Larry Fedora: Youthful Tar Heels Learning From Mistakes, Growing

For all players, the pressure is ratcheted up across the board in the first game of the college football season. But the heat was probably most stifling for the pair of UNC quarterbacks – junior Marquise Williams and redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky.

***Listen to the story***

Both signal callers performed admirably, according to Coach Fedora.

“We don’t want those [interceptions] to happen. If you take those three things out of it, they both did a really good job of their decision-making with the things that we asked them to do. I thought they managed the game pretty well, I really did,” Coach Fedora says.

Despite the rather successful rotation in week one, Coach Fedora says Williams will maintain the starting job moving forward and should expect to receive the majority of game snaps.

Not surprisingly, the opening weekend only further propelled the momentum behind the UNC youth movement. Fourteen freshmen and nine first-time starters were featured in Kenan Stadium.

But with youth, more often than not, comes inexperience. Coach Fedora says the important thing is for the Tar Heels to learn to correct their mistakes quickly.

“I would say the mistakes that we made are definitely correctable. I think it was a lot of inexperience. Every opportunity we can give those guys, they’re going to learn from those mistakes and hopefully, won’t make them again,” Coach Fedora says.

Touchdown, Carolina! (Elliott Rubin)

Touchdown, Carolina! (Elliott Rubin)

Although Carolina lost a fumble and threw three interceptions Saturday, the Tar Heels also forced four fumbles of their own and grabbed two interceptions.

Coach Fedora says the greater emphasis on causing turnovers has seemingly paid off.

“We’re putting a tremendous amount of emphasis on creating takeaways this year with our guys. Not that we haven’t in the past, but this year it’s something we’ve spent a lot of time and worked on it daily in practice. I thought it paid off for our guys,” Coach Fedora says.

Slow starts are always worrisome for coaches. UNC trailed Liberty 22-21 in the third quarter. Coach Fedora says the Tar Heels have to be able to transfer their practice reps to game day.

“Sometimes, you do things in practice and it doesn’t carry over to the field in a game. I think early on, it was about everybody trying to get a feel for where they were in the game. Then, once the game got rolling, they started doing the things that they’ve been working on,” Coach Fedora says.

When it comes to the whopping 67 players that got on the field last weekend, Coach Fedora says the more the merrier.

“That was a lot of players. I’m glad it worked out that way. We know we’re a young football team. Those young kids need to get as many reps as possible, because we know they’re going to have to help us throughout the season,” Coach Fedora says.

Tar Heel sideline (Elliott Rubin)

Tar Heel sideline (Elliott Rubin)

One of the strengths of these Tar Heels lies in their endurance. It appears UNC is prepared for four quarters of high-level football. Coach Fedora credits the strength and conditioning staff for the impeccable playing shape of his team.

“I think our guys are in great shape. We didn’t have any problems. They weren’t sucking air. They felt good and were moving around well. That’s a tribute to our strength and conditioning staff and the job that they did with them this summer and throughout camp,” Coach Fedora says.

Next up for the Tar Heels lies a step up in competition. The San Diego State Aztecs clobbered their opening week opponents and will be hoping to spoil the stripe-out festivities Saturday night.

Coach Fedora says the most formidable challenge for UNC will be handling the chaotic Aztec defense.

“Coming into the season, they have a lot of confidence and feel good with where they’re at. Rocky Long [SDSU coach] is going to do a great job, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He’s moving guys around with all kinds of exotic blitzes. It will be a test for us in that way,” Coach Fedora says.

It has been said the most improvement in a football team is seen between the first and second games. Coach Fedora and the rest of Tar Heels will be hoping that’s the case.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/larry-fedora-youthful-tar-heels-learning-mistakes/

Women’s Soccer: No. 17 Pepperdine Blanks No. 9 UNC, 1-0

MALIBU, CA – The ninth-ranked North Carolina women’s soccer team was shut out for the third time in four matches this season as it fell to 17th-ranked Pepperdine 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Tari Frahm Rokus Field.

