The weather was better Thursday for what is now becoming an annual visit to Charlotte by North Carolina’s football team.
When the Tar Heels came to practice at Charlotte’s Mallard Creek High in the spring of 2012, a thunderstorm cut things short. This time, a crowd of several hundred fans was able to watch the team practice in drier – if chillier – conditions.
“This is something we like to do – it’s good for our players and for our fans on this side of the state,” second-year coach Larry Fedora said.
It’s good for recruiting, too, which is why Fedora is also taking the team to Greensboro next week to practice at Grimsley High.
“It never hurts to get out here like this, in places we normally don’t go,” he said.
The practice, which began at 7 p.m. and lasted about two hours, included a scrimmage. The event attracted not only fans, but high school and college coaches who came to see how Fedora conducts his high-speed practices.
Even former Tar Heels basketball coach Matt Doherty – now a television analyst who lives in Mooresville – was there.
Former Mallard Creek quarterback Marquise Williams, who signed with North Carolina in 2011 but left school this semester for undisclosed reasons, was also there to watch. Fedora said he expects Williams to return to Chapel Hill this summer and be back with the team in the fall.
The Tar Heels were 8-4 and finished in a three-way tie for first in the ACC’s Coastal Division in Fedora’s first season, but weren’t eligible for a bowl due to NCAA sanctions.
With the sanctions over, Fedora says nothing’s changed about his team’s goals.
“We want to win the Coastal Division and then play in the ACC championship game,” he said.