With the season rapidly approaching, let’s spend some time getting to know the UNC Football coaches. We all know Larry Fedora, or at least we’ve heard the name and maybe pick him out of a line-up. We got to know him last year. It was a gimme year in many respects. We weren’t going to a bowl game. This year, expectations are higher. When he came to UNC, he was leaving a Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss if you will) team that finished 12-2 and ranked in the top 20 of both polls. The players understand the spread offense a bit more (hopefully). There will be fewer defensive break downs and missed assignments (again, hopefully).
I think the two guys with the hardest job this year are going to be Blake Anderson, the Offensive Coordinator and Chris Kapilovic, the Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach. Last year, their jobs were easier. “You wanna give the ball to Gio?” “Yep.” I know there’s more to it than that, but I’m paraphrasing. These two will have to rely on the O line to open holes and finish blocks. That’s where Kapilovic will earn his paycheck, by having the guys in the trenches win the individual battles. Randy Jordan, the Running Back Coach, will be charged with getting A.J. Blue, Romar Morris and Khris Francis to hit those holes and hold onto the football after contact.
Gunter Brewer has an easier job. He’s the Passing Game Coordinator. (Yeah, I know he sounds like the bad guy from the second Die Hard movie, but I IMDB’d it and he’s not.) He’s got Senior QB Bryn Renner winging the ball out to two Juniors and a Sophomore in Sean Tapley, Mark McNeill and Quinshad Davis respectively. He’s also got Junior Eric Ebron as a potential receiving weapon, and Tight End Coach Walt Bell will be charged with his continued improvement.
On the Defensive side of the ball, UNC has the benefit of experience, at least in terms of starts. The secondary has all starters from last year returning. That’s music to the ears of Associate Head Coach for Defense and Safeties Coach Vic Koenning and CB Coach/Defensive Coordinator Dan Disch. Both of these coaches are in their second year with the team, which should mean a better understanding of the system for the players.
Linebackers will be answering to Coach Ron West, who is also listed as co-defensive coordinator. This season will be his first with UNC, and he will be working with Lipford and Heffernan, both Seniors and Hughes, a Junior.
The man with quite possibly the toughest job on his hands is Keith Gilmore, the Defensive Line Coach. With the exit of DT Williams and LB Riddick, many teams will be looking to run right into the heart of UNC’s defense, and Gilmore will need to have his line ready to stop the run up the middle. One of UNC’s opportunities last year was getting pressure on the opposing QB from the DE spots. That will be another area to watch as the season gets underway.
I don’t see any reasons that UNC couldn’t improve on their 8-4 season last year. The schedule is very front-loaded with difficult games, so this team will be tested early. I’m excited to see what this coaching staff can do now that they’ve had a chance to really let the players adjust to the system.