Carolina traveled West for the weekend and earned a 0-0 tie at top-ranked UCLA Friday night before falling to the Waves on Sunday.

Pepperdine got the only goal it needed at the 70:03 mark of the match when Lynn Williams scored an unassisted tally, her second of the year.

That goal held up as Pepperdine outshot the Tar Heels 10-9 on the day. For the second successive game, the Tar Heels had trouble putting shots on frame. They did not have a shot on goal against the Bruins and had only one against the Waves. For UNC, starting goalkeeper Lindsey Harris made two saves and Bryane Heaberlin, who played the second half, also made two saves.

Pepperdine outshot the Tar Heels 5-2 in the first half while Carolina outshot the Waves 7-5 in the second half.

Things get no easier for Carolina as it must bounce back against a pair of talented teams next weekend when it plays Penn State at 5 p.m. Friday and Arkansas at 12 noon Sunday in the Duke Nike Classic at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Pepperdine improved to 4-0 on the season with the victory. The Waves have allowed only one goal in four games and recorded their third straight shutout of the campaign.

UNC starters Summer Green (forward) and Hanna Gardner (defender) missed Sunday’s game versus Pepperdine. Their status is day-to-day heading into next weekend’s contests.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/womens-soccer-17-pepperdine-blanks-9-unc-1-0/

Coach Fedora, UNC Players Reflect on Week One Win

UNC head coach Larry Fedora addressed the media following Carolina’s win Saturday night in Chapel Hill and had a lot to discuss.

***Listen to the story***

The opportunistic nature of the defense, which recovered four fumbles and snagged two interceptions, certainly was key in UNC’s effort in week one.

“The defense started creating all those turnovers. We have spent a lot of time emphasizing that all spring ball and all fall camp. Those guys have picked up on it. I think we created more fumbles this game than we did all last season. I’m proud of that fact,” Coach Fedora says.

But it didn’t take long for the Tar Heels to strike on offense. With 11:25 left in the opening quarter of play, Marquise Williams hooked up with Bug Howard.

***Listen to the play***

That was Jones Angell of the Tar Heel Sports Network with the call.

But after the promising start, it looked like the Tar Heels were in trouble against the heavy underdog Liberty Flames with sloppy mistakes and turnovers, but an electrifying third quarter put an emphatic end to the upset bid.

Coach Fedora says the team came out of the locker room with a renewed energy level.

“I think they were upset with where we were in the first half. There wasn’t a whole lot of talking from the coaches. The energy from the team at halftime and in the third quarter was created just from the energy they brought. They had as much energy in the third quarter as they did in the first quarter. I was proud of them,” Coach Fedora says.

The defensive effort was spearheaded by the veteran leadership of linebacker Jeff Schoettmer. With 5:42 left in the third quarter, Schoettmer made some history.

***Listen to the play***

The interception and touchdown were both firsts in the collegiate career of Schoettmer. The incredible play put the Tar Heels up 35-22.

From there, Williams and Trubisky alternated with scores of their own. Williams scampered into the end zone from 18 yards out and Trubisky found senior tight end Jack Tabb for six points.

The pair both saw significant minutes. Williams says the Tar Heel offense is just scratching the surface of its potential.

“Everybody got their feet wet today. It’s a new start and a new year. Different bodies are at different positions. It’s going to be sloppy sometimes, but once guys get going, it’s going to be an ugly sight for people,” Williams says.

Trubisky says the defense’s spike in play really inspired the offense to respond.

“They had our backs. They picked us up. We were able to get the stops and get the ball back. The defensive touchdown was a huge momentum shift for us. When we got the ball on their side of the field, we had that much more confidence to go down and punch it in. We just need to keep our tempo up on offense and stay confident in ourselves,” Trubisky says.

Despite the rather comfortable victory, Coach Fedora says there’s plenty to work on for his quarterbacks. He wasn’t happy with the three combined interceptions and says both Williams and Trubisky need to get sharper in a hurry.

