ACC: Dan Disch

Viewer's Guide: Quick Lane Bowl

December, 26, 2014
Dec 26
9:30
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After a college football-less Christmas Day, the action gets going again Friday with three bowl games for your enjoyment, the second of which pits Rutgers versus North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl at 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) at Ford Field in Detroit. The first week of bowl season has been eventful and this game looks like a potential fun one. Let’s take a glance at what’s in store:

What’s at stake: North Carolina (6-6) is looking for a win to secure its seventh consecutive season with a winning record and second straight bowl win. The back-to-back bowl wins would be a first for the Tar Heels since 1996 to 1998, when they won three straight. Rutgers (7-5) is looking to finish with eight wins for the seventh time in nine years. A victory would be Kyle Flood’s first bowl win as the Scarlet Knights’ head coach and move the program to 6-4 all time in bowl games.

Players to watch: Rutgers junior receiver Leonte Carroo was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media after turning in an impressive 53-catch, 1,043-yard, 10-touchdown season. His 10 touchdown catches tied the Scarlet Knights’ single-season record and was second in the Big Ten. Though Flood listed him on the injury report with an upper body injury, Carroo is probable and according to Flood likely to be 100 percent by game time. North Carolina junior quarterback Marquise Williams, a second-team All-ACC media pick, led the Tar Heels in passing yards (2,870) and rushing yards (737) and has 32 combined touchdowns (20 passing, 12 receiving). His 3,607 yards of total offense is a single-season school record and he is responsible for five of the 12 highest UNC single-game totals for total offense.

Comeback kids: North Carolina trailed in the second half in five of its six wins this season and four of those wins required a big play in the game’s final five minutes to secure victory. The Tar Heels’ closest call in a winning effort came against Georgia Tech, when T.J. Logan scored on a 2-yard run with 11 seconds left to complete a 48-43 victory. Rutgers can come from behind, too, and quarterback Gary Nova has shown a knack for rallying. He has led Rutgers to seven fourth-quarter or overtime comeback wins in his career, tied for the most of any active player in the country. He did it twice this season, rallying the Scarlet Knights to wins over Washington State and Maryland.

Piling up the points?: With both teams featuring gifted quarterbacks in Nova and Williams and neither having what anyone would call a shutdown defense (North Carolina allows 38.9 points per game, 119th in the country; while Rutgers allows 30.9 points per game, 92nd nationally), this game could become a shootout in short order. Plus, North Carolina let go of associate head coach for defense Vic Koenning earlier this month (Dan Disch is running the Tar Heels' defense for the game). That should provide plenty of day-after-Christmas entertainment for those looking for it.

UNC hires Ron West, tweaks staff

February, 14, 2013
2/14/13
4:05
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North Carolina coach Larry Fedora has hired Ron West as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, the school announced on Thursday. West, who coached previously with Fedora at Baylor and with defensive coaches Vic Koenning and Dan Disch at Illinois, comes to Chapel Hill after a year at Arizona State where he served as the Sun Devils’ co-defensive coordinator.

“Ron is familiar with our staff and he brings a great deal of success and experience from his previous coaching stops,” Fedora said in a prepared statement. “He’s an excellent teacher of defensive fundamentals who gets the most out of his players. His knowledge of the ACC and ability to recruit in this area of the country will help our program.”

Fedora also named Randy Jordan as the special teams coordinator and changed responsibilities among Carolina’s defensive assistants.

Koenning, who also worked with West at Clemson (2005-08), will continue in his role as UNC’s associate head coach for defense, but will now coach the safeties. Disch continues as the defensive coordinator and will coach cornerbacks. Keith Gilmore was hired last week as the defensive line coach. All four defensive coaches have worked together at some point in their careers.

A 1979 Clemson graduate, West was an assistant coach for 10 seasons (1999-2008) with the Tigers where he worked with Koenning from 2005-08. Clemson won 76 games and played in nine bowl games during his tenure.

To see the full release, click here.

UNC hires defensive line coach

February, 5, 2013
2/05/13
3:00
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Keith Gilmore, who spent the past four seasons at Illinois, has been hired as North Carolina’s defensive line coach, the school announced Tuesday.

Gilmore has ties with current UNC defensive coaches Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. Gilmore and Koenning worked together during Koenning’s two seasons as the Illini defensive coordinator in 2010-11. Gilmore and Disch were on the Illinois defensive staff in 2009 and 2010.

“Keith is a knowledgeable defensive line coach who brings a wealth of experience at the collegiate level to Chapel Hill,” coach Larry Fedora said in a prepared statement. “He has previous experience with our defensive coaches and I believe he is a great fit for us. He does an exceptional job of building relationships and getting the most out of his players.”

