The Tar Heels hope to bounce back from their 27-10 season-opening loss at South Carolina Thursday night when they host Middle Tennessee State University Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Kenan Stadium.
Carolina Football Lettermen are joining monogram winners in other Tar Heel sports for the Alumni Monogram Club luncheon Saturday from 10:30 to Noon in a quad next to the Bell Tower outside Kenan Stadium. Letter winners will form a tunnel for the football team to run through taking the field before the game and will wear special T-shirts identifying them as former Tar Heels.
Football Lettermen are invited to convene at halftime at the Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice Lettermen’s Lounge at the base of the South Side press box in Kenan Stadium.
Tar Heel coach Larry Fedora and his staff are working hard this week to smooth out the bumpy spots from the opening game loss to the No. 6 ranked Gamecocks.
“We’re not that far away,” Fedora said Monday at his weekly press conference. “We have to play much better than we did. That was the disappointing thing. We have to execute better in all three phases. But there were some bright spots. We did a fairly good job handling the best defensive end in the country with him lining up at every spot on the line. Defensively, we did a pretty job outside of four plays. And on special teams we gave great effort. We had a major problem with a dropped punt, but beyond that we had tremendous effort.
“I see a lot we can build on in week two.”
Fedora liked the introductions of players like freshmen Bug Howard at receiver and Jon Heck and Caleb Peterson at offensive line and the aggressiveness of Norkeithus Otis, a junior starting at defensive Bandit for the first time.
“Norkeithus was all over the place,” Fedora said. “He had one missed assignment, but beyond he played really well.”
He also liked the fact that the offense and QB Bryn Renner didn’t turn the ball over.
“We handled the ball well and Bryn has learned to throw the ball away and not force it into tight spots that lead to interceptions,” Fedora said. “That’s a sign of maturity.”
Middle Tennessee is 1-0 after a 45-24 win over Western Carolina to open the season, and the Blue Raiders are in their first year in Conference USA. Fedora is certain to make sure that his players know that MTSU pounded Georgia Tech 49-28 one year ago in Atlanta.
“This team is certainly capable of beating an ACC team,” Fedora said. “They’ll have our full attention. Of our goals are still in front of us. We can get our first win and we’re back in the Tar Pit.”