CARY, N.C. – North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora labeled his 2014 offense “average” for the second time in three days on Thursday before detailing his expectations.
“Offensively we return 10 starters,” Fedora told a packed ballroom at the RTP Embassy Suites during the 13th Annual Bill Dooley Chapter Pigskin Preview. “We lost our tight end, but other than that, everybody else is back. We have an opportunity to be much better than we were last year offensively. We were an average offense last year.”
Fedora offered the same adjective to describe his offense roughly 48 hours earlier at the ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C.
UNC ranked 48th nationally in total offense (429.8), 38th in scoring offense (33.2) and 66th in yards per play (5.56). The Tar Heels also ranked 58th in FootballOutsiders.com’s S&P+ rating, an advanced metric that measures efficiency, explosiveness, field position and a team’s ability to finish drives.
“The bar is pretty high for us offensively as far as what our expectations are, and we didn’t meet those last year,” Fedora said. “But we’ve got most of those guys back. It will be interesting to see if they’re up to the challenge.”
Fedora provided some insight into those expectations following the Pigskin Preview event.
“I expect us to be in the top-20 in everything, really,” Fedora said. “I really do. Now, some are more important to me than others. Scoring offense is really the most important thing.”
In seven years as a head coach, Fedora has had four offensive units to rank in the top-20 of total offense and scoring offense statistics.
Returning all five offensive line starters should cure an unproductive backfield - UNC ranked 81st nationally with 151.4 rushing yards per game in 2014 – and cut down on the 28 quarterback sacks allowed (2nd-most ACC).
Interestingly enough, Fedora said he has never once looked at the total number of plays that his teams have run in a season.
“For us, it’s ‘hey, let’s do what we need to do to score more points than the other team,’” Fedora said. “… It’s not just about going fast. It’s about changing the tempo throughout the game to create as much conflict for the defense as possible.”
UNC ran 1,005 plays in 2014, good for 19th nationally. Ten of the teams that ranked ahead of UNC in that category played 14 or 15 games.
WR Transfer “Comfortable” at UNC
UNC announced on Wednesday that Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Cunningham will transfer and play his final two years as a Tar Heel.
“I think he was really comfortable with what’s going on in the program,” Fedora said. “I think if you listen to him, he’ll tell you what he thought the advantages are. He’s going to walk in here and get a world-class education and his life after football is going to benefit because of having a degree from the University of North Carolina.”
Fedora said he prefers to hold a scholarship or two open for potential transfers that pop up during the offseason.
“Unless we’ve got somebody that we know is going to help us immediately, I’d rather save it in case something like that happens,” the fourth-year UNC head coach said.
Fedora Defines Offensive Goals
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