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** Senior left guard Jonathan Cooper tweeted on Sunday about looking forward to a nap and being grateful to the coaching staff for allowing the players some time to relax. It’s been a grueling month of August for the Tar Heels, thanks in large part to an unparalleled number of repetitions.
Former head coach Butch Davis’s scrimmages typically included 60-65 scripted plays. UNC ran 170 plays during its scrimmage on Saturday, not including special teams plays. Injuries and depth issues forced certain players to take even more reps than they might normally.
“We had guys that played 70 snaps on the defensive line in the scrimmage the other day,” Fedora said. “Hopefully that never happens in a game.”
As is the case with every training camp, the players have grown tired of hitting each other. Their desire is fresh meat, which will be served by Elon less than two weeks away. First, however, the Tar Heels must mend physically and prepare mentally as game preparations begin on Wednesday.
“You’re at a point at the end of camp where everybody is beat up and they’re sore, they’re tired,” Fedora said. “In the next 12 days, we’ve got to do a good job of getting everybody back to having their legs under them. That comes down to the coaches, that comes down to the players taking care of their bodies, making sure they rest, making sure they eat right and making sure they hydrate.”
Regarding the scrimmage, Fedora indicated that the team’s effort level stood out the most.
“I didn’t think they would hold up the way they did for that amount of time,” he said.
** Here’s a shocker – when asked what concerns him the most exiting camp, Fedora replied: “Everything.”
Depth, of course, is a topic that the first-year head coach has harped out dating back to spring ball. It’s such an issue that the coaching staff may have to play players that aren’t ready for primetime quite yet.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that may be out there, that at this point, really probably don’t deserve to be out there, but we don’t have a choice,” Fedora said. “We’ve got to get them to a point where they earn the right to be out there.”
** Still no word on whether it will be Vic Koenning or Dan Disch calling defensive plays on Saturdays this fall. Fedora told reporters on Monday that he hasn’t “talked to them about it.”
** IC detailed on Friday the battle for the backup quarterback position. Fedora offered his thoughts on one of the players in the mix – true freshman signal caller Kanler Coker – on Monday.
“Kanler’s farther along than I really expected him to be at this point,” Fedora said. “He’s really done some nice things. He’s as athletic as we thought he was. He’s intelligent He understands the game. It’s still moving fast for him, but he’s done more as a true freshman than I expected him to.”
** Spend time watching a special teams or team drill during practice and you will notice that at the end of most plays, a staff member will randomly throw a ball on the ground or in the air toward the defense. The purpose is to keep the players on alert for loose balls and errant passes to capitalize on turnovers.
“It’s just a mindset,” Fedora said. “If you believe you’re going to get turnovers on defense, you’re going to get turnovers on defense. That’s something our coaches are working on every day. We talk about it every day. We do drills every day to emphasize turning the ball over…
“And not only that, but scoring with them. I don’t want to just get it, I want to score with it. I’d rather score with it on defense than have to go out on offense and do it.”
** North Carolina will hold its third and final scrimmage of August on Saturday. The emphasis will be on replicating the game day experience, starting with the Old Well Walk and including play calls from the booth and sidelines to get the players accustomed to what to expect beginning Sept. 1.
“I guarantee we’ll win,” Fedora said of the scrimmage.
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