Football

Fedora: Chemistry issues plagued 2014 team

UNC coach Larry Fedora, entering his fourth season, is attempting to lead the Tar Heels to success they haven’t experienced since the mid-1990s.
UNC coach Larry Fedora, entering his fourth season, is attempting to lead the Tar Heels to success they haven’t experienced since the mid-1990s. Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com

Larry Fedora believes there could be a “dramatic improvement” in North Carolina’s chemistry and cohesion this season. The team unity couldn’t be much worse than it was a season ago.

To rebuild the Tar Heels’ broken team chemistry, Fedora, entering his fourth season as UNC’s coach, asked his returning players to list on a board the reasons for the breakdowns in 2014.

“You had guys that would say there were leadership problems,” Fedora said. “There were guys that say there were chemistry problems. There were guys that said that they didn’t really believe in what we were doing. I mean, there was all kinds of things.”

Fedora said there were “100-something issues” affecting team chemistry last season.

“But we talked about every single one of them as a team,” he said, “and how we felt like they impacted our team. And then we owned them. It wasn’t like pointing fingers. It was like, all right, this is who we were. This is our problem.”

ACC media guide is (messed) up

Media members looking for a copy of the ACC football media guide Tuesday were out of the luck.

There weren’t any available after the conference discovered a three-word phrase that included two expletives on Page 145.

The three words were listed after underneath Wake Forest’s season results from the 2014 season.

“We sincerely apologize for the offensive error in the media guide,” said Amy Yakola, the senior associate commissioner. “It has been appropriately updated.”

Pictures of the error filled up Twitter on Monday afternoon after the mistake was discovered. It’s the second high-profile mixup in an official league publication within the past five months.

The program for the ACC basketball tournament made repeated references to N.C. State as “UNC State.”

Cutcliffe on Twitter: #helikesit

Like anyone who has spent extensive time on Twitter, Duke coach David Cutcliffe is aware of its pluses and minuses.

“Twitter kind of uses me more than I use it,” he said.

But it has its benefits for college coaches.

“It’s a means of, first and foremost for me, a way to communicate with prospects,” said Cutcliffe, whose @DavidCutcliffe handle has more than 20,500 followers. “Starting September 1 of their junior year, direct messaging is legal. That’s been the advantage of Twitter. There’s a lot on the table right now (with the NCAA) of texting becoming legal. The reason that I’m not really a fan of that is I think the social media sites protect the student-athlete in high school a little bit more.

“Unless they’re following you, you can’t direct message them. Once their cell phones get out, and it’s kind of amazing what recruiting services do in circulating that, then this texting mechanism is going to get a little crazy. So I do like that part of Twitter.”

Preseason favorite: Clemson

ACC media members voted Clemson to win the Atlantic Division and conference championship game behind quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was voted preseason player of the year.

Clemson, a runaway pick to win the Atlantic Division, received 84 votes to win the ACC championship game. Florida State, a distant second in the Atlantic, received 41 votes to win the title game. Georgia Tech, picked to win the Coastal Division ahead of Virginia Tech, received 20 votes to win the championship.

Florida State has won the past three conference championships. Clemson’s last title was in 2011.

N.C. State was picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic. One voter picked the Wolfpack to win the ACC championship, even though the Wolfpack didn’t receive any votes to win the Atlantic Division.

Duke was picked to finish fourth in the Coastal Division, just ahead of North Carolina. Both received four votes to win the division.

ACC media picks

Player of the Year

1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

69

2. James Conner, RB, Pitt

46

3. Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech

13

T4. Jalen Ramsey, CB Florida State

7

T4. Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

7

T6. Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina

6

T6. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

6

8. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt

3

9. Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State

1

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