Spring Football: News & Notes
Release: 03/02/2017

Tuesday, March 28 - Fedora Support

Following practice on Tuesday, head coach Larry Fedora was asked about his support of the men's basketball programs and other programs on campus.

Why was it important for you to show up last year in Houston (Final Four), Philadelphia for lacrosse and Memphis last weekend (NCAA Regional Final)?

Fedora: Because I’m a Tar Heel and I’m going to support all the other programs here.  We have great programs here.  I’m fortunate to be here around all these teams that play for national championships.  When I go, I’m not just going to be a fan.  I’m going to learn.  I go in Coach Williams’ locker room and I listen to what he has to say because I want to soak up everything I possibly can.  The guy’s been in that situation a bunch of times. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s Jenny (Levy) or it’s Anson (Dorrance) or it’s Coach Williams, I feel like I can learn something in every one of those situations.  I’m there to support them, win or lose. But this is about them.  It’s all about them.  All I want to do is for them to know I support them and blend in.  I’m not there for any other reason, because it’s about them.    

Tuesday, March 28 - Extra Points: Coaches Reunite In Chapel Hill

UNC defensive coordinator John Papuchis, linebacker coach Mike Ekeler and defensive backs coach Terry Joseph all once worked at LSU under Les Miles in 2006.  That year LSU posted a 11-2 record and hammered Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. The following season, LSU went 12-2 and beat Ohio State in the BCS title game. 

“What I remember most is our youthful optimism of what could happen one day,” Papuchis says. “Sitting around in the off-season after work, we’d talk about one day what kind of jobs and opportunities we might have. Sometimes those goals and dreams play out, sometimes they don’t. It’s really kind of rewarding to look back on it.”


Thursday, March 2 - DeAndre  Smith Hired As Running Backs Coach

DeAndre  Smith, who played collegiately at Southwest Missouri State with UNC offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic, was hired as UNC's running backs coach Thursday.  Smith comes to Chapel Hill from UNLV where he had spent the last three months as the Rebels’ running backs coach.  He served as Purdue’s running backs coach in 2016.

DeAndre Smith

Tuesday, Feb. 28 - Tar Heels Open Spring Practice

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina spring football practice began Tuesday under warm temperatures at Navy field, a marked difference from the previous two seasons when cold weather and occasionally snow and ice were on the ground.  

The weather was just one of many differences from last spring as the Tar Heels took to the field with several new faces set to take over major roles.  Gone are seasoned veterans and offensive record-breakers Ryan Switzer, Mitch Trubisky, T.J. Logan, Elijah Hood, Bug Howard and Mack Hollins.  Those six players, plus DT Nazair Jones, are set to compete at the 2017 NFL Combine this weekend where UNC ranks 13th in the nation with seven players.  Also missing are long-time starters Jon Heck (OT), Lucas Crowley (C), Caleb Peterson (OG), Des Lawrence (CB), Dominquie Green (S) and Mike Bart (DE), many of whom will be taking part in UNC's Pro Timing Day on March 21.

Set to compete for starting roles this spring are running backs Jordon Brown, a sophomore from Durham, and Michael Carter, a freshman who enrolled in January.  At quarterback, Nathan Elliott has the most experience with just nine pass attempts to his credit.  He took the field with the No. 1 offense, while redshirt freshmen Chazz Surratt and Logan Byrd also received equal reps.  At wide receiver, Austin Proehl, Thomas Jackson, Jordan Cunningham and Anthony Ratliff-Williams will have to step up. Josh Cabrera, Rontavius Groves, Devin Perry, Juval Mollette have been in the program for at least a year and are joined by January enrollee T.J. Cauthen.

On the offensive line, Bentley Spain anchors a line that returns Tommy Hatton and R.J. Prince at guard.  On Tuesday, Hatton took the majority of snaps at center where the Tar Heels have no experience returning.  William Sweet, who had one start in 2016, has an opportunity to become the full-time starter at right guard.    

In the coaching ranks, John Papuchis assumed control at defensive coordinator replacing Gene Chizik and was joined by new staff members Deke Adams (defensive line), Mike Ekeler (linebackers) and Terry Joseph (defensive backs).  That quartet inherits an experienced defensive squad that includes seasoned veterans like Donnie Miles (S), M.J. Stewart (CB), Andre Smith (LB) and Cayson Collins (LB).  DT Aaron Crawford, DE Malik Carney and LB Cole Holcomb also return after a year of starting experience.  

Per NCAA rules, North Carolina is allowed 15 practices in the spring.  The Tar Heels will practice on March 2, 3, 7, 9, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30 and April 1, 4, 6, 7.  The spring game is set for April 8 at 3 p.m. in Chapel Hill.


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