During his senior season opener, Bernard began feeling pain in his hamstrings. The injury forced the 5-foot-9, 203-pound tailback from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Aquinas to miss eight full games and see limited action in five others.
"Nobody really knows exactly what it is," Bernard said. "It's just something that when I open up my strides it just catches me in my hamstring area."
Bernard's personal trainer consults regularly with both Scott Trulock, UNC's head athletic trainer, and Jeff Connors, UNC's strength and conditioning coach.
"My personal trainer made a little workout for me," Bernard said. "It's kind of the same thing [that UNC assigns the other signees], but not exactly."
Bernard says he's noticed improvement from the changes that have been made.
"I feel a lot stronger, a lot faster, and quicker," Bernard said. "It's going to take time. I'm thankful that right now I have a lot of it."
It's unknown how or if Bernard's hamstring problem will affect his collegiate career.
"All I can do is work hard at it and hope to get it out of my system," Bernard said.
Bernard is stepping into a unique situation at UNC. He's the only tailback the Tar Heels signed in the 2010 class and UNC's top three tailbacks on roster will graduate following the season.
"They haven't put a lot of pressure on me, other than to come in ready to work," Bernard said. "But they expect me to get on the field this season.
"If I have the opportunity to play, I want to play. I don't want to sit around and watch my school play football. I want to be out there with my teammates and have a chance to have that feeling of winning."
Since Signing Day, Bernard's communication with UNC's coaching staff has shifted from John Blake, his primary recruiter, to Ken Browning, UNC's running backs coach.
"I'm just using the opportunity to keep that relationship going until I get there," Bernard said.
Bernard says there hasn't been any jersey number discussion.
"I haven't thought about [my jersey number] at all," Bernard said. "It doesn't really matter to me. I just want to play."
Bernard plans to room with fellow South Floridian Jabari Price when arrives on campus on June 13.
"Having someone that's from down here that I've played against [is beneficial]," Bernard said. "We understand what goes on in South Florida. We'll go home together and [I'll] have somebody on the airplane ride with me."
Bernard is fully academically qualified.