Tar Heels spent their week away from football watching football

Cornerback Des Lawrence was especially entertained by the Louisville-Virginia game, perhaps secure in the knowledge that theres little chance hell have to worry about defending the Cardinals star quarterback Lamar Jackson

Jeremy Brevard—USA TODAY Sports
North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora speaks to the media during the ACC Football Kickoff at Westin Charlotte

CHAPEL HILL — Ever wondered what a college football team and its coaches do on a rare midseason weekend away from football? They watch football, of course. That’s what Larry Fedora and his North Carolina Tar Heels did on Saturday during last week’s bye. “I got up, worked out, turned on GameDay and I finished with that Florida State-Clemson game at 12 whatever-it-was,” Fedora said at his regular weekly press conference on Monday. “I watched every single thing I could watch.” Always the coach, Fedora couldn’t stand to just sit back, relax and enjoy the wall-to-wall procession of games that were available on Saturday. He made sure to keep a notebook close by so he could jot down and remember anything that might have caught his eye. Or in case he saw something he might want to use with his own team somewhere over the final three weeks of the regular season. “By the end of the night I’ve got all kinds of things written down — just ideas that come up that I think I can steal and implement, things that may have come up and you want to talk to your team about so you don’t make the same mistake,” Fedora said. “That’s pretty important, because you can learn something in every game that’s out there.” That might be the case for coaches, but for Fedora’s players, the opportunity to sit back, relax and just enjoy watching a game was a welcome change-of-pace from their normal grind. There will be plenty of time to learn and break down other team’s tendencies once the Tar Heel return to the film room at practice. “It was just nice to relax, enjoy the time off with the boys, watch football and just chill,” quarterback Mitch Trubisky said. Cornerback Des Lawrence was especially entertained by the Louisville-Virginia game, perhaps secure in the knowledge that there’s little chance he’ll have to worry about defending the Cardinals’ star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Louisville rallied to win the game on a late touchdown pass on a Jackson touchdown pass in the final minute. “Once I saw Louisville get the ball back, I put my trust in Lamar Jackson,” Lawrence said. “He’s been doing that all year.” While Lawrence’s interest stayed within the ACC, Trubisky’s game of choice involved a team from his native Ohio. Unfortunately, his flight home to watch his younger brother play a high school game on Friday was cancelled, so he stayed back in Chapel Hill and settled for watching the Ohio State-Northwestern game on television. Trubisky was a Buckeyes fan as a youngster, but he found that his allegiances have changed now that he’s a college football player himself. “I’ve detached myself from that,” he said. One team for which Trubisky was actively rooting last week, along with his beloved Cleveland Indians in the World Series, was UNC’s Coastal Division rival Pittsburgh. And he wasn’t alone. All of the Tar Heels were actively pulling for the Panthers to beat Virginia Tech on Thursday to give their team the upper hand for a second straight division championship. “I definitely was a cheerleader in the Pitt game,” defensive tackle Nazair Jones said. “I didn’t turn the channel once, screaming at the TV. We needed them to come away with it, but they didn’t come up with the win.” Because Virginia Tech holds the head-to-head tiebreaker on UNC, giving the edge in case both teams tie atop the division standings, the Tar Heels will continue to be fans of whoever the Hokies are playing. Even if that allegiance presents something of a moral dilemma. Virginia Tech’s opponent this Saturday is UNC’s arch-rival Duke. “It’s going to be hard,” Lawrence said. “But we pull for the team in dark Blue to help us out.”