|Keith Srakocic/Associated Press|
|Pitt DT Aaron Donald has made quite an impression on North Carolina coach Larry Fedora.|
Pittsburgh will host North Carolina on Saturday, and Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora wasn't engaging in mere build-up-the-opponent hyperbole Wednesday when he said Panthers defensive tackle Aaron Donald "has that same kind of impact on a game" as South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney.
Fedora and UNC opened the season against Clowney and the Gamecocks, and Fedora was asked on Wednesday's ACC coaches' teleconference about trying to prepare for Donald compared to Clowney.
"The only difference is (Donald) usually starts out on the inside and then moves outside. ... I think he's that same kind of player," Fedora said.
Donald leads the nation in tackles for loss with 19.5 -- three more than anybody else (and 13 more than Clowney) -- and is trying to become the first interior lineman to lead FBS in that category since the stat was instituted in 2003.
Donald also is tied for sixth nationally with nine sacks (Clowney has two), and his 27.5 career sacks lead all active players.
"He's a one-man wrecking crew," Fedora said during the ACC teleconference. "The guy's all over the place. (Pitt coach) Paul (Chryst) and his staff have done such a great job with him because they don't just have him lined up at left tackle. He's left tackle, right tackle, he's at the nose, he's played at the right end, at the left end. They move him all over the place.
"They do a really good job with him and they put him in position to make plays, and the guy comes through."
Donald (6-foot, 285 pounds) isn't considered in the same category as Clowney when it comes to NFL potential because of his lack of height. But he is as disruptive as anyone because of his strength and quickness.
"For a big guy like he is, he's quick as a cat," Fedora said. "He can move. He's like a skilled athlete but in a big body. ... Wow, what a great player."
Donald had 11 sacks playing end as a sophomore in 2011, but moved inside to his more natural position last season.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.