CHAPEL HILL– The Tar Heels have now concluded a week of spirited practices following the head-scratching loss to East Carolina Saturday. And now, it’s off to Blacksburg for a critical Coastal Division battle against the revitalized Virginia Tech Hokies.

And Head Coach Larry Fedora says he’s been encouraged by the way practice has been going this week.

“We’ve had two really good days of practice. Today was better than yesterday as it should be. The game plan is in so guys felt better about it. We had some good energy today with good competition,” Coach Fedora says.

With the lack of enthusiasm last week, Coach Fedora says he needs the Tar Heels to embrace the moment, just “turn it loose” and enjoy their time out on the field during game days.

“We just need to play. Just go out there and play. Turn it loose and play. We work hard Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You better enjoy Saturday. You better go out there and turn it loose, and have a good time,” Coach Fedora says.

Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning was still fuming at practice over the horrific play of his defense. He says the Tar Heels made the Pirates look like the Green Bay Packers last Saturday.

“All the credit needs to go to them. They looked like the Green Bay Packers, and we made that running back look like Walter Payton. There‘s probably a lot of reasons. But reasons are excuses. […] They kicked our butt on every level,” Coach Koenning says.

Koenning says this week’s preparations for Virginia Tech have been more physical than usual, saying he’s even been having his players tackle to the ground, a rarity in today’s game. Koenning says he equates his current role to an epic fist fight.

“It’s like I’m in a fist fight with whomever the heavy weight champion is every day just trying to get these guys to do the right things and do it as fast and hard as they can,” Coach Koenning says.

Senior safety Tre Boston has been tossing in a few missed tackles himself in the last couple contests. However, Boston says he’s motivated to correct those mistakes and wants everyone to know that the season is not yet over for the Tar Heels.

“I guess people tend to think that this is over for us. The Coastal [division race] is all in front of us. It’s what we make out of it. We had to change that mentality around Sunday. You can’t let a team beat you twice,” Boston says.

We’ll begin to see if Boston and the Tar Heels have turned the corner this weekend.

UNC kick things off in Blacksburg Saturday at 12:30 p.m. And WCHL will get your game day morning started off right with Countdown to Kickoff beginning at 9 a.m.