Jadeveon Clowney has apparently been keeping Larry Fedora up an night.
And more sleepless than when the North Carolina coach had to scheme against Brian Urlacher at the college level.
Newsandobserver.com quotes Fedora, whose Tar Heels open the season against Clowney's South Carolina Gamecocks in six days, as saying Clowney is the most difficult defender he's ever had to prepare for. Said Fedora:
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"I've never played against a guy that's 272 pounds and runs a 4.4. ... And it's obvious on film. He plays at a different speed than other guys, because he is faster than other guys. And then he plays hard. And you see him out (there) -- I'm trying to remember which game it was where I saw them hand the ball off to a back on a sweep, and he broke and I think Clowney caught him about 25 yards down the field. So he can run."
Fedora prepped against Urlacher, then of New Mexico, while coaching for the Air Force Academy. And as tough as that preparation was, Fedora said it wasn't as tough as Clowney. In a 13-year NFL career, Urlacher made more than 1,000 tackles and recorded 41.5 sacks. But it was his versatility, Fedora said, that made him such a thorn for college offenses.
"He lined up at free safety, he lined up at linebacker, he lined up at defensive end, he lined up at outside linebacker, he lined up at defensive tackle and he returned punts in that game," Fedora said of Urlacher.