The day after the North Carolina football team's comeback win against Pitt, head coach Mack Brown sat down with the team to discuss the No. 17 Tar Heels’ ranking in the AP Poll. He didn’t sugarcoat its meaning.
“Ten years from now, people aren’t going to ask you where you were rated after game eight,” Brown told his players. “They’re going to ask you where you were rated at the end of the year.”
The Tar Heels head into “The South’s Oldest Rivalry” game against Virginia on a four-game winning streak. UVA, who sits at 3-5, has had a shaky first season under new head coach Tony Elliott, but UNC can't write off the Cavaliers, a team that has played close games against Syracuse and Miami.
The Tar Heels must also adapt after unexpected injuries to several key starters .
On Monday, the team announced that graduate jack Noah Taylor, junior defensive end Desmond Evans and sophomore running back Caleb Hoodwill all be out for the season following injuries from Saturday’s game.
To gain their fifth-straight victory, the Tar Heels will have to be deliberate, prepared and focus on these three areas.
Working around UVA’s defense in the red zone
UNC offensive coordinator Phil Longo called this game a "mental challenge," saying that Virginia’s versatility in coverage will pose a unique challenge for his offense. In UVA’s game against Syracuse, the Cavaliers only allowed one touchdown to the Orange.
“They keep everything in front of them, they’re going to make you earn it,” Longo said. “Drives are probably going to be longer when you’re scoring them.”