***Listen to the story***
But Switzer says he thinks Carolina’s overall team success may hinge on the defense.
“If we can get better, go man more often, and those guys can do what they do and that’s play some doggone good defense, we’re going to be tough to handle,” Switzer says.
The freshman sensation burst onto the national landscape last season by leading the ACC in punt return yardage and return touchdowns with four. Switzer was named first-team All-ACC for his incredible performances on Saturdays.
Switzer says he’s still building his relationship with new offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, but he expects there to be plenty of intensity involved.
“He’s kind of learning the schemes and learning his place a little bit. But we’ve talked and I understand that as soon as he gets comfortable where he’s at, he’s going to be able to start coaching how he wants to coach. From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty intense,” Switzer says.
Carolina will hold two practices away from Chapel Hill this spring. Switzer says he thinks bringing the Tar Heels to Charlotte and Greensboro will help the program’s broad-range support and aid in recruiting battles.
“Any time you can expand your range, it’s good for recruiting and for people that can’t come down and see us practice. Any time you can get the people in the state behind your program, it’s really big. That’s what Coach Fedora and the coaching staff is trying to do,” Switzer says.
Switzer says he’s looking forward to honing his skills as not only a specialist, but also a wide receiver this coming season for the Tar Heels.
“My goal is just to continue to get better as a wide out. With a full year of experience, the difference between last year and this upcoming season is going to be phenomenal. I’m looking forward to showing what I’ve worked on in the offseason,” Switzer says.
And as for his concerns over teams kicking away from him in 2014? Switzer says he’s not worried.
“I love it. […] When teams have to prepare for me individually, it means something. It means you’re worth something. Cincinnati had a whole month to prepare for us, and they still ended up having to kick me the ball. I’m going to get some punts, man,” Switzer says.
Fans will be able to see Switzer and the rest of the Tar Heels in action at the annual Blue & White Spring Game April 12 at 3 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/sensational-switzer-confident-second-college-football-act/
Carolina football is back in action. The team is busy with their preparations for the 2014 season with high expectations surrounding them.
Head Coach Larry Fedora says it feels great to get back to the grind of the football field accompanied by old and new faces.
“It’s fun to be back out there on the football field doing something football-related. It was a lot of fun. I think it was fun for all the players and all the old and new coaches, everybody together,” Coach Fedora says.
And how are those fresh faces handling it? Coach Fedora says the new coaches, like offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, are still learning some things on the fly.
“I think the transition has gone really well. I think the guys have done a nice job. They understand what’s going on. Two of them today were a little wide-eyed, moving and getting from drill to drill. But their players know what’s going on,” Coach Fedora says.
There were some positives to senior signal caller Bryn Renner going down with an injury last season. Coach Fedora says the extra in-game snaps for Marquise Williams were beneficial heading into 2014 spring ball.
“Marquise got a lot of reps. He started some games. He’s got some live action under his belt, which made him a lot more comfortable today. You could see that when you’re looking at all the quarterbacks as they’re competing. He’s just a lot more comfortable than the other two,” Coach Fedora says.
Williams says he is taking on even more of a leadership role now. He says he’s trying to build his teammates’ belief in him and encouraging them to strive to be the best they can be each and every practice.
“To be a leader – that’s the main key. Don’t sit in the back. I’m taking the keys to the Porsche this time. It’s about business and making these guys believe in me. That’s one thing I do – keep pushing these guys to be great. I preach every day to be great,” Williams says.
The annual Blue & White Spring Game is scheduled for April 12 at Kenan Stadium.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/spring-ball-coach-fedora-managing-transition-qb-williams-embracing-leadership-role/
***Listen to practice***
That was Carolina wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer and those were some sounds from Carolina football’s annual ‘Blue Dawn’, an intense early morning workout routine held in February that can come as a rude awakening for any unsuspecting new UNC football recruits.
With Blue Dawn behind them, the Tar Heels open up spring practice Wednesday at Navy Fields. After a solid recruiting class that seemingly shored up a few holes on the squad and with a bunch of returning athletes, especially on the offensive end, Carolina football appears to be primed for a run at an ACC Championship in 2014.
ESPN has Carolina in the Top 20 in the latest preseason projections. But the hard work continues for the Tar Heels.
