UNC football turns to film of ECU loss for answers
Following the North Carolina football team’s 55-31 loss to East Carolina Saturday, senior defensive linemen Tim Jackson and Kareem Martin each referenced the same common football saying.
“It’s never as bad as you think and it’s never as good as you think,” each player said Saturday, adding they weren’t able to pinpoint the Tar Heels’ defensive struggles against the Pirates before watching the game film.
At his press conference Monday, coach Larry Fedora also mentioned the saying, giving his own diagnosis of what’s hurting the team — everything.
“Well, it was as bad as I thought it was so I proved that wrong,” Fedora said. “The film didn’t show us anything to make us feel any better about it, I can tell you that. It was, like I said after the game, we played poorly in all three phases. We got out-coached in all three phases.
“We’ve got to do a much better job — each and every person that’s associated with the program, including myself.”
On Saturday, senior quarterback Bryn Renner said the first thing on his agenda after leaving Kenan Stadium was to go over the game film from the loss. And after hobbling into Kenan with a boot on his left foot Monday, it was the first thing he addressed.
“Going back and looking at the tape, we just didn’t perform where we’re capable of,” he said. “I think it was just everything. We couldn’t run the ball effectively, passing game wasn’t there in the first half.
“We rallied and put some drives together and got back within 14, which is positive. But we never could just find a way back in the ball game which is frustrating.”
Renner would not disclose why he’s wearing a boot, but said he plans to play against Virginia Tech Saturday. The quarterback likely sustained the injury in the fourth quarter against the Pirates, when he was knocked down and left of the ground clenching his foot. But he played the remainder of the game.
After watching the defense on film, senior cornerback Jabari Price said he was embarrassed, especially when seeing the Tar Heels had only nine — not 11 — players when the ECU offense ran a play in the second quarter.
But the main problem for the UNC defense continues to be missed assignments.
Price said while watching film, the team counted 37 missed assignments during the record-breaking 101 offensive plays run by ECU.
“Coming from the nine seniors on that defense with me, Tre (Boston) and a few other guys — that can’t happen,” Price said. “We can’t have 37 missed assignments and expect to win a football game, regardless of what our offense did or regardless of how fast they went. Thirty-seven missed assignments and you’ll lose every game.”
But what wasn’t featured on film was the lack of focus senior tailback A.J. Blue said his teammates had heading into the game. Many Tar Heels took the Pirates too lightly, Blue said Saturday.
On Monday, redshirt sophomore T.J. Thorpe echoed the senior’s disappointment.
“There were a lot of guys in the locker room who were jumping around and shouting, saying that we were ready to make plays and blow this team out,” Thorpe said. “For some of those guys, they had a lot of us fooled. I’m not saying they were scared or anything but they weren’t as ready as they thought they were.”
For the Tar Heels, perhaps the deeper problem of a lack of focus and passion is something that can’t be fixed through a post-game film study.?