Larry Fedora has been rumored to be Manny Diaz’s potential offensive coordinator. Fedora was recently fired as the head football coach of the UNC Tar Heels after seven seasons in Chapel Hill. Before taking the Tar Heels job, Fedora served as the head coach at Southern Miss and has experience as an offensive coordinator and assistant coach all over the country.
Fedora is a very familiar name to Miami Hurricanes fans as he served in a variety of capacities for the Florida Gators from 2002-2004 and obviously during his tenure at UNC. The Tar Heels were at their best under Fedora in 2015 when they finished 11-3 with a Russell Athletic Bowl loss to the Baylor Bears.
Fedora isn’t exactly beaming with personality, but that’s okay, because Manny Diaz is. Fedora came under fire after his commentary on CTE during the ACC Media Days and while his opinion in a way was right, he probably shouldn’t have used that time as his platform. Stringing together back-to-back losing seasons didn’t help his case, either.
On the Coaches’ Film Room on ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff, Fedora seemed a bit dull. But his offenses, when he has a good quarterback, are anything but dull. Don’t expect a ton of big quotes or eccentric Mike Leach type conversations from the potential new OC.
However, I did see Coach Fedora speak at the AFCA Convention and he believes firmly in many of the principles that are established at Miami and what Manny Diaz seems to want, as well. Fedora worked extremely hard to establish a positive culture at UNC coming off of the academic and recruiting scandals at UNC under Butch Davis. Fedora is big regarding accountability, grit, and family.
While at UNC, Larry Fedora used mobile quarterbacks that were recruiting in as “dual-threat” passers. 2015 quarterback Marquis Williams threw for over 3000 yards and tossed 24 touchdowns while adding over 900 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns on the ground (and one receiving touchdown).
What I also liked was that in 2014 and 2015, backup quarterback Mitchell Trubisky played in 18 games as a backup before being named the starter in 2016. That gave him the experience needed to come in and play as a starter.
With Trubisky as more of a pro style quarterback, Fedora toned down the power read and zone read portions of his offensive scheme. Trubisky threw for 3700 yards and 30 touchdowns with only six interceptions.
2017 saw the transfer of LSU quarterback Brandon Harris over to the Tar Heels and was a complete bust. Harris averaged only 4.9 yards per passing attempt while throwing eight interceptions and only one touchdown. Chazz Surratt, Nathan Elliot, Cade Fortin and Jace Ruder didn’t offer much more as the Heels only won five games over two years.
It would help to have someone like Frank Ponce on staff as quarterbacks coach to assist in the recruitment of the position.
Larry Fedora’s offenses are multiple in nature. Coach Fedora likes to use two and three backs in the back field, tight ends inline and as wings, and two, three, and four receiver sets. Miami fans will enjoy the variety in not only personnel groupings, but in formations, motions and tempos.
The UNC rosters always had a slew of wide receivers and a lot of tight ends and running backs. The tight ends were fairly standard in size, think Will Mallory or Brevin Jordan. The running backs would vary from scat back types to 220 pound punishing runners.
At the receiver positions, Fedora tried to always have a speedy slot receiver. Bug Howard types on the outside with 6’4 length and 5’9 Ryan Switzer on the inside making plays and screens in the run-pass option game.
Miami fans that want Rob Chudzinski at offensive coordinator are going to be very disappointed in Fedora’s offense. His scheme is modern, having flavors of Air Raid, RPO and read option with the quarterback. The QB’s he will want to recruit in will be dual-threat but like he adjusted from Williams to Trubisky- Fedora will adjust to the talent he has on campus.
A staple in the Fedora run game is the power read. Miami struggled to defend power read with Manny Diaz at defensive coordinator and Fedora loves to pull the guard and have his quarterbacks read the play side defensive end. Above- I broke down defending the Syracuse power read. Below- you can see a GIF from Williams’ time at UNC.
Inside Zone Read
We’ve covered inside zone read a thousand times on SOTU in a variety of posts. It’s been a play that has been covered verbatim on the internet (even if the TV crews still butcher it). Fedora, who likes his h-backs and 2-back sets, uses the extra back as a lead blocker for the QB in case he gets a pull read. This eliminates scrape exchange linebackers from fooling the QB and hitting him after pulling.
In the GIF below, Fedora has a two sided run-pass option called where to the top of the screen there’s a stalk-bubble and to the bottom the slant to the solo receiver. The run game is a base zone run. The quarterback will have to be smart and have a fast moving football IQ in order to succeed in Fedora’s offense.
If Larry Fedora is committed to being a coordinator again for two or three years, this is a move that could really work out. If Fedora uses this as a one year gap between head coaching jobs- it’s not going to bode well for Miami’s consistency in scheme unless someone like Frank Ponce is brought in and groomed to be a full-time OC.
Don’t forget to check out my film review of Miami versus UNC from 2018 for more UNC offensive conversation.