THT Larry Fedora Notebook

GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina head football coach Larry Fedora addressed the largest turnout of the The Rams Club's spring Tar Heel Tour series at the NewBridge Bank Park on Tuesday evening.

** Last Wednesday, Fedora answered a question at the Charlotte Tar Heel Tour stop about N.C. State and his "I don't want to legitimize their program" reply was quickly cemented as the first shot fired in the new edition of the bitter rivalry.

Emcee Woody Durham shared the story of how Fedora checked his Twitter feed on the way to the airport following the Charlotte event only to find it overrun by N.C. State fans.

Fedora played the politically correct card when asked about the Wolfpack this time around.

"173 days – that's all I'm going to say about that," Fedora said. "I learned my lesson."

** Fedora spent the opening moments of his session praising his coaching staff.

"I will tell you that the entire staff that I have, they are great men," Fedora said. "They're great family men and they love the kids. Now we coach them hard. We coach them real hard. We get after their rear ends and we hold them accountable, but we love them. And these kids will understand that in the next four years."

** Here's a shocking revelation – UNC will not utilize its no-huddle approach on every play in the fall.

"We're going to go no-huddle probably 99.6 or 99.7 percent of the time," Fedora said.

Joking aside, the first-year head coach provided some new insight into how the offensive tempo will be managed.

"It's really not about going fast all of the time," Fedora said. "I think if you do that, defenses can adjust. I think defensive coordinators can adjust and they can get into the flow of the game. For us, it's about changing the tempos in the game…

"We're going to speed it up, slow it down, speed it up [and] sometimes we're going to go at medium speed. We have five speeds that we work off of and that's one of the things our guys have to understand."

Fedora noted that the team ran more plays during the first seven practices of spring ball than UNC did in all 15 practices last spring.

** Former Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis entered spring ball last year with three years of starting experience under his belt and a reputation for being a student of the game. But current UNC defensive coordinator Dan Disch had just arrived in Hattiesburg from Illinois and installed the 4-2-5 defense that he directed in Champaign alongside current UNC associate head coach of defense Vic Koenning and the multiple looks proved to be a challenge.

"[Davis] said, ‘Coach, it's taken me 14 days to figure this thing out,'" Fedora recalled. "He said, ‘If you think about it, a team that prepares for us has about three days, two days of practice and a third day and that's about it.' And that's exactly what happened last season… So I'm really excited about what our defense is going to be here in the future."

** As for who will be calling the plays between Koenning and Disch, that's still up in the air.

"We haven't decided that yet," Fedora said. "I was thinking about each week just drawing a number out of a hat and letting some lucky fan come out and call the plays."

Fedora said the play calling has never been a concern because Disch and Koenning worked together at Illinois and indicated that the topic hasn't been addressed yet.

"I'm not really worried about it," he said.

** According to Fedora, his last dozen offenses have averaged roughly 200 yards per game rushing, thanks in large part to a scheme to stretch the field horizontally and force defenses to leave just six men in the box.

He indicated that sophomore Gio Bernard, freshman Romar Morris and junior A.J. Blue are the three running backs competing for UNC's tailback position.

"I imagine that all three will play throughout the season," Fedora said.

That's because of the tempo that his offense will demand. As an example, Fedora pointed to Bernard touching the ball six times in the first eight plays of a series in the Spring Game. The Davie, Fla. native was winded as he came off the field.

"Gio came to the sideline and said, ‘Coach, six times out of the first eight plays – I'm just not ready for that,'" Fedora said. "And I said, ‘Is that a bad thing? You don't want the ball?' And he said, ‘No, no, no. I want the ball. I'll get in shape.' So we'll get him in shape and he'll be ready to go in the fall."

Fedora did offer significant praise for UNC's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1997.

"I am smarter than I look," Fedora said. "It took me about four or five minutes of the first practice to realize that Gio can play the game."

** Charlotte may have gotten first dibs at hosting a UNC scrimmage this fall, but the Triad may be able to lay claim to being the first location to actually have the scrimmage take place, provided the weather cooperates.

"We have talked about that and that is our plan for this next year, coming out to Greensboro and playing over here and having a scrimmage," Fedora said.

** Fedora has made the rounds in recent months to build support for his program, and those stops included fraternities and sororities on campus. One common complaint that arose during those visits centered on noon games being too early on Saturdays in the fall.

Fedora offered a rather simple solution by telling the Greeks, "If the game's at 12, just don't go to bed."

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham shared two pieces of news with the crowd on Tuesday.

His second-oldest son, Michael, graduates high school over Memorial Day weekend and his college choices came down to Notre Dame and North Carolina. He chose to be a Tar Heel.

"The other bit of good news is that I've been living in a condo for a while and we just actually bought a house today," Cunningham said.

The Cunningham family will move into the new home in Chapel Hill the first week of June.

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