***Listen to practice***
The Blue Dawn practices could be misconstrued as army basic training by some, but Coach Fedora says there’s still a lot more room for improvement for this group during the spring season.
“I thought our kids came out here with a lot of energy, excited to get out here this morning to start the new 2014 season. We got a long way to go. This is day one. We got guys that finally understand what we want. We got a lot of guys that still got a long way to go,” Coach Fedora says.
In addition to regular practices in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels will conduct practices in Charlotte and Greensboro. The annual Blue & White Spring Game will be held at Kenan Stadium April 12.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/back-grind-spring-football-officially-hits-carolina-amidst-high-hopes/
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina has filled its coaching staff by hiring Keith Heckendorf to coach quarterbacks and Larry Porter to coach running backs.
The school announced the hirings late Monday night.
Heckendorf spent the past three seasons at North Carolina and was a player development assistant. He had been hired last month by new Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson, who left the Tar Heels’ staff after the 2013 season.
Porter is a former head coach at Memphis who spent the past season at Texas and also coached running backs at Arizona State.
Coach Larry Fedora says Heckendorf has been “a key member of this program since we got here” and calls Porter “a coach who I’ve admired for a long time.”http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/heckendorf-porter-complete-unc-football-coaching-staff/
CHAPEL HILL– Carolina’s football signing day was a bit anticlimactic compared to some of the other buzz and excitement of coaches hanging over fax machines across the country.
***Listen to the story***
But Head Coach Larry Fedora says he was perfectly fine with the stress-free day thanks to the fact that all but a couple of the recruits committed last summer.
“Probably the bets thing about the entire class is that all but two of these guys were locked in before July. Our coaching staff did an unbelievable job getting out there and working extremely hard and getting these guys in the boat very early,” Coach Fedora says.
In fact, Coach Fedora says the day was more about 2015 than it was 2014. The stable commitments provided Coach Fedora and his staff the ability to get ahead on the competition and call up future prospects.
“We’re way ahead on 2015 right now. Since about 6:30 this morning, we’ve been hitting it really hard. We’ve talked to somewhere around 80 kids today that are 2015 guys that I’ve personally talked to,” Coach Fedora says.
2014 marks the last National Signing Day in which Carolina will suffer from reduced scholarships as a result of the NCAA sanctions. Coach Fedora says the penalties definitely raise the stakes on the Tar Heel recruiting process.
“We just couldn’t take more players, and other schools benefited from that. Your margin of error is smaller. You can’t make mistakes because it’s affecting us depth-wise on this football team. That’s always an issue. But we’re out of that now. In the 2015 class, we won’t have that problem,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says one of the primary objectives in his recruiting strategy is defending the state of North Carolina. And he says he thinks with the talented crop of eight N.C. products the Tar Heels have coming in; UNC is continuing to build momentum.
“The first time I stepped up here I told you we were going to focus on the state of North Carolina. We wanted to keep the best players in the state at home. Those eight guys from the state are actually seeing what’s happening here in Chapel Hill. […] I think they’re getting excited about what’s fixing to happen here,” Coach Fedora says.
Running back Elijah Hood has received most of the attention in the 2014 class, but despite his well-documented athletic prowess, Coach Fedora says the most impressive thing about Hood, the Eagle Scout, is his dedication and well-rounded nature.
For Coach Fedora it isn’t a “wait and see” game with these new Tar Heels. He says he fully expects many of the new recruits to make immediate impacts on the field this fall.
