That transition, along with building chemistry with his offensive coaches, was completed during the offseason.
“As a staff we’ve been working on this since I got here in January, so I think everybody’s on the same page,” Littrell said on Tuesday afternoon. “We all know what we have to get accomplished. The thing is that it’s a great group of guys and we all feel comfortable with each other. That’s not an issue at all. We’ve just got to make sure that we coach our players up, doing the right things, and making sure we continue to get better each day.”
College programs are permitted 15 practices during spring ball, which provided Littrell with a critical evaluation period in addition to two years of game film.
“You try to find your key players and figure out different guys you need to get the ball to and then also, at the same time, figure out how we’re going to plug in the right guys up front,’ Littrell said. “We’ve had plenty of time between spring ball and the summer workouts they did on their own and then getting back and watching as we go through practice.”
Littrell grew up in the Air Raid coaching tree planted by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach. While the Air Raid is a different tree than the one Fedora was brought up on, it’s within the same classification. That’s allowed for a rather smooth schematic transition.
“With the systems being so similar, there haven’t been any wholesale changes,” Littrell said. “Some of it’s personality in calling the plays and some of it is fitting your system to your personnel. What are we good at right now? Whatever we’re good at, that’s what we’re going to hang our hat on.”
Fedora told reporters on Tuesday that UNC had already completed “98 percent” of its offensive install through five days of practice. That’s standard protocol for Littrell.
“Everywhere I’ve been we’ve tried to get it in the first four days of install,” he said. “We pretty much have our entire offense in. We’re going to overload them early and then we’re going to force them learn it early, but as the camp goes on, it gets easier and easier and easier. We want to get the load in the front end so we can start to gel a little bit and as camp goes on, we can continue to get better with it.”
The battle between quarterbacks Marquise Williams and Mitch Trubisky has continued to receive the bulk of the media headlines during the first week of training camp, even though its not the most pressing position competition playing out at Navy Fields.
“We can win with either one of those guys and I feel comfortable with both of them,” Littrell said. “They’ve just got to continue to work hard, and at the end of the day, you obviously have to put a guy out there first. We’ll see how it goes. I’m extremely pleased with both of those guys and that group. [Quarterbacks] coach [Keith] Heckendorf has done a great job with those guys and I expect big-time things out of those guys.”
Instead of rotating series during practice, Littrell decided in spring ball to have Williams and Trubisky rotate full days. That practice has carried over into training camp.
“You want them to get in rhythm with both groups,” Littrell said. “There are different guys with different groups, so you want to make sure that the timing and rhythm and everything is on point, whether it’s the snap count, communication with the O-line, different routes with the receivers or handoffs. So there’s a lot of different things that go into it and you’ve got to make sure both quarterbacks are comfortable with both sets of groups.”
It’s still early in camp – the NCAA-mandated acclimation period wrapped up on Tuesday – but Littrell has seemingly established his foundation. Now comes the grind.
“There are some guys stepping up,” he said. “It’s a good group. The guys are working extremely hard, but that just gives us a chance. Now we’ve got to make sure we clean some stuff up and become a better offense.”