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** Sophomore wide receivers Sean Tapley and Reggie Wilkins missed Tuesday’s practice, but both were back practicing on Thursday. Tapley has consistently worked in with the ones, while Wilkins has taken snaps with the second team.
Tapley’s value now extends beyond his production on the field.
“Both of them have missed a few days here and there, but I’d say Tapley is probably the leader in that group,” Fedora said. “He’s been a guy who has stepped up. He’s vocal. He’s a guy that’s constantly talking about what we need to do and that’s a good thing.”
** In Fedora’s first three seasons in Hattiesburg, Southern Miss ran a conventional 4-3 defensive scheme. After studying and trying to scheme how to attack a 4-2-5 defense, however, Fedora decided to make the switch in 2011.
One of the 4-2-5 masterminds that Fedora studied was current associate head coach for defense Vic Koenning during his time at Clemson, Kansas State and Illinois. Fedora poached Dan Disch from Koenning’s defensive staff at Illinois to install the 4-2-5 last season at Southern Miss.
“We installed it in one year and that’s the reason we won a championship,” Fedora said.
West Virginia is another program that used to run a 4-2-5, although most programs that ran the defense only subbed to it instead of using it as a base set.
“Why not go to it all of the time because I think it creates some very, very difficult situations for a quarterback,” Fedora said.
** Fedora had high praise for sophomore linebacker Travis Hughes, who is working with the ones at weakside linebacker alongside Kevin Reddick.
“Travis is a heck of an athlete,” Fedora said. “[He] really can be a great linebacker in this scheme. Just as soon as he really truly understands what to do and can just be an athlete out there, he’ll be a heck of a player for us.”
** True freshman Shakeel Rashad has earned some snaps with the first-team defense at bandit, which Fedora attributes to being around the 4-2-5 in the spring despite being sidelined due to injury (meniscus).
“He knows the tempo and he understands what’s expected, so I think he’s really excelling,” Fedora said.
** UNC is almost a third of the way through training camp, but there doesn’t seem to be a rush to add more of the playbook to the players’ current responsibilities.
“There’s plenty more to go, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get to it. We’ve got enough in for this season. We can make it through a season with what we have right now, if we can execute what we have. That’s the question... There’s no reason to put anything else in if we can execute what we have right now.”
** Fedora confirmed that his offensive staff is installing specific packages for each quarterback, but stressed that the signal callers have to earn the right to get into games.
** Junior defensive end Kareem Martin is another player that’s stepped up in the front seven.
“He’s really made some nice plays,” Fedora said. “I think he’s a lot better today than he was in the spring. I think in the spring he was kind of feeling himself along, getting a feel for what it was like. I’ve seen him turn himself loose out there. The other day he’s rushing against James Hurst and beats James, and I think James is a dang good offensive tackle. Kareem is really good with his hands. He’s 260 pounds and he can move, so I think he’s got a chance to be really, really good for us.”
** Sophomore cornerback Tim Scott grabbed one of UNC’s “four or five” interceptions throughout Wednesday’s practice.
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