UNC Archive


Fedora expects a more confident Williams, offense this season

By Clifton Barnes With a more experienced offensive line, UNC coach Larry Fedora expects quarterback Marquis Williams to take on less of the load and distribute the ball better. Last season the Tar Heels had just one returning starter on the offensive line and as a result Williams, a big and physical quarterback, called his own number many times to evade the defense. All that running got him bruised and battered and led to fewer of the other skill players getting the ball in their hands. “The reason he did that lack of experience on the offensive line… I think […]

By Clifton Barnes

With a more experienced offensive line, UNC coach Larry Fedora expects quarterback Marquis Williams to take on less of the load and distribute the ball better.

Last season the Tar Heels had just one returning starter on the offensive line and as a result Williams, a big and physical quarterback, called his own number many times to evade the defense.

All that running got him bruised and battered and led to fewer of the other skill players getting the ball in their hands.

“The reason he did that lack of experience on the offensive line… I think you’ll see him distribute the ball more,” Fedora said at the ACC football meeting Tuesday morning in Pinehurst. “Marquis will make some different decisions.”

In the Carolina offense, the quarterback has a lot of freedom and Fedora said a lot of Williams’ runs last year weren’t called runs.

Fedora said Williams likes to run and he isn’t apprehensive and cautious when he runs but that more production from the running back will take the load off Williams.

TJ Logan started nine games at tailback last season and played in all 13, running for 582 yards and three touchdowns. The junior will need to produce more this season, as will his backup Elijah Hood, a sophomore who ran for 259 yards and four touchdowns in nine games.

And as Fedora says, the success of the running game will depend on the offensive line.
“All five offensive linemen are back,” he said. “We have a lot of confidence we’re going to be good in the running game.”

Confidence seems to be a buzz word for this year’s Tar Heels team. With the linemen all back – including All-America candidate senior guard Landon Turner, junior tackle Jon Heck and junior center Lucas Crowley – confidence is high on offense.

But some of that confidence is being exuded by quarterback Marquis Williams too who is not looking over his shoulder this season. Last preseason there was an open battle between he and Mitch Trubisky for the QB position. In fact, especially early in the season, the two split time at the position.

“He’s very confident,” Fedora said. “He goes into the season knowing this is his team… He understands all he needs to do is keep moving the chains and take care of the football.”

And Fedora is confident he’ll do that.



Area football players land on Maxwell, Bednarik watch lists

A total of 14 Atlantic Coast Conference defensive players have been selected to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, while 11 ACC players have been chosen to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award. …read more
UNC defeats Duke, 45-20

A total of 14 Atlantic Coast Conference defensive players have been selected to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, while 11 ACC players have been chosen to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award. …read more


Guthridge, reluctant head coach, follows his friend Dean Smith in death

Bill Guthridge.

Bill Guthridge.

(Editor’s Note: Parts of this column were used in articles for the UNC General Alumni Association and WNCN TV)

Bill Guthridge, who reluctantly became head coach of the Carolina men’s basketball team after serving as a loyal assistant to Dean Smith for 30 years, died Tuesday night. He was 77.

During his career, Guthridge spurned offers to interview for head coaching vacancies, preferring to remain out of the spotlight and continuing to team with Smith, who died on Feb. 7. Once, in 1978, Guthridge nearly accepted the head coaching job at Penn State, but he changed his mind at the airport and reportedly never again thought about leaving Chapel Hill.

“If you have something you really enjoy, why go someplace else?” Guthridge said.

His kinship and relationship with Smith was a big part of that enjoyment.

Like Smith, Guthridge was the son of Kansas schoolteachers. He became a reserve guard in college at Kansas State, graduating with a math major.

Guthridge was known as a bit of a micromanager with superb organization skills. He went by the adage that if you take care of the little things, you’ll never have big problems.

Guthridge was generally mild-mannered and subtle, but when angered, he could be fierce and straightforward, coming to the aid of Smith and to the Carolina basketball program.

