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New UNC offensive coach to continue fast-paced style

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Seth Littrell took the job running North Carolina's offense to play the same fast-paced style that coach Larry Fedora wants. He's been focused through spring practices on learning what he has to work with to make that system go-go-go.
    
The Tar Heels close offseason drills with Saturday's annual spring game, ending Littrell's first on-field look at the unit he'll lead as UNC's new assistant head coach for offense.
    
"I'm not coming in here doing a ton of talking," Littrell said. "I think it's evaluating, it's listening, it's watching. It's a new set of eyes really. And they're doing the same thing. ... You start gaining that trust, you start gaining that momentum as a group so every week you try to build on it and get it a little cleaner."
    
The 35-year-old Littrell replaces Blake Anderson, who became Arkansas State's head coach and took tight ends coach Walt Bell with him. Littrell will coach UNC's tight ends and spent the past two seasons running Indiana's prolific offense with a philosophy rooted in his time as an assistant under Mike Leach at Texas Tech.
    
Littrell said UNC's no-huddle spread scheme will remain largely the same as the one that put up big numbers in Fedora's first two seasons here. He said it was easier for him to learn terminology already in place than to make the entire team learn something new, though he'll add his own touches to the offense, too.
    
"We're all so similar," Littrell said. "We have the same concepts. There may be tweaks here and there. But concepts-wise, it's just about learning a new name for the same concept you have, really. It's more about terminology than it is about concepts."
    
Fedora said it had been a smooth transition.
    
"I don't think there's been a problem there," Fedora said. "We're still trying to identify who we are personnel-wise as an offense and that's the most difficult thing. What kind of an offense are we going to be? What personnel groupings? What kind of plays are we going to be able to take advantage of this year?"
    
Rising sophomore receiver Bug Howard senses at least one change.
    
"Coach Littrell, he wants to be fast and he wants to be real physical," Howard said. "Coach Anderson, he just wanted to play fast and play quick and get the ball out before the defense can even think. And Coach Littrell, you know what's coming but you can't stop it because we're coming with a head of steam and pushing you back."
    
Littrell has proven he can be flexible.
    
He was Arizona's co-offensive coordinator in 2010 and held the job alone the following year. The Wildcats threw 44 passes per game compared to about 31 rushing attempts over those two seasons, with the 2011 team ranking third nationally in passing (370.8) and 15th in total offense (465.2).
    
He leaned more on the pass in his first year as Indiana's offensive coordinator at 2012. But last year, the Hoosiers were more balanced - 39.2 pass plays to 38.2 rushing attempts per game - because Littrell wanted to take advantage of running back Tevin Coleman and a solid offensive line.
    
Indiana finished ninth nationally in total offense (508.5) last year while ranking in the top 30 nationally in both passing and rushing yardage. The team also set school records with 6,102 total yards and 38.4 points per game.
    
Littrell said he's more focused on spreading the ball to different positions than the number of passes or runs. He wants the Tar Heels to run 76-80 plays per game to keep up the fast pace. And he hasn't hesitated to push his new players even though they haven't had much time together.
    
"Now's the time," he said. "I want to make sure they understand who I am and what we are as an offensive staff. If you're not going it early and not being demanding early, you can't just turn it on midway through and expect them to have an easy cool feeling about it."
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