Caulton Tudor

Doeren takes different rivalry approach than Fedora

Posted May 21, 2013

If the history of football coach hirings and firings at the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University holds, second-year Tar Heel coach Larry Fedora and new Wolfpack hire Dave Doeren will meet six or seven times as representatives at opposite ends of the Triangle. 

Exactly how the styles of the two will differ – or perhaps parallel – won’t become completely clear for at least a season or two.

But as Doeren enters his first summer in Raleigh, one thing is obvious. He's approaching the rivalry with the Tar Heels (First meeting: Nov. 2, homecoming in Carter-Finley Stadium) entirely differently than Fedora did in his first season. 

Fedora’s “Countdown Calendar” to the Oct. 27, 2012, game in Chapel Hill was a topic of daily conversation within in the fan base and a matter of regular attention by the regional media.

Larry Fedora Fedora: This is the game

Thanks to Gio Bernard’s 74-yard punt return touchdown with 13 seconds left, Fedora’s first UNC team won that game 43-35 to end a five-season series losing streak and dodged what could have been an instant countdown to humiliation for the coach.

“They've been spending all year getting ready for us … we have to give them some credit,” State's then-head coach Tom O’Brien said.

UNC’s star offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper made an interesting, insightful observation when asked about Fedora’s mood in the locker room after the game.

“Coach Fedora, that’s the least words I’ve ever seen him have,” Cooper said. 

Off-season rhetoric – particularly at booster club fundraising events – usually gets forgotten and may not have any impact on what actually unfolds on game day.

But Fedora’s heavy, vocal emphasis on ending the Pack’s win streak left him with precious little wiggle room. With his team on probation and ineligible for bowl participation, the challenge to his players probably improved their focus and certainly their motivation to win the most important game on the 2012 schedule. But in doing so, Fedora put more pressure on himself than the players. It was risky, but it played out in the coach’s favor.

Doeren obviously prefers a broader, more reserved tactic.

While he’s hardly been shy about the significance of beating Carolina, Doeren has a good deal more on his plate in Season One than did Fedora.

For starters, Doeren doesn’t have Bernard at running back, a returning quarterback with Bryn Renner’s experience or two blockers (Cooper and Brennan Williams) with NFL potential. Scoring points could turn out to be a recurring problem.

More than zeroing in on Carolina this summer, Doeren is smart to be more concerned about taking advantage of four September games at Carter-Finley Stadium and improving a defensive unit that gave up an average 400 yards per game in ’12.

Meanwhile, Fedora is talking less about State this offseason. He’s got an offensive line to rebuild and running back committee to appoint.

There’ll be ample time for both men to lock and load come November.

Tom O'Brien31-27 win in 20075-1
Chuck Amato38-10 win in 20003-4
Mike O'Cain35-14 loss in 19930-7
Dick Sheridan35-34 win in 19866-1
Tom Reed42-14 loss in 19830-3
Monte Kiffin28-8 loss in 19800-3
Bo Rein21-13 win in 19762-2
Lou Holtz34-33 loss in 19722-2
Al Michaels27-7 loss in 19710-1
Earle Edwards 20-6 loss in 19549-8



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  • hi_i_am_wade May 21, 2013

    Well, this guy won't last long at NC State where beating UNC defines how successful a season is. It is no coincidence TOB was on the hot-seat after losing to UNC but his job was safe when he beat UNC despite some mediocre seasons.

  • Dr. Pwnt May 21, 2013

    View quoted thread

    This makes no sense. If UNC really does define how successful a season is, then why was TOB on the hot seat the year before when he was still 5-0 against UNC?

  • 4tarheels May 21, 2013

    View quoted thread

    He didn't get fired until after the season he lost to UNC.

  • VT1994Hokie May 21, 2013

    Any smart coach wants to win games and the ACC Championship firstly. When a team begins thinking that beating another rivalry gets them into trouble. Going to a bowl game is the focal point. I like Doeren taking an approach to win and take time to install his program. No one game defines his mission at this point.

  • TsKaMF May 21, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I'm sure that made da "ewe" faithful happy...1-5. ;(

  • Got Peart May 21, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Your deduction is a tad off. TOB was on the hot seat in 2011. Only thing that saved his bacon was beating Clemson, the 2nd half comeback versus a terrible MD team, and the bowl victory over Louisville.

    Regardless of what you unc people think - there is more to NC State than beating unc. Sure we want to do it as often as we can, but we are smart enough to realize there is a bigger picture out there.

  • Jewelry-EricLeak May 21, 2013

    State's schedule is basically pathetic. 8 home games. UNC is actually one of the better teams on the list.

    Don't let the hateful fool you though, State could go 1-11 with one win vs UNC and Doeren gets the proverbial "parade" in Raleigh. There is NO coincidence that "Steroid Tom" was fired after the loss to UNC.

  • evenpar29 May 21, 2013

    View quoted thread

    You hit the nail on the head. If any fan wants to see why TOB was fired just look at his record in the ACC on the road! Thats the biggest reason he got sent packing.

  • kmorsreturn May 21, 2013

    yeah who cares about the cheaters....everybody beats them these days.

  • early exit Roy May 21, 2013

    The two or three noticable differences between Coach D and the Hat Man is 1) you can understand Coach D 2) Coach D has more class 3) Fedora has a big mouth




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