Once, following a particularly heated 72-71 victory over Maryland in 1983, Terp coach Lefty Driesell refused to shake Smith’s hand. Immediately, Guthridge yelled and charged after Driesell; he was restrained before making any contact.

Guthridge famously had to be restrained another time when a referee ejected Smith from a 1991 Final Four game against Kansas, with 35 seconds left and the Heels trailing by five. The explanation was that Smith left the coach’s box.

In the walkway after the game, Guthridge briskly and angrily approached the officials but was pushed away by a police officer and grabbed by then-sports information director Rick Brewer ’71.

Ironically, Guthridge was known more for his calm, professorial demeanor. In fact, Smith referred to just that when Guthridge retired after three years as the head coach.

“Bill’s basketball savvy, ability to remain composed and his genuine affection for his players are just some of the reasons for his success as a head coach,” Smith said at the time, adding that Guthridge never received enough credit as an assistant coach.

When Guthridge retired after the 2000 season, his 960 combined wins as an assistant at Kansas State and UNC (880) and head coach (80) were the most in Division I history. He was a part of 14 Final Fours — one as a player, 11 as an assistant and two in his three seasons as head coach.

Guthridge also was noted for what he did for the University away from basketball. In 1993, he and his wife, Leesie, created the William W. and Elise P. Guthridge Library Fund, which has helped with purchasing materials and renovation of the House Undergraduate Library. In 1998, the Bill Guthridge Distinguished Professorship in mathematics was established.

For 30 of his 33 years at Carolina, Guthridge was the behind-the-scenes guy — scouting opponents, making sure players got to class on time, disciplining players, getting the players on the bus or airplane and into the hotel, working with office staff on the smallest of details and recruiting (something, unlike many coaches, he said he enjoyed very much).

And he did it all with a dry wit and style.

He was known to answer a question such as “Coach, do you know what time it is?” with a “Yes” as he walked away. Once he asked a manager, whose arms were full of equipment, if he had change for a quarter. The manager put down his items and rifled through his pockets. Guthridge didn’t need the change — he just wanted to know if he had it.

At the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame museum, Guthridge pretended not to recognize a photo of Michael Jordan ’86, instead moving on to the photo of former Virginia coach Terry Holland.

On the practice court, he was all business, working with Carolina’s big men on posting up as well as working with all the players on their shooting skills.

But once he took over as head coach, he had to switch gears to leave the smaller details to his assistants and “tackle the big things,” as he said.

It wasn’t a transition Guthridge wanted to make, but some have speculated it was one orchestrated by Smith, who retired just before the start of the 1997-98 season, giving officials little time to find someone to succeed him.

In accepting the head coaching position, Guthridge said: “This isn’t quite the way that I have envisioned this whole scenario through the years. I had hoped that Dean and I could go out together and ride into the sunset in about five or six years.”

While Guthridge hinted he might stay as head coach for as long as 10 years, he retired in 2000 after three seasons as head coach. Despite running every morning, Guthridge, then 62, said he simply lacked the energy to go on.

He remained close to the University, the players and the basketball program after retirement, often going into the office to help. In 2007, the Carolina locker room was dedicated by the basketball lettermen in Guthridge’s honor.

In recent years, Guthridge often stood in for an ailing Smith at various events, many of them honoring Smith, who by then had lost his legendary memory. Guthridge’s memory itself started to fail in 2014.

Among his accomplishments:

National Coach of the Year in 1998;
He won more games than any college coach after one and two seasons and tied the NCAA record for most victories after three years;
Assistant coach for two UNC national championships (’82 and ’93);
Assistant coach for the 1976 U.S. gold-medal winning Olympic team;
Induction into the NC Sports Hall of Fame;
Recipient of the UNC General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal; and
Induction into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

UNC Alumni Association article on Guthridge’s death

WNCN article on Guthridge’s death

What they’re saying about the death of Bill Guthridge:

ACC Commissioner John Swofford:
“Bill was uniquely special. He was a kind soul with a strong, competitive spirit. A relatively quiet man with a wonderful and dry sense of humor. A tremendously loyal person with an ego that was seemingly non-existent. I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone that didn’t like and respect Bill Guthridge. Just a really good man who made Carolina, the ACC and college basketball better.”

