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September 10, 2013UNC Head Coach Larry Fedora's weekly radio show broadcast this week was a special one as Fedora celebrated his 51st birthday Tuesday.
Top of the Hill restaurant attempted to help the festivities by bringing out a cake complete with candles but unfortunately the candles set off the fire alarms in the building which could be heard on the radio feed for a few segments.
As the Tar Heels head into the first of what will be two bye weeks this season ,the radio show got a little bit more excitement than maybe it anticipated coming off a 40-20 victory over Middle Tennessee State last week and heading into a weekend without a scheduled opponent.
Here are some other notes from the broadcast:
Fedora spent some time praising the efforts of his pass-rush defenders and the effort they gave in last week's game.
The Tar Heels sacked the quarterback four times against the Blue Raiders, thus the shout-out from the head coach on Tuesday.
"We had Darius Lipford and Norkeithus Otis out there a lot together. Two great pass-rushers along with Kareem Martin. When you've got three guys that can get to him (the quarterback) it can create some problems for the offense," said Fedora. "It boils down to their effort. Norkeithus is a guy who just plays hard. We talked about his motor and how it's always running hot. Believe me, at the end of a game he is completely wore out. He leaves it all out there on the field. That's what you want. I'll carry you off the field at the end if I have too. Darius, each week I keep saying he's just coming into his own."
Running Game Expectations
The Tar Heels ran for a total of 158 yards on 41 carries but Fedora still believes they can do better. It wasn't' the final tally of the stats that had him disappointed but rather the tally of the stats he felt were left on the field that could have been had.
"No doubt about it. Our expectation level is much higher than that," said Fedora. "We've got to get into that second and third level more often and make people miss or run through them. We've got to have bigger plays. We just didn't have enough of those."
Coach Fedora had an eye on last night's Eagles-Redskins game as former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly made his regular season debut as an NFL head coach when he took to the sidelines for Philadelphia.
Fedora, who has always been a big proponent of up-tempo offensive systems on the gridiron, felt a sense of validation seeing Kelly's offense shred Washington's defense last night and might even incorporate it into his recruiting pitch from now.
"For the first time now I can say I run a pro-style offense," joked Fedora.
2014 Recruiting Class
Speaking of recruiting, Fedora gave some insight into the 2014 recruiting class after a listener asked if the Tar Heels were done adding players to this year's class.
Fedora's answer was telling to a degree, as he hinted there may still be some guys that could be brought into the fold over the next few months.
"We're pretty much done. We can take a couple of more guys and squeeze them in but we're in pretty good shape there," said Fedora. "There are just a few guys that we're working on now for that 2014 class but we're spending a lot of time on the 2015 and 2016 class."
Using the bye week effectively
For the first time Fedora's career, he insists this is the only time he's had two bye weeks within the same year.
He said he gave it a lot of thought in the offseason about how he would utilize this time to make sure his time could maximize the extra time afforded to them.
"I spent a lot of time in the summer thinking it through and how I wanted this to work. This week we came in and did our normal practice on Sunday. We had a great practice in full pads today. We'll go tomorrow and we'll go on Thursday," said Fedora. "We're going to have real practices. We're getting after it pretty good in practices. This week is about making sure we get better in all three phrases each and every day."
The greatest concern, contrary to what many people might think, isn't in stopping a Georgia Tech offense that shredded UNC's defense last year. Instead, Fedora has his eye on putting together a solid game plan for his offense against the somewhat unknown defense from the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech's is under the direction of new coordinator Ted Roof who had a previous tenure as Duke's head coach among other stops in his coaching career.
"Defensively, it helps us because we get some more time to work on the option. Special teams and offensively it's about getting us playing the way we need to be playing," said Fedora. "We'll really zero in on Georgia Tech this coming Sunday. Especially defensively. We already know what they're going to do offensively. That's not going to change.
"Their defense coordinator has only been there for this year. We only have one game on him as a defense and that was against Elon and they were very, very vanilla. We don't' have a whole lot to go off of right now as an offense."
While the rest of this week will focus on improving all areas, after Sunday Fedora will get his team back into a normal game week atmosphere starting on Monday.
"We studied Penn State from when he (Roof) was there. We understand his philosophy but you would love to have it on film so you can show your kids. The majority of our game plan will go in after this Duke game (against Georgia Tech) so we have two games to make some decisions on."