CHAPEL HILL – UNC football coach Larry Fedora met with the media following the Tar Heels’ practice Wednesday at Kenan Stadium to discuss how the team has moved on from last weekend’s loss to Louisville and is preparing for Saturday’s game at Old Dominion.
*The sixth-year head coach of the Tar Heels spent much of the time answering questions about the defense and if some of the things that plagued it in the loss to Louisville, in which the Cardinals totaled 705 yards, 35 first downs and 47 points.
Of note, the players and Fedora said the biggest issue was a lack of communication on defense, so has there been an indication in practice this week they’ve straightened out that problem?
“In practice, I’ve seen a lot more communicating,” he said. “I’ve seen guys talking and there’s been really good communication. Now, we’ll see on Saturday if all of that pays off.”
*Have they tweaked anything, or is it just a matter of handling the communication better?
“Doing that better was the key, just making sure that we do a better job of communicating,” he said. “If we do that we’ve got a chance.”
*Fedora said Monday a part of the problem was the players telling the staff they understood the plan when perhaps that wasn’t entirely the case. That’s changed this week, too.
“I think they’re very aware of what has to happen, and they knew that on Sunday once we got everything corrected. They’ve done a good job through the week making sure they’ve taken care of that.”
*Fedora said there’s a “tremendous sense of urgency” among the defense to get it fixed and get into a game and show they’ve made progress. He said playing at ODU this weekend if a great opportunity to show that.
*The staff has to do its job of pounding into the team what went wrong and working on fixing the issues, but Fedora also said he hopes the numbers from the game and the film “speaks for itself” in getting their attention.
He then added, “We drove the point home, I can assure you.”
*About ODU, Fedora said, “They’ve got a lot of new guys on offense just like we do,” he said. “The thing that’s stood out to me in just watching film is (ODU coach) Bobby’s (Wilder) done a great job with that football team bringing it from where he’s brought it.
“But they’re D-line – they’ve had 15 sacks in two games – they are a handful up front. Our O-line will have their work cut out for them.”
*Fedora still says he doesn’t know how this game came about, and to his credit he’s made no effort that we know of to get it off the schedule. He gave a pretty standard Larry Fedora response when asked about it:
“It’s the next game on the schedule,” he said. “I don’t really have any say-so in it. It’s not like I can say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to go play this game.’ It’s the next game and we’re going to play it.
“We’ve been working out butt off to get prepared for this game. This (ODU) is a good football team, so our guys have to take care of our business. We’ve got to take care of us, and if we do that then I think we’ll be okay.”