“We had too many interceptions. We had some wasted opportunities with some picks that shouldn’t happen. Those things can’t happen if we’re going to be a good football team,” Coach Fedora says.

Next up for the Tar Heels is another game under the lights in Chapel Hill. This time, the San Diego State Aztecs come to town for an 8 p.m. kickoff Sept. 6.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/coach-fedora-unc-players-reflect-week-one-win/

GAME RECAP: Tar Heels Extinguish Flames 56-29

The No. 23 North Carolina football team used a 28-point offensive explosion in a 3:49 span in the third quarter to seize control in a 56-29 victory over Liberty in the home opener, improving to 1-0 on the young 2014 season.

With the loss, the Flames dropped to 0-1 on the season and will return to FCS competition.

After falling behind 22-21, Carolina ratcheted up the intensity and sped away from the competition.

“I think they were upset with where we were in the first half. There wasn’t a whole lot of talking from the coaches. The energy from the team at halftime and in the third quarter was created just from the energy they brought. They had as much energy in the third quarter as they did in the first quarter. I was proud of them,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora said in his postgame press conference.

***Listen to Coach Fedora’s postgame remarks***

Marquise Williams started at quarterback and went 19-26 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky made his first collegiate appearance and finished 10-16 for 66 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The Tar Heels wasted no time getting on the scoreboard early with a strike from junior quarterback Williams to receiver Bug Howard to stake the home team out to a 7-0 lead with 11:25 to play in the first quarter.

The offensive efficiency wouldn’t last, however, with Carolina struggling to keep drives alive with some careless penalties and sloppy passes from Williams.

Photo courtesy of Elliott Rubin

Photo courtesy of Elliott Rubin

At the 4:44 mark in the opening quarter, Liberty’s redshirt freshman Todd Macon dove into the end zone from one yard out to knot the contest up at 7-7 with 4:44 on the first quarter clock.

Carolina answered right back with a 6-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Romar Morris  that pushed the Tar Heels back ahead, 14-7 with 3:22 left in the first quarter.

UNC struggled to maintain control of the game in the second quarter as the sloppiness and yellow flags continued. Carolina’s senior place kicker Thomas Moore pushed a 44-yard field goal attempt wide right with eight minutes left in the half to make matters worse.

That miscue was followed up by a wild snap on a punt that resulted in a safety for the Flames when the ball was kicked out of the back of the end zone. The scoreboard stood at 14-9 with 5:09 left until intermission.

A methodical drive orchestrated by Liberty junior signal caller Josh Woodrum was capped off by a one-yard touchdown by junior running back D.J. Abnar that pushed the underdog Flames ahead 15-14 with 1:37 remaining before halftime.

Playing with a sense of urgency for the first time on the night, the Tar Heels exploded for a quick score of their own thanks to 3-yard touchdown dash by quarterback Williams that gave UNC a 21-15 advantage as the teams jogged off the field and into the locker room.

Photo courtesy of Elliott Rubin

Photo courtesy of Elliott Rubin

The two teams traded the ball back and forth in the opening stages of the second half as UNC failed to take advantage of good field position when Williams tossed his second interception into the hands of Flame sophomore safety Gary Sampson in the end zone with 11:40 left in the third quarter.

Liberty struck with a fumble recovery return for a touchdown with 9:25 on the third quarter clock. It was the Flames’ senior linebacker Nick Sigmon who scored after UNC receiver Davis dropped the ball on the turf. The underdog Flames held a 22-21 edge.

After some struggles by Williams, Coach Fedora elected to send Trubisky back on the field to lead the UNC offense. But the redshirt freshman failed to provide a spark on call.

But the game would soon take a positive turn for the Carolina crowd. A 33-yard touchdown toss from Williams to unheralded sophomore Mack Hollins pushed UNC ahead 28-22 and a dramatic interception return for a touchdown by junior linebacker Jeff Schoettmer. The Tar Heels grabbed a 35-22 lead with 5:42 on the third quarter clock.

