Attention Tar Heel Nation: Football will be back in session very, very soon. UNC’s Spring Game kicks off on April 13th. The boys in blue will hit the field in less than a month. Every play they’ve been practicing. Every scheme is set up. Every player knows their role. Who’s responsible for that cohesion and success? Well, the coaches. You know: the guys everyone blames when things go wrong. We should be learning who they are and celebrating their contributions.
The players on the field had a lot to do with last year’s upbeat, successful 8-4 season. They performed incredibly well and did the job asked of them. There’s no question about that. However, the coaches deserve a great deal of that credit as well. The Tar Heels’ coaching staff has maximized player potential, developed X’s and O’s schemes, and put players in positions to be successful.
Let’s better acquaint ourselves with UNC’s backbone of coaches:
1) Blake Anderson, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Anderson followed head coach, Larry Fedora, up from Southern Miss to Chapel Hill. Blake has helped develop UNC into a national force on the offensive side of the football. The Tar Heels finished 2012 with 291 passing yards a game, 193 rushing yards a game, and 40.6 points a game. These impressive numbers put Chapel Hill 26th, 33rd, and 8th nationally in those categories.
Blake is simply continuing and building upon his remarkable offensive production he oversaw at Southern Miss in 2011. The Golden Eagles that year scored 30 plus points in 10 games and averaged 460 yards an outing. Has anyone heard numbers like these coming out of Southern Mississippi this year? When Anderson and Fedora left town, they took the offensive knowledge with them. Good thing they chose Chapel Hill.
2) Dan Disch, Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
Dan has had his hands full last season. UNC finished 2012 with an average of 25.7 points per game scored against them, putting Chapel Hill 53rd in the nation. Disch has improved on a seriously under-recruited secondary last season and hopes to continue that process in the future. Luckily, he inherited a strong linebacker core, developing them into UNC’s strongest defensive element.
Disch, in all fairness, had not had the opportunity to target recruits until this off-season. Dan has a strong coaching background in Southern Mississippi, where he served under Fedora, and has a reputation for turning programs around on the defensive side of the ball. SMU had an NCAA record of 11 interceptions for touchdowns in 2011 and allowed only 112 rushing yards a game. Disch looks to build momentum this season through recruiting.
3) Ron West, Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebacker Coach
Ron joins Dan Disch as co-defensive coordinators and will specialize in taking over the linebackers in 2013. He’s worked with both head coach Larry Fedora and Dan Disch before so he should be able to hit the ground running. This is a big deal for UNC’s men in the middle on defense. They’ll be losing linebackers’ Kevin Reddick and Dion Guy to graduation and will have a serious hole to fill.
West is joining UNC from Arizona State where he posted very strong numbers—ASU was third in passing defense, nationally, down from an incredibly mediocre 91st in total defense when he arrived. West will also have a stronger defensive-minded presence to walk into. 11 four-star recruits will suit up for UNC’s 2013 season, 7 of which are defensive players.
4) Randy Jordan, Running Backs Coach
Randy Jordan is a UNC alumni that spent nine years in the NFL, which is saying a lot for a running back—it’s saying he’s tough. Tar Heel nation hopes that holds true. Randy will have his hands very full with the departure of All-American Giovani Bernard to the NFL.
Randy grew up in the small town of Madison, NC, and has been on the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders as well as the Nebraska Cornhuskers—who many remember for their smash mouth style of I-back formation. RJ moved on to Texas A&M who finished 2011 ranked 21st in run offense. He hopes to continue UNC’s strong ground attack in 2013.