Preseason training camp is in full swing for the No. 23 North Carolina football team. And with the season opening game against Liberty a mere 25 days away, head coach Larry Fedora is giving the Tar Heels a crash course in preparation for a 2014 campaign full of expectation.
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Coach Fedora says he’s been happy with the energy level and excitement surrounding the players during preseason practices, which began last Friday.
“I was really pleased with the way they were moving around. It was your typical first day. We are in shorts. Everybody’s hopes are high. They’re excited. They were all flying around. But it was more about the recall for the coaches – seeing how much they had done over the summer and what they knew and didn’t know. We were really pleased,” Coach Fedora says.
The first couple seasons under the Coach Fedora regime has seen modest success for the Tar Heels, who’ve gone 15-10 overall with a Belk Bowl win putting an exclamation point on 2013.
But in year three in the system, Coach Fedora says he expects things will come even easier for the Tar Heels.
“You have guys over there who have been in the system now for three years. They don’t have to think about it any more. They can react. They can actually be as good as they can be. Now, they don’t have to worry about things. […] They can react to what they’re seeing and just play ball,” Coach Fedora says.
The No. 1 question as the season creeps ever closer will continue to be the status of the starting quarterback. Marquise Williams and Mitch Trubisky continue to duke it out on the Navy Field practice facility.
But although Coach Fedora won’t tip his hand on his starter, he has revealed the winning criteria for the job.
“It’s going to be who makes the offense most productive. It’s going to be who’s the most productive player on the field and who makes the offense most productive. On top of that, it’s going to be who leads this team the best. Those are two major factors for us,” Coach Fedora says.
For those expecting a decision on the quarterback position, think again. Coach Fedora is in no hurry to make a call.
“The game is on the 30th, right? We got to make a decision that morning sometime I imagine. We’ve got to put somebody out there for that first snap,” Coach Fedora says.
The man who will be play-calling for the Tar Heel offense this fall, Seth Littrell, is eager to take some more aggressive shots down the field in Kenan Stadium.
Earlier on in the spring, Coach Fedora says the players’ knowledge was far more advanced than Coach Littrell, because he wasn’t able to bring his own offensive scheme with him from Bloomington.
But now, the former Indiana offensive coordinator has caught up. Coach Fedora says Coach Littrell is much more comfortable in the offensive scheme these days.
“He’s a whole lot more comfortable. Seth didn’t bring his offense in here. Seth has learned this offense and added some things to it. He had to learn the terminology. I think he’s a lot more comfortable understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the kids he has and what he can do with them,” Coach Fedora says.