Larry Fedora began his Division I college coaching career in 1990. Before becoming the head coach at North Carolina, he was an offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee, Florida and Oklahoma State. Then came his four years as a head coach at Southern Miss.
So Fedora has been around a while, in a different parts of the country, in a variety of conferences. I asked him earlier today to name the best defensive player he’d ever had to game plan against.
His answer came quickly.
“I’m going to say Clowney,” Fedora said of Jadeveon Clowney, the South Carolina defensive end whom UNC will face next Thursday night. “Yeah, I’m going to say Clowney. Because the guy – I’ve never played against a guy that’s 272 pounds and runs a 4.4.
“And it’s obvious on film. He plays at a different speed than other guys, because he is faster than other guys. And then he plays hard. And you see him out (there) – I’m trying to remember which game it was where I saw them hand the ball off to a back on a sweep, and he broke and I think Clowney caught him about 25 yards down the field. So he can run. When you have that kind of speed, it’s always a difficult situation.”
Chances are Clowney will be the answer to that question – best defensive player you’ve game planned against – for a lot of coaches this season. As for who sticks out in Fedora’s mind as second best? I asked him that, as well.
“I’ve been coaching a long time now,” he said. “Probably Urlacher.”
Brian Urlacher, remembered for his All-Pro NFL years with the Chicago Bears, played in college at New Mexico. As part of the offensive coaching staff at Air Force in the late 1990s, Fedora had a chance to see Urlacher up close.
“What I remember about him,” Fedora said, “(is0 he lined up at free safety, he lined up at linebacker, he lined up at defensive end, he lined up at outside linebacker, he lined up at defensive tackle and he returned punts in that game.”
At least Clowney won’t be returning punts. We think.
-- Andrew Carter
Friday, August 23, 2013
Posted by Charlotte Observer at 5:21 PM