Fedora said with a year of experience in his system, his players are far ahead of where they were last year in terms of knowledge and preparation.
“You see guys moving around a lot faster,” Fedora said. “With the older guys, there’s no thinking involved. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re able to do it fast.”
Junior WR Roy Smith
In 2012, Smith, who also runs track at UNC, was a walk-on punt returner.
But in the first day of practice, he was notably absent. Fedora said that he couldn’t give Smith one of the 105 spots he is allotted to have at practice.
“You get 105 guys to bring in, and sometimes we’ve got to make some tough decisions,” Fedora said. “We have so many numbers we can bring in at a certain position.”
Return of T.J. Thorpe and Darius Lipford
Both Thorpe and Lipford were unable to play for Fedora in his first year due to injuries that forced them to redshirt.
Fedora said both players seemed to be in good shape this year, and he’s excited to see what they can do this year.
Terry Shankle brings experience
As a fifth year senior, Shankle has spent his career playing cornerback for the Tar Heels, but this year, Fedora has different plans for the veteran.
Thursday Fedora had Shankle taking reps with the bandits in an attempt to make him a more versatile defender.
“What we’re doing is working him at bandit and corner so he can do either,” Fedora said. “He already knows the corner stuff so we’re throwing him over at bandit so he can learn that as quickly as possible during camp.”
The return game
Last season, the Tar Heels depended heavily on running back Giovani Bernard not only in the run game, but in the return game as well.
With Bernard’s early exit to the NFL, Fedora and his staff will be forced to find a new returner, and in the first day of camp, he has a few candidates in mind.
Thorpe, freshman T.J. Logan and freshman Ryan Switzer, all took reps as a returner during Thursday’s practice.
“I would say, just in that little bit that I saw today, we’ll be able to find somebody out of that group,” Fedora said.