A four-point loss to Miami one week and a half ago and a 24-point win over Boston College Saturday combine to give Tar Heel coach Larry Fedora hope that the Tar Heels are rounding into respectable shape as the home stretch of the 2013 comes into focus.
“We’ve played with more focus, more energy, most intensity,” Fedora said Monday at his weekly news conference.
“The last two weeks we’ve started to make progress in some areas. We haven’t arrived, but we’re getting better in a lot of positions and situations. Our young people are getting better, they’re more experienced, they feel more comfortable. We’re taking care of the football much better in critical situations, the defense has given us a few big plays. We’re still looking for a game-changing play in special teams. I hope that will come through for us. We’re making fewer mental mistakes in all three phases.”
Fedora likes how quarterbacks Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams are teaming to share the role, Renner the starting and the man for a majority of the offensive snaps and Williams contributing good passes and throws when called upon. In the 34-10 win over BC, Renner hit 86 percent of his passes and Williams averaged eight yards on seven carries and had a 17-yard TD pass to Bug Howard.
“Bryn took care of the ball and managed the game very well,” Fedora said. “He put the ball where it was supposed to go, he did not force anything, he took what the defense gave him. And the results were really good. Bryn has played better the last couple of weeks since he’s come back from the foot injury. He looks more comfortable moving around. He’s doing a nice job.
“And Marquise did a nice job handling the magnitude of the game. He has the entire playbook, we’re not limiting him on anything. He looked really good on the touchdown to Bug. He gets pressure, extends the play, steps out and hits his receiver. It was really good work.”
Carolina travels to Raleigh Saturday for a 12:30 meeting with arch-rival N.C. State. Carolina had endured a five-year losing streak to the Wolfpack before Gio Bernard’s last-minute punt return for a touchdown lifted Carolina to a 43-35 win in Kenan Stadium in 2012.
“This will be fun,” Fedora said. “The rivalries are what college football is all about.”
The 1963 Tar Heel team that finished 9-2, won the ACC title and beat Air Force in the Gator Bowl was recognized between the first and second quarters on occasion of its 50th anniversary.