Defining Smart, Fast And Physical
Playing smart, fast, physical football has become a requirement under Larry Fedora. We asked a few Tar Heels what that particular philosophy means to them:
Bryn Renner: "Smart is getting the play communicated, and really mastering the reads that it takes to play at this speed, because it is tough for a quarterback. You don't get a chance to analyze, to see where everybody is; it's more of a feel thing."
Romar Morris: "When we first got the playbook, we would just go out there and play, because we didn't really know the concept of it. Now, as we're progressing to our second year, they've been teaching us the concept of it. 'Why do we have to run this route? Why does the line block this way in order for the whole thing to work?' The concept of everything is helping us with the smart factor."
Offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic: "Sometimes, we're calling a play and wanting to snap the ball in seconds, so the processing time is very quick. It's a short turnover there, so our guys have to know what we're doing forwards and back. It can't be a deal where they've got to think about it."
Defensive line coach Keith Gilmore: "Anytime you're talking about taking the football field, you don't want to have penalties so that implements the smart part...We also ask them to study football. We want them to come in and watch film and understand the playbook and the installation prior to them getting here, so that when we get back to training camp, we hit the ground running and it's not a real basic install situation where guys are running from square one."
Travis Hughes: "Our defense is different. A lot of kids don't come in playing our type or style of defense. We need to have everybody on the same page mentally so we can all go out there and perform physically."
Renner: "Fast is playing at almost a mach three speed with your hair on fire just as fast as you can. [It's] going as fast as you can process, and doing that efficiently."
A.J. Blue: "We were playing Virginia Tech, and there was a play late in the game where we were on a long drive, and I was getting a little tired as we started to line up. And then I looked over at the Virginia Tech defensive line and they were all down on one knee and it looked like they couldn't breathe. Right then, I thought, 'I think I'm feeling better than I thought.'"
Special teams coordinator Randy Jordan: "4.5 seconds. That's the average play on special teams. That's not a lot of time. If you have about 12 of those a game, let's say you're a core guy, you haven't even played more than two minutes a game. People don't really think about that. So if you do that, and you have 12 opportunities on kickoff, punt, punt return, field goal, field goal block, whatever it may be, maybe 12 opportunities as a core guy and you play your hardest, being fast, that's not a lot to ask. You can control that."
Renner: "Physical means you've got to be in shape. You're going to be asked to throw the ball 45 times a game and make the right decision, so I think that's physical to me, just being able to have endurance for four quarters, mental and physical endurance to make the right read, make the right decision, and just to be a game manager with the ball."
Gilmore: "Physicality is just a part of this game. You want to have a little bit of an intimidating factor, a little intimidating edge to you as a defense, so it fits perfectly in to what we want to talk about and what we preach on defense."