How much of the 2011 film has he seen?
“Not a whole lot,” Disch said. “I’ve watched one game – I watched the bowl game. To be honest with you, you don’t want to have too many preconceived notions – at least I don’t.”
One benefit, and motivational tool, of a new staff seeking to institute a broad-ranging change on both sides of the ball, is to assure the current players that nothing is written in stone in terms of their potential contributions in the new schemes.
“You want guys to have a fair shake and get back to even,” Disch said. “We told all of them that it was a fresh start, or a new start, on spring. Not that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done because obviously it does, but it really matters what you do going forward from this point.”
That doesn’t mean that Disch hasn’t taken the time to get to know his new charges.
“I’ve obviously met with them, we’ve done some film study together, so I’ve gotten to know them a little bit. As far as last year (UNC film) goes, I haven’t watched much film.”
North Carolina’s calling card during the past several years has been the presence of some outstanding athletes on defense. While some of those players have moved on to the NFL and more will this April, Disch is still figuring out what he’ll be working with.
“Well, not a great feel for it yet,” Disch admitted. “Obviously we got what we feel are some good players coming back. My first impression right now is we’re thin in some areas, but as far as who’s going to be a good player or a great player or fit into the scheme, you don’t know.”
With Quinton Coples, Donte Paige-Moss, and Tydreke Powell moving on from the defensive line, Zach Brown from the linebacker corps, and Charles Brown, Jonathan Smith, and Matt Merletti from the secondary, there are some defensive players that will be seeking to prove to the new staff that they are worthy of a spot on the two-deep depth chart.
That’s resulted in some increased motivation in the locker room.
“I’ve been pleased with their attitude and work ethic and the way that they’re moving forward, kind of buying into what we’re going to do,” Disch said.
Changes in the two-deep may be more dramatic this spring than it has in the past. Two new positions, the “Bandit,” and the “Ram,” will take the place of one defensive end spot, and one linebacker position, as the new staff moves to its preferred 4-2-5 defensive alignment, making for even greater change this spring.
“Anytime time you go through changes, it’s hard for the kids; it’s hard for the coaches, but they’ve done a nice job accepting what’s going on and moving forward,” Disch concluded.
Check back tomorrow for Part II from Inside Carolina’s one-on-one interview with Dan Disch …