“[It’s] just daily accountability and rewarding those that are doing the right things and giving a little sugar for the guys that are giving us what we want – the leadership, the enthusiasm and playing hard,” Koenning told reporters on Thursday. “It all kind of goes together.”
On Tuesday, for example, 12 Tar Heels earned five points while 14 others scored four points. On Monday, however, cornerback Des Lawrence was the only player to score five points, while 19 others had four points.
This is a brand new approach, according to Koenning, despite it originating from his first job as a position coach in the early 1990s. Koenning coached defensive backs at Memphis State under then-head coach Chuck Stobart, who had his position coaches assign their players 1-5 grades each day.
The Internet, however, was in its infancy 20 years ago and social media was nonexistent. That’s no longer the case, and with so many players logged into Twitter and various other social media platforms, UNC has promoted the “blur points” program online.
“Social media is a curse in some respects, but we’re trying to use it for a benefit,” Koenning said.
The points delivered the desired effect early, but its too early to tell if the program will endure the doldrums of training camp.
“The first few days of practice we were on fire,” Koenning said. “I hope we have that kind of enthusiasm for the first few games. It’s kind of leveled off a little bit, but at times, it picks up. That’s just one of the things that we try to emphasize. If you try to emphasize too many things, then it kind of gets lost.”
In order to encourage the points competition, swag is on the line. UNC also uses SWAG as an acronym – Superior Winning Attitude = Greatness.
“If a guy averages a four or better through camp, then he’s going to get a reward – a shirt or something, whatever the heck we can legally give them – a SWAG shirt,” Koenning said. “That’s part of the deal, but they’ve got to bring it every day. And some guys are fives one day and threes the next day. We’re striving for that consistency.”
With a limited amount of points data on hand, safety Sam Smiley is the current leader in the clubhouse with five points on four different occasions.