Tudor: It’s no pun, UNC’s Fedora orders hats off inside

ctudor@newsobserver.comJuly 25, 2012 

Five leftovers from the ACC Football Kickoff interviews.

1. New sheriff: Larry Fedora has spent less time talking about “changing the culture” at UNC than recent Tar Heel coaches.

But Fedora is definitely changing the dress code culture. For starters, he’s outlawed earrings at football functions and implemented a no caps while indoors policy.

“That’s just the way I was raised,” Fedora said Monday. “You didn’t wear a hat in the house. That’s not what a man does, and I sure as heck couldn’t get an earring. I’d have to moved out of the house.”

2. No fear: Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas is one of only three returning Hokie offensive starters and will direct a unit virtually void of skill position experience.

But compared to last season, which was his first as the starting quarterback, Thomas says he’s a lot more confident in what he and the team can achieve.

“This year there’s not a butterfly in my stomach and not a worry in my mind,” Thomas said. “I know what I can do. I know what the team can do.”

The 6-6, 260-pound redshirt junior will be the team’s top returning rusher after record-setting David Wilson (1,709 yards) left early for the NFL. Thomas carried 153 times for 469 yards last season. That was more than 100 yards better than No. 2 tailback Josh Oglesby.

3. Showdown opener: There’ll be more opening-game pressure on the Hokies and Georgia Tech than any other teams in the conference.

Their 8 p.m. Sept. 3 Monday ESPN game at Virginia Tech very well could determine the Coastal Division championship.

Coupled with N.C. State’s Aug. 31 Friday night game against Tennessee in Atlanta (ESPNU), the ACC will have two national telecasts during opening weekend.

“The loser digs a hole because of the tiebreaker (which favors the regular seasn winner in the event of two-way tie),” Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson said. “When you lose a divisional game, it’s like losing two.”

Johnson is 1-3 in the series since taking the Jackets job.

4. Beamer ball: Against current ACC teams, Hokie coach Frank Beamer is 14-6 vs. Boston College, 5-5 vs. Clemson, 8-0 vs. Duke, 2-8 vs. Florida State, 6-3 vs. Georgia Tech, 5-1 vs. Maryland, 12-9 vs. Miami, 7-2 vs. UNC, 5-2-1 vs. N.C. State, 16-9 vs. Virginia and 4-0 vs. Wake Forest.

His record in ACC league games entering the opener is 56-13 over eight seasons.

5. Record chaser: Pound for pound, Duke senior receiver Conner Vernon (6-1, 195) might be the toughest player in the ACC.

He probably gets hit harder and more often than any other player in the league, but rarely misses a game.

That durability is showing up in the record book, and he soon could be at the top. He trails leader Clarkston Hines in Duke receiving yardage by 643 yards, and needs just 10 catches to pass leader and former teammate Donovan Varner in total receptions. Vernon begins the season with 198 catches, 2,675 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hines set the school touchdown reception record with 38.

Tudor: 919-829-8946

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