Listen to Audio (10:25)
On the rivalry:
“College football needs rivalries. And just like the East Carolina rivalry, I think it’s important to have rivalries in your state. I’ve always thought that. Everywhere I’ve been, there’s been rivalries in in-state matchups. I think it’s critical for college football and college athletics in general. Yes, it’s important. Sometimes you want to stay so focused that you want to say, ‘It’s the next game, it’s the next game.’ But a lot of these kids were recruited by State… So I think it’s important when you have a school that’s only 20-25 miles down the road be a rivalry.”
"I think it's important. I think it's part of Carolina history, the 1,000-yard backs that have come before Gio. It's important to our offense that he [reaches] that goal and continues past 1,000 and keeps going. It's important to our offense. It's important to what we want to accomplish on offense, to be able to run the football. You get a 1,000-yard rusher and that says a lot about your ability to run the football."
What about this rivalry is important to you?
"I grew up a Carolina fan. That's what's important."
Do you have any memories of UNC-NCSU games that standout?
"Nothing that didn't involve Carolina winning. That's about it. I'm a Carolina guy. I've been a Carolina fan and never once thought about N.C. State. I bleed Carolina blue."
Listen to Audio (6:43)
On Saturday's game against N.C. State:
"This is my first opportunity to actually play in this game and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play against a good team and a well-coached team. I'm just looking forward to playing on Saturday."
On improving off the Wake Forest win:
That's what Coach Shoop said on Sunday. We really just need to put two games together. We haven't done that all season. Just back-to-back really solid games. We're not really worried about who we're playing, we're just focused on ourselves and asking that of ourselves."
Listen to Audio (9:41)
On the losing streak:
"Nobody on our team currently has ever won against N.C. State besides Coach 'Mo' and Andre Williams, so we feel like that's sad on our part that we haven't been able to accomplish our goal against N.C. State."
On the rivalry:
"I've never really been an N.C. State fan, so I've really never felt how much pressure is riding on this game. Just being from Durham, it does mean a lot since I've been so close to it and been around it a lot."
Listen to Audio (7:27)
Has Coach Withers been fired up more than normal heading into this game?
"Oh yeah, definitely going to be fired up. We haven't really gotten into it because today is our day off, but I'm expecting him to be a lot more fired up on Tuesday and through the week of practice and he'll be more enthusiastic than he has been all year."