"The difference," said North Carolina linebacker Buddy Curry, "is like day and night."

Under Dick Crum, North Carolina's new head football coach, the Tar Heels are doing things they've never done before.

North Carolina's players live in places other than the football wing of a dorm. The Tar heels, who play host to Maryland Saturday, took a nine-hour-a-day course from a California instructor. He was flown in to teach the team to "develop our personality to help you realize your personality," according to the description of backup quarterback Clyde Christensen.

"At first," offensive guard Mike Salvano said, "everyone wondered what was going on."

Crum has stamped his insignia on the program in other ways, knocking out a cafeteria wall that separated the football team's dining facilities from those of other athletes and adding a salad bar and an ice cream machine.

On the practice field, Crum has led a chorus of "Happy Birthday" for defensive tackle (Honey) Bun Rhames and scrapped the Information in favor of the veer. It is difficult to tell which action baffled the players more.

"The idea is to get into the game, express yourself and have fun," said Crum, a bespectacled, short, quiet man whose appearance has been likened to that of a history professor.

"It has taken them time to get used to the changes. I tell them . . . I want to know them, to talk to them, that I want them to have lives outside of football. I'm not sure they actually believe me."

This kind of be-yourself atmosphere differs sharply from that of Bill Dooley, who left Carolina to become head coach and athletic director at Virginia Tech. A source in the Carolina program said "intimidation" by coaches was common and the quarterbacks were "like robots" within the 1 formation under Dooley.

Under Crum, however, starting quarerback Matt Kupee is reading the secondary for the first time. Since such things take some getting used to, Carolina's offense staggered in its opener, committing infractions and missing field goals while barely beat

"Making these changes is not like flipping a switch," said Crum. He had promised more passing, but his two quarterbacks threw only 12 times. Nine more passes were called, but for various reasons they were never launched. Still, Kupec and Christensen totaled eight completions.

"Out problem is that we're still trying to get to know what our people can do," Crum said. "We did not throw well in the spring.It's coming along, but it's not what you'd call the ideal passing game.

"I told them we were going to throw, but so many coaches say that, (the North Carolina players) really don't believe it. We mean it."

Crum splits time at quarterback between last year's starter Kupec. (Crum calls him "an excellent leader who throws the ball well"), and Christensen ("a waterbug type, skitters all over and runs well").

Crum, who left a successful program at Miami of Ohio, expects Kupec to play more than half of Saturday's game, which has been sold out since August.

Carolina still runs some plays from the I, but it usually uses the veer pro set, which moves tailback (Famous) Amos Lawrence from 12 yards behind the line to the halfback spot five yards back of the line.

Lawrence, a sophomore, was the eighth-leading rusher in the nation last year with 1.211 yards in 10 games. He started only the last six. His 286-yard total against Virginia broke the NCAA freshman record held by Tony Dorsett and was college-football's highest for one game last year.

Lawrence is as quiet as he is quick-Typically, Crum points to this when asked about Lawrence.

"I think there are some times when he wishes his name wasn't Amos Lawrence," Crum said. "I think all the attention embarrasses him."

"There's a lot of pressure on me this year," said Lawrence who sat out half of the opener with a hip pointer but is expected to play full-speed against Maryland. "Last year, nobody knew me. This year, they'll be watching out for me.

"I want to gain more yards than I did last year, and I think I can, because of veer."

Lawrence was raised on the veer at Lake Taylor High in Norfolk, Va., where he once gained 411 yards and scored five touchdowns in one game.

"There are just so many different options, and backs are used in pass patterns," Lawrence said. "I'm looking forward to that."

Lawrence didn't catch a pass last year.That probably will change. Like most of the changes around Chapel Hill, it is welcomed.

"The reason I made the changes is because part of going to college should be getting to know everybody in the student body," Crum said.

"If you are housed in an athletic wing for four years, you will associated mainly with athletes, and when you graduate, the world won't be that way.

"People think that just because I talk to the players that I'm easy on them. They know that's not true. But once they're off the field. I'm going to talk to them, whether they've played well or not.

"I think Xs and Os are wonderful. But in the final analysis, we would like to produce people who are more than just good football players."