At his press conference Monday, Larry Fedora said the good feelings from the win over Boston College will carry into this week of practice ahead of the game at North Carolina State. “It definitely helps,” the Tar Heel head coach said. “Everybody’s got a little more lift in their step, because you invest so much and then when it pays off for you, you feel a lot better than you do the other day.”
Kareem Martin was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week Monday for his efforts on Saturday. The Roanoke Rapids senior defensive end had five tackles and two sacks. On consecutive drives in the second half, Martin sacked quarterback Chase Rettig on third down.
In preparing for the Eagles, Martin watched film of Boston College’s game against Clemson, and noted the Tigers’ ability to get past the BC offensive line. “Their defensive ends were able to get a lot of pressure on [Rettig] with an array of moves, and I just studied that a whole lot and tried to take it into the game,” he said. “That was probably the biggest contributor.”
Martin said he similarly watched film of Florida State against North Carolina State to prepare for the Wolfpack to get quarterback Brandon Mitchell out of his comfort zone. “That being his first game back, this being his second, I’m sure he still has a few nerves, so hopefully we can continue to get the pressure, and our defensive backs can take advantage of that.”
Fedora said that he sees Martin realizing that he may have only five or six games left in a Carolina jersey. “He can see that light at the end of the tunnel,” the head coach said. “He is trying to make the most of every play.” Though Martin has played well all season, Fedora said it has been in the last two weeks that he has taken a major step forward. “He’s just making play after play, playing extremely hard (and) doing a good job of leading. I think part of that is that senior understanding that it’s coming to an end. It’s going to be here quick.”
“I was playing well, but I knew I needed to do more for this team to be successful,” Martin said. “Coach has been talking about it for the last two weeks, take the extra inch. I was doing more film study, working harder in practice, doing a little bit more just so I could have that edge on Saturday, and it’s definitely proven itself the last three or four weeks.”
On the other side of the ball, senior quarterback Bryn Renner is also closing in on the end of his college career. “Time’s running out. Coach Fedora said, I think, we only have like 15 practices left that are legit practices for us. It’s kind of scary. It’s coming to a close. Talking with A.J. (Blue) and Kareem, it’s come upon us really quick and Coach Fedora said it was going to, but the light’s turning on for us that it’s about to be over.”
Renner suffered a concussion and was unable to finish the game at N.C. State in 2011, a 13-0 loss to the Wolfpack. On Monday, he said he’d like to change that result. “It wasn’t a good showing for us,” Renner said. “I kind of just want to make amends for that.”
Renner’s fellow quarterback Marquise Williams has continued to make a positive impact for the Tar Heels. On Saturday, he ran and passed for 55 yards each and was responsible for two scores. Though the Tar Heels have certain packages that favor Williams’ skills, Fedora said the entire playbook is open to the redshirt sophomore.