You can read the full release here.

ACC: Did you know?

September, 14, 2012
9/14/12
10:00
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Time for a final few notes and nuggets to get you ready for Week 3. As always, thanks to the awesome sports information staffs across the league, and ESPN Stats & Information for the assist.

BOSTON COLLEGE: Kicker Nate Freese, who was successful on field-goal attempts from 39 yards and 20 yards against Maine in Week 2, improved to 5-for-5 this season. He leads all ACC kickers in successful field goals and ranks tied for third among all kickers in the country in field goals made.

CLEMSON: Tajh Boyd has completed 78.8 percent (41-of-52) of his passes from the pocket this season (61.1 percent last season). Boyd was under duress on just four of his 52 attempts from the pocket and 7-of-57 attempts overall.

DUKE: Receiver Jamison Crowder is just the third Blue Devil to have 100 or more receiving yards in the first two weeks of a season, joining Clarkston Hines (1988) & Richmond Flowers (1998). In the loss to Stanford last week, Crowder (10) and Desmond Scott (11) had double digit receptions, the second time that has happened in school history.

FLORIDA STATE: EJ Manuel is 5-of-5 with a touchdown on throws of 20 yards or longer this season. Last season, Manuel completed 34.7 percent of his 20-yard throws with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. ... Florida State has allowed just 24.2 percent of its opponents’ rushes to gain five yards or more since the start of last season, second-lowest percentage in FBS behind Alabama.

GEORGIA TECH: Before its 20-17 loss in overtime at Virginia Tech, the last time Georgia Tech lost a season opener came in 2006. The Yellow Jackets lost to Notre Dame, then went on to win the ACC Coastal Division title. The last time Tech opened a season with a five-day turnaround, 2009, was also a year in which the Jackets won the ACC Coastal crown.

MARYLAND: Joe Vellano and Demetrius Hartseld have helped the Maryland front seven get extremely stingy against the run. The Terps are holding opponents to an average of just 1.95 yards per rush and of the opponents’ 80 rushes this season, 56 have been for 3 yards or fewer. That effort has led to Maryland ranking ninth nationally in total defense, a big reason for its 2-0 record.

MIAMI: The Hurricanes have 12 different players with at least one reception in the first two games of the season: Allen Hurns, Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett, Clive Walford, Malcolm Lewis, Duke Johnson, Devon Johnson, Mike James, Asante Cleveland, Kendal Thompkins, Eduardo Clements and Herb Waters.

NORTH CAROLINA: Coach Larry Fedora and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong both served on Ron Zook’s Florida staff in 2003-04. Fedora was the offensive coordinator and Strong was the defensive coordinator. UNC assistant Dan Disch was the secondary coach coach for the Gators in 2004 and strength and conditioning coach Lou Hernandez had a similar role in Gainesville from 2002-04. Fedora and Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford were on the Oklahoma State staff in 2007. Fedora was the offensive coordinator and Bedford was the defensive coordinator. UNC wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer was also on that staff. Brewer and Strong were on the same staff at Mississippi in 1990.

NC STATE: In the rst two games of the season, 11 spots on offense and defense have been manned by seniors who have had starting experience prior to 2012. That number is almost double the most senior starting experience coach Tom O’Brien has had during his rst ve years with the Wolfpack. The number is particularly high on offense, where seven of the 11 starting spots are slated to be lled by seniors with previous starting experience.

VIRGINIA: So far in 2012, UVa has nine pass plays that have gone to wide receivers or tight ends for 20 yards or more -- an average of 4.5 per game. Compare that number to 2011, when the entire season saw 35 passes of 20 yards or more to wide receivers or tight ends for a rate of 2.69 per game. The 2010 season resulted in 38 total receptions by wide receivers or tight ends of 20 yards or more for an average of 3.17 per game.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies' current 219-game scoring streak from 1995 to the present is tied for the 15th-longest in Division I-A college history. In the 219-game run, Tech scored on its first offensive possession 73 times, plus another three occasions where it scored on returns on its first touch of the game. The Hokies have scored in the first quarter 160 times during the streak.

WAKE FOREST: The Deacs' last two wins over ranked teams have come against FSU. The Deacs beat the No. 22 Noles 35-30 last year, and also recorded a 12-3 victory in Tallahassee on Sept. 20, 2008. Wake Forest is 3-14 against ranked Seminole teams and 1-8 against ranked FSU teams in Tallahassee.

