Guy Adjusting at Bandit

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- With all the hype surrounding Larry Fedora's no-huddle spread offense, the defense occasionally takes a back seat. However, the defense is undergoing significant changes as well, with senior bandit Dion Guy leading the way.

Most everyone familiar with Fedora's high-octane offensive approach. In a similar respect, the change from a 4-3 to a 4-2-5 defensive scheme, highlighted by the new bandit and ram positions, is intended to bring a level of excitement and aggressiveness of its own.

"I love this defense," Guy told reporters Tuesday after practice. "We're just flying around out there, just confusing the offense and just making plays. A lot of opportunities to make plays with this defense."

The bandit position is a hybrid between defensive end and linebacker. It demands versatility and the ability to play with a hand on the ground or in a traditional stand-up linebacker position.

The Washington, D.C. product expects to line up with his hand on the ground about 60 percent of the time, but said it will vary depending on the opponent. He would seem to be a natural choice for bandit due to his experience at both positions. Last fall, Guy began the season at defensive end, but injuries forced him back to his natural linebacker position.

"I think spring helped me out and coming out here in the summertime and working on all my techniques," Guy said. "I think that helped me out as well. I think it's going to be a good training camp for us."

The offseason was not only important for Guy, but for others to adjust to the new system as well. With no coaches allowed at organized team activities, Guy took charge and dedicated his time to both learning and teaching the bandit position to a group of younger teammates. Specifically, they focused on getting off blocks as well as dropping back to defend the pass.

"I feel a lot more comfortable than coming in this spring," Guy said. "All summer we just worked on technique, assignments, plays and came out here. The coaches expected us to know way more than spring, because they expected us to learn the plays over the summer and get right."

Guy taught the underclassmen well as the younger guys are making an impact just five days into fall camp. True freshman Shakeel Rashad and sophomore Norkeithus Otis rotated with Guy with the ones during certain team drills on Thursday morning.

"Young players like Shakeel Rashad – he's gotten so far in the playbook. I think he's doing better," Guy said. "We're just competing out there… He's just learning fast. He's in his playbook all the time. During the summer we were working on hands and stuff like that so he got in here and he just had to do what he had to do just to help the team out."

Guy's career at North Carolina has been full of adjustments. From a redshirt year, to special teams player, to backup linebacker, to defensive end and back to linebacker, Guy is no stranger to change. With the versatile senior firmly in place as the leader of the bandits, the latest adjustment appears to be no problem at all.

"We're so far ahead right now, anything can happen," he said. "I've been here for five years and we've never been this far ahead and I feel like we can do great things this year."

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