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November 19, 2014

Larry Fedora

LARRY FEDORA:  We've had obviously a very short turnaround to get prepared for a really good football team on Thursday night.  And our guys are very excited and very anxious to get back out on the field and show people where we are.

Q.  Obviously this last game against Pittsburgh, a little bit of an offensive shoot out.  And just what you can say about your offensive and start with their growth this season that they've had this season through your eyes?
LARRY FEDORA:  I think we are growing offensively.  I think the offensive line, we're making improvement.  We're starting to grow up up there a little bit more.  I think we ‑‑ I think as an offensive we understand who we are this year and what we're able to do and what we're good at.  And so I think if we can play well we have a chance to take care of the football and we have a chance to beat the offensive.

Q.  As far as Marquis and what you've seen from him, I know he had one passing touchdown and obviously three on the ground against Pittsburgh.  And what you've seen in his persevere evens throughout the season and also in his growth that you've been able to take away from him.
LARRY FEDORA:  I think perseverance is a great words with Quis.  He started that Pitt game, wasn't playing ‑‑ didn't throw the ball the way we would have liked to have thrown it, just wasn't hitting.  But he kept fighting through it and kept pressing and then he started making plays.  And 16 completions in a row.  He didn't get frustrated.  He kept playing.  I think the grown has been in the maturity and the way he's handle himself and his teammates.

Q.  You just kind of touched on something I wanted to ask you about, and talk about how he did earlier in the season he would have been looking over his shoulder.  How much do you think there was a vote of confidence that you've given him throughout the season has allowed him to play through some of those mistakes, and finish the games well?
LARRY FEDORA:  First of all, I don't think it was a question of looking over your shoulder.  Everything that we did was planned.  It has nothing to do with the way one guy was playing or another.  And he fully understood that and knew that.
So I don't think that has been a factor for him at all.  I think it's more about how he's matured as a football player.  And as a person.  He understands that you're not going to be perfect all the time.  And that nobody is.  And that no matter what happens we just keep playing and we look to the next play and don't let the former play affect the next one.  If we can do that we've got a chance to be okay.

Q.  I know you talked a lot during the off season about how you wanted to reevaluate every year.  Do you kind of ‑‑ this season ends and as you get into the off season that this is Marquis's job or do him and Mitchell continue to go back and forth as you get set for next year?
LARRY FEDORA:  I really haven't even thought about ‑‑ with this short of a week and believe me, every second has been on preparing for a dang good football team.  I haven't given any thought to anything beyond this week.

Q.  What about what kind of offensive you are, and what you hang your hat on there, and how much might that be a problem this week?
LARRY FEDORA:  We're much better offense when we run the football effectively.  We know that.  And get into our play action passes and move the ball down the field and do the things we want to do and move the change and use our tempo wisely throughout a game.  And but Duke's defense has given up 18 points a game.  They're very sound.  You get more blitzes from them that than you have in the past.  And it's quite different, it's not one or two different things.  I think they're playing really well on defense.  I really do.
So it will definitely be a challenge for us tomorrow night.

Q.  I was just looking at the numbers and everything going into this game.  And I was interested in special teams stuff.  Last year Deshaun Edwards returned a big play in that game.  Looking at the numbers, right now, they're one of the best return teams in the League.  But you're just about or right at the top in coverage in both kickoffs and returns.  Can you talk about the special team battle and how important that will be?
LARRY FEDORA:  Well, I told the team that that will be the difference in the game.  And it will be the most important factor, probably one of the most important factors.  And something that we emphasize all year, so it's not like it's something new for our kids, we know that.  Both of our coverage units have done a really good job this year.  But our kickoff team unit last year had done a good job, except for one play.
And so that's what it boils down to.  It's a one play and out situation.  When you're on the field one play.  And that one play can make or break the game.  So you have to treat it that way, no matter what the situation is, you've got to expect that that play is going to be the difference in the game.  And our guys know that they're a great return unit, or they have great return units on both their kickoff and the punt.  And our guys understand the challenge ahead of them.

Q.  In terms of kickers, in terms of numbers ‑‑ are you happy with where your kickers ‑‑ what your kickers have accomplished this year?
LARRY FEDORA:  We're talking kickoffs and punts or what are we talking about?

Q.  Punting, place kicking?
LARRY FEDORA:  No, I'm not happy with our place kicking at all.  Nowhere even close to it.  But it is what it is.  And I keep encouraging.  We keep working, just like we do any position, and expect them to perform when they go back out on the field.  You never know when that's going to happen.  And again, that play could be the play that determines the outcome of the game.  It's something that we constantly are working on.

Q.  T.J. Logan put together some good games for you recently.  Where is he in his development?  And how he ads to your attack?
LARRY FEDORA:  We're a much better football team when T.J. Logan is playing well, there's no doubt about that.  We need our running backs to be effective running the ball.  We need to take some of the that pressure off Marquis.  So it helps us tremendously.
I think he's still growing as a running back, I really do.  I think in high school he could run away from just about everybody.  And it's a little bit different at this level.  And you've got to understand that you're going to have to break tackles and make plays when things aren't there.

Q.  Has he shown you the ability to do that and get better?
LARRY FEDORA:  Yeah, there's no doubt.  I think he's getting better and better.  He gets better each week.  He's been consistent for us.  He made plays last week, spun out tackles, picked up extra yards.  He's coming along really well for us.

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