In 2012, Larry Fedora went 8-4 as the head football coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels. Not too shabby, but as the applied adage goes, the feat was accomplished with Butch Davis’ players.
Fedora followed up 2012 by going 7-6 in 2013, and as if part of a mathematical sequence, the Tar Heels went 6-7 this past year. Most great coaches blossom in year three — Nick Saban won the national championship with the Alabama Crimson Tide in his third year, Brian Kelly guided the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a championship game appearance in his third. I’m not saying Fedora swims in the same pool as these sharks; I’m just showing where the ceiling should exist on expectations.
The Tar Heels enter their fourth year under Fedora with the presently 22nd ranked recruiting class just weeks before National Signing Day. A great coach can do just about anything with a few top players, but a good coach can also get more out of his team with less talent than North Carolina is about to reel in. In fact, Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans are relying on a recruiting class ranked six spots beneath the Tar Heels.
The surroundings can get stale when a team doesn’t buy into their coach. The promise of 2012 needs to be revived, and North Carolina’s incoming freshmen need to be impactful in a hurry. Fedora can’t afford another year of decline at North Carolina, unless his true passion is to once again be an offensive coordinator — at another university.