My Dad always told me that “adversity introduces a man to himself,” and, for our Tar Heels on Saturday night, that was the case in a good ole rainy clash against ACC foe Wake Forest. The Heels, in my opinion, were the superior team in regards to personnel, but the self-inflicted wounds did us in. Not many teams can overcome 87 yards in penalties, two red zone opportunities that yielded field goals rather than touchdowns and sloppy secondary play (at best) and walk away with a road game “W”.
My concern is that the excitement and chest pounding from a week ago is going to be replaced by the moaning of “here we go again…same old Carolina!” Please, please, please …don’t fall into that trap, and if you have already gone to the dark side, pull yourself out by the boot straps right now because these young men are going to need us!
I can tell you that nothing can prepare you for difficulties and challenges in football like the real thing — nothing artificial, just the real thing. And the real thing knocked on our door at BB&T Stadium — a 75 minute rain delay, the absence of Gio Bernard (our most dynamic playmaker) and the adjustment to competing against ACC talent as compared to the reasonably light load that Elon brought forth a week earlier. Add to this your QB getting shaken up after a 1st half collision that I felt all the way from row FFF (which I can assure you is a loooong distance from the field) and now you have a recipe for some real adversity.
To be honest with you, I think it is exactly what this team needed. Not the loss obviously, but to have your confidence and moxie tested early will make this team stronger in the long run and ultimately these fork-in-the-road moments will be the foundation that this program will be built on going forward.
I hate going back to old quotes, but Coach Fedora has left us with so many that make sense in these kinds of situations that I can’t help but reference what he told Tar Heel Nation when the NCAA sanctions were announced. In regards to the challenges that lay ahead, he said, “I’ve got a saying with the football team that adversity, when it strikes, it’s going to happen and it brings out the best in all of us. But when it does, you look it in the eye, you grab it by the throat and you choke it. … That’s what we’re going to do with whatever adversity comes up, now or in the future.” – (Associated Press)
Folks, I can tell you when I read that, I get excited about the challenges and successes ahead for this football program, and I can tell you that the players in that locker room are getting that message pounded home to them this week.
With a daunting challenge ahead of them this week facing a top 20 opponent, what are we going to do? What are we going to be this week in Papa Johns Stadium — the hammer or the nail? Knowing the culture that Coach Fedora wants to instill in this program, and barring any unforeseen hurdles before kickoff, there is no reason in my mind why our Heels can’t be the hammer!
SMART.FAST.PHYSICAL. GO HEELS!