UNC’s defense improving as season goes on


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 31: Virginia Cavaliers tight end Tony Poljan (87) vaults over North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Cam’Ron Kelly (9) into the end zone with North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Don Chapman (2)riding his back for a 3rd quarter touchdown during a football game between the University of Virginia Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, VA on October 31, 2020. Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Over the weekend, North Carolina dominated Duke 56-24 in an outing that the defense could finally be proud of.

“I felt like it was the first game when mistakes happen, and give Duke credit too, sometimes it was good play calls and good execution by them but our guys knew exactly what the problem was and I think that was the thing I took away from it the best,” said UNC defensive coordinator Jay Bateman.

The more games under the Tar Heels’ belt, the more reps some of the younger guys are getting. It’s beneficial to their development as well as their confidence.

“I can tell you it definitely escalated from the first snap I took at Syracuse to now. I feel like now I’m also getting used to the speed of the game, the mental game, just everything. Seeing opponents on the field, it’s getting slower, I can read people. I can read the playbook a lot quicker, I can process a lot more information faster. And I feel like my confidence has definitely increased since the first time I touched the field,” said freshman linebacker Kaimon Rucker.

“Everybody knows football is a tough game, especially with mental, physical approaches and different things, and we’re just dialed in and that helps me dial in as an individual too as well and definitely became more comfortable and more of a team player in a sense,” said sophomore defensive back Cam’Ron Kelly.

Bateman is happy to get more players more game experience. Now that they have some, he expects them to continue to get better.

“We’ve won some games by some points and have been able to play some of these other kids in the game. Now it’s time to go learn from the losses, learn from mistakes and apply it even though you didn’t necessarily give up a touchdown or a huge play or whatever, and I do believe we’re seeing more of that,” added Bateman.

The next test for the UNC is Saturday when they host Wake Forest for a noon kickoff.

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