It’s not exactly part of the NSA leaks that the UNC secondary struggled last season. Let’s all agree that was common knowledge. The Tar Heels were 53rd in the nation in the “Points Against” category, allowing an average of 25.7 points to be scored against them per game. That’s head-shaking bad. Rising junior, Tim Scott, plans on stopping the bleeding this upcoming season.
Scott is a 5’11’’, 190 pound cornerback from Fredericksburg, Virginia. His third season in Carolina Blue, he hopes to make a statement this year and continue improving. Tim finished his freshman season with 43 total tackles (29 solo) and finished last year with 47 total tackles (35 solo). These aren’t bad numbers. Where the focus should lie for UNC fans is the jump in interceptions.
Tim finished his freshman year with a single interception for three yards return and no touchdowns. He finished his sophomore year with four interceptions with a return of 50 yards and a touchdown. This signifies that Scott is starting to develop a nose for the ball. Tar Heel fans need to appreciate this and also hope that he improves on that production next season.
So, what does next season hold for Tim Scott? The consensus is further development. Under the tuteledge of head coach Larry Fedora this off-season, both sides of the ball are looking stronger. However, Fedora is known as a run-and-gun offensive intellect. That helps UNC win games but, as least as of last season, by mostly outscoring their opponents.
So how does the defense, namely the secondary, pick things up? Larry Fedora hired new defensive coaches. That helps.
Ron West was brought in as the co-defensive coordinator for the linebacker core. He will split coordinator role with cornerback coach, Dan Disch. Vic Koenning will take over the role of coaching the safeties.
Ron West worked with Fedora before while at Baylor, where Fedora re-built them into a strong team. Both are familiar with each other’s coaching style. This is often an overlooked factor of winning teams. Chemistry and familiarity are just as important among coaches as players on the field. Everyone must be on the same page, especially the guys with the headsets.
Add to the fact that West was brought in a week after Fedora hired Keith Gilmore as the defensive line coach, and UNC’s defense has already improved exponentially. It’s all linked. The stronger the defensive line, the more the Tar Heels can make offenses one-dimensional by shutting down the run and pressuring the quarterback into rash decisions. An improved linebacker core can assist the cornerbacks and safeties in both pass defense and flushing the quarterback out of the pocket—lowering his accuracy. This, in turn, opens the door for picks and players like Tim Scott to rise to the occasion.
Tim Scott will improve last season’s numbers simply by the fact that he’s got another year of film-watching tutelage under his belt. Add the fact that he’s got another year of growth, mentally and physically, and Scott is sitting pretty. However, the main reason Scott will advance, production-wise, is the fact that Fedora has revamped the coaching structure.
By Fedora overhauling the defensive coaches, it shows he recognizes where the greatest chance for improvement lies. He has compartmentalized the four main areas of a defense (safeties, cornerbacks, linebackers, defensive lines) into four specific areas for the new defensive coaches. That means, each coach can focus exclusively on their respective players.
Tim will be a smarter, stronger player this season, just by nature taking its course. By Larry Fedora hiring these new coaches though, Scott will surprise a lot of UNC fans this year with his success. That’s what happens when players are put in the right positions at the right moments of a football games. This set of defensive coaches will see to that.