ACC Kickoff is upon us. We know the drill here, at the league’s annual preseason media bonanza, and so does Larry Fedora, the North Carolina coach. He’s been preparing for this part of the preseason – the part in which he’s asked a lot of questions and says a lot of words.
What kind of words? Well …
“I’ve got to get back into that mode, of saying what you guys get tired of hearing,” Fedora said on Monday after the annual Pigskin Preview.
And so be prepared to hear plenty about how “the 2016 Tar Heels haven’t accomplished anything to this point” and how “the Georgia game is our most important game because it’s the next game” and how “we’ll show up and get ready to go in Atlanta” for that game against Georgia.
Fedora said all of those things, in one form or another, on Monday. And he will again when he addresses the media on Thursday in Charlotte at ACC Kickoff. Fedora is no different from any other coach in that regard, especially at large media gatherings like the ACC’s preseason media days.
The coaches come to these things every year. And every year we reporters ask the same kind of questions. And every year the coaches give the same kind of answers. And then, about five weeks later or so, the actual season begins and we start learning something about these teams.
What if it were different, though? What if reporters asked the questions they really were curious about and what if coaches actually gave honest answers to them? Media days would never be the same. And so it got me thinking.
If this dream world existed what would some of those questions be? Here are 20 of them. We’ll call it: “questions Larry Fedora won’t be asked on media day and questions that, if he were asked, he wouldn’t really answer.”
1. What will be the first offensive play you run against Georgia?
2. So sort of like the opening flea-flicker-to-Ryan-Switzer play against Duke last year?
3. And you began practicing for this the first or second day of spring practice?
4. While it’s on my mind, can you really not think of anything nice to say about Dave Doeren?
5. He said the other day at the Pigskin Preview that he’s good on the grill but I’m guessing you two have never hosted a cookout together. Something to consider as a nice activity next spring or summer? There’s still time this summer, in fact.
6. I get it. Moving on – and for real, this time – how exactly will the play-calling work again?
7. OK, so you’ll be more involved. Which means?
8. And that’s what percentage of the plays you’ll actually be calling?
9. Hmmm. Now, Marquise Williams. You loved him. You’ll miss him. He was quite the Positive Dog, as you encouraged players to be. But you’re kind of happy he’s gone, right? Because now it’s Mitch Trubisky’s time?
10. Trubisky time: just kind of a lazy alliterative phrase, isn’t it?
11. Is there no chance, absolutely no chance or positively, absolutely no chance that Elijah Hood will be on the sideline if there’s a key 3rd-and-goal late in the fourth quarter against Georgia?
12. Same question but about the chances of Trubisky throwing three interceptions against an opening-game SEC opponent.
13. Switching gears. Dirtiest program in the ACC?
14. You know. In the preloaded-debit-card-delivered-in-a-handshake-from-a-booster kind of way.
15. Always the one you least expect, right?
16. Best season in almost 20 years last year and still a lot of empty seats so ... what’s up with the fans and how long does it take, really, to build a football culture?
17. No way you take this job in 2011 if you knew, in 2016, that there would still be an NCAA investigation. Right?
18. Didn’t think so. And so where would you be?
19. Intriguing. Hear it’s lovely there this time of year. One more: amid this NCAA mess, which school did the best job of planting doubt in the minds of recruits about what would happen to UNC?
20. Sometimes the one you most expect, no?