Coach Larry Fedora
Press Conference - Nov. 18, 2013
"We're looking forward to our next game and really excited about coming back to Kenan Stadium and the Tar Pit in front of our fans and our students and getting on with our season. We have an opportunity to be 1-0 and that's where our focus is going to be to work extremely hard this week to make sure we're prepared."
On what stood out in the Pitt game
"We had some really good effort throughout the entire game. To point out so many obvious things that stood out would have been like our special teams, our punt team, did an exceptional job throughout the game. I think their net was around 43 something. Our return unit had a couple of game-changing plays and did some nice things. Defensively in plays that we had to make early on we were playing really well and then at the half we put our defense in bad position for a couple of series but they made the plays they had to make to win the football game. Offensively we played much better in the first half and in the second half we were pretty much nonexistent."
On the team finding ways to win
"That's a great question. I think a lot of it has to do with the chemistry of the football team. This team has grown throughout the season through all the adversity that we've overcome we grow closer as a team. We started trusting [each other] a little bit more, we care more about each other because of all the work and all the effort that you're putting into it. You just give a little bit more. When you do that usually good things happen. You go back to the Miami game when we played extremely hard and their guts were ripped out of them in that locker room, you sensed after that that they started finding ways to make those plays. I think it's probably just giving a little bit more each and every play. That's what our guys are doing."
On keeping the focus on being 1-0 every week
"Not tough for me. Not tough for me, I've been doing this long enough to know that you better just keep doing the things you're doing and not let in all the distractions on the outside. You start thinking about that and you start causing problems for yourself. The focus has to be where it's been; we don't want to change that. We want to keep everybody in that same mode where we're all thinking the same way, still doing the things that put us in this position."
On becoming bowl eligible with a win against Old Dominion despite the 1-0 mentality
"No. It will be 1-0 because I haven't talked about it in the last four weeks so I'm not going to talk about it now. These guys know what's going on, they understand. They know when they come in this building where our focus is going to be. That's very important that it's consistent and that we're not all over the place. Week to week our focus stays the same for the staff and everybody. That's the way we'll get it done."
On Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke
"I'll tell you, we've made comments throughout the season when we were watching crossover film with ECU and Pitt. The guy is special. He is really headsy. He makes a lot of plays. We noticed that as an offensive staff watching crossover films of other teams and you're seeing him and he just extended plays, he's very knowledgeable, he completes 70-percent of his passes, he makes something happen also on every play."
On special teams in the second half of the season
"Again I think probably some of the problems that we created for ourselves in the first half of the season, we're learning to not make those mistakes now and also it's a confidence factor when you start making some of those plays. Now you've got guys instead of waiting around to see that who might make that play - now it's 'I'm going to go make that play.' It's a challenge amongst them: who is going to get that big block, who is going to get that big hit? They talk about it, who is going to. When they came off the sideline before I could get to [Ryan] Switzer, it was them coming by going 'Wait until you see that one on film, wait until you see that block, wait until you see this.' When you've got those guys taking a lot of pride in doing those kind of things then it just kind of snowballs and good things keep happening."
On youth scoring touchdowns
"I think it's more that they feel like they are now college football players. When you start out as a true freshman and you get put out there, you've got the crowds and everything going on and your focus really isn't where it needs to be even though you've worked on it. But the speed of the game is different where in high school when you made this cut you went the distance and now you make this cut and you get four yards. That plays with your mind. So now I think that they're finally becoming comfortable and again now they're all realizing 'I can make plays.' They're all fighting to get out there and make the next big play."
"I'll tell you what - I didn't not realize that he had the game he had in the game. As the game was going on I just was, you know I saw him get to the quarterback a couple of times but it didn't register in my mind until after the game and I find out he has eight tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, and a pass break-up. That's a phenomenal game. He kind of did it within...it was just kind of hidden. We went back and looked at film and he was all over the field in just about every series."
"No doubt about it Kareem was phenomenal throughout the game. He was getting pressure on the quarterback and taking care of this gap and squeezing and all the things he is asked to do. He really was, from the first snap he really played really well and that created some opportunities for some other guys like Terry [Shankle]."
On scaling back the defensive effort each week
"I think as we've gone we've kind of just kept scaling it back each week. Some of that has to do with has to do with injuries to guys and what a guy can't do banged up and all those things but we've got to just let them play. They don't have to think a lot, just play. And also in the last three to four weeks we've played teams with a lot of shifting, a lot of motion, a lot of formations so you don't want to overwhelm them because they've got to be able to make all those calls and adjust to all those formations. So it was more about let's simplify, let's keep it simple with all these formations and shifts that we're seeing and let them play ball."
On Kareem Martin's incredible senior season
"You go back to the very first game, or the second game, or the third game and when we as a coaching staff would sit down and talk about after the game go through each position and how each guy played and it was very consistent of who played well: Kareem played well. Next game: Kareem played well. And then Kareem played well. But now it's not only Kareem is playing well, he's playing outstanding and he's making huge plays. He was national player of the week. He's just gotten better every week and he stepped his game up and you don't always see that especially as you get into the season and these guys start getting the bumps and the bruises and the soreness, the wear and tear on their bodies, Kareem has really just kept getting better and better each week. You don't see that a lot, you really don't and I think that's why he's having the year he's having because he is just getting better each week."
On not overlooking Old Dominion
"I would hope not. We've talked about that. We've talked about the last time we probably didn't respect an opponent we got embarrassed. I don't think that that's going to happen. All we have to do is turn on that film and see how many points they're averaging - it's got to be 40, maybe close to 50. They're scoring points on everybody. So we're going to have to come out and win in all three phases to be successful Saturday."
On Old Dominion's offense
"They're spread, throw it around a bunch. And it's all in the hands of that quarterback [Taylor Heinicke]. That's why they're so dangerous because that kid is a really good football player.
On drawing on the experience of seeing spread offense this season
"We better. We better draw on it. We better learn from the problems that we had."
On the winning streak from starting out 1-5 and possibly becoming bowl eligible with a win
"To be 1-0 this week would be really, really a great thing. It will be outstanding. Again, I hate to do that to y'all but I don't want to slide anywhere else, I promise you. I'm going to stick to it and we're going to be 1-0 and that's where all the focus is going to be. I know it's boring for you guys but that's the way we've got it done and that's the way we're going to continue."
On ever having a 1-0 team go to a bowl game
"Yes I have."
On the offensive problems in the second half against Pitt
"I'm concerned all the time. I'm concerned. I doesn't take a whole lot for me to be concerned but yeah I'm concerned about it. So starting with our film work yesterday, we're challenging those guys. Blake [Anderson] and his guys - they're challenging them. It's not come in and hey we won a game and hey that's great, yeah we do that for Saturday but we walk back in here Sunday and it's like let's break it down and let's see what happened. And it's not all hugs and kisses in that situation.
"Inconsistency. We put the ball on the ground two times. Whatever we could make wrong we made it. There wasn't much good actually. We had no tempo, we had no rhythm, we had nothing. We really didn't and that was very disappointing."
"You know what, he looked like a true freshman out there playing in his first conference game and starting. Also knowing that the guy that was lined up over there was probably an All-American. He did some good things and I don't want to sound negative because that guy's good and that was his first game as a starter and that's a tough situation to put him in. That alone is a heck of a job by a true freshman center and he did some really good things in the game and then he made some mistakes in the game that hurt us. When you have him in the middle that's tough to your running game. But he's going to get better from it. There is no doubt that he was the best combination for us going into that game and we had success because of it and we'll get better from it."