Week 1 in the ACC

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
5:00
PM ET
Here’s a quick look at what’s on tap in the ACC in Week 1:

FRIDAY

Tennessee vs. NC State (in Atlanta), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Wolfpack will be without starting cornerback C.J. Wilson, but Tennessee will be missing all-SEC receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred to Tennessee Tech. These teams haven't played each other in 73 years.

SATURDAY

Elon at North Carolina, 12:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network: First-year coach Larry Fedora will unveil his up-tempo spread offense with quarterback Bryn Renner, and the defense will also have a new look under assistants Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. It’s one of five games against in-state opponents for UNC.

William & Mary at Maryland, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3: Maryland will have an entirely new look with two new coordinators following a 2-10 season, but the spotlight will be on true freshman quarterback Perry Hills, who will start in place of injured starter C.J. Brown.

Richmond at Virginia, 3 p.m. ET, RSN: Quarterback Michael Rocco held onto the starting job despite competition from Alabama transfer Phillip Sims this summer. There is plenty of familiarity between these programs, as UVa coach Mike London is a Richmond grad and former head coach. He had a 24-5 record in two seasons with the Spiders (2008 and 2009), including the FCS National Title in 2008. Richmond coach Danny Rocco, in his first season with the Spiders, is the uncle of the Hoos’ quarterback.

Miami at Boston College, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2: Both programs desperately need to start the season with a win. Boston College has won the last two meetings, including a 24-17 win at Miami in last season’s regular-season finale. BC’s offense will have a new look under first-year coordinator Doug Martin, and Miami quarterback Stephen Morris will take over the offense in his first season as full-time starter.

Murray State at No. 7 Florida State, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN3: ACC fans are waiting to turn the page, but this will give the Noles’ new-look offensive line a tune-up. This should be a glorified practice run for Florida State, as this year’s team has combined to start 420 collegiate games.

Liberty at Wake Forest, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3: The Deacs get four of their first five games at home and have to take advantage of that. They’ve got 13 starters back from last year’s team, which came within a field goal of winning the Atlantic Division.

FIU at Duke, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3: The Blue Devils managed to beat FIU on the road last year, but this is going to be a tough game again. FIU was the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference this year, and it received points in the USA Today Coaches preseason poll for the first time in school history. FIU is coming off back-to-back bowl games.

Auburn vs. No. 14 Clemson (in Atlanta), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: The defending ACC champs could help further distance themselves from that disappointing showing in the Orange Bowl with a win over an SEC team. They’ll have to do it without suspended receiver Sammy Watkins, who will miss the first two games.

MONDAY

Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN: The winner of this game has gone on to win the Coastal Division in each of the past seven seasons. The Hokies’ defense will be their strength while a young backfield and offensive line is introduced. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington ran for three touchdowns against the Hokies last year.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick has done his homework all summer, watching countless hours of the Southern Miss defense and the way it took to the unconventional 4-2-5 scheme the Tar Heels are now being asked to run.

Not only did he learn what coordinator Dan Disch likes his players to do. He also got a big helping of confidence, believing the style is the perfect fit for him and his teammates headed into his senior season.

[+] EnlargeKevin Reddick
Bob Donnan/US PresswireLinebacker Kevin Reddick has spent his offseason preparing for UNC's new defensive scheme.
"I haven’t seen anything like that in a while, everybody flying around, making plays," Reddick said at ACC media days. "I’m glad they bought their defense to us because I’m thinking the same thing. We need to be where they were. I think they have good athletes, but I feel we have a lot better athletes, so I feel like we should be able to do that."

Southern Miss was one of the best surprises of last season, especially after pulling a huge upset of Houston in the Conference USA championship game. A big reason for the success was the play of the defense, under Disch. Southern Miss set an FBS record with 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns and finished No. 29 in the nation in total defense -- 18 spots better than 2010.

It just so happened to be the first and only year Disch coached the Southern Miss defense. Now he and North Carolina coach Larry Fedora are in Chapel Hill, hoping for the same instant results they got from the Golden Eagles defense. Generally speaking, it takes at least a season for players to adapt to a radical scheme shift.

So hearing that Southern Miss did so well in Year 1 under Disch made Reddick even happier.

"That makes me smile more," Reddick said. "I can’t wait to play in it. I look back at that and I watch film now from practice and I see things opening up, blitzes or packages or whatever we do. I know it’s going to do wonders for us."

Last season, Reddick finished second on the team with 71 tackles playing in a more traditional 4-3 set. But after Fedora was hired and sanctions were handed down to the program, Reddick says he was contacted by coaches at other schools to see if he would be interested in transferring.

He declined, because he saw the opportunities Disch will give him in this new defensive scheme. Reddick will play inside, but he will also be used to blitz from the outside, something he has not been asked to do previously.

