Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

Chris Kapilovic Up Close: The 2016 UNC Offense

The final installment in a four-part interview series with newly promoted UNC offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic takes a closer look at potential growth for the Tar Heel offense this coming season.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- The 2015 North Carolina offense broke records, and in many cases its numbers were among the best in the nation. Chris Kapilovic’s challenge in his first year as offensive coordinator is maintaining – or exceeding – those accomplishments.

Given the success of the 2015 offense, can the 2016 offense measure up to that high standard?

We’ve got some big shoes to fill in certain spots, but have enough pieces that it will just continue to develop and improve. We can be very good, there’s no question. We don’t want what we saw last year to be something we only see once in a great while, we want that to be consistently what we do.

We can get better. When we go through and watch all the film of last season, we saw plenty of opportunities where we did not execute as well as we should have. The attention to detail is the thing I think we’re really focusing on getting right, all the time, and not getting sloppy.

When things are going good it is easy for people to get a little sloppy with their assignments and the things they are doing because they are having success. Nothing sticks out or becomes glaring until you don’t have success. Our job as coaches in spring and fall camp is to really push these guys to understand, first of all there should be no sense of complacency, and secondly we can improve on what we did.

What specific areas do you see where the offense can improve?

The thing that is funny is that as well as we ran the ball last year, our third and short percentage wasn’t what it should be, that’s one thing we were watching on film a couple of days ago where we could be better. The thing we also saw is that we were explosive, we had spurts, where there were four or five series in a row where we were playing at an unbelievable level, but we also had some drives or areas within games where we kind of got stagnant, so we want to eliminate that, try to be more consistent I think is the big thing.

We think we had way too many fumbles, too many balls on the ground at the end of the year, and that we need to clean that up. When you look at the stats, you say, ‘Wow, you were really pretty good at a lot of things,’ but there is still, whether you call it nitpicking or not, in every area there were things we could improve on. To me, as great of season as we had, there’s still a bad taste in our mouths that we didn’t win the last two ball games. That’s motivation for us in one sense. The other thing is that we were just a few plays away from being in the national playoff, so being so close to being a playoff team, there are a lot of things that should motivate us as a staff to push the kids to be even better.

The offense brings back a lot of well-known players, are there any lesser-known players that you think may make a name for themselves this year?

The name that popped into my head immediately was (Brandon Fritts). You look at what he did at times last year, and now he’s going to be the veteran of that tight end group. Just the amount of change in his body and the things he has done since he’s been here is amazing. You watch him at Blue Dawn, he’s a totally different guy. He really improved in his blocking as the season went on, and again, watching all these clips, if you threw the ball to him he caught it. I can’t think of a drop by him off the top of my head. I think he’s a guy who is going to be a major part of our offense that maybe people don’t think about a bunch.

In the receiver group, a kid like Jordan Cunningham who is now eligible, we’ve got to see what he can do, and Anthony Ratliff, he’s a very athletic kid and now he’s going to be a receiver full-time, and if he can get it down, his athletic ability is pretty special. Austin Proehl is a guy who was very solid throughout the year, and I think he could do some more things.

We have Hood and Logan in the running game, but someone else - Ty’Son Williams, Jordon Brown, Khris Francis - needs to have a good year, and I think someone will.

So there are some guys out there with an opportunity to make an impression on this team, and I think they will.

Who are going to be our top two or three quarterbacks? That’s going to be a big part of this. Everybody is talking about Mitch, but you’ve got to have the next guy you really trust. There was nothing better than this past season knowing that you had two guys who could get it done, so Caleb Henderson, he’s got to have a great spring, then we’ve got the young freshmen who are either coming in or are redshirts, and they are going to have a great opportunity to compete.




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