Bob Donnan

UNC: Five things to know presents: our "Five things to know" series. This week, publisher Ryan Bertonaschi shares five topics that are buzzing around North Carolina's locker room heading into Pitt's Saturday afternoon contest at Chapel Hill.


North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said on his weekly radio show Tuesday that he wants his team to have “at least 10 or more explosive plays every game,” which Fedora defined as a run of 12 yards or more or a pass of 15 yards or more.

Fedora calculated that, in the Tar Heels’ 56-28 win over James Madison last week, his team put together 16 explosive plays, but, he said, “We probably left another 10 out there. We can be much better than we were.”

UNC receiver Ryan Switzer caught a flea flicker for a 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter last week, and the Tar Heels scored on a 71-yard touchdown pass a handful of plays later.

Pitt defensive line coach @Tom Sims’ plan to counter Fedora’s hopes?

Simple:  “Make plays,” Sims said.


Pitt running back James Conner could still be giving North Carolina’s past and present defenders nightmares spurring from Pitt’s 2014 game in Chapel Hill.

It was a game in which Conner zigged and zagged for 220 yards on 30 carries.

This is a season in which Conner is expected to improve as the season grows and as his physical condition continues to blossom again. Through three games, Conner has amassed just (I say “just” because of what he has shown to be capable of in the past) 281 yards and three touchdowns. His 4.5 yards per carry this season don’t compare to his 6 yards per carry in 2014.


UNC was flagged in its most recent game for delay of game. Turns out, it’s not only Pitt’s defense that is confusing opposing offenses with a mock of the quarterback’s cadence routine.

But Fedora debunked the theory that the Heels did it intentionally.

“We have a cadence on defense called ‘Move,’ and that gets our defensive lineman to shift and the linebacker to shift down on the line of scrimmage,” Fedora said on his radio show. “We had done it two other times during the game. This time the official threw a flag on us and said that (a lineman) hollered ‘Go,’ and not ‘Move.’ That’s what the official said he heard.”


North Carolina shared the ACC lead last season in interceptions (17). Through three games, the Heels are still looking for their first.  

His definition of a “dropped pick” might vary from others’, but Fedora said that his team has dropped seven would-have-been interceptions so far this year with four coming in last week’s game.


North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season, and he’s fourth nationally in completion percentage (73.6 percent). Against James Madison last week, the junior was 24 of 27 through the air.

He’s only been sacked three times. Carolina’s offensive line features three seniors and two juniors. Its center, Lucas Crowley, is the lone member of the unit under 300 pounds.

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