Photo courtesy of Elliott Rubin

Photo courtesy of Elliott Rubin

But the snowball kept rolling down the hill, building momentum as UNC found their form. This time, the scoring frenzy continued with a fumble recovery that Carolina capitalized on with a 18-yard Williams scamper into the end zone to push the game out of reach at 42-22.

And after a Jack Tabb scoring grab from Trubisky soon after, the Tar Heels found themselves ahead 49-22. In total, 28 points were scored in a mere 3:49 for UNC to put the game away for good.

Liberty was able to recover for some more spirited play in the final 15 minutes, but the outcome was a mere formality as the Kenan Stadium crowd left happy with the comfortable UNC win.

Next up for the Tar Heels is another game under the lights in Chapel Hill. This time, the San Diego State Aztecs come to town for an 8 p.m. kickoff Sept. 6.

FINAL BOX SCORE

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-extinguish-flames/

Seniors Lead UNC Men’s Soccer To 3-1 Win Over Cal

Goals from senior forwards Tyler Engel, Andy Craven and Rob Lovejoy gave No. 6 North Carolina a 3-1 victory over No. 7 California in the 2014 season opener for both clubs Friday night from Fetzer Field.
Carolina (1-0) controlled play at the onset of the game and that ultimately paid dividends when Engel finished from 15 yards in the 19th minute off a feed from Craven.

Minutes later Cal was on the cusp of an equalizer but senior All-America defender Boyd Okwuonu cleared away a ball on the goal line that was going to tie the match in the 21st minute.

Tar Heel defender Jonathan Campbell nearly made it 2-0 with a header off a corner kick, but the Bears defense stood tall to keep the ball from crossing the line.

Just three minutes later, Craven beats the Cal keeper for that two-goal advantage in the 33rd minute. Lovejoy earned the assist as he placed a nice through ball to the foot of Craven.

Cal (0-1) cut its defect in half with a goal from reserve Christian Thierjung in the 36th minute. That was the final tally of the opening half with Carolina taking a 2-1 lead into intermission.

UNC All-ACC keeper Brendan Moore made three brilliant saves in the first 18 minutes of the second half to keep his club on top. He pushed aside a header in the 46th minute, stopped a point-blank shot from Connor Hallisey in the 53th minute and later did the same to Stefano Bonomo in the 63rd minute.

The Tar Heels regained its composure over the final 20 minutes. Lovejoy iced the match with a blue-collar goal in the 83th minute to cap the scoring, 3-1, in favor of Carolina.

Moore was forced to come up with eight saves on the evening, while Cal’s Kevin Peach had four saves over 90 minutes.

Carolina held a 17-13 shot advantage over the Golden Bears, while Cal had seven corners to the Tar Heels five.

UNC hosts No. 1 UCLA on Sunday at 7 p.m. The Bruins earned a 3-1 victory over Wake Forest this evening.

Box Score

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/seniors-lead-unc-mens-soccer-3-1-win-cal/

UNC Women’s Soccer Battles No. 1 Bruins To Scoreless Tie

LOS ANGELES, CAL – In a rematch of last year’s NCAA quarterfinals, ninth-ranked North Carolina and top-ranked UCLA fought for 110 minutes Friday night at Drake Stadium, but neither team was able to dent the scoreboard as the match ended in a 0-0 tie in collegiate women’s soccer action.

UNC is now 1-1-1 on the season after playing its second overtime match against a Pac 12 Conference foe in the first three games of the season. The defending NCAA champion Bruins are now 2-0-1. The two teams had met last November 30 in the NCAA quarterfinals at Fetzer Field with the Bruins prevailing 1-0 in double overtime en route to winning their first national championship.

Friday’s game was the 11th in history between the two teams and Carolina now leads the all-time series 9-1-1.

