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September 12, 2012The North Carolina Tar Heels take to the road this weekend for an ACC/Big East matchup against No. 19 ranked Louisville. Coached by Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels look to bounce back after opening league play with a 28-27 loss to Wake Forest last week. Fedora said he knows Strong will have his team ready to play and has challenged his team to match Louisville's intensity.
Breaking down the loss to Wake Forest:
"Looking at the film, evaluating and breaking it down, we obviously didn't make enough plays to win the football game the other night. Too many missed assignments and too many mistakes on both sides of the ball for us to be effective in how we want to play. We didn't have the game changing plays. Offensively we shot ourselves in the foot a few too many times. Those two drives that ended in field goals instead of in the end zone can come back and hurt you. Then defensively we just gave up too many big plays."
"They've got speed. Especially on defense, you can really see them fly around. They can run. They've got two defensive ends that can get to the ball and go. Their secondary likes to play a lot of man coverage. They're just fast. Offensively, at quarterback they are extremely talented. He can beat you with his legs or he can beat you with his arm. So I have some familiarity with Charlie [Strong] and we've worked together before, Vance Bedford and I have worked together before. I know those guys and I know how those kids are going to be coached. I know what the expectation level will be on that side. I know they will be ready to play."
On already having played on the road:
"I haven't really thought about it. We've been on the road once; if that helps us, it helps us. For us we evaluated every detail from the time we get together Friday morning to what they do through the ball game. We've talked extensively about that today but we wouldn't change anything. We don't think that had any difference in the outcome of the game. We're constantly evaluating every thing that we do so we can do the best by our guys and get them in the best position. Our kids will be familiar with an on-the-road routine at least."
On competing against UL head coach Charlie Strong:
"Charlie is a great competitor. He is a lot of fun to be around. He coaches hard. I had a great time with him on the staff and I had a great time competing against him on the field. His kids are going to play really hard for him."
On the criticism of plays called:
"I've been calling plays since 1999 and I learned a long time ago never to second guess what you call. I don't ever do that. I can assure you that what was called was expected to be good when we called it otherwise we wouldn't have called it. It's not like we have a spinner that you spin and wherever it lands is the play you call. It's all thought through and planned out beforehand. If we completed some of those passes we would have been in good shape, but we did run the ball effectively."
On missing Giovani Bernard:
"Well both of our other running backs did a really nice job. It may have been more of a comfort level with those guys just mentally more than anything. I sat there watching the film wondering if [Gio] would have done any one of those plays differently, and honestly we don't know. Romar [Morris] did a very nice job when he got the ball in his hands and I thought [A.J.] Blue did a nice job also. Both of those kids are just impressive young men.
"There's no doubt [we missed him]. You have a player of his caliber and is such a big part of what we do offensively, and also on the whole football team since he is returning punts for us too as another integral part, it's hard to say how much we missed him."
On Giovani Bernard's progress:
"He wants to be out there on every snap. It's like during camp, you might have the threes out there and all of a sudden he's out there with them and you wonder 'What is he doing?' He wants to play and get another rep. That is just him. I don't think he will ever not be ready. Every time I talk to him that's all he can say is that he's ready. Before the game he just didn't feel right and I didn't want to put him in a bad situation."
On coming back from a loss:
"We had a lot of guys that were hurting and a lot of guys that were down on themselves and everything. That's just the way it is when you put that much into it and don't come out on top. It hurts and you get that feeling in your stomach, it's pretty sickening. That's a good thing, because it means it means a lot to them. But you can't let one loss beat you twice. We've got to be really critical of ourselves about the mistakes we made in the game, correct them and put it to bed. It's gone and it's over with. We've got to get over the mistakes we made so we don't make them again."