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What does it feel like to be back at North Carolina?
“It’s extremely exciting because there are some new things that have been built since I left. A lot of improvements and, of course, the league has changed a little bit. They’ve added new members and the conference alignment has changed since I left, but one thing about it is that the southern part of heaven hasn’t changed. There’s a lot of good things, lot of good places to eat, lot of good people. It’s just a great place to be.”
How much did you jump at this opportunity when it came about?
“Well, I had an opportunity to have some other roles at some other schools that required some coordinator things and a lot more zeros past the dollar sign and this far outweighed [those opportunities]. It wasn’t even a choice to do one or the other, because I felt like having an opportunity to come back to Carolina and be Carolina blue was just a unique experience, obviously, with Larry [Fedora] being a friend and being able to work with people that I knew in Blake [Anderson] and other guys and just having some fun.”
Did you reach out to Fedora first or did he contact you?
2002 Media Day
with Chelsey Borders and Sam Aiken
“We had been talking back and forth because obviously when Larry’s name was mentioned with the job, I had a lot of conversation with people from this part of the world, people calling and saying, ‘Hey, I know you worked with Larry and you know him well. What kind of guy is he and would he be interested? Why should we hire and what qualities do you think he brings?’ All of the things that you get. Can he recruit? Tell me about the offense and tell me about all of these other things. Then, obviously, when everything happened he called and said, ‘This is going to take place.’ He knew I had other opportunities and he said, ‘Look, this is what we can do. How do you feel about it?’”
Is this a place you’ve always wanted to get back to ever since you left?
“No question. I think it’s a place that if you haven’t been here, you want to be here, and if you’ve been here, you never want to leave. And if you did leave, you always want to come back.”
You go back a long way with Coach Fedora in this style of offense. Was that relationship within the offense one of the attractive aspects of this job opportunity?
“It was. It was a friendship born out of that offense which was born out of a bunch of different guys getting together and experimenting and coming up with something very unique. And it started back in the ‘90s when Coach Fedora was at Middle Tennessee and we were at Marshall and a lot of different things were going on at that point where were unique. You see Oklahoma State, you see Oregon, you see a bunch of different people step outside the box, outside of the traditional style of offense of huddling up and doing things where you’ve got to do it this way, and broke the mold.
"You see the Indianapolis Colts take a guy like Peyton Manning and run that style of offense at the highest level and when all of the pieces are there, it’s pretty successful. So we had a friendship there football-wise and had a lot of other guys that had worked with each other, so it was pretty exciting to put it together at Oklahoma State and watch it from ’05 to what it is today.”
This is termed as a run-first spread look, but you’ve had some receivers to have plenty of success in this offense. What allows for that type of production in a run-based scheme?
2004 Spring Practice
working with Adarius Bowman
“It’s balance. I think you always have to be able to run the ball. Fortunately at Oklahoma State, we led the league in rushing for three years in a row. And people said that’s hard to do in a one-back offense, but not really. You see Oregon doing the same thing now. So I think in the spread offense, people have a misnomer about throwing it every down. At times, you can, if that’s required, but you can also run the football.
"So by creating an atmosphere in which you have the run, then that means the extra defensive player or two have to close down in the box, which means 1-on-1 matchups [for the receivers]. Man-to-man defense is sometimes pretty tough if you’ve got some bad matchups with people like Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon and the Sam Aikens of the world, and Hakeem Nicks and Randy Moss, too. They’re pretty tough to match up on 1-on-1 for a period of time.”