Not unexpectedly, the game was a defensive-oriented encounter. UCLA ended with a 12-4 edge in shots and a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. In its opening two games, UCLA had beaten Maryland and UC-Irvine by 3-0 scores, while outshooting its two opponents 44-1. None of UNC’s four shots were on frame, only the second time that has happened to UNC’s offense in history, and UCLA has not conceded a shot on goal in three games this year.

The game was only the 11th scoreless tie in Carolina’s history, the last being a 0-0 stalemate between Florida and Carolina at Fetzer Field on August 24, 2012.

The Bruins outshot the Tar Heels 6-0 in the opening half of play but junior goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin kept the Bruins off the scoreboard with five saves in the opening 45 minutes. Those five saves set a career high for Heaberlin. She had four saves in Carolina’s 1-0 victory at Boston College on October 13, 2013.

Lindsey Harris came on in the second half in the goal for UNC and she made one save as the Bruins outshot Carolina 6-4 in the second half and overtime. Harris made a spectacular save on a shot by Sam Mewis in the 64th minute of play. Carolina’s best chance to score in the second half came on a hard shot by Summer Green in the 81st minute that went high.

Carolina had one shot in the first overtime and UCLA had two shots in the second overtime. Four minutes into the second overtime, Megan Oyster had a dangerous shot from distance for the Bruins but it skipped wide. The Bruins had one more shot in the waning seconds but it went high and the game ended at 0-0.

UNC will continue its West Coast trip on Sunday when it plays at #17 Pepperdine at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT). The Waves are 3-0 this season after routing Florida Atlantic 4-0 Friday night.

Box Score

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-womens-soccer-battles-1-bruins-scoreless-tie/

More Details Of UNC Football Altercation Emerge

Another source close to the UNC football team is sharing the accounts of the off-the-field incident that could be behind the suspension of four defensive players.

UNC Football: Four Suspended Vs Liberty

InsideCarolina.com’s Greg Barnes reported Friday afternoon that sources told him “an attempted Gatorade shower” led to the alleged altercation and injury of walk-on redshirt freshman Jackson Boyer. Tuesday evening Yahoo! Sports broke the news of the investigation, which UNC confirmed it was looking into.

Barnes’ sources said the incident took place on August 4 when the team was staying at the Aloft Hotel on NC-54 during training camp. Four teammates reportedly went into the room of Boyer and another teammate with the intention of soaking the walk-on.

Source: UNC Investigating ‘Prank Gone Wrong’

Boyer apparently did not take the barrage of players coming at him well, and an altercation developed. He suffered an eye injury and possibly a concussion, according to the sources, but he attended practice the following day.

Fedora was told of the incident two practices later, according to the story. He proceeded to inform athletic director Bubba Cunningham and Chancellor Carol Folt, per University policy, at which time the investigation by the Office of Student Affairs began.

UNC has been silent about any details of the investigation, announcing it would only comment once it had concluded its review. However, Boyer’s brother, Cole went to Twitter Thursday claiming the reports that have emerged were not the whole story. WCHL spoke with its own source Thursday night who said Cole’s claims that UNC has attempted to cover up the story is not true. Cole also claims that 16 or more members of the team were involved in the altercation.

In UNC Football Investigation, Source: ‘Twitter Accusations Wrong’

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/details-football-altercation-emerge/

In UNC Football Investigation, Source: ‘Twitter Accusations Wrong’

Story updated August 29, 2014, 9:50 a.m.

The older brother of UNC football player Jackson Boyer, who alleges he was assaulted by multiple members of his team, took to Twitter Thursday calling for head coach Larry Fedora to be fired.

Cole Boyer, Twitter handle @cbboyer, said Thursday that more than four players are responsible for the alleged injuries to his brother.

Meanwhile, a UNC source close to the football team countered Cole’s tweets by saying that Coach Fedora learned about the incident the day after it occurred and that the University has been conducting an investigation ever since – without the cooperation of Jackson or his parents, who have refused to talk to anyone at UNC. Cole said in one of his tweets that he was granted leeway to say some of the things he has alleged.

