CHAPEL HILL– “I’m always animated. I got problems.”
Those were Head coach Larry Fedora’s words following Wednesday’s preseason football practice.
Yes, Coach Fedora was pretty animated at the end of Carolina’s practice while emphasizing to his offensive players the importance of capitalizing on red zone scoring opportunities.
“I’m always animated. I got problems. I’m passionate about what we do. I want it to be perfect every time. This is just another learning experience, and I want us to learn from it,” Fedora said.
But while Fedora continues on his pursuit of perfection with the offense, it’s the other side of the football that will likely tell the story this season for the Tar Heels.
Indeed, Defensive coordinator Dan Disch says he understands all eyes will be on his defense as they try to apply more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season.
“The key is can you generate [pressure] it with your front four. If we can do that, then you don’t have to manufacture it all the time. You got to be great on first down, get them in predictable situations, and then you can come after them a little bit,” Disch said.
Wednesday marked day eight of Carolina’s preseason training camp and Disch says he recognized some fatigue in his players, but he said they must overcome and fight past it.
“There supposed to be tired now. One of the things you got to do is fight through that and learn to be mentally tough when things are difficult. So yeah, we got guys who are tired and fatigued, but they’re doing a really good job, their attitudes have been good, and they’re trying to work through it,” Disch said.
Star defensive end Kareem Martin is providing some solid senior leadership. Out on the field, Disch says Martin’s work ethic seems to rub off on many of his Tar Heel teammates.
“He is having a great camp. He has been more vocal and more importantly, he is out here working hard every day. […] You don’t need a leader when the AC is on indoors, but when you get out here you need guys to step up, and he is one of the guys that is doing that,” Disch said.
The camaraderie and energy exuded by the team was evident. There was an excitement surrounding the practice fields that seemed to transcend any lingering exhaustion from the players now in their second week of the preseason training grind.
Perhaps the Tar Heel football team gets their resolve from their fearless leader. Red Bull in hand, Fedora was pacing the grounds at a feverish pace, barking out orders and giving off an infectious, frenetic vibe rare for most folks at 10 in the morning.
But Fedora is relentless. That much is evident. And he says he wants to instill that sense of urgency in his team.
“There’s a sense of urgency. We’re running out of time. We’re running out of time. […] There’s got to be a sense of urgency in everything we do whether it be a meeting, a walk-through, a rep in practice, or whatever it is,” Fedora said.
Well, Coach. You are right – only 21 more days until that date with South Carolina down in Columbia.