CHAPEL HILL– Carolina’s back is against the wall already this football season. And the coaches are fully aware of the situation the team is now in. sitting with a 1-2 record.
But one positive nugget to take away from last Saturday may have been the improving play of the defense. Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning says he woke up on Sunday feeling a lot better about his unit’s play.
“I was a lot more encouraged. And I told the players that I woke up a lot more encouraged than I’d been in a long time. Obviously I was disappointed in the score and the loss, but encouraged at the way they played,” Coach Koenning says.
Despite the extreme physicality of the Georgia Tech contest on a sloppy track, Coach Koenning says he has still been pushing the defense as hard as he can this week heading into the match-up against ECU.
“The only way you can practice full speed is to go full speed. And I know it’s the middle of the season, and I know that it was a physical game last week. […] But I also know that I am still pressing as hard as I can for them to practice harder,” Coach Koenning says.
Head Coach Fedora says making personnel changes for this week’s home game is a distinct possibility. He says that Carolina’s players have their jobs on the line each and every day at practice.
“Every day when we come out here, someone has an opportunity to take someone’s job. And we’ll go back and look at the film tonight and see what we think. If somebody’s making move, we’ll make a move,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora says the Tar Heels will need to keep their eyes firmly focused on talented Pirate wide receiver Justin Hardy. He says his physicality and athleticism will require gang tackling to bring him down.
“He’s a big guy […] who can run. He does a lot of things for them. You got to get a lot of guys around him. He’s hard to bring down. He can break tackles. He’s not your normal wide receiver,” Coach Fedora says.
In all likelihood, East Carolina will attack with an aerial assault in Kenan Stadium on Saturday. And Coach Fedora says it will be a tough assignment for the defense coming off the option ground game they faced last weekend.
“The defense has to make a quick turnaround. […] They got to put everything out of their head that we’ve been working on the last two weeks,” Coach Fedora says.
We’ll all find out how quickly the Tar Heels can adapt to the Pirate attack at half past noon on Saturday.