Huddle Up: 68 & 16

Photo courtesy of US Presswire

Photo courtesy of US Presswire

CHAPEL HILL—68 points. 16 years. These are two notorious statistics sticking in many Tar Heel minds this week. Let’s be honest, Carolina no doubt wishes these numbers weren’t flying around like popcorn at a movie theater on Friday night. Bu they are.

And who can blame Carolina for using these troubling digits as fodder for motivation? The ACC opener on the road against Georgia Tech could very well be a must-win for the Tar Heels, though Coach Fedora stops short of labeling it one.

And if UNC wants to emerge victorious on Saturday, the team will have to shrug off the dreaded 68 and 16.

68: Last year’s tally for Georgia Tech against the Tar Heels. The Yellow Jackets came to town and completely dismantled the Tar Heel defense in an effort that was so demoralizing that most of the Carolina fans could barely hold down their lunches. What was worse, quarterback Bryn Renner and company put up an impressive 50 points on the scoreboard, a number that should always be good enough to walk out a winner, but not on this regrettable day.

16: The years gone by since the Tar Heels last got out of Atlanta with a win over Georgia Tech. This one is hard to fathom, but true. The venue in downtown Atlanta is an underrated tough place to play. Renner said as much to the media on Monday. Couple that with the fact that Head Coach Paul Johnson’s squad is a tough out for any team given their tricky triple option attack, and you have somewhat of an explanation as to the disastrous slide on the road in this series.

Let’s not forget that the Tar Heels had an even more severe road losing streak versus the Virginia Cavaliers, deemed the “Charlottesville Curse,” before snapping that one in 2010.

Here’s hoping a determined, focused UNC squad puts a stop to this streak on Saturday and in doing so, stays atop the Coastal Division title chase.

Carolina Strategy: We’ll Kick Twice?

CHAPEL HILL— “That was our strategy going into the game. We felt like if we kicked off twice to them, it would help them out. We wanted to see if we could get more time with the defense on the field.”

Those were UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora’s words after the home opening win on Saturday. All jokes aside, Coach Fedora was livid at the inexplicable predicament the Tar Heels found themselves in on a gorgeous day in Kenan Stadium underneath picturesque Carolina blue skies.

Yes, Carolina booted the ball away to the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State at the start of both halves of football. I guess the captains were just in a charitable mood. The idyllic weather must have gotten to them or something.

But how did Coach Fedora really feel about the miscommunication? He didn’t like it one bit. He said Ron Cherry, the head official for the game, “was looking at him like an idiot” following the gaffe.

In fact, Coach Fedora said he wasn’t even interested in an explanation from his players. He didn’t let them get any words in.

“I wasn’t really happy, and I didn’t really listen to what they were telling me,” Coach Fedora said.

But the error was really a microcosm of the situation the Tar Heel football team currently finds themselves in. Coach Fedora says the little mistakes are what can turn into big things.

Anyone remember T.J. Thorpe’s untimely fumble on the kickoff against South Carolina?

If UNC really wants to compete at the highest level, these things can’t happen. Yes, we can laugh at it now following the victory, but if the Tar Heels were facing say a Georgia Tech team down in Atlanta that kind of botch could very well cost them the win.

How would you like to give that triple option offense the chance to open proceedings each time out of the locker room?

And oh yeah, that’s right. Coach Fedora’s boys do make the trek down to Hotlanta to face the Jackets here in a couple weeks time. I’d say it’s time to clean their act up, wouldn’t you?