Full 2014 Class:
Cameron Albright DB 6-2 210 Kennesaw, Ga. North Cobb
Josh Allen OL 6-3 285 Jacksonville, Fla. University Christian School
Allen Artis* DB 6-1 190 Marietta, Ga. Wheeler
Ayden Bonilla DB 6-2 200 Woodstock, Ga. Etowah
Josh Cabrera WR 6-3 190 Jacksonville, N.C. Northside
Malik Carney LB 6-2 210 Alexandria, Va. T.C. Williams
Jeremiah Clarke DL 6-5 275 Alexandria, Va. T.C. Williams
Jared Cohen OL 6-4 295 Owings Mills, Md. McDonogh
Cayson Collins LB 6-1 215 Charlotte, N.C. Berry Academy
Robert Dinkins DL 6-2 235 Charlotte, N.C. Olympic
Avery Edwards TE 6-5 230 Raleigh, N.C. Ravenscroft
Brandon Fritts* TE 6-4 215 Mentor, Ohio Mentor
Caleb Henderson QB 6-3 220 Burke, Va. Lake Braddock
Elijah Hood* RB 6-0 220 Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte Catholic
Freeman Jones PK 6-1 185 Bunn, N.C. Bunn
Devin Perry WR 6-2 185 Memphis, Tenn. Memphis University School
Tyler Powell DL 6-4 255 Midlothian, Va. Cosby
Austin Proehl WR 5-10 175 Charlotte, N.C. Providence
Caleb Samuel OL 6-6 260 Macon, Ga. First Presbyterian
Bentley Spain* OL 6-6 285 Charlotte, N.C. Providence
M.J. Stewart* DB 5-11 190 Arlington, Va. Yorktown
Tyrell Tomlin LB 6-0 220 Marietta, Ga. Marietta
CHAPEL HILL– Wednesday is National Signing Day in college football. And the Tar Heels will be busy filling out their remaining scholarship spots as national letters of intent flood in to Kenan Football Center.
In addition, The Rams Club will be hosting the first UNC Fan Development Signing Day Call-A-Thon in the Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature 50 Carolina football supporters calling on Tar Heel fans in order to sell 2014 season tickets.
Executive Director of The Rams Club John Montgomery says the initiative is an effort to pack out Kenan Stadium and “provide an incredible atmosphere for our football team”.
UNC Head Coach Larry Fedora and his coaching staff will hold a Tar Heel Signing Day Celebration at the Blue Zone Concourse Club at 6 p.m. The program will be hosted by Jones Angell and include remarks from Coach Fedora and players. Tickets are $15 and include appetizers and drinks.
Follow @WCHLSports on Twitter for updates throughout the day as UNC welcomes the newest Tar Heels to the Chapel Hill community.
Tune in to WCHL’s Morning News on Thursday for a full recap of Coach Fedora’s Signing Day press conference.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-football-welcomes-new-tar-heels-national-signing-day/
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina has hired Seth Littrell as assistant head coach for offense and tight ends coach.
The school made his hiring official Friday after negotiating a deal with him earlier this week. The former Indiana offensive coordinator replaces Blake Anderson, who ran Larry Fedora’s no-huddle spread offense for two seasons before becoming head coach at ArkansasState.
Under Littrell, Indiana averaged 38.4 points and 508.5 yards this season. The 35-year-old had also worked as an assistant at Arizona and Texas Tech.
In addition, UNC said receivers coach Gunter Brewer and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic have been named co-offensive coordinators.
Anderson, who also coached quarterbacks, hired former Tar Heels tight ends coach Walt Bell for his ArkansasState staff. That leaves Fedora with one more staff position to fill.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/official-unc-hires-littrell-direct-huddle-offense/
CHAPEL HILL– The 2014 Tar Heel football schedule will feature six home games in Kenan Stadium and UNC’s first-ever ESPN Thursday night game at Duke on Nov. 20.
***Listen to the story***
The ACC released the schedule on Thursday, and the Tar Heels face a tough slate that includes nine teams that played in bowl games last season and five squads that won at least nine games.
Conference matchups in Chapel Hill against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and a season ender against N.C. State on Nov. 29 should provide an entertaining home menu for Tar Heel fans.
The Tar Heel Sports Network’s Lee Pace says he thinks it’s one of the most exciting schedules he’s seen in a while.
“I think it’s one of the most interesting schedules the Tar Heels have had in some time. Clemson is a cross-divisional game for the ACC. Any time you got Clemson, Florida State or Wake Forest, I think that amps up the schedule a little bit when you’re going across divisions. And then a great end to the season with the Thursday night game at Duke. I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff. It’s going to be a terrific fall for Carolina,” Pace says.
Also of note, Carolina will travel to South Bend, Ind. to face Notre Dame on Oct. 11 for the first time since 2006. The Tar Heels have failed to capture a victory in 11 previous tries at Notre Dame.
