GREENSBORO -- Players often talk about how they worked harder during their current summer workouts than in years past, but is no doubt the Tar Heels mean it when they are discussing 2012 versus previous seasons.
"Workouts are going real great," senior linebacker Kevin Reddick said during the annual ACC Kickoff. "This is as big a change and difference as I have ever seen. Guys want to work out. "It has been different, just the atmosphere, guys wanting to work. We've had guys miss workouts in previous years. We had guys miss workouts every day. Cats not wanting to come and work out. Now we don't have that anymore.
"Everybody is there. Everybody is on time. The coaches put fear in them. That is a good a good thing when you're coaches put fear in you and your players put fear in you. You don't want to miss a workout because of the consequences."
Reddick said this year's defense will be more of a team, and he did not hesitate to name names.
"We have a lot smarter guys," Reddick said. "We're more of a team now. We had guys with big names, great guys, great players; they're in the NFL now. We don't have too many names like that on defense anymore.
"It's more about the Carolina defense. It's not about Quinton Coples, the Zach Browns, the Marvin Austins, the Robert Quinns. It's not about those guys anymore. It's about the Carolina defense. I think we're going to be bonded well as a team, smarter, faster.
"And we're going to know what to do. That is the whole thing with us. We're going to know what to do and be in the right spot."
Reddick said it was too much about individuals trying to promote themselves rather than the team.
"It was egocentric," Reddick said, "just trying to single out people. I think that was a problem at times. We had more individuals. Now we have more of a team."
Quarterback Bryn Renner said that the new coaching staff, head coach Larry Fedora in particular, deserves much of the credit for the new attitude.
"He's so disciplined," Renner said. "Seeing him on a daily basis and how he acts with our team, it's really impressive. He's a guy you can look to for energy and support. He always makes you be on your toes."
Renner echoed Reddick in that he saw the changes that occurred during the spring continue to develop during summer workouts.
"This has been one of the hardest-working summers since we've been here," Renner said. "We needed it, honestly. We need to get in shape. And I think we have done that. The work outs we've been going through, we can honestly say when we get to the fourth quarter we will be in better shape than last year.
"The workouts have been so strenuous that we are almost ready to have training camp come," Renner said. "We're really looking forward to it. We have a stable coach. This time last year we had a lot of things going on off the field that kind of distracted us from playing football.
"This year we're really focused on being football players and enjoying that."
But as far as dwelling on what happened the last few years, Renner said the team has worked hard to becoming the closest, best team it can be.
"It's totally different from last year to this year," Renner said. "So this year we're just focused on being football players and enjoying that. We've kind of tried to leave the past in the past. We don't run the same offense or the same defense.
"We're starting fresh with Coach Fedora. I think he's done a great job of coming in and getting us into that mode."