Fedora has Tar Heels excited about football

New reports come out about past off-the-field actions of the North Carolina football program almost weekly, but those reports must not be breaching the confines of Kenan Stadium.

At the ACC Kickoff festivities on Sunday and Monday at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, quarterback Bryn Renner described the scene inside the Tar Heels’ practice facilities, and issues of academic or any other kind of fraud are certainly not prevalent.

However, energy, mostly that of new head coach Larry Fedora, is apparently permeating.

“We walk around the facility, and he’s (Fedora) the one high-fiving and chest-bumping when you’re walking by,” Renner said. “And really, it circulates through the team. It circulates when you’re going to lift, he’ll be there lifting with you. He’ll come down, he’ll have his shirt off and pumping it out with you, and that’s my head coach.”

Fedora, who was named the Tar Heels’ head coach in December 2011 by athletic director Bubba Cunningham, has implemented not only a new offense — the spread — but a new mentality that doesn’t leave his players much time to start thinking about anything but football.

“Even in practice as far as the music playing, that’s different,” linebacker Kevin Reddick said. “Just keeping us pumped up every time. Coach Fedora’s whole goal is stay crunk. Stay crunk, that’s his whole goal. Stay hype and enthused, and just get after it. You know — smart, fast and physical.”

Though the program’s turbulent recent history isn’t on the minds of the players, it does still have consequences.

Like the fact that even if the Tar Heels go 12-0, the postseason is not an option and that includes the ACC Championship game.

“As far as the bowl game, we’re really not concerned about it,” Renner said. “We can’t dwell in the past, we can’t control what happened, but we can control the 12 games that we have and we can play as hard as we can for those.”

The first of those 12 games isn’t until Sept. 1, giving Fedora about a month to gear up some of the depth issues he’s facing on both sides of the ball. Fedora said at the ACC Kickoff the tight end spot is the only position where he feels comfortable with his depth.

But the season opener is close enough that the focus is moving away from sanctions and violations and towards the field.

“We as a team, the players, we’ve been moving forward since the sanctions came out, so now it’s just a matter of, I think our fans, they’re tired of it anyway,” Fedora said.

“They don’t want to hear about it anymore. I think everybody is excited about the new season. Everybody is excited that college football is just around the corner, and that’s all anybody wants to talk about right now.”

Fedora’s energy and attitude are not only contagious in the locker room but are part of the reason Cunningham picked him as the new leader of the program.

“He’s one of the most positive, forward-thinking people I’ve been around,” Cunningham said.

“If he wants to have an enthusiastic and high-energy team, he needs to be enthusiastic and high energy. If he wants to have a positive experience, he tells himself he’s going to have a positive experience and he does it.”

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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