The Drive Monday 7-23-12-UNC head coach Larry Fedora talked with Taylor and Marc about what it’s like taking over from the Butch Davis era and spells out his expectations for his team this year.
Fedora showed us his optimism and his eagerness, answering each question passionately. He gave us no complaints or excuses when we asked how difficult it has been to inherit the sanctions placed on the Tar Heels.
“You’ve got a lot of naysayers out there,” Fedora said. “You always do, and that’s what gets you out of bed in the morning…You turn around and you say, you know what here’s our plan, this is what we’re going to do, now let’s go and you don’t look back! It’s not been as hard as people say it’s been.”
Not only did Fedora show his own enthusiasm, but he ensured fans that the athletes are working hard to fight for legitimacy at the national level. They are cooperating well as Fedora tries to lead this program out of the rut it has fallen into.
“Our kids are excited. I think what’s happened with them in the last couple years has been tough on them. They’ve been looking for somebody to come in, put their arm around them and say okay guys let’s do this—this is the way we’re going to do things—and to have some normalcy. They’ve been chomping at the bit to do the things that we’ve asked them to do.”
Ultimately, Fedora wants this team to shine this season regardless of the NCAA restrictions. The new coach is hammering away at the construction of a new era for UNC football.
“It’s going to be a culture change,” Fedora said. “That’s what’s happening. I want people to know that we’re going to play smart, we’re going to play fast, we’re going to play physical. I want our fans to be proud of the way our football team plays, I want this state to be proud of the way the University of North Carolina plays, and I want us to have a national presence in football.”
With athletes such as Bryn Renner, Giovani Bernard, Jheranie Boyd, Erik Highsmith, Kevin Reddick and more, the Heels have sufficient first team talent. They just might prove to have the best offensive line in the conference. Fedora told us he expects these guys to bring wins, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working on the second and third string players with just as much effort.
“The one thing I do worry about, Taylor, is our depth. You’re not going to go through the season with eleven guys. It’s not going to happen, and so every guy behind every one of those guys is an ankle away from playing on this football team. From the quarterback all the way to the punter…We’ve got to develop some depth that can help this football team win.”