CHAPEL HILL– The positive energy was almost palpable inside the Kenan Footballl Center Monday for Head Coach Larry Fedora’s weekly press conference.

Yes, there was something different about this one. Maybe it was because Carolina reminded N.C.State whose state it was on Saturday? Coach Fedora says the rivalry games just can’t help but lead to heated contests full of raw emotion.

“You know, in rivalry games, it’s always heated. That’s part of it. There is a lot of passion involved. Guys want to win in the worst way on both sides of the ball. So there’s going to be some heated exchanges. That’s just the nature of the beast,” Coach Fedora says.

With freshmen receivers like Bug Howard and Ryan Switzer really stepping up to become big-time contributors in the Tar Heel attack, Coach Fedora says he’s proud of their development throughout the season.

“There are a lot of things that go on inside a freshman’s mind during a game. Once they relax and just play, then you see the athleticism come out. You see who they are, and you see why you recruited them in the first place. That’s fun. That really is. That’s fun to see in those young kids,” Coach Fedora says.

With the spike in play and success experienced in the past couple contests, Coach Fedora cautions his players against listening to all the praise that is now heaped on them. He says it’s vital that they keep their nose to the grindstone and focus on just being 1-0 each week.

“I think this team has become mature enough to understand the pitfalls of a lack of focus or worrying about what else is going on out there. Now you have people wanting to pat you on the back. If you do, you better watch out. You better just stay the course, keep doing what we’re doing, focus on one game, and let’s try to be 1-0,” Coach Fedora says.

In fact, Coach Fedora says Carolina has already focused all of their attention to their next opponent, Virginia. He says the team is looking forward to getting back in the Tar Pit and playing in front of their home fans on Saturday.

“We put it to bed, and we’re moving on and preparing for the next one. Here at home, we’re looking forward to getting back in the Tar Pit and playing in front of our fans and our students,” Coach Fedora says.

And who knows? There may be a few more fans in those Kenan Stadium seats with the way the Tar Heels have been playing football lately.