[The 5th 12 for 12 ... Wide Receivers]
With eighteen days before North Carolina football plays its first game under new head coach Larry Fedora it is once again time for another edition of “12 for 12″, the multiple posts segment where I talk about the dozen persons/things that need to be as good as possible in order for the gridiron season to be a good one, no matter what the final record. In this post, the sixth of twelve, we will be looking at one of the players that has received plenty of accolades this pre season… line backer Kevin Reddick. The senior LB, who has been called the man in the middle due to the position he plays, is one of four players making the pre season All-ACC team for Carolina, and the only one to do so on the defensive side of the ball. He is also part of the watch lists for the Butkus Award and the Lombardi Award as well as having made the Phil Steele’s pre season 1st team All American Squad.
With a new defensive scheme on a team that is not as talented on that side of the ball as it has been in the past the senior is going to be a key element for the coaching staff. Almost like a point guard on a basketball team, Reddick is going to be the coach on the field for the 2012 season. From all that I have read about Reddick he is going to be a true leader this season, and with a new scheme on the field he needed to be a positive force in making the rest of the defensive players buying into the 4-2-5 the coach Fedora brought to UNC. As a matter of fact Reddick has been a positive force for his whole career at North Carolina, something that can not have been easy to do when you have had three head coaches (Butch Davis, Everett Withers and Larry Fedora) in four years.
For the senior, and the rest of the team, another positive might be that it’s the first time that they have begun the pre season without the NCAA being all over the program. However, on the flip side of the coin, due to the NCAA having been all over the program the senior line backer will finish his career without the chance of going to a bowl game. It will be up to players like him to keep the younger players motivated knowing that once the regular season is over they will not be playing, no matter what their record is. In many ways Reddick could have thought of this as his last season at UNC, I believe that he is making all think as being the first year of a new era at Chapel Hill, and that alone makes the line backer both a unselfish leader and a winner.
As I said in another “12 for 12″ post, there is a shortage of wide outs that have quality playing time. It will be up to the defense to keep the games close so that the offense does not have to always rely on that core of players and instead can use their work horse, running back Giovani Bernard as much as possible in the new spread offense. In order for this to happen the “man in the middle” will have to truly be a leader both on and off the field, making the great plays on the gridiron and keeping all focused and on the same page when on the sidelines.
It seems that a lot of people always worry about the offensive side of the ball when a new coaching staff comes to their program. Having played on the other side of the ball I always keep an eye on the defense when a new head man arrives into town, so for me watching how line backer Kevin Reddick and the rest of the D does is one of my biggest story line of the North Carolina football program. For many seasons Carolina was known as “RB University”, Giovani Bernard has brought that back to surface with a spectacular 2011. There is no reason in my mind that someone like Reddick can be the catalyst to get UNC to start being “RB U”. For more about UNC football and/or basketball make sure to come back often to isportsweb!