Former UNC Director of Athletics Dick Baddour:
“Bill was one of the most respected and admired people I have known. If you played for him you loved him; working with him was a joy. The University of North Carolina has lost a dear friend, as have I, and I know that we will all miss him greatly.”

Carolina head coach Roy Williams:
“It’s another tremendous loss for our University, our basketball program and our entire community. He was extremely special, important to every player, every coach who ever worked here. He was even more important to me.

Not only did he coach me on the freshman team, he was my coach, another mentor, a friend, a father figure, a big brother for me just like he was for so many players.

He was an unbelievable assistant to Coach Smith. Coach Smith had so many strengths and very few weaknesses, and the weaknesses that he did have Coach Guthridge tried to fill. He tried to do every one of those little things that drove Coach Smith crazy. He was a perfect sidekick for Coach Smith.

He stayed (rather than leave for a head coaching job at another university) because he was enjoying what he was doing and why leave something you know is good for the unknown. At one point he thought he wanted to be a head coach, but he also decided that he really enjoyed Coach Smith and the program here and why should he leave when he has what he thought was the perfect job.”

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski:

“It has been a trying time for the University of North Carolina basketball program over the past four months and our thoughts and prayers are with them again today after the passing of Bill Guthridge. Coach Guthridge played an instrumental role in the program’s success as an assistant under Dean Smith for three decades before making his own name as a head coach in leading North Carolina to a pair of Final Four appearances in three seasons. Though he was a head coach for a short time, he gracefully carried ona culture and legacy that many thought could not be perpetuated. We offer our deepest sympathies to his Bill’s family, friends and the entire North Carolina basketball community.”

Statement from Linnea Smith (wife of Dean Smith) and the Smith family:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Guthridge. He was a fellow teacher and colleague to Dean for more than thirty years and a friend and confidant for even longer. He’ll be missed by our family and the entire UNC community. We offer our condolences and our prayers to the Guthridge and UNC basketball families.”

Statement from Antawn Jamison, who earned consensus National Collegiate Player of the Year honors in 1998, Bill Guthridge’s first season as UNC’s head coach.
“I’m extremely saddened by the passing of Coach Guthridge, aka “Coach Gut,” especially coming so close to the loss of Coach Smith. He, like Coach Smith, was more of a mentor and father figure than anything else. His legacy and contributions to my life and to our University will live on and he’ll be much more remembered for his sense of humor and class just as much as his coaching.”

Statement from Chancellor Carol L. Folt:

“The Carolina community mourns the passing of Bill Guthridge, a great coach, devoted friend and loyal Tar Heel. For more than three decades, Coach Guthridge served this University he loved so much with a deep commitment to academic and athletic excellence. Like his lifelong friend and mentor, Coach Dean Smith, he led by example instilling values of kindness, discipline and a strong work ethic. His legacy lives on in each of the players who were privileged to call him Coach and countless Tar Heels and people across the nation who admired him. We offer our deepest condolences to the Guthridge family as they grieve the loss of a wonderful husband and father.”


Undrafted: Duke’s Cofield signed by Redskins; ECU’s Carden by Bears

Takoby Cofield.

Takoby Cofield.

Now that the NFL draft is over, those who went undrafted are being made offers from teams as undrafted free agents. Several in North Carolina have already been signed including East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden (Bears) and Duke’s offensive tackle Takoby Cofield (Redskins).

Meanwhile, NC State was shut out of NFL Draft for the first time since 1996 but Wolfpacker Tyson Chandler, a 6-6 340-pound offensive tackle, signed with the Lions.

