'Fun' offense will be on display at UNC spring game Saturday
Posted April 13, 2012
Updated April 14, 2012
Chapel Hill, N.C. — University of North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora is a high-energy guy who likes to have a lot of fun – and he will tell that to anybody who asks. As UNC enters their spring game on Saturday, Fedora said that in order for the offense to take on a personality that matches that of the head coach, it all starts with the quarterback.
“We are telling them that they better move, the whole pace is based on them because they run it,” Fedora said Friday morning while joining Mark and Mike on 620 The Buzz. “If it’s slow, it’s the quarterback’s responsibility and they are fully aware that it is their responsibility. That’s why every repetition is so beneficial to us, because they get more and more comfortable doing it at that tempo.”
Both incumbent starter Bryn Renner and redshirt freshman Marquise Williams have been impressive so far for Fedora’s offense and expect to see repetitions in Saturday’s scrimmage. Their complete grasp on the newly-imported offense may not be where Fedora ultimately wants it as of yet, but the head coach says that strides are being made.
“I’m very pleased with their work ethic, I’m pleased with the way they study the game and I’m pleased with the progress that they have made,” Fedora said. “But we’re not there. From practice yesterday, I can tell you that we are still not there. Are we closer? We are a lot closer than we were a week ago.”
Fedora’s high-octane offenses at Southern Mississippi set Conference-USA records in recent years. At UNC, with returning weapons like Giovani Bernard, Erik Highsmith and T.J. Thorpe, ACC records could too fall. In order to do that though, Fedora insists that fun has to be part of the equation.
“What I want to see is our guys flying around. I want to see our guys having fun playing the game,” Fedora said during a seven-minute interview in which he said the word “fun” 12 times. “If we do those two things then we’re doing okay.”
Fedora will not call the plays at Saturday’s spring game, instead deferring those duties to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson. He said that the team will conduct a game-tempo first half of the scrimmage and run a clock-tempo second half.
“I want our players to have fun,” Fedora said. “I want them to play the game the way the game is supposed be played. I want people leaving the stadium saying, ‘Wow, the guys are having fun playing.’ That’s important. They need to have fun playing the game.”
Fedora, a tireless strategist, said that if he could, he would practice "25 or 40 more times" during the spring, but is excited about how much the players have grasped in the 14 practices that they have been allotted.
“They have tried to do everything we have asked them to do,” Fedora said. “I really think they have a base understanding of our base – on offense, defense and special teams. I think they are starting to understand how we want to practice the Carolina way. We’ve accomplished those two things but we have a long way to go.”
Carolina will miss a handful of players from Saturday’s action with injuries, but the ever-positive Fedora said that even without them, UNC is incapable of losing this weekend.
“I enjoy the spring game because I know it’s the one game we’re going to win.”
UNC will play their spring game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Kenan Stadium with free admission. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN3.com.