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On Carolina's chances:
"Anything can happen. You saw we beat Miami last year. We just missed putting Virginia Tech into overtime by just that much – a sack and about a yard. I mean, you can beat anyone. We don't have the most talented team on the field…I'll be the first one to admit that to you. I guarantee you nobody's worked harder than we have this summer. If we put something together, we could win a lot of games."
On Gary Tranquill:
"He's tough, he knows what he's doing and you respect the fact that he's been around so long that he's seen everything. There's nothing he hasn't seen before. He screams and yells on the field. But when he gets off the field, he kind of forgets what he's said. You can't take what he says too personally. That's just the way he coaches. It doesn't bother me. Some players, it bothers. But he can't remember. It's funny to me. Some of the things he says to me…I just laugh it off."
What's the worst thing he's ever said to you?
"He's told me to go back home to Michigan a couple of times (laughter). He's told me to go back and play for [high school coach] Al Fracassa, again. He threatens to send me back to a Division III school in Michigan. But when you tell him what he told you when you walk off the practice field, and he says, ‘I said that?' That's how you have to handle it. I like him a lot. I'm glad he stayed. I was up there in his office asking him to stay. I didn't want to learn a new offense. Coach Tranquill knows what he's doing and he know the way I play. "
Has it sunk in that you will be the starter?
"I get excited every time I hear it. It's my turn. I've been here four years working hard for it and it's finally come. I'm at a loss for words. Right now, I'm having fun with it. There's not a lot of pressure on me right now. I had fun working hard this summer. We'll see when it gets closer to Georgia Tech. I'm sure there will be a little more pressure. [The schedule] is posted on my wall. I see it every morning."
Do you look at it differently than when you were behind Darian [Durant]?
"No. I don't look at it differently. From a leadership standpoint this summer, it's been a little different. I've been guiding it a little bit now. When I've been running these practices this summer, everyone's been looking at me. ‘When are we going to have them?' – that's all new. But in terms of preparation, nothing's changed."
Has it been an easy transition for you?
"Yes, because it's not like I wasn't around and it just popped up – I'm leading. I've been helping Durant for the last couple of years, so everybody kind of knows my leadership qualities. It wasn't new to them. They've been hearing me talking."
Do you get "butterflies" when you look at the schedule?
"It's not ‘butterflies.' The way I look at it, that's our schedule. There's nothing we can do about it. There's no use getting scared about it. There's a lot of good football teams. You just have to go week by week, work hard, study film on everybody and not worry about the next one until Saturday night. I haven't even tried to look at these games; they're all tough to me. There's going to be ups and downs, and the team's going to have to take one game at a time. If we happen to lose a game, we're going to have to bounce back and prepare just as hard or harder for the next game."
Watching from the sidelines, what were some of the toughest defenses you saw last year?
"Teams like Louisville and Utah were some of the toughest defenses to prepare for. They use complicated systems and complicated game plans. Although from top to bottom they're not as good overall as Miami or Florida State, but Miami and Florida State are a little more simple in terms of them having all those athletes, so they don't have to have a complicated defense, they can beat people, and they can still get the job done, whereas at some other schools they will change defenses and surprise people. Those are the tough teams to prepare for."