Entering his sixth season as the head coach at North Carolina, Larry Fedora took the podium Friday at the 2017 ACC football media days. While many media members are predicting the Tar Heels to finish in the bottom half of the coastal division in 2017, Fedora’s lofty expectations may have surprised a few of the people in attendance.
Coach Fedora expects that his team will be competing for the coastal division title by the end of the season. This is despite the expectation by many this will be a rebuilding year for the Tar Heels. This bold prediction could just be an attempt by Fedora to help sell tickets or to continue his recruiting success, but it could also be sign of things to come.
One thing that is certain is that the ACC coastal division will be tough to win, regardless of how few players UNC is returning. Furthermore, the competition will include Miami, a team that is coming off of its first bowl game victory since 2006 and has been building through top 30 recruiting classes over the past four years. The Hurricanes are looking to return to their national prominence of past years, and that won’t do any favors for the Tar Heels.
Also, Carolina would have to overcome coastal power Virginia Tech. They are the defending coastal champions due to a ten win season in Justin Fuentes’ first season with the Hokies. Going into 2017, most people agree these teams will be better than UNC. So, what exactly was Fedora talking about?
Obviously, there is no definitive explanation as to why Fedora is so hopeful for 2017, but it seems that he thinks the media is underestimating his team. The odd thing about 2017 is that the defense will be expected to carry the team when it has been the offense that has done the heavy lifting in years past.Potentially Carolina’s defense will be much improved compared to the recent past, and Fedora will work his offensive genius to create a contender.
We’ll find out if the Tar Heels are actually contenders as the season plays out. However, in the meantime, Larry Fedora’s comments should serve as a sign of confidence and excitement for Tar Heel nation.