** Bryn Renner displayed a speed and fluidity at practice on Friday that would surprise most observers that watched him play in 2011. The red-shirt junior had surgery in December to remove bone spurs.
"It's been about a year since I've been healthy, so this has been awesome for me," Renner said. "It's been a lot more fun, because I was actually healthy and didn't have to stay in the training room as long. Really, I'm just happy to be healthy. I can say I'm 100 percent healthy."
When asked what percentage he played at last fall, Renner offered a stunning response: "To be honest, I was probably less than 50 [percent], as far as the mobility I had in my ankle. I basically had a soft cast on it at all times and was wearing a boot most of the time."
** Early indications are that injury information will be tough to come by during the Fedora era. When asked about an injury update for the team, Fedora offered as little information as possible.
Brennan Williams and Shawn Underwood are getting reps but haven't been released fully, while Quinshad Davis and Devon Ramsay (ACL) haven't been cleared and are not practicing. Fedora didn't provide any details as to why the players were sidelined.
** Red-shirt freshman running back Romar Morris turned heads with his performance in the spring game (3 catches, 35 yards, 2 TD; 9 rushes, 40 yards). The allure of this offense for skill position players is that there's plenty of room for snaps players up and down the depth chart.
"Right now, Gio's the starter and I'm behind him," Morris said. "He's going to be in, then I'm going to be in, so it's a great combination. With A.J. Blue also, it's going to be a 1-2-3 punch."
** The only change to the preseason starting depth chart evident on Friday was red-shirt freshman Darien Rankin moving ahead of classmate Sam Smiley at strong safety."
Rankin, who weighed in at 197 pounds, told reporters that there's a big gap between the base nickel defense that Butch Davis preferred and the 4-2-5 that the new staff has implemented.
"It's different because you can disguise it," Rankin said. "Everyone is walking around, we're not just sitting in one spot. Everybody's contributing."
** While Fedora noted that his players have bought into his style of coaching, he wasn't quite as willing to suggest that the Tar Heels have fully accepted his no-earrings-no-hats inside the Kenan Football Center requirement.
"I don't know if they've embraced it the same way, but you don't give them much choice with rules," Fedora said. "Those are habits. That's the way I was raised, so that's easy for me because I've been doing it my whole life.
"You're trying to change some habits that guys have and that doesn't happen overnight. So I'll still see a guy with his hat on; he forgets. They're kids. They'll do it. They'll forget or they will see me and immediately see if they've got them in. They don't even know. But I know they're thinking about it, because I notice that they're thinking about when they see me. Eventually it will hopefully rub off on somebody."
** Curious how more than 120 players and staff all seem to be smiling in a team photo taken in direct sunlight on a blistering August afternoon? It's the old photography trick of having everyone close their eyes and then reopen after a countdown prior to the picture being taken.
The humor arises from the individual looks while their eyes are closed, ranging from Fedora appearing in peaceful meditation to players holding back grins or looking half-asleep.