"There's going to be a lot of plays for me, I just have to make them," he said. "That’s why I stayed. I had an opportunity to go to other colleges but I stayed. I wanted to experience this. I like this defense, and I feel it was based a little around me."

Reddick also believes the new scheme will help mitigate the loss of leading tackler Zach Brown, first-round pick Quinton Couples and four other starters. Because other players will be put into positions to do different things, versatility will be emphasized more. As an example, Reddick mentioned defensive end Dion Guy can line up with his hand on the ground but also drop back into coverage as a third linebacker at times.

In order to really prepare for his new and expanded role, Reddick took to watching lots of game tape, while also studying plays on his computer. So why does he think North Carolina has an opportunity to make an impact with a scheme that is is not among the most popular?

"For us, being that other teams are used to seeing the pro-style defense from us and we’re going to bring this different defense to them, it’s going to be a shock to them," he said. "As far as guys seeing things coming from different places it’s going to be a shock to other teams in the league."

One good reason: North Carolina

July, 12, 2012
7/12/12
10:30
AM ET
NORTH CAROLINA

This series gives one good reason why each school in the ACC will win this year, and, just to make sure we cover both sides of the story, one good reason why it won’t. For most schools, the focus is on winning the ACC title. For the programs that missed out on the postseason entirely last year, the focus is on getting back to a bowl game (at least it is here in the blogosphere). In North Carolina’s case, the goal is to survive a transition year that includes an NCAA bowl ban. We’re going in alphabetical order, and the Tar Heels are up next.

The series continues today with one good reason why …

North Carolina will play the role of spoiler. There is plenty of talent to work with offensively. First-year coach Larry Fedora has it made. He inherited one of the ACC’s best offensive lines, he has one of the country’s leading returning rushers in Giovani Bernard and he has an experienced starting quarterback in Bryn Renner. As long as the players can comprehend and execute Fedora’s up-tempo, spread offense, North Carolina will put up enough points this year. Four starters return on the offensive line, but how they adjust to the increased pace remains a question. They’ll pave the way for Bernard, who accounted for 1,615 yards rushing and receiving last fall, the second-best total by a freshman in ACC history. The offense is in good hands with Renner, an underrated player who played some spread offense in high school and has a chance to flourish in this system.

Why it won’t: More changes than motivation. No bowl game to play for. No division or league title on the line. And they’re starting from scratch. Again. The Tar Heels have been through a lot in the past three seasons, as Fedora is their third head coach during that span. Butch Davis was fired just days before the start of fall camp last year, and interim coach Everett Withers was not retained. The players have spent the offseason learning Fedora’s fast-paced spread system, led by first-year offensive coordinator Blake Anderson. UNC will be looking for balance in the pass and run games. Defensively, North Carolina also made changes under first-year coordinator Dan Disch and assistant head coach for defense Vic Koenning. UNC is transitioning to a 4-2-5 scheme. It has talent at wide receiver, but is there enough depth to make it work? The same can be said for the defensive backs, a group that has to replace three starters and will need the most work on defense this summer.

More in this series

UNC announces new staff

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
2:29
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North Carolina announced the hiring of eight assistant coaches Tuesday, including six who worked with first-year coach Larry Fedora at Southern Miss., one who was a former defensive coordinator in the ACC, and another who is returning for a second coaching stop in Chapel Hill.

From Southern Miss, Fedora hired defensive coordinator Dan Disch, defensive assistant and special teams coordinator David Duggan, defensive line coach Deke Adams, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson, tight ends coach Walt Bell and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic.

Gunter Brewer, who coached five years at Carolina from 2000-2004 and was most recently the offensive coordinator at Mississippi for two seasons, returns to Chapel Hill to coach wide receivers and serve as UNC’s passing game coordinator. Brewer has coached several outstanding wide receivers in stops at Marshall, Oklahoma State, UNC and Mississippi, including three Biletnikoff Award finalists.

Vic Koenning will serve as Carolina’s associate head coach for defense. He recently led Illinois to a 20-14 win over UCLA in the Kraft FightHunger Bowl as the interim head coach. Koenning is a 24-year college coaching veteran who served three years as Clemson’s defensive coordinator from 2005-08. Each of his four Tiger defenses finished in the top 25 in scoring, total, and pass efficiency defense. He also was head coach at Wyoming in the early 2000s.

Fedora will retain strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski, who recently completed his first year in Chapel Hill.

Carolina has hired eight of its nine on-field assistant coaches. Fedora plans to hire a running backs coach in the near future.

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ACC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/27
Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12