New Era Begins

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina head football coach Larry Fedora introduced eight of his assistant coaches on Tuesday afternoon, marking a new beginning for the Tar Heel football program.

Press Conference
Listen to Audio (21:08)

** As previously reported by Inside Carolina, the eight assistants announced by UNC are as follows: associate head coach for defense Vic Koenning, defensive coordinator Dan Disch, defensive assistant and special teams coordinator David Duggan, defensive line coach Deke Adams, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson, wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer, tight ends coach Walt Bell and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic.

Disch, Duggan, Adams, Anderson, Bell and Kapilovic all worked with Fedora at Southern Miss. Brewer arrives from Mississippi after previous stops at UNC ('00-04) and Oklahoma State. Koenning served as Illinois's interim head coach in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl after holding down the defensive coordinator position under Ron Zook.

Strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski is the lone holdover from the previous UNC coaching staff.

Fedora provided some insight as to when the final position on his staff -- running backs coach – will to be filled.

"I'd say here in the next few weeks, to be honest with you," he said. "I've got some guys targeted to finalize the last spot."

** Fedora previously worked with Brewer for three years during his stint as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator and developed a good understanding of his wide receivers coach's feelings for Chapel Hill.

"There were many conversations that Gunter and I had [with] him saying that North Carolina was the best place he's ever been at," Fedora said. "So obviously, that planted a seed in my mind. When I called Gunter to think about adding him to this staff, he was like, ‘I'll crawl back out there.'"

But Brewer was hired for much more than his familiarity with the UNC community. The Columbus, Miss. native has coached 16 receivers that have gone on to play professionally, including Randy Moss and Dez Bryant, and current Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon is expected to be a first-round draft pick in April's NFL Draft.

"I don't know how many receiver coaches there are in the country – there may not be anybody else, I don't know – that have worked with three Biletnikoff finalists," said Fedora, referencing the award that is given to the nation's top wide receiver.

** Plenty of fans and media members considered the Independence Bowl to be an audition for the current roster, but as it turns out, Fedora was too busy packing boxes to watch the bowl game. He estimated that he tuned in for about three minutes before diverting his attention away prior to UNC's score on its opening drive.

If that may seem odd, understand that it's actually by design.

"Every situation I've gone into, to be honest with you, I haven't watched any film," Fedora said. "I want the players to know that when I meet with them on Jan. 8, whatever reputation they want to have, it starts then… Everything they've done in the past has nothing to do with me or this staff. And so we start fresh with every kid at 6 p.m. on the 8th."

** After a week in Hawaii preparing for Southern Miss's bowl game on Christmas Eve, Fedora's coaching staff finalized their moves to Chapel Hill before arriving on Sunday. After diving into recruiting on Monday, the staff was prepared to hit the road literally minutes following the press conference.

One large box and three travel bags took up prime walking real estate in Duggan's office on the Kenan Football Center's fourth floor. The defensive assistant had been on the phone with his wife discussing health benefits while also trying to focus on recruiting.

The transition process is a necessary evil of the coaching carousel, but this staff's familiarity with each other helps ease that stress, however slightly.

"It makes the adjustment a little bit easier," Duggan said. "It's never going to be easy, because there are just too many things, too many moving parts going in different directions all at once. Give us a week and it will slow down a lot, but having a group of guys that you've worked with before makes it a little bit less stressful."

** Regardless of their titles, Disch and Koenning will effectively be co-defensive coordinators for the Tar Heels. Their previous working relationship – Illinois in '10 – allowed for this setup to transpire.

Disch admitted that he wouldn't take this approach with just anybody, but the trust and shared philosophies make it possible. Both coaches have common goals and according to Disch, neither one cares who gets the credit.

"It will be a collaborative deal," Disch said. "Everyone asks who will be calling the plays. I'll call the ones that work and the ones that don't work, you can say Vic called them suckers."

Disch said the key to making the partnership work will take place during the week, indicating that game prep represents 90 percent of the work involved.

"On game day, if it's 4th-and-1, we've got two calls that we've talked about during the week together," Disch said. "Then you just call one of those two, so I don't think it's near as important who we decide to make the calls on game day as much as preparing your kids and the game plan during the week."

Disch and Koenning can pull from past experiences having coached against offenses from the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC and C-USA.

** Fedora explained his role in tinkering with the offense during his initial press conference last month as helping to script plays in between series, but he does not call the plays. That responsibility falls to Anderson, who worked under Fedora at Southern Miss for four years.

"It's good and bad," Anderson said when asked about Fedora's involvement. "It's good and bad – he'll tell you and I'll be honest with you. He's a great source of information. At the end of the day, I know it starts and stops with me. We've got to score. If we don't score, it's my job to get it done. It's my fault if it doesn't happen. But to have a guy that's had the experience that he's had for all of those years and to be able to draw from that… He steps in from time-to-time, he helps to watch film and make suggestions, good and bad, but at the end of the day, he puts it on my shoulders."

One thing that has impressed Anderson about Fedora is a willingness to trust his play-calling.

"He doesn't second-guess you," Anderson said. "You've got to call things from your gut, you've got to know the system, which I do, and you've got to believe in what you call. "Any way you go, somebody's going to disagree with it, but if I can walk to his office and say, ‘What do you think?' - he'll say, ‘You did what your gut told you; we practiced it, it's good.' Then you feel like you've got the right situation going."

** When asked his top priority with regards to recruiting between now and Signing Day, Fedora simply replied: "Great players."

** Fedora has utilized a recruiting coordinator in the past and intends to use one at UNC, but that decision has not been made as of yet.


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