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October 7, 2003

Player Quotes From Tuesday's Press Conference

Mike Mason
Freshman, Wide Receiver


Q: Being from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, did you have much of a connection with East Carolina? Did you grow up watching them play football?
A: "Yes I did. I went to a lot of their games. We would visit the ECU players. Greenville is only about 20 miles from Rocky Mount."

Q: Were you an ECU fan growing up?
A: "No, I grew a North Carolina fan."

Q: Being from Eastern North Carolina, can you understand what this game means to the ECU fans for Carolina to come to Greenville and play?
A: "It's such a big game for them, including the fact that we don't play them every year, also."

Q: Coach Bunting says that ECU hates the Tar Heels; do you think that's true?
A: "If they do, they do. It's a rivalry. NC State hates us, Duke hates us; It's a rivalry."

Q: Is Rocky Mount a Carolina town or an ECU town?
A: "In reality, I think it's an NC State town, but there are a lot of Carolina fan there too. I really don't think there are many ECU fans."

Q: Do you know many guys on the ECU team?
A: "I know a couple of guys on their team. P. L. Parker and I are real close."

Q: Some people think that the reason this game is special is because it's Carolina's first visit to Greenville--they think it's a big deal. How do you feel?
A: "Well, the last time ECU was here we won, of course. And when we go there they think they are going to win. It's a rivalry and they will be pumped up and ready to play. The fans are ready for it and the players are ready for it."

Q: What are you expecting from ECU fans?
A: "I think it's going to be wild because ECU has some wild fans and the game is sold out so I the game is going to be wild."

Q: Coach Bunting was saying last week that the offense had regressed; do you see any reason for the problems last week?
A: "We were messing up on mental errors. We were shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. We have to learn from out mistakes and go out and play our game; we should play the way we are supposed to play."

Q: Are many of your friends going to be at the game?
A: "I am going to have a whole lot of family and friends there; at least 20."

Q: Did ECU recruit you?
A: "Yes. Early in my junior year in high school they were the first to offer. I did not consider the offer because I really wanted to go to Carolina."

Q: Why did you like Carolina so much better?
A: "My family and I grew up Carolina fans. I love the facilities and the surroundings. I just love it here."

Q: How big would a win be for you and the team?
A: "It would be real big for my team, my family and me."

Q: Has the adjustment to the college game been easier or harder than you expected?
A: "Easier. I knew coming in the defensive backs would be faster, but I adjusted to it pretty quick."

Larry Edwards
Freshman, Linebacker


Q: Carolina is playing a team that is finding it hard to hold on to the football. ECU has had five turnovers in three straight games and they don't seem to be able to get any takeaways. Do you prepare yourself differently to play a team that can't hold onto the ball?
A: "No, not really. We come to practice with the same mentality we come in with every week. We try to create as many turnovers as possible. The outlook for us getting a win next week is pretty good given that they can't hold on to the ball. However, ECU is not a bad team. They are a really good team and we come into this game with the attitude that we are going to play really hard."

Q: Why do you think this UNC defensive team has not created many turnovers?
A: "A lack of mental preparation. Sometimes we have a breakdown on the defense, both mentally and physically. If we can get our act together this week, we can play a good game."

Q: How many plays did you play in during the Virginia game?
A: "I think I played upwards to 60 snaps."

Q: How did you feel afterwards?
A: "It was an experience. Just being able to come in here and play as a true freshman is a real blessing to me and hopefully I can come here and work hard and make a real contribution to the team."

Q: Is this team making progress?
A: "I really think so. Our team has improved greatly week to week with our spirit and preparation. Sometimes during the game we get down and we can't get up. We try real hard and we practice real hard. Hopefully we will come into the game on Saturday with the attitude that we are going to force turnovers and we are going to make big plays."

Q: Are you surprised to find yourself playing so much four games into the season?
A: "During the recruiting process Coach Huxtable told me he wanted me to come here and be a real contributor to this team and he thought that I had the ability to do so. So I had to prepare hard and learn a lot at the collegiate level because it's a lot different here than in high school."

Q: What was the biggest adjustment for you?
A: " The speed of the game and how much mental preparation goes into the game. In high school you sometimes go out there and play, but here in college it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of preparation, both mentally and physically, and learning the fundamentals. With all that said, I just hope I can make a contribution to my team."

Q: How good of a mental game have you played so far?
A: "I have made a lot of mistakes and I could have made plays that I missed, but I'm coming into this week practicing hard and making better reads so I can come up with some big plays this Saturday."

Q: Coming from Florida do you have a sense of what this game means to the fans at East Carolina?
A: "I heard it was a big rivalry and they really don't like us and have the attitude that they have to beat us. I feel the same in that we have to come out with a win. We are a very talented team and a few mental mistakes has given us a bad reputation. So, I hope we work hard mentally, physically and fundamentally so we can come out and play an excellent defensive game."


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