Coach Fedora announced the suspension of four players Wednesday evening for the violation of team policies. He did not explain what the violations were or if they were connected to the off-the-field incident. He said UNC’s investigation into the allegations is ongoing by the Office of Student Affairs and that he is not involved in that investigation.

UNC Football: Four Suspended Vs Liberty

The UNC source said that Jackson practiced with the team the day after the incident but then missed several days while undergoing a comprehensive examination and testing at UNC Hospitals. Jackson has returned to practice and is scheduled to suit up with the Tar Heels for Saturday night’s opening game against Liberty in Kenan Stadium, according to the UNC source.

Cole and a number of people had ongoing conversations over Twitter about the reports of Jackson’s allegations that he was assaulted at the Aloft Hotel on NC-54 when the team was staying there during fall camp in early August. Chapel Hill Police confirmed there are no reports filed from that hotel in August. A receptionist at the hotel told the Daily Tar Heel that there were no filed reports of an incident.

Source: UNC Investigating ‘Prank Gone Wrong’

Jackson is a graduate of East Chapel Hill and walked on to the team last year. He is a redshirt freshman this year, and Coach Fedora said earlier this week that he has practiced with the team “recently”.

 

Coach Fedora said Wednesday that while the investigation was ongoing he had learned enough to suspend four players. He said the decision of a one-game suspension is final and he doesn’t foresee further suspensions for those players on the field. He said he also didn’t expect any other players to be added to the list.

The UNC Source said that Chancellor Carol Folt has known about the incident “for weeks” and is “all over” the investigation into what actually happened. The source said there is “nothing to cover up” because the Boyer family is not cooperating and Jackson will not talk either. The source said that Jackson is scheduled to meet Monday with Dean of Students Winston Crisp, who is heading up the internal investigation.

Yahoo! Sports broke the story Wednesday saying it was being investigated as possible hazing. The University has not said what it is investigating and has not used the word hazing.

UNC Investigating Football Training Camp Incident

WCHL reached Cole on the phone Thursday, but he said he could not comment. His final tweet on Thusday said:

Calls to UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham and Vice Chancellor for Communication Joel Curran were not returned Thursday night. UNC said it will not comment on the situation and subsequent investigation until it has concluded.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-football-investigation-source-twitter-accusations-wrong/

No. 23 UNC Football Kicks Off 2014, ‘Locked in On’ Liberty

The No. 23 North Carolina football team will look to shrug off the off-the-field incident and the loss of two starting cornerbacks when the Tar Heels host the defending Big South co-champion Liberty Flames Saturday at 6 p.m. in the season opener.

***Listen to the story***

Both UNC and Liberty are looking to build off the momentum of strong finishes in 2013.

Carolina emerged victorious in six out of its last seven contests, including a romp over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, while Liberty closed with five straight wins.

Saturday’s matchup is the maiden meeting between the Tar Heels and Flames on the football field.

Return specialist and wide receiver Ryan Switzer says he’s just happy the game is at home. He says playing inside Kenan Stadium is a big deal.

“I think it helps our first game is home. Opening up away from home and having to take a plane is always tough. Now that we have a home game in front of our own fans, I think that’s going to help a lot,” Switzer says.

Switzer sprinting ahead (GoHeels.com)

Switzer sprinting ahead (GoHeels.com)

Switzer says even though this year’s opener isn’t nearly as high-profile as the game at South Carolina a season ago, the Tar Heels can’t overlook the Flames.

“Last year at South Carolina, you had Jadeveon Clowney and that kind of defense. I think Mitch [Trubisky] or Marquise [Williams] are going to feel more comfortable knowing they don’t have those guys running after them, but you still have to take every game like it’s a South Carolina,” Switzer says.

No matter who ultimately takes the opening snap for the Tar Heel offense, both junior Marquise Williams and redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky will see significant minutes in week one as the quarterback battle rages on.

Junior offensive guard Landon Turner is responsible for protecting the quarterbacks and says the upperclassmen will keep the underclassmen from looking past week one. Turner says he’s confident his teammates won’t be underestimating their FCS opponent this weekend.

