After the third loss of the season and unarguably the most embarrassing one yet, fans have begun to question head coach Larry Fedora, his staff, and playbook. When you have a roster loaded with four star talent that gets beat by 20+ points against a team of mostly 2-3 star talents, it’s only fair to begin to question things. But after allowing 600+ yards against East Carolina, a team UNC was heavily favored to defeat, is it time for Fedora to make note of the constant repeated mistakes and let his staff know it’s time for a change?
Fans have blamed Fedora for not modifying his playbook to a 4-3 until his players that he recruited to fit his 4-2-5 system were filing the depth chart. That’s a fair criticism, but then you also have to note that Fedora is not the play caller on defense. Then again at the end of the day, Fedora is the boss and overrides all decisions.
Dan Disch currently serves as the defensive coordinator (his second season) and as the cornerbacks coach. One of the biggest struggles of the UNC defense is the secondary. How can you stand ten yards behind a receiver constantly and not expect them to keep getting first downs and gain good yardage on plays? I’m not claiming to be a coach by any means, but it only takes a simple understanding of the game to know that something isn’t working. It’s pretty obvious what Disch, Koenning, and Fedora are doing right now…isn’t working!
Vic Koenning is also in his second year with UNC serving as the Associate Head Coach for Defense and Safeties. Just like Disch, his safeties back off of the coverage and it gives the opposing quarterbacks plenty of time to make a pass before a safety can even reach the receiver. That allows time for a catch and to run the ball for more yards. UNC’s secondary is arguably their biggest weakness and these two coaches are responsible for them, and this is where I would shift my blame personally.
Keith Gilmore was hired from Illinois after the departure of Deke Adams to South Carolina to coach the defensive line. Yet another big weakness of UNC’s defense is blocking the line and creating hardships for the opposing running backs. Instead our defensive line constantly leaves gaps to allow the runner to get past them and gain good yardage. They’ve also had a hard time trying to get past the offensive line to pressure the quarterback. All of our opponents so far have made note of that and did just that.
Sure, UNC is 1-3 and it is early in the season, but the issues North Carolina has been having this season are the same issues they had last season. Sadly, there has been no improvement and it has gotten worse. I think Disch, Gilmore, and Koenning need to be worried and start making some serious adjustments with their defense. I wouldn’t personally think it is out of the question to see someone lose their job if things don’t start improving. Those three are the three individuals I am looking at where UNC’s defensive issues lie.
When issues from last season carry over into this season and when those issues only get worse (and not better), it is time for the boss man to figure out what the issue is and how to fix it. That includes firing staff to make the necessary changes.