ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The University of North Carolina Tar Heels have an 8-0 regular season record and 11-2 overall heading into the Russell Athletic Bowl against the Baylor University Bears at Orlando Citrus Bowl December 29, 2015. With UNC yet to win twelve consecutive games in a season, the Russell Athletic Bowl is the school’s chance to make history. The Bears faced a challenging season this year, but still boast a 9-3 overall record (6-3 for the regular season). Head Coach Art Briles is looking to show the world Baylor’s still a force to be reckoned with. Both head coaches discussed the upcoming game and their strategies during the Russell Athletic Bowl Kickoff Press Conference and Kickoff Luncheon at Hilton Orlando Monday.
“When they say spread the field…when you talk the field is fifty-three yards wide, I mean, they [Baylor] use all fifty-three. There are times where you’ve got wide receivers that are lined up within a yard from the sideline,” Coach Fedora stated of Coach Briles’ offense. “So they really will stretch you out…you’ve got to do some things to get those guys back in the box or they’ll kill you with the running game. That’s why they’re averaging three hundred yards rushing.” He noted that the key difference between his and Briles’ offensive strategy is that UNC is “not always spread that far.”
Coach Briles, despite losing quarterbacks Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham, wide receiver Corey Coleman, and running back Shock Linwood to injuries this season, has led his team to having the number one offense in America. When asked about how he maneuvered the victories despite the high player turnaround, he said, “We’ve got guys that we recruited that we have a lot of confidence in…that have been given a chance and an opportunity to help our football team. And that, to me, is—I find it very inspiring.”
Coach Briles also offered his observations of Coach Fedora’s formidable offensive strategy while prepping his own team for the Russell Athletic Bowl. “When you talk about watching tape, it’s fourteen, twenty-one, twenty-eight, thirty-five. They’re scoring and they’re scoring in a hurry and bunches.”
UNC’s Marquise Williams is the fifth quarterback in ACC history with 2,000 career rushing yards, and also ranks third in ACC history with a school-record 94 career touchdowns, but Baylor’s Chris Johnson is ready. “His skill level is really good, ” Coach Briles said. “He’s a guy we have a lot of confidence in and he’ll fight like hell for us.”
While UNC is hungry to grasp a new school record, Briles’ prize is somewhat more focused. For him it is simply about winning the game and what that will do for his team. “I want this team to have respect. I want those guys in the locker room to earn respect for themselves and for what they’ve done, so this is all about renewed respect for our football team,” he said. “There’s only one way to get it and that’s to play really well when we have opportunities, and we’re going to have an opportunity at 5:30 tomorrow.”
Jamaica-born author and journalist Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
She also helps CEOs and executives, advisors, coaches, consultants, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.
She has published seven books, all available on Amazon.com. Her newly released book, From a Babe 2.0, is now available on the Kindle.