CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Negative recruiting is something that will come up with virtually every standout recruit, regardless of sport.
That tactic is more of a waste of time than anything else, according to UNC head coach Larry Fedora.
“I think it affects some kids, yes, no doubt about it,” Fedora said during his weekly radio show at Top of the Hill Restaurant. “I know for a fact it does, so what you do is you defend yourself most of the time.”
Fedora believes that the time defending his program could be spent on topics far more valuable to both the recruit and the coaching staff.
“And the whole time you’re defending yourself, you’re not able to sell what you have to offer as far as a university,” Fedora said. “So it takes up a lot of your time, and you’re wasting a lot of time when you could be selling what you have to offer to a young man.”
The question of negative recruiting was brought up in light of the controversial tweet posted by Wake Forest tight ends coach Adam Scheier this past February. Scheier tweeted about North Carolina’s academic scandal after the Tar Heels flipped a tight end commitment from the Demon Deacons.
While the tactic was underhanded, Fedora said the Wake Forest program handled it with class.
“I’ll tell you that the day that happened, within about two hours (Wake Forest head coach) Dave Clawson called and apologized, and made sure it was taken off,” Fedora said. “And he wanted us to know that’s not how they’re going to do things, so I appreciate that. I know he was sincere about it, and I just let it go at that point.”
Fedora acknowledged the effect that negative recruiting has on some players, but also underlined what he felt was the real tragedy.
“Unfortunately, for some guys, it really does affect them, and that’s why they make their decisions,” Fedora said. “And we miss out on some kids, and they miss the opportunity to come to the University of North Carolina and get a world-class education and play football at the highest level.
“That’s a shame to me. It really is.”
What did you think of Saturday’s win over Wake Forest?
“Really in all three phases they really kicked it in from the second quarter on. We kind of messed around in the first quarter, misread, miscommunication on the first pick, on the second one, the ball got batted at the line of scrimmage and bounced into their hands. So things were really going their way, and we put the defense in a bad situation by giving them such a short field there. I think those were the first points that were scored off turnovers this year, so I’m really proud of what our defense has done. But yeah, after that, guys picked it up and started making plays.”
How did Marquise Williams respond to early interceptions?
“He didn’t like it, and I didn’t like it, but there wasn’t anything to get frustrated about. The first one, we knew what happened, the second one, it got batted at the line of scrimmage, so when you throw two picks out of your first three passes, that can be rough on you. But he’s mature enough to handle it, he came to the sideline, we talked about it, I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, move on, let’s go,’ and that’s what he did.”
Your seven touchdown drives on Saturday took a total of eight minutes and 42 seconds. Four scoring drives took less than a minute. How is your team so explosive?
“We’ve got some explosive players. Mack Hollins can make a play at any time. Switzer can make a play at any time. (Elijah) Hood can make a play at any time. ‘Quise can make a play any time. So can Quinshad (Davis) and so can Bug (Howard), so we have some weapons over there, and guys can be explosive. They’re all just biting at the bit to be the one to make the play.”
Despite the big plays, do you want to see more consistency from your offense?
“We’ve got to be more consistent. We can’t just live on the big play alone. I like it, but there’s going come a time where you don’t have the opportunities and you’re going need to be able to grind it out and win football games by being consistent.”
What did you think of your defense this Saturday against Wake Forest?
“They really did a nice job of adjusting at half. What offenses do, like we do, is look at what they their tendencies are and try to break their tendencies. So just about everything we’ve prepared for, they did something different. So again, our defense had to adjust to it and once the coaches were able to show them exactly what they were doing, how they were trying to attack us, and they made the adjustments at halftime, the guys played really well from that point on.”
What’s your perspective on the Ryan Switzer fair catch controversy?
“I don’t know what to tell you. I can’t really say anything. I would prefer not to get in trouble, so I’ll just say nothing. I’ll let you say what you want to say. It’s like I told Ryan, it doesn’t matter what anybody sees, it just matters what the official calls, because that’s the bottom line. They’re not going to change it in the middle of the game. I’ll tell you what, our fans did a great job of making some noise.”
What did you think of Junior Gnonkonde’s game against Wake Forest?
“He had a great game, he played really well. (Defensive line coach) Tray (Scott) has worked extremely hard with those guys up front. It was great to see he had two sacks in the game, and really did a great job with his pressures. We talked to him about coming to the radio show, and he’s uncomfortable with that. We’ll get him back though, he had some papers and stuff to do tonight.”
What did you think of Elijah Hood’s game against Wake Forest, considering you really didn’t need him much in the second half?
“It’s a good thing, because we couldn’t (use him). He went out with a cramp in his calf, and he had been sick all week, so he was dehydrated, obviously, and we really didn’t notice it until the game. He played about 25 snaps, that’s all he played, and he left the game, so not sure he would have been able to go back if we needed to.”
Are you trying to avoid fatigue with giving Hood too many carries?
“I’m really happy with where Elijah Hood is right now, and where T.J. (Logan) is, and all of those guys. And I can say right now, they are banged up, but come game time they’re ready to go. So we’ve got to keep those guys as fresh as we can for that stretch.”
How did you think Jalen Dalton played in his debut?
“He played well for a young kid who got his first college reps. I was really pleased with what he did. He made mistakes, but he also made some plays, so it was good for him to get that under his belt, and he’ll be a better player even this week than he was this past week. And he’s going to grow and get better every week. He’s got all the tools that he needs. He’s 6-foot-6, he’s 275 pounds right now and he’s 18 years old.”
What are your thoughts on Virginia?
“Nobody’s going to tell me that they’re not a good football team. I’ve watched them on film extensively; they’re really good. Their four losses were all to teams that were ranked. They’re 1-1 in the league, and they know they’ve got a chance.”