Larry Fedora acknowledges that Saturday’s 59-21 pummeling of the athletic but rudderless and undisciplined Miami Hurricanes was his team’s best all-around game of the year.
But there’s more work to do.
“We’ve got so much room for improvement,” Fedora said Monday at his weekly news conference as he and the 9-1 Tar Heels began preparing for Saturday’s noon kick-off at Virginia Tech. “Our guys see it. They are very critical of themselves. They watch the film and every one of them says, ‘We can be that much better if I do this …”
Carolina is now ranked 12th in the country, the highest any Tar Heel team has been ranked this deep in the year since the 1996-97 teams both finished in the Top 10. With a victory, the Tar Heels would collect win No. 10 in a row to match an identical streak by the 1914 team.
And they would clinch first place in the ACC Coastal Division—the Tar Heels’ first outright title since the ACC broke into division play for the 2005 season.
“Coastal Division champion, state champion—those are our two goals and I’ve opened every meeting this year repeating those goals,” Fedora said. “This team has done a great job keeping those two goals in focus and not being distracted by anything else.”
Linebacker Jeff Schoettmer said back in the summer that the only way the he and his fellow seniors could depart and leave the program better than they found it was to win the conference championship—first, of course, securing the Coastal Division.
“It’s right there in front of us,” he said. “All we have to do is beat Virginia Tech. I know it’s going to be a hostile place to play and they’re going to be fired up with it being Frank Beamer’s last home game. But I love that. I love road games—it’s just you and 50 or 60 of your brothers against the world.”