ECU’s Carden might be in a decent situation joining a team that went just 5-11 and whose fans booed the starting quarterback, veteraan Jay Cutler.

Carden has the best numbers of any East Carolina quarterback in history with nearly 12,000 passing yards, 86 touchdowns and more than 1000 completions.

Pirate teammate Lamar Ivey, a physical safety, was signed by the Seattle Seahawks.

As for the 6-4, 310-pound Cofield, a Tarboro native, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports said this before the draft, “Although guard Laken Tomlinson receives most of the attention on Duke’s offensive line, Cofield started 42 straight games at left tackle and has produced NFL worthy film of his own. He was a steady edge blocker for the Blue Devils, using adequate size, athleticism and constant hustle to get the job done. Cofield needs to introduce discipline to his play style to limit his lunges and improve his anchor to better sink in his stance to survive at the next level. Although he has wrinkles to iron out and his lack of range of physical tools aren’t ideal, Cofield shows promise and has enough talent to grow into a reserve swing tackle in the NFL – worth late round consideration.”

Cofield was a third-team All-ACC selection. His teammate quarterback Anthony Boone was signed by Detroit while Duke receiver Issac Blakeney was signed by the 49ers. Duke defensive end Jordan DeWalt-Ondigo, who was considered a possible draftee, signed with the Eagles.

The two UNC Tar Heel signed so far are cornerback Tim Scott, who was signed by the Cowboys, and tight end Jack Tabb, who was signed by the Saints. Scott impressed scouts with a 4.55 40-yard dash at UNC’s Pro Day prior to the draft but it wasn’t enough to get drafted.


UNC’s Gallen named Pitcher of the Week

Zac Gallen.

Zac Gallen.

North Carolina’s Zac Gallen has garnered ACC Pitcher of the Week accolades.

Gallen tossed his second straight home complete game and his first career shutout on Friday to beat Boston College 1-0. The sophomore from Glassboro, New Jersey, struck out eight and allowed just two walks and three hits, facing only five more than the minimum. With the win, he improved to 3-3 on the year and now holds a 2.98 ERA in conference play. Gallen has struck out 46 in 54.1 innings against ACC opponents with just 12 walks.


Syracuse women’s lacrosse stops Carolina in double OT

Kayla Treanor.

Kayla Treanor.

The path to an Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Lacrosse Championship title is never easy, but this year’s Syracuse team may be remembered as one that set a new standard for running a gauntlet.

Kayla Treanor’s sudden victory goal following double-overtime lifted the sixth-seeded Orange to a 9-8 win over top-seeded North Carolina in Sunday’s final at Klockner Stadium. It followed a familiar script for the tournament MVP, who also delivered a sudden-victory game-winner in Thursday night’s win over third-seeded Boston College.

Syracuse – deceptively seeded sixth in the tournament field but ranked seventh nationally – defeated the nation’s fourth-ranked team (Boston College), third-ranked team (Duke) and second-ranked squad (North Carolina) in a span of less than 72 hours en route to capturing its first ACC women’s lacrosse championship in two seasons as an ACC member.

The Orange (14-6) has grown accustomed to grinding out tough wins – Sunday’s match was its 10th of theseason decided by a single goal – and a determined defensive effort and execution of the fundamentals paid dividends. Syracuse won 16 of 21 draw controls (nine by Kailah Kempney) and limited UNC to eight goals on 30 shots.

Orange keeper Kelsey Richardson made 10 saves Sunday, and her 29 for the Championship were one shy of the tournament record. Her efforts helped Syracuse prevail on a day Tar Heel counterpart Caylee Waters was equally effective with 11 saves, giving her 26 in three tournament games.

Halle Majorana delivered a hat trick, and Treanor finished with two goals and an assist despite being marked effectively much of the day by UNC defensive ace Courtney Waite. Treanor tied an ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship record with six assists in her three games.

