why you didn’t do that.

First of all, that’s not who I am. There’s been a lot of opportunities, but I’m committed. I’m committed to taking this program where I believe, and all our alumni and fans believe, it should be. And I want to make that happen. I believe in what we’re doing and I totally believe in the kids that we’re recruiting – the type of players, the type of student-athletes we’re bringing into the program and I think that those kids are representation the University of North Carolina the right way. We’ve got a vision and I’d like to see that through.

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