“I’ve been in games that we should have won and we didn’t. That’s when it’s on the older guys to remind the younger guys that we can’t look past this game. None of us really have. I feel pretty confident that we’re locked in on Liberty,” Turner says.

Larry Fedora (fansided.com)

Larry Fedora (fansided.com)

UNC head coach Larry Fedora echoes the sentiments of his players, saying this is the only game that matters right now. He says he expects a tough challenge from Liberty.

“The next game is the most important game. It’s really the only game that this team has talked about. That’s something that was emphasized from the very beginning. There’s nothing else. When anybody asks about anything else in the schedule, I hope they’ve answered it the right way. That’s where our focus is. This [Liberty] is a good football team, a very veteran team,” Coach Fedora says.

As for the Flames, they came within a field goal of ACC foe Wake Forest just a few seasons ago and have challenged big-time opponents before.

Led by junior signal caller Josh Woodrum, the offense features an experienced field general that is starting for his third straight season.

The question mark for Liberty remains in the backfield. Leading rusher Desmond Rice will miss the entire 2014 campaign due to injury, so the Flames will hope to find an adequate replacement on Saturday.

Liberty head coach Turner Gill says his team is excited for the challenge of playing a nationally ranked team and is using the contest as a measuring stick for his program.

“It lets us know where we’re at in our program by playing a team of this caliber the first game of the year. Have we improved since our last football game? That’s what we always talk about. It’s a great test for us here early on. We’ll get a chance to know where we’re at,” Coach Gill says.

As for the Carolina playbook, Switzer says to expect some more aggressive, down-the-field passes called by new offensive coordinator Seth Littrell.

“We’ve repped it a lot in practice. We’ve got a lot of deep balls in the game plan for Saturday. I’m going to be involved in a lot of them now that [Eric] Ebron is gone. As a receiver, you always want to get a deep ball. It’s going to be fun for me,” Switzer says.

The wide-open play calling is sure to excite fans, but Switzer is embracing another aspect of game day that is sure to delight most spectators and contribute to a more hostile environment for the opponent. Night games are returning to Chapel Hill.

“Those night games are a big deal. A lot more people come out. They’re a little more excited because they aren’t sitting in the 95-degree weather at noon. A lot of the old folks get to drink a little bit. I don’t know many folks that like to drink at 9:30 or 10 a.m. Hopefully, they get to drink a little bit before the 6 p.m. game, come out, and have a good time,” Switzer says.

The Tar Heels will be hoping there is reason to celebrate after the game thanks to a resounding win to begin the promising 2014 season.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/23-unc-football-kicks-2014-hosting-liberty/

UNC’s Ethan Farmer Cleared By NCAA

The UNC football program needed some good news, and Thursday it was delivered.

Defensive tackle Ethan Farmer, a senior and the only D-line starter returning for the Tar Heels, had his eligibility okayed by the NCAA. Assistant athletic director for athletic communications, Kevin Best says Farmer will start on Saturday against Liberty.

Suspensions Pulling Focus From Liberty

Farmer started 13 games last season tallying 30 total tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss, and he forced a fumble. He’s second only to Travis Hughes’ 15 starts on the defensive side of the ball.

UNC didn’t announce what put Farmer’s eligibility in question.

This announcement comes a day and a half after news broke that an investigation is ongoing regarding an off-the-field altercation. The office of student affairs is handling the case.

Source: UNC Investigating ‘Prank Gone Wrong’

Head coach Larry Fedora announced Wednesday that four players were suspended for violating team policies. He did not explain what violations were committed.

Cornerbacks Des Lawrence, M.J. Stewart, and Brian Walker, as well as Donnie Miles will sit out the season opener against Liberty on Saturday.

UNC Football: Four Suspended Vs Liberty

Coach Fedora said he didn’t foresee further punishment for those players coming from the football team.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/uncs-ethan-farmer-cleared-ncaa/