The Tar Heels (15-3) fell short in their bid for their first ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship since 2002 despite setting a tournament record for goals scored with 44. Aly Messinger paced UNC on Sunday with a pair of goals and an assist, and Marie McCool also scored a pair of goals for the Tar Heels.

Syracuse looked as if it might be set to win in regulation when a flurry of three unanswered goals by Riley Donahue, Treanor and Majorana put the Orange in front 8-5 with 7:16 remaining.

But with Messinger scoring one goal and assisting on another, UNC scrapped back to tie the score at 8-8 by the end of regulation. UNC actually held possession with a shot at the winning score in the waning seconds, but Richardson made the stop on Kelly Devlin’s attempt.

The second overtime period ended in similar high drama as Syracuse’s Taylor Gait worked for a close-range shot that just beat the final horn but was smothered in goal by UNC’s Waters, setting up sudden victory and Treanor’s decisive heroics.

The teams were tied 3-3 at the end of the first half that saw no scoring in the final 11:05. With Kempney, Erica Bodt and Majorana each scoring goals within a span of less than seven minutes, Syracuse grabbed a 3-0 lead in the early going.

UNC counted with three-goal run of its own to tie the score at 3-3 behind two goals from McCool and another from Messinger, who ran down a ground ball off a Syracuse turnover and charged in for an unassisted score.

The trio of Tar Heel goals came during a span of just over four minutes. The final 11 minutes of the half were ones of missed opportunities for both teams, as reflected by their six goals on 23 shots.

Sunday’s outcome, coupled with the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship title secured by the Orange earlier in the day at Chester, Pennsylvani, left Syracuse as just the third program in ACC history to sweep the women’s lacrosse and men’s championships, joining Virginia (2006) and Maryland (2011).

After entering the match ranked among the nation’s top seven ranked teams, UNC and Syracuse each anticipate high NCAA Tournament seedings when pairings are announced next weekend. The ACC is hopeful of placing as many as seven teams in the NCAA field.

The 2015 ACC Women’s Lacrosse All-Tournament Team:

Kayla Treanor, Syracuse (MVP)
Kelsey Richardson, Syracuse
Halle Majorna, Syracuse
Kailah Kempney, Syracuse
Mallory Vehar, Syracuse
Caylee Waters, North Carolina
Aly Messinger, North Carolina
Maggie Bill, North Carolina
Kelly Devlin, North Carolina
Kenzie Kent, Boston College
Kerrin Maurer, Duke
Barbara Sullivan, Notre Dame

– News release


Both Tar Heel tennis teams lose to Virginia teams in ACCs

virginialogoThe men’s and women’s tennis teams from Virginia each defeated their North Carolina counterparts to earn spots in the ACC championship matches.

The Cavalier men cruised into the title game against Wake Forest, posting a 4-0 victory over North Carolina Cary (NC) Tennis Park. Virginia secured the doubles point before the rain came and moved action to Durham. After relocating, the ‘Hoos dominated the singles action, taking the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6 points, all in straight sets. Mitchell Frank advanced the Cavaliers with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.

The Virginia women took down top-seeded and previously undefeated North Carolina, in a convincing 4-1 victory. The Cavaliers jumped out to a fast start, taking the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 slots. The ‘Hoos then ran away from the Tar Heels with straight set singles victories at the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 positions to clinch a spot in the title match.


Duke upsets ND to earn trip to lacrosse finals vs. Syracuse, winners over UNC

acclaxDuke upset Notre Dame while Syracuse upset North Carolina to set up a Duke-Syracuse ACC lacrosse final Sunday.

Fourth-seeded Duke jumped out to a big lead and withstood a late comeback attempt to defeat top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, 13-8, Friday night in the semifinals of the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

Second-ranked North Carolina came from down by three in the second half to tie fourth-ranked (third-seeded) Syracuse 8-8 in the fourth quarter. But, while the Tar Heels had held the Orange scoreless for almost 25 minutes, Syracuse’s Kevin Rice wrapped around from behind the goal to score with 1:48 left to give the Orange a 9-8 victory.

