Wednesday, September 10, 2008

UNC NOT GOING TO PISCATAWAY ZOO

Damn it! We love the reptile house.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
UNC vs. The University of New Jersey at Rutgers (Scarlet Nights, 38,666 students, Piscataway, NJ), (-5.5) 7:30, pm, ESPN, XM-190.

Home sweet home…that’s their story, and, evidently, they’re stickin’ to it.
The University of North Carolina which faces Rutgers Thursday night in New Jersey has not won outside the state of North Carolina since its 38-35 victory at Arizona State on Oct. 5, 2002, a span of 20 games. Yike.

The Heels (1-0) came close to that on a couple of occasions last season. Under new coach Butch Davis, the Tar Heels were 0-6 on the road, including 0-3 outside the state. But two of those three losses came by seven points or fewer -- a far cry from the 17 straight out-of-N.C. defeats under former coach John Bunting that included school records for most yardage allowed (during a 46-16 shellacking at Utah in 2004) and most points allowed (during a 69-14 laugher at Louisville in 2005).

Ten of the 17 losses were blowouts by at least 20 points. Ouch.

Ahhh…but there is a new sheriff in town. To that end, road trips have changed under Butch Davis, a former NFL coach who tends to take a more professional approach.

Bunting, for instance, considered outings to the College Football Hall of Fame (when they played at Notre Dame in 2006), the Louisville Slugger bat factory (in 2005) and the Olympic Park in Salt Lake City (Utah in 2004) educational opportunities.

Davis considers such field trips distractions, unless the trip lasts several days. Which is why he tries not to change his team's routine from home games.

"We're not going to visit the Statue of Liberty, we're not going to the zoo, we're not going to stay overnight at Broadway and catch a play,'' Davis said.”It's a business trip, and I think when you've got a very, very young and inexperienced football team, it's something you have to constantly remind them: to stay focused."

(Top Photo by Zeke Smith/CarolinaBlue.com, bottom photo by TAH)

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