The last time the Tar Heels ventured outside the confines of the ACC, the Heels had their hats handed to them by East Carolina of Conference USA. That 55-31 onslaught is forever embedded in the psyches of the Tar Heel players and coaches. And now that the Tar Heels are facing yet another Conference USA team (or at least one effective 2015), you can be sure their guard is up.
Old Dominion, 8-3, travels to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels at 12 Noon on Saturday.
“The last time we didn’t respect an opponent, you saw what happened,” Fedora says of the ECU game in late September. “I don’t think that will happen again. All you have to do is turn on the film and see a very good team that is scoring points on everyone. We’re going to have to win in all three phases.”
Old Dominion left the Colonial Athletic Association and is an independent for two years before joining Conference USA for the 2015 season. They have lost to ECU by 14 and to Pitt by 11. The Monarchs are led by quarterback Taylor Heinicke, a junior from Atlanta who is hitting 72 percent of his passes for more than 350 yards a game.
“They’re a spread team and they’re throwing it around a bunch,” Fedora says. “It’s all in the hands of that quarterback. He is really dangerous and is a very good football player.”
The Tar Heels are 5-5 after a 1-5 start and are jockeying for position in the ACC Coastal Division race. There is a chance that there could be a five-way tie for the first in the division with Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke and Miami all having 5-3 records. But Fedora refuses to get sucked into the what-ifs and even thinking of where the Heels might go bowling with one more win.
“To be 1-0 this week would be a really great thing, that would be outstanding,” he said to reporters on Monday. “All the focus is going to be on that one win. I apologize for all the boredom for you guys. But that’s the way we’ve gotten it done and we’re going to continue to do it that way.”