Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr TarHeelIllustrated.com Staff
In Larry Fedora's first season as the head coach at Southern
Miss, his team started that year 2-6 before winning the final six games
of the season and winning their bowl game.
History says that Fedora is capable of galvanizing the troops and
keeping them focused on the task at hand.
Realistically, the Tar Heels goal of winning an ACC title this season
seems to be sailing fast. But UNC still has the ability to go on a
winning streak and reach a bowl game.
They'll start that journey this weekend when they attempt to take out
a scrappy Boston College squad. The Golden Eagles have only lost to the
highest of competition with their three defeats coming at the hands of
Southern Cal, Florida State and Clemson.
Both teams view this game as a moment where their season can be made
or broken, particularly in the case of UNC.
Let's take a look at some key things to watch.
Boston College's running back Andre Williams leads the ACC
in rushing and will be the tempo-setter for the Golden Eagles.
UNC defensive end Kareem Martin had one of his best
performances of the season against Miami. He was able to penetrate the
offensive line and get into the backfield several times throughout the
game and even when he didn't make a tackle, he was able to re-direct the
He'll need to do more of the same against Williams.
Before playing Clemson, Williams wasn't just the ACC's leading
rusher---he was the top ball-carrier in the entire nation. He's had 100
yards rushing in four of his six starts and the Heels will have their
hands full as they try to get him to the ground.
UNC fans got to see a new era of Tar Heel football last week.
It appears that unless Marquise Williams completely nose
dives during a game that he's earned his fair share of playing time
alongside Bryn Renner.
Let's face it, although the season is far from over, this week will
determine a number of things for the Tar Heels.
Although Renner has had a solid career and isn't playing terrible by
any means, the fact remains that if UNC were to lose this weekend there
is no doubt that the coaching staff will begin focusing on getting
players ready for the years to come.
That means that while Renner and Williams are splitting an 80/20
split at the moment, fans should expect that split to get closer
together as the season moves along.
Last week the staff predetermined when Williams would enter the game
for the first time and then inserted him on a gut feeling basis with
certain packages they felt he could excel in.
This week it will be interesting to see if Williams gets more snaps
and more snaps within sets that Tar Heel fans will see him running in
the years to come.
Confidence & Intensity
Despite the slow start to the season and the somewhat dimmed
expectations heading into Zero Dark Thursday, UNC came out fired and
playing with a ton of exuberance against the Hurricanes.
The intense crowd and the way UNC played almost allowed them to pull
off the upset of a top-ten ranked team. They didn't get the job done,
allowing Miami to score a game-winning touchdown with under a minute to
play, but it can be argued that was the best performance of the season
for the Tar Heels.
Now, it remains to be seen if the players, and the crowd, can
replicate that type of energy and effort for a noon game on a Saturday
against Boston College.
If they can they might be on to something.
"I think the morale is a lot better than I thought it would be,"
Renner said earlier this week after practice. "We're eager to have
another opportunity this Saturday to correct the loss and I think we had
a great practice yesterday getting back at it and fall break happened
and we're ready to get back in the swing of things and get a win on
If those comments are a true reflection of the team's mental state
after such a heartbreaking loss and what has been a disappointing season
thus far then the Heels have a chance to get some momentum rolling.
Boston College (3-3,1-2) vs.
North Carolina (1-5,0-3)
Boston College at a glance
Colors: Maroon & Gold
Alumni Stadium (44,500)
Surface: Field Turf
Record: 2-10 (1-7) Head
Coach: Steve Addazio
(3-3 at BC, 16-14 overall) Last Game: Lost 24-14 at #3 Clemson on October
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Boston College Leaders
Passing: Chase Rettig
(84-131, 1083 yds, 10 TD)
838 yds, 5.3 avg, 7 TD)
Receiving: Alex Amidon
(38 rec, 547 yds, 14.4 avg, 3 TD)
Boston College Rankings
Passing: 180.5 YPG
Rushing: 172.3 YPG
Point For: 25.2 PPG
Points Against: 26.3
North Carolina Leaders Passing: Bryn Renner
(119-188, 1414 yds, 8 TD) Rushing: AJ Blue
(57 carries, 224 yds, 3.9 avg,
0 TD) Receiving: Eric Ebron
(31 rec, 532 yds, 17.2 avg, 3 TD)
If it's just a bluff and that was the last straw to break the spirit
of UNC, this could get ugly quickly heading into the end of year.
UNC tight end Eric Ebron probably bumped himself into the
first round of the NFL Draft whenever he decides to come out with his
performance on the big national stage.
After setting a single-game tight end receiving record for UNC, Ebron
should always be mentioned as one of the most dangerous offensive
threats in the ACC from now until he leaves college.
Ebron provides a huge security blanket for whichever quarterback is
under center at the time and will always be a match-up nightmare
wherever he is lined up.
While his on-field production is a major key to any potential Tar
Heel turnaround, his practice demeanor and locker room attitude will go
a long way in helping this team cement its legacy. He knows that and
talked about it earlier in the week.
"1-5 does not speak for how good we actually are, 1-5 does not speak
for how hard we work, or if we do - that might be running across some
people's mind, 1-5 speaks for the mistakes that we've made, the mental
errors and the youth of our team," Ebron said. "We just have to keep
going out there and giving the best we've got. That's the only way
you're really handling and accepting that you're 1-5 is if you go out
there and play your hardest, not if you go out there and just lolly-gag
around and you're 1-5 because you're not producing or you're not doing
what needs to be done out there on the football field."