By Eddy Landreth
There is no way to listen to Carolina football players talking about the start of practice and a new season and not believe their enthusiasm is anything but sincere.
This group of players is excited about being in camp, excited to get to work on a new season and excited to continue learning and executing the new schemes on both sides of the ball.
â€œWe loved the summer,â€ said senior linebacker/defensive back Gene Robinson. â€œIt was the hardest summer we have had here. We worked all summer long. It only got harder every day. And we loved that, to come together as a team.
â€œWe had more team bonding during the workouts because they were so difficult. Everybody had to overcome them. There was no â€˜Iâ€™m not going to be able to do this.â€™ No, you have to.
â€œNow we are just thriving out there every day, continuing to be together.â€
Now the excitement is turning into the reality of summer camp and continuing to learn new offensive and defensive schemes.
â€œIt was a blast to get out there,â€ junior quarterback Bryn Renner said. â€œSpring was a little teaser, but we wanted to get started in fall camp.
â€œThe first day was like Christmas. We were so happy to get on the field. Coach [Larry] Fedora has done a great job of telling us what we need to do to get better.â€
Renner said there is no doubt in his mind that this entire team is united in the drive to be as good as it can be and execute the schemes Fedora and his staff have brought to UNC.
â€œAll 105 guys that are here are on board to win 12 ball games this year,â€ Renner said.
The playersâ€™ actions are their true testament to how much they are throwing their hearts and souls into following Fedora and this staff in a new direction, on and off the field.
â€œWe challenged them, where we left off in the spring, to see how far they could go the rest of spring and through the summer,â€ Fedora said. â€œAll the coaches are really pleased with their recall and how much more they have picked up.
â€œYou just watch them in the drills,â€ Fedora said, â€œhow they do the drills, they are so much further along than they were in the spring. Itâ€™s been really nice. That has been one of the easiest things. They have bought in from day one. They have had this sense of excitement, enthusiasm, eagerness to get going. In each phase, they have shown they are willing to do whatever we ask them to do.â€
Another telling point is that the players met the goals placed before them regarding losing weight, gaining strength and being in the best possible shape. Fedora said that speaks volumes about the commitment this team has genuinely made.
â€œYou have guys like [Travis] Bond, who has lost a tremendous amount of weight,â€ Fedora said. â€œEvery one of the guys our nutritionist decided needed to lose weight did what they needed to do.
â€œI donâ€™t know how many of you have tried to lose some weight. You have to decide youâ€™re going to do it. It canâ€™t be because a coach says you need to lose weight. If they donâ€™t decide to do it, they are not going to lose weight.
â€œThat just tells me that much more about how much they have bought in. It doesnâ€™t just happen. It doesnâ€™t just melt off. There is some sacrifice. They have to eat right and do things the right way, which these guys have done. Iâ€™m proud of them.â€