“Looking forward to our final home game here in Kenan Stadium and the Tar Pit in front of our fans and our students. Having the opportunity to play Duke in this last game and especially the importance of this game because we have continued to get better as a football team. Duke is playing extremely well and having a historic season so it should be a heck of a ball game. We’re looking forward to it.
"Also, I want to make sure you guys are aware that I’ve had some extensive visits with Eric Ebron and his family. Eric has decided to forego his senior season so this will be his last home game as a Tar Heel football player. I’m proud of what Eric has accomplished and how he has represented the University of North Carolina. I’m excited for him and his future. I think this was a good decision by him and his family and I fully support it. We’ll be sad to see him go but excited also for his future.”
Why make the announcement now about Eric Ebron’s decision to enter the NFL draft at the conclusion of the season?
“Well, I think part of it is that he knows this is going to be his last home game. He would like to go through the process that the seniors do where we acknowledge the seniors for their last home game. I’ve agreed for him and his family to be a part of that. I really wanted to make that announcement today so we could get this over with, get it out of the way and then we can put it away so there are no more distractions. We have enough distractions this week with everything going on.”
Would you have thought at the beginning of the season that Duke would be in a position to play for a spot in the ACC Championship game?
“From my experience from last year, yes because they’re a good football team. The way the league has gone it’s come down to the wire or at least it did last year and now it’s doing it again this year. I think anybody can beat anybody on any given Saturday and if your team keeps believing and keeps playing well you can put yourself in that position and that’s what they’ve done.”
How much do you reflect on last year’s game in Durham in preparation for Saturday against the Blue Devils?
“Well I don’t have to a whole lot actually. Most of these guys except for the freshmen were all there. We talked about it a little bit on Sunday and that’ll be it really. It’s not something that we’ll spend a lot of time on because it won’t play a big role in what we do this year. It never does.
"It’s just like when we talk about a history of the series. Something that happened 50 years ago isn’t going to have a real effect on our football team. We don’t spend a whole lot of time. They know what happened and our guys are focused again on being 1-0. We’re going to go out and practice today, Wednesday and Thursday and we’re going to prepare ourselves to play our best on Saturday.”
What was the rationale behind having the video of the Duke loss last season playing in the locker room after the win over Old Dominion on Saturday?
“Just so they wouldn’t forget.”
What do you see from Duke this season that has made them so successful?
“Give David (Cutcliffe) and his staff credit. They have done a great job. Defensively, they’ve got kids that are playing hard and they’re playing some young kids and they’re in the right position. I wouldn’t say they’re doing a hundred different things on defense. They have a philosophy. They’re very sound in what they do. Their kids are in position and are where they’re supposed to be and they’re making the plays the are supposed to make. Then they become very opportunistic with the takeaways and the turnovers that have happened in the last four or five games.
"Then you turn around on offense and the running back is a 225-pound running back who does a great job. They are really good upfront on the offensive line. The quarterback is throwing the ball well. They’ve got the two quarterbacks going. One of them runs the ball probably a little bit better than the other but they’re not afraid to either with both. Then you’ve got the (Jamison) Crowder kid on the outside who’s pretty electric now. They’re going to throw the ball deep to him five or six times a game and they’ve had some success doing it. He can take a ball on a hitch and take it the distance on any play. He’s a heck of a return guy also.
"Then you go over to their special teams. As we look at all special teams every week these guys remind us of ourselves a lot. They put a lot of emphasis on it. They’re very sound in what they do and they expect to make game changing plays in the special teams just as we do.”
Comments on Ryan Switzer’s growth throughout the season:
“Here’s the difference in where Switzer is now and where he was at the beginning of the season. I don’t mean at the very beginning of the season but I mean in the first half of the season. Now the confidence is there. He’s not worrying about catching the football and he’s not thinking about everything that I’ve given him to think about. He thought when you come out of high school you go back there and you just catch a ball and run. Well that’s not the way we do things.
"He is so comfortable now that he is at that point where he doesn’t have to think now because the schemes are in place for him. He understands what we’re trying to accomplish. Now he can concentrate on making the catch. All the things that you want him to think about like wind conditions, where’s the sun, who do I need to communicate with probably overwhelmed him in the first part of the season. Some of his decision making process was poor in that first half of the season. If it had been where it is now then he’d probably have two to three more touchdowns under his belt right now.
"He knows that because there were some opportunities early in the year that we should’ve take advantage of but we weren’t able to because of his decision making process. Now he’s finally comfortable, all that stuff is processing but he’s not having to think. He’s not having to worry and he’s just going back there and playing ball now.”