Fedora, UNC keeping distractions at bay ahead of Belk Bowl
Posted December 18, 2013
With 10 days left until his Tar Heels take on Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, University of North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said Wednesday that he isn't focused on any distractions associated with the end of the regular season – most notably, the constant talk about the ever-evolving college coaching landscape.
Fedora wouldn't comment on speculation that he is a candidate for the head coaching position at the University of Texas, a position held by former UNC head coach Mack Brown until he stepped down on Friday.
"I never talk about speculation and jobs," Fedora told Mark Thomas on 620 AM The Buzz. "I'm very excited about this opportunity to be in the Belk Bowl and continue to work with this football team. I want to make sure these seniors go out on a winning note."
The fact that Fedora's seniors even have the chance to end their careers on a high note against the Bearcats is an example of ignoring distractions, he said. Two months ago, the Tar Heels were 1-5 and had lost four straight.
"We talk about distractions throughout the season. There are a lot of people out there on Twitter telling people what needs to be done," he said. "Our guys have done a good job not paying attention to those and going to work each week."
Since an Oct. 17 loss to Miami, the UNC offense, which lost starting quarterback Bryn Renner for the season against North Carolina State, has taken off, averaging better than 41 points per game.
Led by backup Marquise Williams, the Tar Heels capped a five-game win streak on Nov. 23 with an 80-point outburst against Old Dominion. The only loss in the final six weeks of the season came to Duke, as the Blue Devils beat the Heels 27-25 on Nov. 30 to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game.
Fedora said Wednesday that Williams, the rest of the team and his assistants deserve much of the credit for keeping the team "together" and focused when the team was 1-5.
"Coach (Blake) Anderson and the offensive staff get credit for putting together game plans that would make this thing work," Fedora said of the transition once Williams became the full-time starter. "Marquise really did a good job himself each and every week. He was preparing to be the starter long before (Renner's injury). I'm proud of the way he played. It's opened up things for our offense, and it's made us a better team."