Gridiron Pressure on Young Tar Heel Defense in 2014

By Matt Oakes Posted March 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm

We all know about the prolific, warp-speed offense the Tar Heel football team will have in store for 2014, but the defense remains somewhat of a mystery. So what can we expect from the Carolina defense in Kenan Stadium this fall?

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The pressure has been firmly placed on the shoulders of the young defense to provide enough stops in 2014 to allow the Tar Heels to achieve their stated goal of playing in the ACC Championship game.

Sophomore defensive backs Brian Walker and Desmond Lawrence are two of the most pivotal points to the defensive success. Having to fill the voids of Jabari Price and Tre Boston will be no small feat.

But Walker says he senses the guys are putting things together and embracing the opportunity to shine in the spotlight.

“I think the defense is getting better. Every day, everybody’s getting better. We’re on the same page on and off the field. We know what we need to do to succeed this year,” Walker says.

Tim Scott will be the lone senior in the secondary for the Tar Heels this fall. But Walker’s not worried. He says he’s confident in the abilities of the unit.

“We’re about to be sophomores, so we’re still young. But we all have confidence. We all have confidence in each other. We all know what to do and what’s needed to win games,” Walker says.

Desmond Lawrence stepped in nicely at the corner position when called to duty in his freshman campaign. He says he’s looking forward to making an impact alongside his buddy, Brian Walker.

“All last year, we just talked about being ready. Obviously, he [Walker] got called a lot earlier than me. He’s a great athlete and really took on that role. I’m just trying to be another strong corner and just work together to be a great tandem,” Lawrence says.

The defensive intensity definitely picked up towards the end of last season. The rise of the defense spurred Carolina on to victories in six of the last seven games.

Lawrence says his defensive teammates are looking to parlay that aggressive mentality into even better performances this fall.

“Towards the end of the season when we started picking up those wins, everything just got more aggressive – harder hits, more picks and everything – just being around the ball. We really wanted to take that into consideration this year and be able to put that in our game,” Lawrence says.

Walker, Lawrence, and the rest of the Tar Heels will take their show on the road Friday for a practice at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte. Coach Fedora says it’s a great opportunity to help recruiting and embolden fan support in a big North Carolina city.

Carolina will be hoping for a return trip to the Queen City come December, this time with an ACC crystal ball on the line.

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