A controversial offsides call on UNC’s Chad Tutton, who had scored two straight goals to tie it at 8, ended any chance the Tar Heels had to come behind in the last minute.

“I thought it was a great call myself,” Syracuse coach John Desko said with a wry smile. “I didn’t really see it.”

Case Matheis led the way for Duke with four goals on seven shots, with Justin Guterding adding three goals in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA National Championship game. With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 11-4 and avenged a 15-10 regular season loss to the Irish on April 4.

“It’s awesome,” said Matheis on reaching the championship game. “In my first two years we lost in the semis. Those games are turning points in that they were losses. This time we won and it’s another turning point in building our confidence and building our team dynamic.”

UNC-Syracuse box score


UNC tennis edges Duke to advance to ACC semifinals

UMC sophomore Jack Murray after match-clinching victory. (UNC Sports Information photo)

UMC sophomore Jack Murray after match-clinching victory. (UNC Sports Information photo)

With a spot in the ACC semifinals at stake, the fourth-seeded North Carolina men’s tennis team edged fifth-seeded Duke 4-3 on Friday in a marathon at Cary Tennis Park that lasted longer than four hours. The Tar Heels dropped the doubles point but battled back to tie the match at 3-3, setting up sophomore Jack Murray for his match-clinching victory on court four in a winner-take-all third set.

Carolina improves to 21-9 with the win, while the Blue Devils fall to 22-6.

Doubles play got off to a promising start for the Tar Heels, with Murray and fellow sophomore Ronnie Schneider notching an 8-5 victory over Duke’s pair of Raphael Hemmeler and Daniel McCall. However, the Blue Devils would take control on courts two and three to secure the point. At the No. 2 spot, senior Esben Hess-Olesen and sophomore Brayden Schnur rallied from down 6-3 to force a tiebreaker, but the duo ultimately fell to Duke’s Josh Levine and Jason Tahir 8-7. With the doubles point up for grabs, Carolina’s 39th-ranked pair of junior Brett Clark and freshman Robert Kelly dropped a rare match at the hands of TJ Pura and Bruno Semenzato, 8-6. The loss snapped Clark and Kelly’s nine-match win streak that dated back to Feb. 20 at Texas.

Singles competition did not disappoint for the UNC fans that ventured out to Cary Tennis Park. The Tar Heels were able to tally four wins – including three in three sets – to steal a win from its archrival.

The Tar Heels will be back in action on Saturday at 10 a.m. against top-seeded Virginia in the semifinals. The Cavaliers are 2-0 versus UNC this season.


Fedora talks about UNC’s spring football

UNC's Larry Fedora.

UNC’s Larry Fedora.

LARRY FEDORA: We had, I thought, a
very productive spring. We really wanted to work
on the fundamentals and techniques that we were
going to need, especially in a new defensive
scheme. We wanted to continue developing depth
in our offensive line and defensive line and at other
positions so that we could have some good
competition, and I think — I’d say for the most part,
we got all those things accomplished.

Q. Just wanted to ask you about
quarterback Marquise
Williams, his rehab,
where he’s at, kind of how everything is going
with him as he progresses forward.
LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, I’d say things are
going very well. They tell us that he’s ahead of
schedule, and I think when he had his last checkup
in Nashville, they told him that these next four
weeks was a very crucial time because he feels
like he’s 100 percent, and so this is when they see
most of the recurring injuries, and so we have to be
very careful with him right now. He’s got to be —
stick to the plan. But we anticipate him being back
here full speed in just a few weeks.

Q. What was it like for you to go
through spring without him? Were you able to
assess a lot about the offense despite the fact
that he wasn’t there?
LARRY FEDORA: Oh, yeah, yeah. I
mean, what we did was Mitch Trubisky ran with the
1s so he got a lot of reps, a lot of meaningful reps,
and then you have Caleb Henderson and Anthony
Ratliff that were there that also got reps with the
2s. So I thought it was beneficial. We made the
most of it. I would have loved for ‘Quise to be
there so he could have gotten a bunch of reps, but
he has the most reps of anybody in the offense,
and so if it had to happen to anybody, I think it was good for him.

