Caulton Tudor

Fedora continues pedal-to-the metal mindset

Posted July 24, 2014

If there was any doubt about Larry Fedora’s continuing commitment to the moment, it was removed Monday when the third-year North Carolina football coach was asked about incoming freshman quarterback Caleb Henderson’s status for 2014.

“I told all of the freshmen to be ready, to come in ready to play right now. That includes everybody,” Fedora said during the coaches' interview period of the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro.

Henderson, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder from Bruke, Va., was among the nation’s top-rated high school players a year ago at this time. But when the Tar Heels open preseason camp in a few days, he’ll be behind returning starter Marquise Williams and highly regarded redshirt frosh Mitch Trubisky on the depth chart.

It’s a classic situation to predict a redshirt season for Henderson. Not so fast, Fedora said.

“Could (Henderson) come in here and help us win a championship this year? If he could, then heck no,” Fedora said.

“If you prove the team’s better when you’re on the field, then let’s go. That means you’ve won. You’ve beat ‘em out. You’re better than they are. Why would you want to keep a guy off the field if he is?”

Redshirt decisions aren’t made in many programs until after preseason camp ends, and while there’s no compelling reason to suspect Henderson will be polished enough to lead the offense, the fact that Fedora has left that door open underscores his hurry-up, shoot-now personality and coaching style.

Fedora arrived from Southern Miss determined to floor the Carolina accelerator and hasn’t veered from his strategy.

Though Fedora's results have been mixed – early last season for sure when the team hit a wall – but the philosophy clearly seems to be working on offense.

Yes, there have been a lot of defensive issues. That's a trend that’s likely to continue in 2014.

Although the program has been through various (and ongoing) investigations, an NCAA probationary period and a nine-scholarship reduction, overall recruiting has remained reasonably successful.

But unless there are some defensive personnel surprises, the string of imposing linemen and linebackers has ebbed.

On the 2014 roster, there’s not one defensive front player with the obvious impact of Sylvester Williams, Quinton Coples, Robert Quinn, Julius Peppers or Ryan Sims. Kareem Martin, last season’s anointed next defensive line star, didn’t even make honorable mention all-ACC.

Fedora wants to restock the defensive front, of course. But first and foremost, he’s a “Moneyball” disciple, and even with the exit of offensive coordinator Blake Anderson to become head coach at Arkansas State, the Heels’ prevalent motives won’t change. New co-coordinators Chris Kapilovica and Gunter Brewer are staff holdovers and first-year quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf was a staff member from 2010-13 and previously worked with Williams at quarterback.

“Things won’t change,” Fedora said. “When we started this offense in 1999, it was all about spreading the field and getting the ball to our playmakers as many times and as fast as possible.”

And there are a lot of playmaking possibilities. The defensive talent level may be down from years past, but it’s difficult to recall a Carolina team with this much speed and offensive versatility.

With the arrival of freshman Elijah Hood to join T.J. Logan, Romar Morris and Khris Francis, there may be so much running back depth that more two-back sets could be incorporated.

Wideouts Ryan Switzer, Quinshad Davis and T.J. Thorpe are all capable of producing explosion plays on any given reception or kick return. The microwave offensive mentality has been completely woven in the Carolina football fabric. It was priority No. 1 in Fedora’s blueprint, and he’s succeeding in that department.

The Tar Heels still have lots of questions on and off the field, but none of them have made Fedora the least bit hesitant.

29 Comments

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  • 4tarheels Jul 30, 6:03 a.m.

    He looks like a winner on and off the field. Let's go UNC! The Fedora Way!!

  • Tar Heels Blue Jul 28, 10:02 p.m.

    Why had Florida State been forced by the NCAA to vacate numerous victories due to an academic... View More

    — Posted by Alex25

    Why not write to the NCAA and ask them, for they are the only ones with the answers.

  • Alex25 Jul 28, 3:33 p.m.

    Why had Florida State been forced by the NCAA to vacate numerous victories due to an academic scandal that was essentially much narrower in scope than UNC’s – yet the NCAA had thus far skipped judgment on the Tar Heel program?

  • StunGunn Jul 27, 1:19 p.m.

    Well, they play in the junior division of the ACC, so they should be able to win the division. ... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    What would you propose to do with this alignment? Tell us ole wise one. You sound like the guru... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    VT94Hokies, you have become quite obnoxious and inconsiderate of late. Your posts sound as if... View More

    — Posted by Tar Heels Blue

    Very well said, Tar Heels Blue. Unfortunately, this behavior is nothing new for Hokie - it's been going on for a few years, and if anything, is getting worse, despite embarrassing himself, and being banned at one point.

  • Tar Heels Blue Jul 26, 9:37 p.m.

    Well, they play in the junior division of the ACC, so they should be able to win the division. ... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    What would you propose to do with this alignment? Tell us ole wise one. You sound like the guru... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    VT94Hokies, you have become quite obnoxious and inconsiderate of late. Your posts sound as if you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and bespeak your lack of character. Neither Gunnstigator nor anyone else has addressed any comments to you or the public that warrant your rude responses. For your sake and ours, please go back to your hole or wherever you go before you become so vile and try to act with some civility. When you go on your rant, you post over and over and basically say nothing. Learn to talk X's and O's and enjoy some light banter and then join the rest of us who can communicate without being offensive.

  • NothingButNet Jul 26, 7:15 p.m.

    Well, they play in the junior division of the ACC, so they should be able to win the division. ... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    What would you propose to do with this alignment? Tell us ole wise one. You sound like the guru... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    JGunn is respectful and sober when she posts, two things that can't be said about you.

  • vt94hokies Jul 25, 11:39 p.m.

    Well, they play in the junior division of the ACC, so they should be able to win the division. ... View More

    — Posted by lec02572

    What would you propose to do with this alignment? Tell us ole wise one. You sound like the guru jgunn in this one. What's your best guess on how to do it differently?

  • vt94hokies Jul 25, 10:14 p.m.

    It's easy to see that UNC-CH is one of the all-time cheating schools in Division I. SMU was as bad as it get's back in the day. I believe that Swofford has more power than any of us even knows about. Name one school that has cheated more than UNC. Just one school. It takes loads of politics to skate all of this.

    Most all under Davis's regime have been fired. Thorpe, Baddour, Wiley, Austin, Little, and the AA Studies was as dismal as anything that I've ever heard about. This University has cheated well beyond all in years; now. The NCAA is a weak and dysfunctional organization. UNC can still recruit great talent. HOW? I would hope that the NCAA with an elementary amount of wisdom could finally give this sorry Institution a shock in penalties. I detest how this University has not been given more than a slap on the wrist. Wonder how ole Holden is doing these days? Chicken liver. He allowed most of those now fired with huge monies to go un-checked.

  • vt94hokies Jul 25, 9:55 p.m.

    The Heels will be solid this year and even better the following year. Such a young, talented team

    — Posted by CarolinaBlue (.791)

    Does this cheating school even qualify?

  • vt94hokies Jul 25, 9:54 p.m.

    Ole Dave 437. You must have fallen asleep on one of your previous postings on here. Go back and read a little. Weed.

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