|Davis hopes Tar Heels can bounce back against rival Virginia|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 September 2007 08:36|
The coach hired to return the Tar Heels (1-1) to the Atlantic Coast Conference's elite will spend this week preparing for the league opener against Virginia and trying to prevent the first defeat of his tenure in Chapel Hill - a last-second, 34-31 loss at East Carolina - from becoming a losing streak.
``When you lose a ballgame, the quickest way to get over it is to get back to work,'' Davis said Monday. ``This week will be about us trying to get better, trying to bounce back emotionally and try to have our football team as well-prepared for Virginia as possible.''
Davis hopes to reverse the disturbing pattern in Chapel Hill of allowing losses to mount - and to move past a low point of a bleak 2006 that came against the Cavaliers.
The Tar Heels' abysmal performance during a nationally televised 23-0 loss in Charlottesville seemed to accelerate the firing of John Bunting, who was ousted three days later and finished out the season while North Carolina officials pursued Davis.
``That was a tough game, Thursday night, national television, but what's done is done, and we can't go and change the past,'' linebacker Mark Paschal said. ``But we'll go and prepare for them this week, and try not to worry about what happened last year.''
Against Virginia last year, North Carolina had nearly as many penalties (eight) as first downs (11), turned the ball over three times and never got anything going offensively in the nadir of a season in which the Tar Heels failed to beat a Division I-A team until their 11th game.
``Whenever you get beat by an opponent (and) you have a chance to play them next year, you always look forward to that opportunity,'' Paschal said.
Davis is coming to terms with the target that his Carolina blue-clad team always seems to be wearing. The players spoke openly a week ago of the hatred East Carolina's fan base has developed for the Tar Heels. The Pirates beat them for the first time since 1975 when Ben Hartman's last-second field goal sent Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium into delirium.
Next up: what's termed the oldest rivalry in the South and the fifth-oldest in the nation. North Carolina and Virginia have played every year since 1919 and will meet for the 112th time.
``Carolina's everybody's rivalry,'' Davis quipped.