CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The only thing certain surrounding North Carolina’s play calling duties at the Russell Athletic Bowl is that former offensive coordinator Seth Littrell will not be involved.
“We’re game planning the same way we always have as an offensive staff,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora told reporters on Tuesday. “Right now, I haven’t really finally decided how it’s going to go down in the game. I think that I will probably be more involved than I have been, but that doesn’t mean that I will be making all of the calls. I’ve got guys on our staff that can handle it without a problem, so I just need to make the final decision on how we’re going to do it.”
This is familiar territory for Fedora, who handed former assistant Walt Bell the interim offensive coordinator tag prior to the 2013 Belk Bowl after Blake Anderson took the Arkansas State head coaching job. Bell called the plays in the 39-17 win over Cincinnati with Fedora’s help.
Fedora expects the game plan for Baylor to be finalized on Wednesday, at which point he will begin to iron out play calling duties.
However, the fourth-year UNC head coach may have tipped his hand with two separate pieces of information. After explaining his preference for calling plays from the press box as an offensive coordinator in order to better see shades, shifts and three-techniques, among other things, Fedora said he didn’t envision adding any other coach to the booth.
Only quarterbacks coach Keith Heckendorf and offensive graduate assistant Andrew Mitchell, who has temporarily taken over coaching tight ends, are currently in the press box for games.
When asked if Heckendorf was the most likely candidate at this point in time, Fedora replied: “Possibly.”
He added that anybody on the offensive staff could fill that role with the exception of running backs coach Larry Porter, who is the special teams coordinator. Offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic and wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer are the other options.
In looking beyond the bowl game, Fedora is not in a rush to fill the open offensive coordinator position.
“I have not made a decision on when I’m going to do it,” Fedora said. “I don’t feel like I’m stressed for time in this situation. One, it’s not going to change what we do in the bowl game. Two, it’s not going to really change recruiting because the kids out there know we’re going to run our offense… It’s more about making sure we get the right person and the right fit and the right chemistry for our staff.”
Fedora said the response to the open job has been “overwhelming” due to both the success of his offense (UNC leads the nation in yards per play) and the fact that Anderson and Littrell, who is now at North Texas, both landed head coaching gigs.