North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora is all about starting fast. His offense is up-tempo, his style is eccentric, and his personality is straightforward. As he prepared his team for last week’s game, Fedora looked for ways to get his team into a mindset that would get them off to a fast start on the field.
The results? Viewing old Mike Tyson fight clips.
“We’ve seen when we do start off slow it’s harder to get over the hump,” offensive guard Jonathan Cooper said this week to ESPN. “The coaches have been emphasizing start off fast. When they showed the video of the Mike Tyson fight, we all saw he started fast, wore his opponent down and knocked him down quickly. So the mentality is to start off fast and jump on people. When we’re hitting on all cylinders, we could be a really good team.”
North Carolina had struggled out of the gate this season against FBS foes, going 1-2 with only 31 combined first half points. For an offense as explosive as Fedora’s, that’s almost unexplainable.
The coach thinks that the team isn’t close to where they can be, but hopes starting fast — a la Tyson knocking out opponents in Round 1 — will change their fate.
“I will tell you this: We’re far from being where we’re going to be. If that makes sense,” Fedora said. “We’re not — I know we’ve had some success in the last couple of weeks — but we’re not even close to our potential. You can go back in this last game, and wow. You look at it and go, golly, that’s not very good. So I know that we can get a lot better and will be a lot better in the future. The best thing about it is our team has improved each week.”