“Understand that if you go up to get a drink, you just missed a Tar Heel touchdown” is what Head Coach Larry Fedora promised the Tar Heel faithful when he took the helm last December, and, boy, did his Heels deliver on Saturday with a dominating 62-0 winning performance against Elon.
Coach Fedora and his staff have given us a peek at his aggressive offensive scheme and it’s exactly what Tar Heel Nation has been starving for. The Heels set an ACC punt return yards record with 260 yards, which were split among dynamic playmaker Gio Bernard, track star Roy Smith and the senior leader of the group, Erik Highsmith. Add these 260 yards to the dominating 524 total yards of “basketball on grass offense,” and it was a long, hot day for the Phoenix at beautiful Kenan Stadium.
As a player, there is nothing better than opening up the season in front of your home crowd, running through the Tar Pit section and knowing that you are about to square off with another guy for 60 minutes. The feeling of confidence and knowing that you are going to be successful against an inferior opponent makes it all that much sweeter, especially in such a violent game like the one so many of us love to play or watch! There is no better feeling than to look across the line of scrimmage and know that your opponent is too tired to compete with you, too worn down to get off your block, too slow to cover your route or too fatigued to tackle you.
As they look to their sideline for a substitution, your sense of pride can almost beat right through your chest and shoulder pads. While there have been some brief conversations from non-UNC media outlets about whether or not the Heels ran the score up on Elon, as a former player, the “foot on the gas mentality” is the mindset that must be embraced from the moment you enter a program and it instills confidence in players, coaches and fans alike.
Sylvester Williams put it perfectly when he stated after Saturday’s game that “As a whole unit, we put in a lot of work over the summer. Coach always told us, ‘You put money in the bank (over the summer), then on September 1st you take it out.”’ – (GoHeels.com UNC Athletics Communication).
With temperatures in the mid 90’s and reports of 20 incidents of heat related issues at Kenan Stadium, there would have been plenty of opportunities for the Heels to “turn it down” (quit playing) with a huge early lead and an overwhelmed opponent. Instead, the Heels continued to run the “NASCAR” type offense and the attacking style defense which we all hope will show the fan base that we are here to play in 2012 amidst all of the dwindling outside controversy. By doing this, they sent a message to the country, to the ACC and, most importantly, to the teams on our schedule, that playing the Tar Heels this year is not something to look forward to.
Smart. Fast. Physical. This is Coach Fedora’s blueprint for success, and the new era of a great football program has officially begun…
You better stay in your seat; it’s going to be a great ride with a lot of Touchdowns!