Sam Paul would love to have eight months to prepare his men's tennis players instead of eight weeks.
Yet that's the downside to playing tennis in the fall. There's simply no time.
And the North Carolina coach knows it.
"One thing about fall tennis is that we have some guys trying to make certain adjustments on their games, so they're not playing well," Paul said.
Working to make those adjustments wasn't easy for North Carolina's Greg Archer, Max Hilkey and Nicholas Monroe on Thursday. All three were bounced from singles qualifying at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's South Atlantic Regional Indoor Championships at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
Tar Heels David Cheatwood, Trystan Meniane and Marcio Petrone will begin singles play in the main draw today.
Archer lost to Wake Forest's David Bere 6-3, 6-4, Hilkey fell to Calin Milos of Old Dominion 6-1, 6-3, and Monroe was bested by Demon Deacon Trent Brendon 6-1, 6-1.
Paul said changes have to be made in order for the Tar Heels to be ready for the spring season.
"We're looking to play our best tennis when the team season comes around (in the spring)," Paul said. "And if you don't make technical changes now and try to do different things now, your game's not going to get better by the spring."
In doubles action, Monroe and Petrone recorded UNC's lone win of the day, beating Florida State's Alex Herrera and Xavier Luscan 8-3.
Petrone was glad to get some early experience against ACC competition at home.
"There's always pressure to see who is going to do better in the conference," Petrone said. "But it is always good to beat the Seminoles."
With the win, the UNC duo will face William & Mary's Chris Erickson and Jody Strik in the second round at 3 p.m. today.
Erickson and Strik notched the biggest upset on the afternoon, topping the No. 1-seeded doubles team Ramsey Smith and Mike Yani of Duke by a count of 8-5.
UNC's Archer and Cheatwood were eliminated 8-3 from the doubles bracket by Jacob Nordwall and Joakim Peterson of UNC-Charlotte.
According to Paul, the draw doesn't get any easier for his players.
"I think the whole draw is tough," Paul said. "I don't think there is an easy match in the tournament."
The Sports Editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.