CHAPEL HILL — Last year, UNC offensive coordinator John Shoop was on the sideline during games so he could communicate with freshman quarterback T.J. Yates face-to-face.
So it’s a sign of Yates’ development that Shoop will back up in the coach’s box for the season-opener against McNeese State on Saturday, communicating with Yates and the offense via graduate assistant Wes Satterfield.
“It’s going to kind of be like listening to Coach Shoop through him, because he’s going to be talking directly to him, and he’s going to be giving us the signals,’’ Yates said. “It’s going to be a little different when I get off the field because I’m going to have to put on the headphones and talk to [Shoop], instead of sitting next to him and talk to him.
"… He won’t be out there to coach us up on every little thing, so we’ll have to prepare more and be more focused and confident as a whole in our offense.”
New defensive coordinator Everett Withers will also work from the coaches’ box (which is adjacent to the press box), head coach Butch Davis said. Last year’s defensive coordinator, Chuck Pagano, worked from the sideline for the same reason as Shoop — to communicate new defensive schemes better with the young players. But there are advantages of being up rather than down.
“All of the places I had ever coached before, the coordinators were in the box,’’ Davis said. “It not only gives them the chance to see the field better, see personnel groupings. It cuts down one extra communication to someone in the box to someone on the sidelines to identify what the other team’s personnel, what they’re getting into. …It’s a little bit more of a quiet environment to collect your thoughts, you’re not quite in all the chaos.”
Indeed, while Yates said communicating via graduate assistant and headsets will be a personal adjustment, he knows Shoop’s move will help the offense make better adjustments, overall.
“There’s definitely some things on film where he was mad that he wasn’t up in the box [last season],’’ Yates said. “We could have taken advantage of some coverages and some flaws in the defense that he saw in the film room on Sunday, which is never a good feeling. So he wanted to be up there.”