Q. Kind of piggy-backing on the last
question, was Marquise’s situation something
that happened during the season or was it
something that occurred after the season was
over? And given the fact that Trubisky has
gotten so much more work in spring practice,
do you anticipate the quarterback situation
being similar to last year or do you see Mitch
getting a little bit more reps during game
LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, it did happen to
him at a point in the season. I couldn’t tell you
exactly the time that it happened, but as you
watched his production as the season went on, I
think the wear and tear on the injury, it hampered
him a little bit.
I think right now we’ve got some great
competition right there,
which we’re trying to
establish, and we are. We’ve got some depth
there. Marquise is our starting quarterback, and
I’m looking forward to watching those guys
compete in fall camp, but Marquise, I anticipate
Marquise taking that first snap against South
Carolina and getting after it.

Q. I know you guys when it comes to
recruiting have been affected by all the
uncertainty with the NCAA investigation.
Wondering what you’ve been telling kids, just
kind of about that in terms of the timeline of it,
and are you familiar with any kind of — anything
going on with that in terms of the timeline of it?
LARRY FEDORA: No, really, I mean, to
be honest with you, all we do is try to tell kids that
we’re at the mercy of the NCAA. Whenever it
happens, it happens. We don’t have a timeline.
No one has given us any information.
I feel pretty confident in what — I know I
feel confident in what we’re doing since we’ve been
here, so right now we’re just — we’ll just have to
wait and see what they say.

Q. What, if anything, can you glean in
terms of the season opener from the game two
years ago in Columbia, and can you really
evaluate any of it just because there’s been so
many changes on both sides of the ball for the
LARRY FEDORA: Well, they’re still a very
strong football team, there’s no doubt about it, and
we’ll find out where we match up and how much
improvement we’ve made as a football team and in
recruiting and in developing and all those things.
There will be some guys that play in the game that
played in it a couple years ago, and hopefully
those guys are — because we
played a lot of young
guys in that game, and so hopefully those guys
have grown up and they’re
better football players
at this time.

Q. With Gene Chizik coming aboard as
defensive coordinator, what has this spring
told you about the impact he’s going to have
on your defense, both him and his scheme?
LARRY FEDORA: Well, obviously Gene is
going to have a tremendous impact on our
defense. He’s running it. We have a completely
new scheme, and I would say with the additions of
John Papuchis and Charlton Warren and the
things that they’ve brought also from Nebraska, it’s
a great mixture between the two.
But Gene is in charge of it. I mean, he’s
installing his style of coachi
ng, his style of way, the
way he wants those guys to play. Yeah, I’m just
excited about seeing the end result once the
season gets here.

Q. You’ve got a great core coming
back, but one place where you’ve got a little
gap are your two kickers. I wonder if you can
tell us what you saw in spring, who looked
good, and how you see that going forward.
LARRY FEDORA: Well, I thought both of
them progressed. I mean, we got three guys really
competing for that job, for the place kicking. I think
Weiler will definitely be our kickoff guy this next
year. He did a tremendous job last year, and he’ll
continue to do that this next year. But he is
competing with the other two guys this spring. I
thought they all made progress. I thought they
were all better than we were during the season, so
you know, I anticipate us getting much more
production out of that position.

Q. Is there one particular area on
defense you think you made the most
improvement this spring looking at it from last
LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, I would say our
secondary. You know, just the things that we’ve
changed in our secondary. Also those guys
have — they’ve all got a year
of experience in, and
also as far as just playing and being out there, but
they’ve adapted well to the new scheme and the
new techniques that Gene and Charl want them to
play back there, so I would say coming out of
spring, I’d say that would have been the most
productive area.