CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina has been susceptible to slow starts this season, and Saturday night’s 50-14 victory over Wake Forest was no different.
“We had a couple of things happen there that didn’t go our way,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora in his postgame press conference. “We had a ball batted at the line of scrimmage on the second pass that was intercepted; the first interception, it was just a misread and some miscommunication.”
The Tar Heels have trailed 7-0 at the start of each of their last three games. While it can be discouraging to the players, Fedora’s message has remained consistent.
“We told them just don’t panic, just play,” Fedora said. “We knew going into the game they were going to create some issues for us with as much blitzing as they did.”
Carolina outscored Wake Forest 50-7 after the sluggish start, validating Fedora’s advice to remain calm.
“It's not getting frustrated; they may put us behind the chains a few times,” Fedora said. “But don’t worry, just play, and we’ll be okay, and that’s what the guys did.”
“Great win for our team tonight, a great overall team effort. All three phases again and against an in-state opponent, so we’re playing well right now, they feel good about themselves as a team, the chemistry, the love that they have for each other. It’s fun to coach this team.”
What was the explanation you got on the fair catch/delay of game call on Ryan Switzer?
“Referee said he saw a fair catch, so that’s what it was. What are you gonna say?"
Shouldn’t there have been a penalty for interference?
"That’s a good question.”
What did you see from Marquise Williams after the two interceptions?
“He was good, he didn’t want it to happen. But, I said, ‘Don’t get frustrated, it’s fine, we’ll be okay.’ And he didn’t, he did a good job of just staying pretty even-keeled all the way through the game, which shows his maturity and where he’s at as a quarterback, and again, I’m pleased with the way he was playing.”
What were your thoughts on Elijah Hood’s performance?
“We’re always, we’re happy with the way Elijah plays hard, runs hard, great job in protection. Again, you ask anybody on the team, he’s just a great teammate. He doesn’t care if he carries the ball or not, he wants to win.”
Is it good to see the return of the Mack Hollins big plays?
“Yeah it is. I mean that’s one of the reasons we were so explosive tonight. Mack’s out there, and he’s feeling good, and he’s comfortable, and Quise feels good about what he’s doing when he calls his number. Mack’s always shown he can make plays.”
Can you evaluate how the defense played, especially Jalen Dalton?
“Jalen got his first experience tonight, so that was awesome for him, and let me tell you, for all of those defensive guys, because we had quite a few guys on defense that weren’t out there today. I thought the guys that played in their spots did a heck of a job and I thought the rest of the guys around them did a great job rallying around them. Again, it’s, ‘You got my back, I got your back.’ All the guys, they just rally, and they play well together.”
How did you feel about the performance of the secondary, especially being shorthanded?
“Again, I thought they did a really good job. Malik Simmons came in and was really comfortable, coming out of camp, Malik was kind of the guy that was the starter at that time, or would have been, and so I thought he played really well. There was no panic in him at all. He was ready to step into the role and do what he needed to do, and, really, the rest of the defense felt comfortable with him back there. I thought all of those guys played well.”
On Jalen Dalton:
“I liked, first of all, that he’s just getting out there, getting out under the lights, and he played hard, I don’t think he probably played a tremendous game, but he played pretty hard, and he made some plays. So he gave us something that we didn’t have, and we needed him. So I’m proud of what he did.”