By Megan Walsh, GoHeels.com
After a disappointing loss Saturday to Georgia Tech, the North Carolina football team is rebounding as well as possible looking ahead to its next ACC matchup.
With just a quick week of three days to prepare for Thursday's night game in Charlottesville, Va., against UVA, coach Larry Fedora has been pleased with his team's 180-degree turnaround.
"We came out here with a great attitude, excited to be out here," Fedora said after Tuesday's practice. "We don't have a choice. The practices have been what we wanted. They've been focused, they've been moving around. It's been really good both days."
Fedora said the biggest challenge of a short week is to prepare the team mentally for another game in an atypical routine. That means the Tar Heels shifted to a more simplified approach in practice to keep guys fresh for Thursday night's action.
The Cavaliers snapped a six-game losing streak two weeks ago with a key conference win against NC State and picked up another victory against Miami last weekend. Fedora said that improved team will prove a challenge for the Tar Heels.
"They have become a really good football team," Fedora said. "They're playing with a lot of confidence right now. They're taking care of the football. They can throw it, they're running the ball effectively and they've been playing solid defense all the way through and the same on special teams."
Cornerback Jabari Price said after a few "phenomenal" practices this week, North Carolina is well prepared for what Virginia will bring. Price said that although Virginia will test the defense's discipline, they are up to the challenge.
"Everyone has to do their job," he said. "You've got to do your one level in the defense. The moment you let the team down, you hurt the offense, the defense and the coaches, so we've just got to come out and do our job and trust the guy next to us to do his as well."
Price also said the team has benefited from senior leadership in preparing for a new game. Senior linebacker Kevin Reddick sat the defense down Sunday and inspired the unit to move past their loss to the Yellow Jackets and regain confidence.
"I'm very confident," Price said. "There's no doubt in my mind. We fitted up every pass, every running route, and I can't wait. I just can't wait."