UNC football team shifts starting lineup

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Larry Fedora watches football practice on August 16.

Though the North Carolina football team’s depth chart released last Friday named redshirt freshman Nathan Staub as the starting middle linebacker, coach Larry Fedora has already changed his mind just days before the season opener.

Fedora told media after practice Monday that sophomore Jeff Schoettmer would get the starting job.

The news was no surprise as Fedora said Schoettmer would’ve gotten the job if the season opener was last Friday.

“(Staub) really could be it, him or Schoettmer,” Fedora said Friday. “Probably if we were to play today, it would be Schoettmer.”

Earlier in the preseason, Schoettmer earned a scholarship after previously holding walk-on status.

Another position cemented earlier in the weekend was redshirt freshman Jon Heck, named the starter at right tackle instead of sophomore Kiaro Holts on Friday. Heck, who was at the bottom of offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic’s list of prospective right tackles, stood out during the preseason.

“(Heck) has had the most improvement through this camp of all the tackles and so he’s earned that spot,” Kapilovic said.

Heck said he believes that he earned the starting spot by having better focus than his teammates.

“I think it was being mentally sound, not making mental errors throughout camp and continuing to improve every day,” Heck said.

“There’s a good chance that he’ll line up against South Carolina’s star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney — a daunting task for a player with no game experience.

“All you can tell him is hopefully he’s been preparing himself for that,” Fedora said. “We talk about putting yourself mentally in the game — this is a play in the game and not just another rep in practice and hopefully he’s been doing that.

“And you know what, he’s a redshirt freshman, he’s going to make some mistakes and we’re going to live with it and we’re going to overcome it.”

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