North Carolina started spring practices on Wednesday, and we checked in with Larry Fedora to get his take on the program heading into the first of 15 practices in Chapel Hill. Here is the second part of our conversation:
Heading into spring, what are your main priorities?
Larry Fedora: I would say No. 1 is to try to discover what the identity of our offense is going to be, what the identity of our defense is going to be, and what the identity of our special teams is going to be. That’s No. 1. There is no identity right now until we get back out on the field. You get 15 practices to start determining what that identity is going to be. Probably the main thing is to be better than we were when we left off.
How much better do you think you can be? From the outside looking in you see, ‘Wow, they lost some good guys up front.’
LF: No doubt. That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer to that. How good can we be? I’m going to expect us to be really good. Whether we’re going to reach that I don’t know. That’s to be determined, but the expectation level is not going to change, I can assure you.
What about in the return game? Gio (Bernard) was such a big part of that.
LF: We’re going to have an opportunity for somebody else to step up. T.J. Thorpe was going to be the starter going into the season and when he broke his foot that changed. T.J. will get that opportunity, Reggie Wilkins, Khris Francis was a return guy in high school. We’ll see who can emerge into that spot and also give some opportunities to some guys we signed this year who will be coming in this summer.
You mentioned one player at running back (Khris Francis), are there any other players in this incoming recruiting class who Carolina fans might see right away?
LF: That’s hard to tell you before spring. I’ll have a better idea after spring. You hope you don’t have too many of those guys, because that means there’s holes to fill. But there may be. We’ll have to wait and see.
How much more comfortable are you and your staff right now, just having a year under your belts?
LF: Much more. For one, when you look at a guy’s face you know his name. When you see a guy on the field you know who he is. Hopefully by this time we understand what guys can do, what they can’t do, what needs to be developed, how to keep them away from certain things and get them involved in other things.
You guys are playing South Carolina, one of the highlights of the ACC schedule. What are your thoughts on that game?
LF: We’re excited about it. They’re probably as good as they’ve ever been in the history of their program. Coach Spurrier has done a great job with them. It’s exciting. For our guys, it’s extra motivation to work hard in the offseason, spring ball and summer, because you’ve got a great game to start the season with.