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Quinn, who attended that game with Austin in Atlanta, said he was nearly in tears watching from the stands.

“I knew if we were there, I’m pretty sure it would’ve been a different outcome,” Quinn said. “But like I said, it’s in the past. There’s nothing we can do but keep moving.”

Austin was his typically gregarious self while talking with reporters after going through drills with Quinn under the direction of Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. He even said North Carolina could have contended for a national championship had everyone been on the field.

But the Tar Heels will never know _ and for Little, that’s hard to take.

“We were in line to do something unheard of in Chapel Hill for the football team,” he said. “You just don’t talk about football in Chapel Hill and a national championship. That doesn’t go in the same sentence to some people. … It was just going to be a really, really, really special time.”