Fedora On Duke Week, Suspensions Filled & More
(Fedora Wednesday interview above)
CHAPEL HILL – It’s Duke week, so it hasn’t been a great challenge for North Carolina’s staff getting the Tar Heels focused on the task at hand this coming Saturday 10 miles up the road at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Even a five-game losing streak and so many of Carolina’s goals for this season washed away, this week’s opponent has been an easy sell for Larry Fedora and his staff.
“The kids understand the importance of this game, they know, they’ve been here,” Fedora said following Wednesday’s practice at Kenan Stadium. “The freshmen that have come in, they’re the ones I’m talking to about the rivalry and game so they truly understand it.”
And that, of course, has made for a good week of practice, the coach said.
“I like the way they’re preparing,” Fedora said. “We’ve had, really, yesterday and today, so the game plan’s in the guys are working on it, their energy level’s been great, they’re doing what I’m asking them to do.”
Regarding Duke, which enters with a 6-3 overall record, 2-3 in the ACC, Fedora says the Blue Devils’ defensive front could cause some problems for the Tar Heels.
“I think their D-line is doing some really nice things,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re getting enough credit, but watching them on tape the D-line is doing a really nice job.
Suspensions Have Been Fulfilled
The last of the suspensions for “Shoe Gate” have now been served with Tomon Fox sitting out the Virginia and Georgia Tech games the last two weeks, so at lest the Tar Heels will have a full complement of uninjured players Saturday in Durham.
And having Fox back really is huge. Teaming with Malik Carney at the other end and allowing Tyler Powell to stay inside at the three and four technique tackles spots depending on where the Heels are in the rotation, should make the group more effective than it’s been in recent weeks.
The only times this season in which both Fox and Carney have played in the same games were losses at California at home to Virginia Tech. But, that the lowest point totals allowed by the Tar Heels – 24 at Cal, 22 to the Hokies - came in those two games, as did two of their best yardage-allowed efforts of the season. The Bears totaled only 278 yards while Tech managed just 375.
Having Fox and Carney on the edges could be really big for UNC.
“It will be nice to have both those guys, back, yes,” Fedora said.