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Full Version: UNC vs. GT
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Let me say... WHAT A GAME!

This is exactly what we needed to revitalize our season. It took one bad loss for everyone to jump off the bandwagon (everyone who wasn't already off, that is) and start bashing this team and coaching staff. It's amazing that a team isn't allowed a bad game against one of the best teams in the country nowadays.

I really like how this team answered the call yesterday. They worked hard all week and showed some pride. No, Tech wasn't the best team we'll play this year, by far. We still have a long way to go... and the schedule will only continue to get tougher as the year goes on.

BUT, for one week, this team took the bull by the horns and pulled out a huge victory. Despite a lot of close games in that span, it had been seven years since we'd last beaten Tech. Our guys showed a lot of heart and got the job done.

Observations:

1. The crowd was awesome. After reading message boards all week long, I expected a measly turnout. But, the place was packed to the tune of about 50,000 (especially after halftime when a few more students showed up) and it was rockin'. Tech was clearly rattled -- which surprised me, given that they'd just played in Death Valley the week before.

I really don't think our fans get enough credit for how we've stuck by the team through the past few rough years. We haven't had much to cheer about the last two home seasons (only one win in that span), but season ticket sales didn't drop off by too much and fans keep turning out. On Saturday, we were finally rewarded for hanging in there.

2. Fred Sparkman was all over the place. I'm not sure about the stats, but I was always seeing his number out on the field. He is this year's Larry Edwards.

3. As you can imagine from the score, the defense was stellar all around. They kept the team in the game after two early turnovers when it would have been easy to fold. I'm sure everyone in the stadium was sighing after those turnovers and saying to themselves, "Here we go again." But, the defense held and kept the team in the game until the offense found itself. And, except for a penalty-laden touchdown drive from Tech in the third quarter, they shut out Tech for the rest of the game.

13 points is really an amazing feat for this defense, and it gives them something to build on. They can finally take pride in themselves looking up at the final score. Instead of having people say that we won "despite the defense," anyone who watched the game would know that we won because of the defense. How sweet that is....

4. Marvin Sanders is a keeper. It's obvious that the players really love him and he knows how to get guys playing as a unit. The turnaround from last week to this one was amazing, and is due in part to Sanders (as well as Gute and the other defensive coaches).

5. Our running game is the strength of our offense, anchored by the offensive line. We need to continue to pound the ball and control the clock. That will keep our defense off the field and make lower-scoring affairs (which I think will only give our guys more confidence).

Jacque, Ronnie, Chad... they can all get it done. If any of them goes down to injury, I have faith that we'll still have an awesome running game. That's a great feeling.

6. We will still make mistakes this year because this team is still very young. It's entirely possible that these guys come out sluggish against L'ville and take a loss. They are certainly a better team than Tech and won't overlook us like Tech did. But, this team will also grow and improve as the year goes on... and they may have a few more surprises in them yet.

GO HEELS!

-JD
One loss like the one to UVA doesn't define a season, nor does one win like GT mean a bowl game. My faith was shaken by the apparent ineptitude against VA, but I was mostly concerned by the lack of any progress. Against GT, I saw progress and effort which I hope is sustainable. If that continues, we may not go to a bowl, but there will be hope for the future.

As I've said before, I think Bunting is a Carolina guy through and through, but he hasn't yet proven himself a successful head coach. I hope he does, not just for his sake, but for the good of the program. We've had too many coaching turnovers and instability to develop a stable, successful program (yet).
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