North Carolina has lots to fix and needs to do so right away.
The Tar Heels face a daunting late-season schedule, so getting things straight on defense is a priority with Campbell visiting for a nonconference game Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The crisis status hit with a home loss to Virginia on Oct. 21 and then a 46-42 setback last Saturday night at Georgia Tech.
“We’ve got to get better on defense for the last four weeks,” North Carolina coach Mack Brown said. “Offensively, I didn’t think we played as well as we could (in the loss to Virginia). … I mean, you score 42 points, you should win the game.”
North Carolina (6-2) will be playing without a national ranking for the first time this season after upset losses to Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Virginia and Georgia Tech — teams that had losing records when those games were played.
“I thought we were beyond that on defense,” Brown said of the shortcomings.
Everything from alignments to personnel will be assessed, Brown said.
North Carolina opened the season with three consecutive nonconference victories and aims to add another of those before a potentially difficult finishing stretch against Duke, Clemson and North Carolina State.
North Carolina receiver Tez Walker was injured in the final minutes in Atlanta and was taken to a hospital following the game. He’s back with the Tar Heels, though his status for the Campbell game is unclear.
Campbell (4-4), a Football Championship Subdivision team in its first season in the Coastal Athletic Association, could be just the right tonic for the Tar Heels’ defense.
The Camels, coached by former NFL defensive back Mike Minter, posted a season-low point total in last week’s 44-13 loss at Richmond. Three straight Campbell turnovers helped Richmond stretch a 16-13 edge to a blowout.
Now, the Camels face an agitated North Carolina team.
“They’re upset. They lost two games in a row,” Minter said.
Before last week, Campbell’s 37.3 points per game ranked ninth in FCS. Redshirt senior Hajj-Malik Williams of the Camels has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the FCS.
The Camels need to tighten on defense. Minter said breakdowns in communication have hurt on pass defense.
“We’re going to go in there to compete and looking forward to it,” he said.
Campbell has won three road games.
“Whatever success you’ve had on the road or non-success you’ve had on the road has absolutely nothing to do with this game,” Minter said.
Camels receiver VJ Wilkins has been an impact freshman with 43 receptions in eight games for 451 yards and four touchdown catches.
This is the first meeting between the programs. The campuses are about 50 miles apart.
–Field Level Media
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