UNC head coach Larry Fedora spoke in the ACC football teleconference Wednesday morning, three days before he takes the field with his Tar Heels for its third game of the regular season at Louisville.
The Tar Heels (1-1) are looking to overcome Saturday's tough one-point loss to in-state ACC rival Wake Forest against a tough Louisville team that played UNC hard in Chapel Hill a year ago behind defensive upstart head coach Charlie Strong and dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
We're looking forward to this opportunity of going on the road and having the opportunity to play a ranked opponent. Charlie (Strong) has done a great job up there with his football team in a short period of time. They've recruited some excellent talent, and we're really looking forward to see how we measure up.
I was just wondering what you've seen from Teddy Bridgewater on film? What has impressed you about how he started his sophomore year?
I think it's pretty special. I think Charlie's got to be very happy about the way that young man has performed at this point. I think he's got to be excited about the future there at Louisville because the kid looks like he can beat you with his legs or he can beat you with his arm. Those kind of quarterbacks are by far the toughest to try to defend.
A lot of times making the leap from freshman year success to continuing that in sophomore year, a lot of guys sometimes don't progress as they should. Is there anything in particular that you've seen out of him that he's doing that looks like a mature quarterback out there?
There is no doubt. I wouldn't have known that he was a sophomore until I looked on the depth chart. He looked so comfortable back there in the last two games and he's done such a nice job of making a play when something breaks down. He looks like he has a comfort level with what's going on. So it's obvious the reps that he got last year have helped him to see the game in a slower manner, and also just gave him some confidence that, hey, I can go out there and compete.
How much of a challenge is it going to be for your secondary this week to be able to slow him down given some of the results last week against Wake?
Yeah, it's a scary thought after what we did last week. We're working hard on our pass rush lanes making sure that we contain. We sit in there with him. At the same time you're trying to get pressure, but not trying to open up lanes for him. On the back end you have to do a great job of coverage.
They obviously have more than one receiver that's making plays for them. So that makes it even more difficult. So it's definitely a concern for us.
I was just wondering if you had any update on Giovani Bernard heading into this game?
You know, Gio practiced yesterday, and said he felt fine. So we'll see how that goes.
Wondering your reaction to Notre Dame joining the league?
I mean, obviously Notre Dame matches up with us both on and off the field with the entire league. I think that's a great thing. I think I don't know enough about it, how it's going to work for football with the five games, when we would play them. How often we would play them.
So there are too many things not to know about it to really comment on about it. I know it's a good thing for the ACC.
Is it at all disappointing that they're not in full bore for football?
I haven't thought enough about it to tell you whether or not it's disappointing or not. I'm concerned with trying to figure out how to beat the 19th ranked team in the country this week.
Want to ask you about Fedora ball a little bit. I like to call it that. You've still got over 84 plays or so against Wake on Saturday. But it definitely seemed at a lot slower pace than it was of course against Elon. What do you think you need to do this week as far as getting that pace back on your side against Louisville?
Well, we're going to continue to do the things that we're doing in practice and trying to prepare ourselves to get better in that area. I mean, we're still not where we want to be. We've still got guys that are still learning how to get lined up quicker, how to process quicker. Our quarterback is doing the same thing. Our offensive line making the calls quicker so that we can snap the ball at a more fanatical pace. When that happens, then we'll get to where we want to be, but we're still a ways from that.
How is Bryn Renner doing, any affects from the collision?
None whatsoever. There have been no effects.
What else defensively are you working on this week coming off that Wake Forest game?
We've got to obviously get more pressure on the quarterback, and we've got to do a good job of that and also containing him. You can't just go wildly up field and leave him running lanes, because Bridgewater has shown that he can beat you with his legs, so we've got to get more pressure on the quarterback and we've got to cover people. So, hopefully if we can get better in both those areas, we'll be a better team.
In the absence of Gio, you get A.J. Blue a long run there. Can you tell me what he gives you? Is there a big dropoff, or is he as productive a back?
I don't know if he's as productive as Gio. Gio's pretty special. He's done some things here that nobody else has done. So that would be hard for me to compare the two. What Blue does give us is he's the leader in that position. He's also one of the leaders on our offense and our football team. He's very well respected. He's a physical kid.
He's a tough-minded kid. He doesn't care if he's running the ball or blocking or whatever he's doing. He's on special teams. He wants to help the football team win. He's got a great attitude and he rushed for over 100 yards and did everything we asked him the other night. So Blue is doing the things we need him to do.