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Cooper: Tar Heels hope to be 'state' champs

Posted August 22, 2012

— North Carolina's football players are well aware that they won't go to a bowl game in 2012, but that hasn't stopped the Tar Heels from setting lofty goals under new head coach Larry Fedora. 

"We want to be 12-0," senior guard Jonathan Cooper told Adam Gold and Joe Ovies Tuesday afternoon on 99.9 The Fan. "We set two goals, and that's to be the Coastal Division champion and the North Carolina state champion. Those are two major motivating factors to us."

Another motivating factor, not surprisingly, has been Fedora himself.

The new head coach has brought endless energy and a more structured approach to Chapel Hill, Cooper said. He's also embracing North Carolina's rivalry with NC State, taking every chance to remind the Triangle how many days are left before the Oct. 27 showdown in Kenan Stadium. 

For the record, it's 65. North Carolina Logo More UNC Stories

The offense, which seems poised for a big year, features four returning starters along the offensive line and a talented backfield duo in quarterback Bryn Renner and running back Gio Bernard. 

Cooper said intense offseason  workouts – featured in North Carolina's "Blue Dawn" YouTube series – have created positive momentum heading into the team's season opener against Elon on Sept. 1 at 12:30 p.m. 

"It's been a long, long training camp," he said. "One of the toughest things I've ever been through. You can see it paying dividends once you go against your defense and they are really tired after four plays. If you buy into it 100 percent, you can see that it is going to be very beneficial to us."

While the changes to the product on the field will likely be the most discussed topic this fall, Cooper said a new mental approach for North Carolina's players will be just as important. The team is no longer surrounded by turmoil, as it was heading into 2011 under interim head coach Everett Withers.

"That was very difficult, but you're going to have adversity wherever you go," Cooper said. "It's just about being resilient. This year, it's good to have consistency, knowing who we're going with. Training camp was just as bad, but we were able to focus on football."

66 Comments

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  • rcox Aug 23, 10:13 p.m.

    This made me laugh, thanks!!

    — Posted by redistrumps

  • bacarolinas Aug 23, 5:16 p.m.

    Anyone with ties to the area knows that to be the North Carolina (State Champs) in football you have to beat nc. State, duke, and Wake Forest during the football season. The Heels actually play Elon, and ECU this year as well, meaning that if they could somehow go 5-0 in these intrastate games they would truly be the (State Champs). Which may sound insignificant to you, but it is huge for in state recruiting. A REAL fan would know this, and understand it.

  • bacarolinas Aug 23, 4:55 p.m.

    They should worry about being Champions in the classroom first.

    — Posted by chivegas

    Do you ever have anything to say about your own team? I mean good or bad for that matter. All you do is blow this site up with your rants about UNC. Is your team so insignificant, sad, and pathetic that you just don't have anything to say? Or what? Nevermind, I just remembered... you're a state fan. That explains everything.

  • bacarolinas Aug 23, 4:52 p.m.

    Wrong post... oops

  • rcox Aug 23, 3:29 p.m.

    If the coaches think of State as a rival, maybe the fans will jump on that bandwagon also. Me... View More

    — Posted by tommybrownnc

    It may be a rivalry but they don't give out trophies to the winner unlike the Victory Bell with Duke. Both games are really another game on the schedule. GO HEELS

  • rcox Aug 23, 3:25 p.m.

    They should worry about being Champions in the classroom first.

    — Posted by chivegas

    These kids had nothing to do with the selfish players before them. Give it a rest enough is enough. These kids are being punished for the selfish acts of players who are no longer there. GO HEELS

  • Capitals Fan Aug 23, 12:29 p.m.

    You are correct. State beat App in 2006 23-10. State went on to finish 3-9 that season and App... View More

    — Posted by bourboNCarolina

    I find it amusing that you find the silver lining in anything related to UNCheat footbal. Your school has been proven to be the most dishonest institution in history and yet with all of that cheating to be a powerhouse in football, you still had a losing record in conference play under your beloved "coach." Why not stop being a tool and focus on your own stats?

    But you are still just a Towel Boy

  • bourboNCarolina Aug 23, 7:28 a.m.

    Exactly. Of course you didn't know NCSU have athletes in their 3rd and 4th year on campus in... View More

    — Posted by tdouble232323

    Pretty pathetic when their fans have to start making up stories to try to make themselves feel... View More

    — Posted by chivegas

    Its not made up. Check out the NC State Media Guide on GoPack.com

    — Posted by bourboNCarolina

    As soon as either of you CHeats can produce some "evidence" that supports your... View More

    — Posted by chivegas

    Go to the Media guide, and read each players page. Their majors are all listed under the personal section.

  • heelsforever Aug 22, 9:43 p.m.

    Making up stories? I'm just looking for a honest discussion about guys being on campus 3-4 years... View More

    — Posted by tdouble232323

    NC State refused to cooperate with the media and release academic information on their players... View More

    — Posted by 4tarheels

    Yes, the N&O requested athletes transcript from both schools and both schools showed the... View More

    — Posted by heelsforever

    The interesting requests by press to State are for email and phone records for Gott, Yow, TOB,... View More

    — Posted by unc70

    That is a good point. Why not make the requests to see if they can find something to write a story about. Heck, one day the UNC feeding frenzy will end and then they'll be looking to create a State frenzy, or maybe and ECU frenzy in hopes of bringing Carolina fans back to the N&O pages.

  • chivegas Aug 22, 6:58 p.m.

    What are you even talking about?

    — Posted by TruthBKnown Banned Again02

    Exactly. Of course you didn't know NCSU have athletes in their 3rd and 4th year on campus in... View More

    — Posted by tdouble232323

    Pretty pathetic when their fans have to start making up stories to try to make themselves feel... View More

    — Posted by chivegas

    Its not made up. Check out the NC State Media Guide on GoPack.com

    — Posted by bourboNCarolina

    As soon as either of you CHeats can produce some "evidence" that supports your fabricated claim, we can discuss it. Since you cannot, then we won't.

    While you're on GoPack, you may notice the compliance forms. Perhaps you should introduce them to your players.

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