On the penalties against Miami:
“We had a few penalties. We did. That’s 30 in two games now and the thing that we talk about, especially on offense, is we don’t want any pre or post-snap penalties and we had zero so we actually hit our goal in that area, but there’s going to be some penalties in a game that are due just to strictly you being aggressive, you getting after people, trying to finish blocks, when a kid gets out of your frame and you still try to turn him over and put him on the ground and then you get a call. We had too many of those and so we’ve addressed it, hopefully we’ll get better from it.
“We had a facemask penalty. Travis [Hughes] was blitzing, he came wide open, he’s going to get a big hit, the guy side stepped him, he stuck his arm out, he grabbed his facemask. Not intentional by any means. A lot of them were because guys were being aggressive and I would much rather have to tone them down than to try to get them going.”
How do you think your team handled being away from Chapel Hill?
“I thought they did a great job. That was one of the things that we emphasized all week with the team. To take the intensity level that we had in the Tar Pit and take it on the road and do it on the road and I was really proud of the way we matched the intensity level throughout the game. There was never a point where I thought we had a lull. Our guys played hard from the start to the end and I don’t think they ever expected us not to win that football game.
“It was interesting after Tre [Boston’s] interception got called back. Because of a penalty, you expect some guys to get depressed, but they took it as a challenge. It was almost like okay, let’s see what you got next. I’m really proud of the way they handled it all.”
How did the two-point conversion play out?
“Well if you noticed after the first score we lined up in the same formation and Miami adjusted to it and they handled it. The next time we lined up in it you expect them to handle it again, but they didn’t. Somebody fell asleep, [Tommy Hibbard] saw there was an opening so he waited until the official got off the ball, got the snap, threw it out there and it didn’t matter. You got Jack [Tabb] blocking, you got [Eric] Ebron behind him and they got one guy out there with another guy coming from inside. Ebron is going to get three yards. He’s going to do it. He’s a 250-pound athlete that runs hard. It’s a risk-reward and we felt like it would be well worth it if we had the opportunity.”
On Gio Bernard playing in front of his family:
“I got to meet his dad and his brother after the game for the first time and that’s actually the first time his dad has seen him play in person so it was pretty special for him. I know his dad was very proud and his brother was also excited that they were all able to do that as a family.”
On Kareem Martin:
“Kareem has been really solid for us throughout the entire year. We’re thin over there on that side of the ball and he’s probably played more plays than he probably needs to, but he just steps up each week and makes plays for us. I’m hoping that sometime in the open week we can get him at 100 percent. He’s probably at 75-80 percent and if we can get him to that he can finish up the year really strong.”
How would you like to fill your schedule in the future, because there are a lot of openings starting in 2014?
“If you want me to be honest with you, I just want to worry about Duke. I don’t really care about what’s happening in 2013, 2014, 2018, 2020 or 2026. I just want to get to this weekend and play this game. I really don’t know about all that.”
On Nic Platt getting the start against Miami:
“Nic is about 6-foot-2, 200-pounds and has really good speed and he’s been doing really well in practice and Gunter [Brewer] just felt like he needed to make sure him and [Sean] Tapley both played to keep Tapley not only healthy, but to keep him fresh throughout the game. It was good to be able to play both of them. You got a little bit of competition there, which I think is good for the position and we need that across the board. Quinshad [Davis] is playing too many plays right now. [Erik Highsmith] is playing too many plays right now, so the guys behind them need to bring it a little bit more.”
Why did you throw the ball twice instead of running the ball on your last offensive possession against Miami?
“I think if you ask Blake [Anderson], he is going to tell you he probably wished he could have those calls back, but I can promise you this. For being a play caller for the last 15-years you can’t sit around and second-guess your calls like everybody in the stadium gets to do. You put together a plan and you stick to that plan. He’d tell you right now he wished he’d probably run the ball, but when he checked to those passes, I’m thinking he see’s something that is there and we’re going to hit it and we’re going to put the game out of reach and that’s the way we’re going to play and I have no problem with that, because we’re always going to play aggressive. We’re going to play to win the football game, not not to lose. We’ll learn from it and hopefully we’ll be a little bit better next time and we’ll complete them.”
Where did the phrase “the success of this team depends on me” come from?
“That comes from our Carolina creed. In our team meeting room we have our creed on the wall and it’s something that we started back in fall camp where they all stand and repeat the creed and it’s about 10 paragraphs long and it’s about what it means to wear the interlocking ‘NC’ either on the side of your helmet or on your chest and what it means to be a North Carolina football player and one of those paragraphs is ‘the success of this team depends on me.’ We repeat that quite a bit and our guys understand that the success of this team depends on me. Me individually. Me doing my job so that my brothers can trust that I’m going to get my job done and that’s why we’re going to be successful.”
“This is a really good Duke football team and probably the best team Duke’s had since [Steve] Spurrier won the league back in whatever year that was (1989). They’re a really good football team. David [Cutcliffe’s] done a really nice job building that football team. He’s got a lot of seniors, a lot of guys that have been with him the entire time, a lot of guys that understand the system, both offensively and defensively and what they’re doing on special teams, but more so what you see with this group is that they truly believe they’re going to win. That’s a credit to him and his staff, because he’s got them believing. They’re one win away from going to a bowl game and that is a big deal and they plan on getting it this game.”
Mel Kiper and Todd McShay recently named Carolina’s offensive line the best in college football. What makes you guys so good?
“I think a big thing is that we’ve been playing together for a few years now. Chemistry is a pretty big deal on the o-line. Just being able to feel the guy playing next to and know what he’s about to do. We also trust one another across the board, which is pretty huge and I think that the hard work that we put in over the spring and summer ever since we’ve had the new coaching staff here, I think it’s really paid off and we’re glad to get a little bit of recognition. It’s kind of rare for an o-line to get any recognition, but we’re excited about it, but at the same time we know what we’ve done to get to this point has to be continued and we have to get better.”
It seems like since your return from injury your leg is stronger. Why is that?
“I think it’s definitely a combination of being more mature and the new strength coach coming in and really pushing us to somewhere we’ve never been before and definitely for me.”
Your first kick against Miami appeared to be good, but it was ruled no-good. What did you see?
“I thought it went in. I knew I hit it over the top of the upright, but to me it looked like it was a little more inside than out, but I shouldn’t have made it that close, so it’s still my fault.”
"Larry Fedora Live" will air weekly in the fall on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates, including UNC's flagship station (WCHL 1360AM/97.9FM).