CHAPEL HILL– The Tar Heel football team is certainly riding high these days. The locker room is full of great camaraderie and the practice fields display focus and confidence. But that’s what a four-game winning streak can do.
Earlier in the season, Carolina was finding ways to lose games, but Coach Fedora says the chemistry of the team has changed, and he sees a greater level of trust among teammates that is translating into victories.
“A lot of it has to do with the chemistry of your football team. As this team has grown throughout the season and through all the adversity that we’ve overcome, you grow closer as a team. You start trusting each other a little bit more. You care more about each other because of all the work and effort you’re putting into it,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says you can trace the dramatic momentum shift for his squad back to not a win, but the bitter Thursday night home loss to Miami.
“You go back to that Miami game when our guys played extremely hard, and their guts were ripped out from them. You sensed after that, they started finding ways to make those plays. I think it’s probably just giving a little bit more each and every play,” Coach Fedora says.
So is Coach Fedora motivating the Tar Heels this week with the bowl prize that awaits them with a win over Old Dominion? No way. He says he hasn’t talked about postseason eligibility up to this point, so he won’t be changing things up now.
“I haven’t talked about it the last four weeks, so I’m not going to talk about it now. These guys know what’s going on. They understand. But they know when they come in this building where our focus is going to be,” Coach Fedora says.
One of the scariest aspects of Saturday for Carolina will no doubt be the dynamic play of Monarch quarterback Taylor Heinicke. Coach Fedora says Heinicke is a smart signal caller who makes big plays happen.
“He is really headsy. He makes a lot of plays. We noticed that as an offensive staff watching cross-over film of the other teams. He can extend plays. He’s very knowledgeable. He’s completing over seventy percent of his passes. He makes something happen almost on every play,” Coach Fedora says.
The youth movement of these Tar Heels has been well documented in recent weeks, with 28 of Carolina’s 36 touchdowns being scored by freshmen or sophomores this season.
Coach Fedora believes a lot of the young guys are finally getting adjusted to the speed of the college game, and he says all the success is feeding their confidence.
“The speed of the game is different. In high school, you made this cut and went the distance. And now you make this cut, and you get four yards. That plays with your mind. Now I think they’re finally becoming comfortable. Now they’re all realizing they can make plays. They’re all fighting to get out there and make the next big play,” Coach Fedora says.
Who will be the next young Tar Heel to step up into the spotlight? We’ll find out this Saturday at high noon.