Current Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2014 09:38:57 -0400
Though the North Carolina football team is in the midst of spring practice, the Tar Heels are already playing road games.
Last week, UNC played under the lights in Charlotte, and tonight it will take the field in Greensboro.
But the Tar Heels aren’t taking on unfamiliar opponents in these road trips — instead, they’re facing off against their own teammates in scrimmages at two high schools in the middle of UNC’s most targeted areas for recruiting.
After scrimmaging at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte March 28, the Tar Heels will head down Interstate 40 to Greensboro’s Grimsley High School tonight.
Though the Tar Heels could choose to limit their spring practice to Navy Field and Kenan Stadium, the chance to get out in front of fans is a unique opportunity to recruit and build the fan base.
“A lot of people can’t drive to us, so we go to them,” said Blake Anderson, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “So I think it will just hopefully create some excitement, maybe some people that wouldn’t typically get to see us in the offseason, get a chance to.”
For the players, the chance to scrimmage away from Chapel Hill prepares them for the difficulties that come with playing away games.
“It simulates a road game for our players, having to get up, go somewhere that’s out of your comfort zone and prepare to play,” Anderson said. “So you kind of create a little bit of an adverse atmosphere for them and see how they handle it.”
These scrimmages also give the players a chance to get a taste of competition during a spring season that is mostly dedicated to learning the playbook and getting in shape.
“We’re just out here competing right now,” sophomore wide receiver Quinshad Davis said. “We’re not really hitting, but when we got to those scrimmages, we’re really hitting each other. We’re live, and it’s just giving us a game feel.”
But the players aren’t the only ones getting a feel for game situations — coach Larry Fedora and his staff are also getting a more in depth look at the team.
Last week in Charlotte, Fedora recognized that there was still a lot of work that needs to be done before officially opening the season in South Carolina on Aug. 29.
“We were not as sharp as we needed to be,” Fedora said. “Too many missed assignments. Not enough leadership when things weren’t going good on both sides of the ball. So we’ve got to have guys learn.
“It was kind of I what I expected but I expect this Friday to be much better.”
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