For many years I used to watch NBC’s Today Show, and one of my favorite segments was “Where in the world is Matt Lauer”, a week long series where the host of the show traveled all over the planet making the rest of the hosts guess where he was. After three weeks of North Carolina football I like to do my own version of that segment by simply asking “Where in the world is Giovani Bernard”, since I am pretty sure everyone wants to know and all are trying to guess. And the reason that the media and the fan base should know is because this situation went from the following comments by the head coach and the what Bernard, who suffered a sprain MCL, said after Elon…
“He could have gone back in,” Fedora said. “There was no reason to put him back in, though.”
“I feel good, I feel great,” he said. “[It was] just a little precautionary kind of thing – I feel good.”
…to now, in the last two games against Wake Forest and Louisville, without Gio’s services. Before the second game of the season coach Fedora said that while Bernard was not ready to go, he was close to the point of being able to play. In the game played in Winston-Salem both A.J. Blue and Romar Morris did a good job in replacing the young man. However most people had to have thought, if only for a moment, what would have the final score been with the starting tail back in the line up.
After returning to Chapel Hill with a 1 and 1 record and an in conference loss, the news was that Giovani Bernard was practicing once again. Add to that the statements by the head coach and most people thought that the Heels would once again have their starting tail back against a Top 25 opponent on the road. When reality set it the facts were that while for the Wake Forest game Bernard was dressed but did not go, in the game against Louisville the tail back did’t even make the trip to the Bluegrass State.
So, after thinking about this for a minute, maybe the title of this post should not be “Where in the world is Giovani Bernard” and instead it should read “Where in the world is truth about Bernard’s injury”. I can understand that the coaching staff does not want to reveal what is going with their players, especially one so important as Bernard, but that could easily be done the “Belichick” way of just saying a player is questionable when asked about him.
This cloak and dagger about injuries, and not just Bernard’s, is doing nothing positive towards the team and might even have some people look at the staff not in the best of ways. Truth be told as of now my theory when it comes to both the starting tail back and T.J. Thorpe, the wide out that got his foot hurt in the pre season, is “I will believe it when I see it”. And that should not be the way a blogger about a school should feel about this.
Now, do not get me wrong, I am all for keeping players out until they are ready to play. I am not here to say “let’s play him no matter what”, and I proved this point with the many posts on twitter about keeping Bryn Renner out for the rest of the Wake Forest game if there was any doubts about his health. And if Giovani Bernard is not ready to go I would never want to see him out on the field! What I am having a hard time about all of this is the sort of misleading ways that coach Fedora has taken when talking about the injuries.
In the end we know that North Carolina football will be back at home this weekend, in the friendly confine of Kenan Stadium, to take on another in state foe in East Carolina. I know that the game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday and that I will be watching it on ESPNU, as well as making a preview and a recap of the game. And finally I know that a team will don the carolina blue, and that is good enough for me, but I will not hold my breath on who will be on the field and who won’t. And that kind of saddens me.
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