Fedora on Clowney, two-way Tabb, RBs, OL, ACC vs. SEC
UNC coach Larry Fedora spoke one last time today before his team plays at South Carolina tomorrow (6 p.m., ESPN). Here’s what he had to say:
The obligatory Jadeveon Clowney question:
I was thinking we might get through this interview without anybody asking about him. The guy, he's a great player. What do you see? He's a great player. There's no doubt about it. He's 270‑something pounds and he runs 4:4 and he likes to play. He's a great player.
What do you do? You don't trash your whole offense and change everything just for him. I mean, one, it's impossible to do, and two, it would mean that we didn't have a very sound philosophy to start with and what we are going to do. And we have gelled some things to adjust to hopefully where he is and we know that he's going to play multiple positions so you can't sit there and scheme for one guy.
Tight end Jack Tabb is prepared to play at linebacker as well:
That's the plan as of tonight. We will see where it goes tomorrow at six, but right now, he's prepared to play at both spots, yes.
Well, first of all, he is a tremendous athlete. He was recruited on both sides of the ball in a lot of places. He has got really a lot of football savvy. Maybe he really understands the game, no matter which side you're looking at it from.
Jack's one of those guys that he doesn't need a lot of reps. You can kind of tell Jack, he can run it once and then he understands what needs to be done from that point on. So we are very fortunate in that aspect because obviously when you're trying to do both, you're taking fewer reps on both sides of the ball.
How the offensive line has progressed:
I think we are getting better and better every day, especially for those two young guys. Every day is a new learning experience and something else comes up‑‑ Turner, Bodine and Hurst have done a great job of bringing those young guys along. They are starting to gel. That usually takes that position, that unit takes a little bit longer to get some continuity and to gel.
So, you know, we just don't have the time to do it. They have got to be there right now and hopefully they will be.
Replacing Giovani Bernard:
He was a pretty good player. We will miss him, there's no doubt about it. And you're right, we don't look to one guy to replace him. It may be, you know, running back by committee. The key is we just want to match the production or improve it. Whether that's one guy that does it or multiple guys that do it, we don't care how it happens. Morris is going to start the game, he's had a great camp and really has looked good, A.J. Blue will play, Khris Francis will play. But we still expect to get that type of production out of that position.
If he feels like he’s “carrying the banner” for the ACC vs. the SEC:
I don't know if we're carrying‑‑ not by ourselves. You still have Virginia Tech and Alabama, Clemson and Georgia playing. But we are a big part of that, there's no doubt about that. And if we are going to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish as a league, these are the kind of games we have got to play in and these are the kind of games that they have to have success in.
You know, would I prefer that it be three or four years into the program and the changes that we get into place? Hey, it is what it is. We are playing in year two, and it's the opening game of college football, and so let's throw it out there and let's roll.
Getting national respect:
If you want national respect, you've got to beat ranked opponents. So there's no doubt about it. These are games that if you want to gain that national respect, you've got to go out and you've got to perform. This is a performance‑based sport, so you've got to go do it, and if you do it, you've got to start gaining that respect.
There it is. The next time we talk to Larry Fedora will be in the postgame press conference. Nine months after UNC’s 2012 season ended, I can’t wait to see a game again