Can a 1-0 Team Make a Bowl Game? The Tar Heels Will Try
CHAPEL HILL– Here we go again. The recurring “1-0 each week” mantra was never more present than at Monday’s football press conference inside Kenan Football Center.
In fact, quarterback Marquise Williams says there is a lot of room for improvement, even after four straight wins. He points to the overall drop in energy level by the offense in the second half at Pittsburgh.
“I guess we were just one of those teams that just looked at it as, ‘Oh, we got this game, so we don’t have to worry about too much of nothing.’ In a football game, you have to play like it’s four quarters. We didn’t come out very excited in the second half. We didn’t move the ball very much. […] I just felt like we layed down in the second half,” Williams says.
Yes, the Tar Heels are at the doorstep of postseason qualification. But Williams says the team isn’t even allowing themselves to think ahead on a possible bowl trip.
“To be honest, we haven’t talked about a bowl game. The impression is just being 1-0 each week. That’s what we focus on. That’s what are main focus is going to be just focusing on getting this win this Saturday,” Williams says.
Williams was quick to point out that since Carolina really championed the 1-0 banner after the disappointing Thursday night Miami loss, the Tar Heels have yet to drop a game. Does Williams regret not claiming the slogan sooner? He says hindsight is 20/20, and Carolina can only control the here and now.
“It’s very difficult. We look back at some of the things we didn’t do right. But you can’t always blame it on this guy did this, this guy did that. It’s very difficult. It would be great to be going in and trying to play Duke. But unfortunately, we don’t have that chance, so we’re just going to focus on being 1-0,” Williams says.
Defensive end Kareem Martin was named the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week on the heels of his standout performance at Pittsburgh. Martin says he credits his marked improvement this season to hard work and blocking out all the surrounding noise.
“Just being more comfortable and more confident, and not worrying about what’s going on around me. Just playing as hard as I can, and realizing things are going to fall into place for me. I’ve been doing extra film study and working hard at practice. Things are starting to show up on the field for me,” Martin says.
Martin says he dedicated the game last Saturday to his mother. This week, he says he will be fighting to get to a bowl game in his senior Tar Heel campaign. And he says one of the keys against Old Dominion will be getting off to a flying start.
“I think we have to just get on them early. Hopefully the offense can strike on their first drive, or we can stop them on their first series. With a team like this that can throw the ball so well, they’re always in the game. We want to take their confidence early in the game, hop on them early, and continue to wear them down,” Martin says.