UNC Football: Leading the Way for the “Fed Ex”


In recent features i have focused on the skill players at receiver, Gio Bernard and quarterback Bryn Renner in previewing the UNC football team and their transition into Coach Fedora’s “Fed Ex” offense.  For each of those positions to even think about flourishing one must have a good offensive line.  Linemen are epitome of what my dad would call throwback because they can be invisible for 99% of the game, but give up a sack and ever person in the stadium is letting them know it.  Coach Fedora has inherited a talented group, but will they make the switch in scheme quick to lead his “Fed Ex” Run and Gun to a fast start.

With Cam Holland lost to graduation Russell Bodine will be penciled in to be the signal caller for offensive front.  Bodine gained valuable experience as a freshman and with another off season in the weight room be able to be a more physical presence in the run game.  After Bodine there is not a not of depth left at the center position.   Finding a valuable back up will be something to watch this spring.  Jonathon Cooper has some experience here, but he was moved to guard where he has flourished and even contemplated turning pro this year.

The guard position has experience and depth .  Returning are both Travis Bond and Jonathon Cooper with back ups Landon Turner and David Collins.  As much as Coach Larry Fedora enjoys running the dart plays, the sprint draw and inside zone plays having strong talented guards should be a nice piece to fit with play calling.   At times teams were able to get pressure up the middle, but some of that was teams loading the box confusing the line.  As well as Russell Bodine played in the absence of Holland you could see the defenses confuse the tar Heels at times during his absence.  As noted previously a year experience for Bodine is only going to strengthen the interior.

When Butch Davis landed James Hurst the North Carolina fan base was talking about thousand yard backs and getting back to the days of being renowned for producing thousand yard running backs.  Hurst has been excellent since he arrived in Chapel Hill and playing as a true freshman against LSU where it should be noted he flourished against one the best pass rushes in all of college football.

With Brennan Williams book ending the right side this Tar Heel tandem has the ability to be one the best in the nation.  What will be key to watch is the little subtleties between John Shoops offensive scheme and what Coach fedora wants to accomplish within the “Fed Ex.”  While Shoop focused more with tight formations that you see many NFL teams run and are confusing to defenses it does require more precise calls for the protection and the line can get confused on who they are responsible for blocking.  With the “Fed Ex” attack you will see the tar Heels stretch the field horizontally along the line of scrimmage which by removing bodies in the box the line it can make defenses more predictable.   UNC is experienced at this position, but also watch for Kiaro Holts and TJ Leifheit to compete hard for some reps this fall.

Last year the line was under fire for much of the season specifically for the performance against NC State, but this young group did block for a quarterback who threw for 3000 yards and a running back who moved his way for over 1250 for the season.  i would say the glass is more than half full and hopefully the new staff will adapt their philosophies enough where this talented group can be front line needed to deliver the #Fed Ex Express.”

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