Short Turnaround for Rivalry Clash

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Monday is traditionally a day of rest around the Kenan Football Center during the regular season. That wasn’t the case this week as the Tar Heels practiced Monday afternoon due to the five-day break between Pittsburgh on Saturday and Duke on Thursday.

When asked after practice how the prep schedule had changed due to the short week, UNC head coach Larry Fedora replied: “We’re out here today, that’s one thing.”

In a typical game week, Sunday is a day of film review and corrections on the practice field. The players get Monday off and then the coaching staff installs the game plan on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is a polish day, while Friday is packed with meetings and a walkthrough.

UNC scrapped the standard Sunday protocol following Saturdays 40-35 win over Pittsburgh and gave the players the day off.

“For us, it was an immediate turnaround right after the game and we had to put it to bed,” Fedora said. “We moved on at that point and started putting a game plan together.”

Installation began on Monday and will continue through Tuesday’s practice. Wednesday will serve a dual role, incorporating both polish and walkthroughs. The Tar Heels will stay at a nearby hotel on Wednesday night in sticking with their pregame routine.

The compressed week has rushed the standard routines, according to freshman guard Jared Cohen.

“Everything’s just a little bit faster,” sophomore wide receiver Mack Hollins said. “It’s kind of as if we just subtracted Sunday out of a regular week. We’ve turned Monday into Tuesday, Tuesday into Wednesday, and Wednesday into Thursday.”

The hectic pace hasn’t distracted the Tar Heels from their Duke game prep, though.

“We had plenty of meetings today,” Cohen said. “I feel like as a team we’ve got the game plan down for the most part already. It’s speeding things up, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt us too much.”

The biggest concern with the short week, according to Fedora, is the physical toll of two games in six days.

“That was a physical game this past Saturday,” Fedora said. “Then you turnaround and you’ve got them back out here practicing today. We don’t normally practice on a Monday, so they’ve got to turn it over quick. They’ve got to get their bodies ready.”

Duke is also operating on a short week following its loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday.

UNC won its last Thursday game off a short week in 2012. The Tar Heels routed Virginia, 37-13, in Charlottesville five days removed from a 68-50 home loss to Georgia Tech.


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