Fans Optimistic for Turnaround

UNC football fans were able to meet and greet the Tar Heels on Saturday.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Tar Heel fans are hopeful for improvement by their football team this fall after a disappointing 2014 season.

Fans packed the Eddie Smith Fieldhouse on Saturday for the ninth annual “Meet The Heels” event, where they had the opportunity to take pictures with players from each North Carolina fall sports team.

Inflatable bounce houses, mannequins donning the new argyle football uniforms and vendors such as the Ram’s Club and Carolina Kids’ Club filled the building for festive fun. Tables lined the sides of the fieldhouse for football players and coaches to sign autographs for fans.

Among the family-friendly chaos stood new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, chatting with fans who recognized him amidst hundreds of fans.

Rodney Parker, a native of Danville, Va., drove down for the event. On his way out, he ran into Chizik and took a picture with him.

“I wanted to meet Gene Chizik, and I met Coach Fedora, too, so it was a good experience,” Parker said.

Fun wasn’t the only thing on the minds of fans at the meet and greet, however. With football season kicking off in less than four weeks, a sense of expectations could be felt amongst the fans discussing this year’s team.

Steve Bigsby, a 1975 UNC graduate, had his guard up after the struggles the 2014 team encountered.

“I thought they were going to be very good last year, but the defense let them down,” Bigsby said. “They could score points, but they just couldn’t keep people from scoring points.”

The additions of Chizik and a fresh defensive coaching staff have Bigsby hopeful for the 2015 season.

“It sounds like they’ve simplified the defense, the kids seem to be enjoying it and seem to be bonding,” Bigsby said. “I have high expectations.”

Preseason expectations are nothing new for the Tar Heels. Last year, the team entered the season ranked in the top-25. This year, the team has the pressure of separating itself from the one that took the field in 2014.

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