Will this young Carolina team be able to avoid flexing under the pressure of being one of the best teams in the country?
There’s a new reality for Carolina football, and it’s a reality I’m not quite sure we were ready for at the moment: they are officially in the top ten of course. , on the surface this seems like a harmless, exciting and of course a lot of fun thing to say.However, it’s a statement that goes with a lot of things, especially when you’re a team that hasn’t been ranked so high since 2015 Unfortunately, we know how it ended last time: Clemson beat the Heels 37-45 in the ACC Championship game, then Baylor beat them in the Citrus Bowl with an eerily similar final score of 38- 49
It was of course 2015 This team has a new head coach at Mack Brown, and it’s time to see if they’re really prepared for what’s to come.This weekend is an immediate test as they will face No 19 Virginia Tech at Kenan Stadium Due to postponement of their game against Virginia, Hokies tie UNC 2-0 record with wins over NC State and Duke For those watching the game with optimism, the Hokies have allowed 386 and 410 yards respectively in the two games With pessimism? They have recorded 495 and 487 yards on offense.Much of their damage will come from their running game, which has thankfully been the strength of Jay Bateman’s defense so far this season. In games against Syracuse and Boston College, the Heels allowed just 108 rushing yards overall. Can anyone say that an unstoppable force meets a stationary object?
During Mack Brown’s press conference, he said this about UNC taking on their first ranked team of the season:
« We’re now in a position where we’re a ranked team playing a ranked team And that didn’t happen last year, we never got ranked, » said Brown « he doesn’t make any doubt our fans will feel very passionate about winning every game, but more passionate about winning those when they have friends from these universities So, yes, this is becoming a game that is really important to our fan base «
He then discussed his team’s situation compared to their current ranking:
« Our program is really a little ahead of what I think we still have some work to do We still have a lot of young people We have a lot of credit still not sure we know who we are So we have to we improve and we must continue to work «
Brown made two very good points in these statements that are worth discussing The first being that the fanbase will feel like every game is a must win with such high expectations from a top 10 team. That’s a fascinating thought considering the fact that just two years ago we were all suffering from the last season of the Larry Fedora era, one of which ended in such painful fashion that many ‘between us probably avoided it from our memories
The other great point he brought up was that this team is a bit ahead of themselves when it comes to public perception. Admittedly, this team looked good in their first two games, and it there are definite improvements that deserve to be noted compared to last year However, if there is one area that is of particular concern so far, it is the offensive line.This ramshackle union has struggled to keep Sam Howell safe in the pocket, but that should improve if the keeper left Joshua Ezeundu is able to return soon
Another area for improvement, mentioned by Mack Brown, related to offense in general His message to the squad this week was to just relax, as the unit put a lot of pressure on themselves to score in every practice and score quickly. It’s understandable why this is the case, as that pressure comes both from what they were able to do towards the end of last year and what fans are expecting as a result. However, in football it is really hard to hit home games every time you step onto the pitch.It will be interesting to see if the offense comes into Saturday’s game with a little more confidence and a little more calculated attack
That said, being in the UNC’s top 10 is both a blessing and a curse, but however the scales are tipped over them this weekend’s game will be hugely important in assessing how the rest of the season could go, as they are not expected to face another ranked team at the moment until they face Notre Dame on November 27 Mack Brown’s team are officially in uncharted waters, and now is the time to see if they’ll sink or swim
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Tar Heels football, American football, Mack Brown, Virginia Tech Hokies football, Phil Longo, Boston College
News from the world – United States – UNC Football: Adapting to National Spotlights
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