Tar Heels look to rebound vs. Hokies

Larry Fedora has never been to Blacksburg, Va. He’s heard Lane Stadium has a great game day atmosphere, and he knows all about coach Frank Beamer’s legacy and Bud Foster’s nationally ranked defense.

But the North Carolina coach isn’t focused on the trip.

“Whether we play on the road, at home, in the Wal-Mart parking lot, it doesn’t matter,” Fedora said. “For me, and hopefully for this team, it’s another game. It’s the next opportunity to go out and prove yourself.”

DTH Gameday Breakdown: When Virginia Tech has the ball

DTH Gameday Breakdown: When North Carolina has the ball

This week has been all about self-reflection. It started with running back A.J. Blue’s fiery postgame speech after Saturday’s loss, continued with a defensive players-only meeting Sunday and, after a lackluster practice last Thursday, Fedora said he’s been pleased with his team’s energy this week.

But energy in practice doesn’t necessarily translate to results on Saturdays, and with back-to-back upcoming matchups against the Hokies and No. 14 Miami, the Tar Heels are facing the prospect of dropping from 1-3 to 1-5.

Could the Tar Heels put too much pressure on themselves?

“I always worry about that because we push pretty hard,” Fedora said. “I worry about the mental part of it — of pressing … You better enjoy Saturday. You better go out there and turn it loose and have a good time.”

UNC will face a Hokie team Saturday that ranks fourth in the country in total defense, boasting a veteran front seven and a sterling secondary led by by brothers Kendall and Kyle Fuller. But Virginia Tech’s offense can’t be overlooked. While quarterback Logan Thomas has completed just 53 percent of his passes, he’s a threat in the ground game and could disrupt a UNC defense that’s had trouble with missed tackles.

“It’s really going to show the character of our team coming up on Saturday how we can respond after a tough loss and how we can move forward,” quarterback Bryn Renner said. “The season’s by no means over.”

sports@dailytarheel.com

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