Greensboro, N.C. – Larry Fedora is looking to put the past behind him and move on to an almost new everything as the start of fall practice nears.
Q: How do you get players to buy into the goals of the season when there’s no ability to play for a division championship or play in a bowl game.
“The first thing is when we found out it was being honest with them. Then letting them express their frustrations. They all got to say what they wanted and then after that we told them, ‘here’s the plan.’ We know that we have 12 games and if I’m a senior and that’s all that I’ve got then I know that I’m going to play each and every one of them. I’m going to take advantage of all of them no mater how I feel or what the weather is, whether we’re paying on the asphalt or what color my helmet and jersey are…nothing else matters.
“They’re only going to have the opportunity to play 12 more games and put that interlocking N-C on the side of my helmet or chest and represent the University of North Carolina. For them it’s about having 12 and we’re going to focus on 1 and when that 1 is done then we’re going to focus on the next one. We just won’t take anything for granted because we can’t.”
Q: What has been the biggest adjustment coming from what you built at Southern Miss?
“Being there for four season you tend to forget how things were when you started. Going back and starting over from scratch and remembering some of the frustrations that are involved in starting over. At least I’ve done it before so I’m able to go back and look at notes from four years ago and mistakes that I felt like I made four years ago and not make them in this transition.”
Q: How do you face things like negative recruiting when sanctions happen at a place like North Carolina.
“I think that was more prevalent before the sanctions came out because they could say what they wanted to say. Now it is what it is and everyone knows. It’s been talked about and written about over and over. The kids are tired of hearing about it. One, the bowl ban doesn’t affect any of the kids that we’re recruiting because they won’t be around. I don’t think it’s something that they really think about anymore.”
Q: Do you feel that you can finally move on now that the NCAA stuff has finally passed?
“I don’t think it is, I know it is. I know that we’re at a point that we are moving forward. The team and the players have been moving forward since the sanctions came out. I think the fans don’t want to hear about it. The fans are excited about the new season and the fact that college football is just around the corner. That’s all that anyone wants to talk about.”
Q: How do you think the players you have fit your style of offense and defense?
“That’s my biggest fear is that we might not have someone in the right place or take advantage of somebody’s skills because we don’t know about them. We just have to challenge ourselves as coaches to find out what the players can do and what they can’t do. Then if you’re a good football coach you take your philosophy and you mold the offense and defense around the talent that you have. The offense and defense will be different than what we had at Southern Miss because we have different players. And then in recruiting it’s finding the players that we feel will fit what we do in the long run.”
Q: You said earlier you didn’t watch any of the games from UNC last season including the bowl game…is that still the case?
“15 days. 15 days of spring practice is what I’m going on. We’ll go through the 29 days of fall camp and we’ll make all our decisions from that. Really, it doesn’t matter what they did before. And now I can’t go back because I told them on the first day that I wouldn’t. Whatever you want to be you’re building your resume from everyday moving forward. Most of them have taken that to heart.”
Q: Is that your philosophy or is it compounded by the fact of what happened to UNC before you got there?
“That’s just my philosophy. I’ve taken this offense into the fifth program and I’ve never looked at any film on any other player anywhere else ever before.”