North Carolina coach Larry Fedora plans to be more involved in play-calling duties with the Tar Heels off to a 1-5 start fueled by inexperience and injuries.
Fedora said he would be more involved “when we are between series … in what I would like to try to do” entering Saturday’s home game against Virginia.
“I’m not saying I’m taking over the offense,” said Fedora, speaking Monday at his weekly news conference. “That’s not what I’m saying. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just going to be more involved in what we’re doing.”
The Tar Heels have traditionally had a strong no-huddle offense in six seasons under Fedora, who made his name as an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and Florida before becoming Southern Mississippi’s head coach. But the offense entered the season with big holes after losing No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Mitch Trubisky at quarterback along with several running backs and receivers.
And that unit has struggled in comparison to its predecessor. Injuries haven’t helped, either, most notably with the loss to top receiver Austin Proehl for the year.
The offense, led by redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt, ranks tied for 89th nationally in scoring offense (25.3 points), 89th in total offense (373.5 yards) and 121st out of 129 Bowl Subdivision programs in third-down conversion rate (29.8 percent).
By comparison, the Tar Heels had averaged 36.5 points and 463 yards while converting 47 percent of their third downs over the previous two seasons.
The struggles have been particularly glaring in the past two losses to Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. First, UNC managed just 247 yards and barely avoided the first shutout loss of the Fedora era in a 33-7 loss at Georgia Tech. Then UNC opened with five straight three-and-outs and finished with 265 yards in a 33-10 home loss to Notre Dame.
“I don’t know that that will be the answer, but it’s something that I feel like that’s where I can help the most,” Fedora said, “so that’s where I’m going to be.”