CHAPEL HILL– The Tar Heel football team will be bowling in Charlotte on Dec. 28. 6-6 Carolina accepted a bid to compete in the Belk Bowl against 9-3 Cincinnati.
Head Coach Larry Fedora says he’s proud of his team for digging out of the early 1-5 hole and is looking forward to getting to Charlotte, a friendly locale for Tar Heels.
“I’m proud of our team. They fought back from a 1-5 record earlier in the year. We’re also extremely excited about being in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, where we have quite a few Tar Heel fans in that area. We’re looking forward to playing Cincinnati, a very well-coached team that finished the season 9-3,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says his players were all excited when they found out the news of their bowl destination.
“They’re all really excited. They knew we would be going somewhere, but they didn’t know where. To be in Charlotte and in our home state, they were really excited and looking forward to it,” Coach Fedora says.
For the senior class, this bowl trip is even more meaningful. Coach Fedora had a chance to reflect on how much those Tar Heels have been through including three different head coaches and the full lifespan of the NCAA investigation. He says all of these factors add to their appreciation of this opportunity.
“These guys have overcome a lot. They came in at the beginning of a NCAA investigation and saw it through to the end and had to accept the sanctions against them. […] Some of these guys had five or six position coaches, a pretty unique group,” Coach Fedora says.
One of the added benefits with a bowl game is the extra practice time that comes with it. Coach Fedora expects his team will squeeze in 10-12 practices before the game.
But he says you have to be wary of burnout with so much more time to prepare. That’s why Coach Fedora says the team won’t be focusing on the Cincinnati game plan until later on.
“You have to be careful. That’s why we won’t start really preparing for Cincinnati until the latter half of those practices. I’ve been on staffs where you started very, very early in preparation and really the guys get bored with the reps. That didn’t work out too well. As we get into the latter half of our practices, then we will start implementing the game plan for Cincinnati,” Coach Fedora says.