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September 26, 2012

Larry Fedora

COACH FEDORA:  We're looking forward to getting back out on the field in front of our home crowd.  It's nice to have this two weeks in a row, so our players are focused on going out and playing as well as we possibly can.  Again, the focus this week will be on ourselves and how we can get better as a football team.  So looking forward to getting back out there.

Q.  Coach, through the first three games, your quarterback nearly has 120 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, that's pretty impressive.  How do you see the pace of the offense at this point going into week five?  Where do you think it's going to go from here?
COACH FEDORA:  As far as the tempo of the offense or just overall?

Q.  Yeah, overall, the tempo of the offense.
COACH FEDORA:¬† Tempo‑wise I'd say we're around 60% of where we'd like to be.¬† Whether that's on track or not, I don't know.¬† I don't know if there is a measuring stick that if you know from week to week.¬† But we're constantly harping on it, emphasizing, trying to get better with our tempo.¬† Each rep he feels a little more comfortable.¬† It's important that he gets as many reps as possible.
We continue to improve as an entire team, I think Bryn's probably starting to understand that he doesn't have to make everything happen.  He just has to distribute the ball.

Q.  What are you looking to see from your team particularly this weekend before you get into the heart of the ACC schedule?
COACH FEDORA:  I'd like to see great energy level throughout the entire game for 60 minutes.  I'd like to see us play a complete game.  Improvement made from last week in each of the three phases of the game.  I think we're slowly getting better each week, and overcoming some of the problems that we've had I'd like to see improvement.  If we can keep building and put one brick on top of another, we'll eventually have that wall built.

Q.  Where do you think you've made the most progress in the first few weeks?
COACH FEDORA:¬† Probably I would say special teams‑wise.¬† I would say special teams has gotten better each week.¬† We've made some things happen.¬† Probably in the last couple of games, we've had probably three, well, in the last three games, we've had four game‑changing plays.¬† If we can do that week‑in and week‑out, we give ourselves a chance to win.

Q.¬† We're doing a getting‑to‑know‑you‑and‑see‑you type of deal.¬† You being your first year coming into a situation where there is some stuff going on.¬† Talk about the focus of your football team coming into this year, and how you've gone through the season and that type of stuff?
COACH FEDORA:  Well, I'd say for us this year as a staff we're trying to figure out what the identity of this football team is.  It's an ever evolving process.  We're still in the process of trying to figure out who we are.  What is the identity of our offense.  What is the identity of our defense, and what is the identity of our team.  So our focus each week has been on us and how we prepare.  What it takes to prepare to be successful.  What each guy needs to do to be the best football player he can be on Saturdays.

Q.  For you personally, how long did it take you to get assimilated to the school and the players and that kind of stuff to sort of leave your thumbprint?
COACH FEDORA:¬† Again, that evolves constantly.¬† I don't know.¬† I assure you, I don't know everything about all of our players.¬† I don't know everything about this university.¬† I don't know everything about this program.¬† But it's something that only time‑‑ that time can help that. ¬†It takes time to get to know them.¬† Takes time for them to get to know you.¬† Because you can practice all you want.
Your 15 days of spring ball, you don't get to see them in the summer.  You get 29 practices in fall camp.  But until you get out there in the games and when things are really happening and there is some pressure going on, you really don't know a whole lot about your team.

Q.¬† The Vandals come in at 0‑4 and lost to Wyoming in overtime last week.¬† In your experience, are teams like this 0‑4, 0‑3 teams, are they typically dangerous teams to have to deal with?
COACH FEDORA:¬† No doubt about it, especially when you have an 0‑4 team that is probably the best in the country in my opinion.¬† There is talent out there.¬† That quarterback can throw the football, big guy.¬† They've got skill guys that can make plays.¬† They're sound in their special teams and defensively.¬† They have unfortunate things happen to them.¬† Yeah, I think you're always worried about a team like that.

Q.  What has Tommy Heffernan done to work himself into the starting lineup?  Have you considered adopting his hairstyle?
COACH FEDORA:  I have.  I've thought about growing my hair out like Tommy.  But I don't know if that will work for me.  Maybe I need to wear a wig.  Maybe on the sideline, who knows.  But what Tommy has done, first of all, he plays with great effort and intensity all the time, and that's whether he's on special teams or on defense.  Then he's gone out there and known what to do and made plays.  When we put him in a position, and he's gotten the opportunity to get out there and play, he's performed.  He's made plays.  He's proven that that unit, the defense or the special teams that he's on is better when he's on the field than when somebody else is out there.  So therefore he plays.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about the turnaround at Louisville.  At halftime, it looked like you guys were just totally outclassed and humiliated.  How important was that in terms of momentum of the team, the morale of the team, that kind of thing?
COACH FEDORA:¬† I think that is very important.¬† Because, up until that point, I had no idea whether the team‑‑ you want to say your team's never going to quit and always fight.¬† They're going to give you all the things you talk about.¬† But until you get put in that situation, you never know.¬† And we were in that situation.¬† We put ourselves in that situation, but we did climb out of it.¬† That was a great thing to know about this team.¬† I think the team gained some confidence in themselves knowing, hey, we don't have to wait until something happens like that before we start playing with that energy level.
So if we start out that way, hopefully we won't be in that hole.  I think hopefully we've learned.  We won't put ourselves in that situation again.  But if we, do I expect the same fight, and will and scratch, and all that it takes to get out of it.

Q.  What was the locker room like in that game?  Was it technical, did the players stand up?  Did the coaches challenge them?  What was the mood there?
COACH FEDORA:  I think we do like we do every day.  The coaches come in and talk about what needed to be done, what was wrong, and went out and made the adjustments with the players.  Then it was basically the only person doing any talking after that was me.  Weren't a lot of nice things said, but the challenge was set before them and we went out and the guys got after it.
I don't attribute it to any halftime speech or motivational speech.  It was more of a challenge.  A challenge to who each guy was as an individual, and each guy responded very well.

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