CHAPEL HILL — When North Carolina gathered for the first time after its humbling 55-31 loss against East Carolina, coaches went through all the mistakes the Tar Heels made, and there were many. Then, in practice, the team reviewed those mistakes, one by one, in hopes of not repeating them.
There was only so much time to dwell, though, and look back. Because the way UNC reacts, coach Larry Fedora said earlier this week, “is going to determine who we are … if you walk around with your head down – you have no time to do that.”
Not with UNC’s game at Virginia Tech on Saturday. Not with a Thursday night, nationally televised game against Miami coming Oct. 17.
When the ACC released its schedule, UNC knew its game at Virginia Tech would be important. Little did the Tar Heels know, however, they would be in the undesirable position so soon of having to win to keep hope alive.
The consequences are clear: Win in Blacksburg, Va., and keep hope alive of competing for the Coastal Division championship. Lose and their chances of winning the division are slim.
“The rest of our schedule is a must win,” senior cornerback Jabari Price said earlier this week. “We’re getting in conference play and trying to contend for the Coastal – we have to win these ACC matchups that (are) upcoming.”
UNC began the season with promise and anticipation. But inefficiency on offense and continuous defensive breakdowns have backed the Tar Heels (1-3, 0-1 ACC) into a dark place.
Fedora said his philosophy and approach wouldn’t change. Neither, he said, will his expectations.
“Are we living up to that expectation level at this time? No,” said Fedora, speaking primarily about his offense. “But we’ve still got a lot of season to play. So I’m going to expect us to reach up there and be a lot better than we are now.”
Carter: 919-829-8944; Twitter: @_andrewcarter