UNC coach Larry Fedora was displeased with his team's practice on Wednesday. PHOTO: Robert Willett
CHAPEL HILL — Larry Fedora hasn’t often revealed a lot during his first preseason as North Carolina’s head coach. He doesn’t easily hand out injury updates. Ask him about areas that concern him and he’s likely to say, “Everywhere.” Ask him where he’s satisfied with his team’s depth and he’s likely to say, “Nowhere.”
But Fedora on Wednesday was as blunt and straightforward as reporters have seen him during his brief tenure at UNC. And all it took was one bad practice. Asked how the Tar Heels looked in their first practice after the official end of the training camp portion of the preseason, Fedora said this:
“Wasn’t very good. It wasn’t very good – it wasn’t good enough, I can tell you that. It’s not anything the way we practiced like during camp. It was like a whole different situation out here. So we’ll have to get that corrected today and tonight and then we’ll get out here tomorrow and get hopefully a good practice in.”
One reporter asked Fedora if it was an intensity issue.
“It was an intensity issue, a focus issue,” he said. “It was a lot of issues, you know? So we’ll get it corrected.”
UNC’s players had the day off on Tuesday, the first day of classes. Did the brief time away have something to do with the sluggish performance on Wednesday?
“It doesn’t matter what the excuse is, it’s just excuses,” Fedora said. “So it doesn’t matter what it is, you’ve got to come out here and you’ve got to approach the field every day the same way and you’ve got to get better. You’re either going to get better or you’re going to get worse. You’re never going to stay the same.”
The Heels open the season on Sept. 1 at home against Elon. In case you needed a reminder, that’s only two Saturdays from now. A week and a half. UNC didn’t do much Elon-specific work on Wednesday, Fedora said, but the focus will turn to Elon on Thursday.
The good news? Fedora has been pleased, mostly, with the progress the team has made to this point.
“I mean, we made a lot of progress in camp now,” he said. “I don’t want to let today’s practice ruin what we did in camp, because we really did some nice things in camp, you know. I thought our team got much better in camp, from day one to the last day of camp, you know.
"And so we gave them the day off from school yesterday, so they could get their school clothes laid out and get their first day of school in. And I expected them to come back out here focused today, we just didn’t get that.”
Tomorrow is, of course, another day.