Larry Fedora is one Saturday away from ending his first regular season as UNC’s head coach. Would everyone call it a successful opening run? Eh, maybe not everyone. I do think we can chalk this opening season as a definite step in the right direction. We’ve still got a long way to go, but Fedora has pointed Chapel Hill towards the sunny side of ACC football. Here’s why:
1) These aren’t his players.
Fedora has racked up a 7-4 record, going 4-3 in the ACC, and has UNC behind just one game to Georgia Tech to play for an ACC championship. Chapel Hill is 11th in the nation in the “points for” category at 40.2 points per game. They’re currently sitting just outside the top 25 in passing yards at 290.5 yards per game. These are pretty good numbers. Oh, and guess what? These aren’t his class of recruits.
Coach Larry Fedora has implemented a spread-offense that relies on strong accuracy from the quarterback position and quickness/catching ability from the running backs. So far, he’s lucked out. Former coach Butch Davis’ recruits have done well under Fedora. However, the fact remains; they were recruited under a pro-style offense—not the spread-offense. Give the new coach some time to bring in his guys and I think UNC will be an exciting team to watch.
2) We haven’t lost by a lot.
Three of the four losses UNC has suffered this season have been by five or less points. That means the Tar Heels have been in every ball game. Even the game against Georgia Tech, Chapel Hill put up 50. These are impressive numbers behind a so-so record. At the end of most of these games, UNC has been a position to win. That’s really all you can ask from a head coach.
3) The secondary Fedora inherited has been a no-show.
This says it all: UNC put up 50 points against Georgia Tech and still lost by 18. Chapel Hill gives up an average of 24.5 points per game this season. This stat includes both Idaho and Elon scoring zero points—AKA, that stat should be higher. In the majority of these games I’ve seen, the Tar Heels are looking great on offense and fairly stringent on run defense (with the possible exception of Georgia Tech). This would normally be a formula for success. But if the other team has a decent quarterback—watch out.