By the end of North Carolina's practice on Tuesday, Gene Chizik had three days and two more full practices to prepare his defense for what it will face on Saturday against Pittsburgh. After last weekend, and after an underwhelming start to the season, Chizik is concerned.
He didn't hide his concern on Tuesday. He might not have been able to had he wanted to hide it.
“I thought we performed poorly,” Chizik said when asked for his reaction to UNC's defensive performance three days earlier against James Madison, which gained nearly 500 yards against the Tar Heels. “That's probably being very kind.”
Chizik grew up tough, raised by a father who served in the Marines during World War II. If there's one thing Chizik can’t stand, it's softness – a failure to exert maximum effort – and so he spoke with disdain for what he witnessed against James Madison, which had its way early last Saturday.
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The Dukes scored touchdowns on their first three possessions. Chizik said he didn't notice a good defensive play until sometime midway through the second quarter.
“I thought we were soft, and I thought it was a very disappointing performance all the way around,” he said. “And soft defense is a choice. And that's the choice that we made, so we've got to improve a lot this week or this game could get ugly.”
And that was just the beginning. Check back in the morning for more of Chizik's cold, harsh commentary – the bluntless of a coach trying to lead a turnaround before it's too late.