But all eyes will certainly be on Wallace Wade Stadium for the nationally televised showdown against Duke right before Thanksgiving. And this year, Pace says Carolina will be extra hungry to reclaim the Victory Bell.
“I think there’s a lot of excitement around the Duke rivalry the last two years. It was sort of dead in the water for about two decades, and then Duke has won the last two years. Carolina will have the emotional edge I would hope that night. It will be interesting to see what sort of atmosphere we generate for a week night game like that,” Pace says.
Carolina returns 17 starters from last year’s team that finished with a flurry to win six out of the last seven games and capture the Belk Bowl trophy. And it won’t be long before the 2014 team will be back in action in Chapel Hill.
Spring practice begins March 5 and the Spring Football ‘Blue & White’ Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 at 3 p.m.
The Tar Heel football season kicks off Aug. 30 with a home opener against the Liberty Flames.
You can view the complete 2014 schedule here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/2014-tar-heel-football-schedule-provides-challenges-excitement/
CHAPEL HILL– Tar Heel football has been making some noise away from the field in the past week with the impending hire of Seth Littrell as the new offensive coordinator coupled with a successful recruiting visit weekend in Chapel Hill.
***Listen to the story***
Inside Carolina’s Don Callahan says he believes Littrell, the former offensive coordinator at Arizona and Indiana, is a good fit for the Tar Heels.
“He played for Mike Leach who loves to spread it around, has done great things at Indiana, and I think he fits perfectly with what Carolina is going to do,” Callahan says.
Callahan says Head Coach Larry Fedora wanted someone whose offensive philosophy aligned with his own to fill the vacancy.
“Obviously Coach Fedora did not want to bring in a guy with a pro-style power offense background. He wanted somebody who basically had the same philosophy with the up-tempo, the no-huddle, and the spreading the ball around. Obviously, they wanted to have that chemistry,” Callahan says.
The Tar Heel 2014 recruiting class, ranked No. 18 by Rivals.com, continues to be filled out. Last weekend, UNC hosted all but one of its verbal commitments and Callahan says Carolina all but locked up two more solid additions to the squad in top-notch punter Corbin Daly and the speedy wide receiver Devin Perry.
“With Perry, he brings speed. In North Carolina’s camp, he ran two 4.4 40’s (40m dashes), so he brings speed, has great hands, and great route running. He’s the type of guy who can really take the top off a defense. With Corbin Daly, he’s an All-American punter. Those types of guys are invaluable,” Callahan says.
UNC kicker Thomas Moore proved to be wayward at times for the Tar Heels in 2013, misfiring on four out of his five field goal attempts from outside 40 yards. But Callahan says the Tar Heels have some relief on the way in the form of strong-legged Freeman Jones.
“They are at least hoping that he can compete. He’s a little bit on the raw side, but he’s a kid who works very hard and has an extremely strong leg,” Callahan says.
Power running back Elijah Hood has certainly received a majority of the buzz surrounding the Carolina recruiting trail. And according to Callahan, the hype is not misguided.
“I’ve been covering football recruiting in North Carolina for about a decade now. He’s, in my opinion, the best running back I’ve seen in person play. I can’t say enough about him. I expect him to get into the rotation. I really do,” Callahan says.
College football’s National Signing Day is Feb. 5.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-gridiron-recruiting-trail/
CHAPEL HILL– UNC appears to have found its new offensive coordinator. The Tar Heels are in the process of putting the final touches on the hiring of Indiana’s Seth Littrell, sources say.
Littrell, who served as the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons, will replace Blake Anderson, who left for the Arkansas State head coaching job.
The 35-year-old Littrell played running back under Mike Leach at Oklahoma in 1999. He went on to become the running backs coach from 2005-2009 at Texas Tech.
From there, Littrell moved to Arizona to lead the Wildcats attack as offensive coordinator. His 2011 offense ranked third nationally in passing offense with 370.3 yards per game and 16th in total offense with 464.8 yards per contest.
Littrell seems to mesh well with the offensive philosophy of UNC Head Coach Larry Fedora. They both employ the no-huddle offense and like to move things along at warp-speed. In fact, Littrell told the Big Ten Network last fall that he liked to run 90-100 plays per game.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/indianas-littrell-slated-fill-vacant-unc-offensive-coordinator-role/