CHAPEL HILL On the final day of North Carolina’s preseason camp, Larry Fedora’s countdown clock was on the verge of reaching single digits.
“We’re 10 days out,” Fedora said on Monday, referring to the Tar Heels’ season-opener on Aug. 29 at South Carolina.
Now UNC is nine days away from beginning the season in a nationally-televised Thursday night game against the Gamecocks. For the first time this preseason, the Tar Heels on Monday began installing their game plan for South Carolina.
“Everything practice-wise was geared towards a game plan for this first game,” Fedora said.
After UNC’s scrimmage on Saturday, the team moved out of its hotel – where it had been staying since the start of preseason camp – and players moved back into their dorms or other residences.
One of UNC’s priorities for the rest of the preseason will be to get healthy for the start of the season.
“I think we’re right about where we want to be 10 days out,” Fedora said. “Finishing camp. It’s hard … and now at this point it’s installing a game plan. It’s learning it mentally, and it’s getting yourself rest by taking care of your body.”
Season tickets sell out at N.C. State
N.C. State has sold out its allotment – about 34,500 – of season-ticket packages for the 2013 season.
It’s the most season tickets the school has sold since 2009, assistant athletics director Chris Boyer said Monday.
The five-game plans, which include the games against North Carolina and Clemson, have also sold out. There are single-game tickets for Louisiana Tech, Richmond and Maryland and a package for all three games still available.
No QB decision yet: Coach Dave Doeren said Monday he needs more time to name a starting quarterback for the opener against Louisiana Tech. Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas are competing for the job. Doeren has said there’s a possibility that he could use both.
Blue Devils pick up the pace
DURHAM Duke head coach David Cutcliffe doesn’t tote a can of Red Bull. But he’s all about playing fast.
“I’m a torried pace guy,” Cutcliffe said earlier in camp. “We call it tempo, and I’m always going to be a tempo guy. I don’t believe in dissertations on the practice field. When you’re on the grass, its’ about work. We have meetings. We have to go to the next play. That’s my impatience.”
Duke has run a no-huddle offense for several seasons, and last year the Blue Devils set a new high in the Cutcliffe era by running 990 offensive plays. That’s an average of 76.2 per game, third-most in the ACC (Clemson tops the league with 81.7 plays per game, and N.C. State is second at 80).
There’s not a strong correlation between plays per game and wins – Florida State, for example, ran 67.2 plays per game, 11th out of the 12 ACC teams – but it does indicate that the Blue Devils are coming closer to running Cutcliffe’s ideal offensive system.
Duke’s up-tempo offense does demand players to be in optimal shape, which can make the adjustment tougher on incoming freshmen.
“It’s a big challenge with our offense, with how fast it’s going and how conditioned everyone has to be,” said senior running back Juwan Thompson. “We’re going to need depth.”
Cutcliffe has said several times that this Duke team’s summer workouts in preparation for this season were at a new, higher level than previous teams.
“This was the most conditioned team we’ver put out here, which was good to see,” he said. “And it’s what you would expect with as much time as we’ve invested into this.”