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My Practices Are Not Designed For Your Enjoyment

That was what Norman Dale told his players in the movie Hoosiers after one of them complained practice, which was all running and fundamentals, was not fun. That apparently will be the case today in Chapel Hill based on Roy Williams comments in the ACC teleconference this morning. Via UNC Now:

“We haven’t practiced yet,” Williams said. “We had a meeting this morning. As soon as I finish this call, we’ll go practice but I haven’t seen anything that I liked. There is nothing related to Saturday’s game that I liked. And we’ll have to see how we respond in practice today. But the smartest thing I’ve ever done as a coach is not say too much to them, or to not say anything to them until today.

“That’s given me 48 hours.”

So what kind of signs will Williams look to judge whether his team is responding the right way?

“See if we live,” he said.

Asked to elaborate, Williams said, “I don’t think it needs much elaboration.”

“We’ve got to have great practices,” he said. “I mean, we’re not going to go up and beat Virginia Tech just because we lost on Saturday. People say, ‘Oh, they’re going to bounce back.’ Makes no difference. We can go up there and play well and still not be successful. We’ve just got to do a heck of a lot better job.”

Roy cut the teleconference early so he could get to practice.

Well, that should make most of you happy. Not that I totally disagree. Roy should absolutely put them through a tough practice today then get back on standard routine and prepare for Virginia Tech. And when Roy said he hasn’t talked to the team he is not kidding. Apparently after the game he walked into the locker room, looked at them then walked out without saying a word which is a shot across the bow of the players that he expects them to fix it. That is why all the talk from Roy about his coaching job is public shielding but in private the players will be handled every bit like this is their responsibility.

If you are looking for a similar situation from the Roy Williams era at UNC, the loss at Virginia Tech in 2007 comes to mind. UNC went on the road to Blacksburg and had a second half similar to the one UNC had at FSU on Saturday. The Heels trailed at the break and in the second half were smacked around for 16 of the final 20 minutes. The Heels were down as much a 23 after being ahead by eight at one point in the first half(31 point swing.) The major difference between the two games is (1) that team was much younger with a freshmen starting backcourt and (2) that team was down 20 with 3:48 left in the game and got within three at point before losing by six. So it is not totally analogous in respect to how the game unfolded at the end but it certainly is in the way UNC fell apart during the game. It may also offer some insight into how the loss gets handled because I seem to recall Roy putting them through a tough practice after that loss as well. The next game was a road trip to Clemson, who was 17-1 at the time. UNC won by 22.

Will this team respond the same way? We will find out on Thursday assuming the players live.

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31 comments to My Practices Are Not Designed For Your Enjoyment

  • “If you are looking for a similar situation from the Roy Williams era at UNC, the loss at Virginia Tech in 2007 comes to mind.”

    I’d still say last year at GaTech is most analogous, at least in terms of that game being a completely awful display on the part of the Heels. But similar to 2007, the team responded, this time with a couple of close wins, and then arguably their best 3-game stretch of the season, with 20-point wins over NCSU, BC, and FSU.

    And, if you exclude the 2010 season, Roy’s UNC teams are 35-5 following a loss, so it certainly within reason to expect a fairly good showing from the Heels on Thursday.

  • rathskellar68

    “Apparently after the game he walked into the locker room, looked at them then walked out without saying a word…”

    Exactly the right approach. With his (admitedly) poor game preparation, and the team’s atrocious performance, silence is what was due on both sides.

    Talk is neither warranted or needed. The team has shown many times this season that it knows how to play smart, focused basketball. And the appalling outcome in the game just completed showed them WHY they need to play smart, focused basketball.

    Let shame be the midwife to fury, and fury the midwife to a take-no-prisoners triumph at Virginia Tech.

  • gregrustin

    I will not be making any more comments until after the VA Tech game. thank you all for coming to my blog. good day.

  • BoyWilliams


    What if Roy ran them so hard into the ground
    that from the gym came not a single sound
    - no bounces from a Butta pass,
    no ringing out of a Strickland laugh,
    no zipping of a Bullock three,
    no tusslin’ in the paint from Mac & Z,
    no metallic thud of a Harrison dunk
    no slap of Henson swatting junk
    - And you wonder how, you wonder why?
    …Because not a single Tarheel remained alive

    …So are all of you people happy now?!!

  • AZACCFan

    In terms of loss:

    one league game

    For the future:

    Can still win ACC regular season
    Can continue home unbeaten streak
    Can regain national ranking
    Can win ACC Tournament
    Can receive invitation and do well in NCAA tournament

    It hasn’t happened yet, but improvement is possible. More than running lots of sprints will be required however. The strength and standing of the program as a whole will not be lost over one game or even one season. Of course there is plenty of work to do. I don’t want to see the team leaving before game end again so another crowd can rush the court. That has to sink in for the players.

  • TarHeelInMinny

    “More than running lots of sprints will be required however.”

    False. This team isn’t flawed. It was lack of effort and focus that made Saturday such a debacle. They were fine in these departments for the majority of the time at Kentucky.

    I sincerely doubt that Roy didn’t have them prepared. The whole “I only have myself to blame, I’m a horrible coach” routine is a way to protect the players. He’s done it forever. It’s much better than the Tubby Smith approach of throwing the kids under the bus when things go bad (see: Sampson, Ralph III, 2012 after Gophers start 0-4 in Big 10).

    The players didn’t execute the coaching staff’s plan. Plain and simple. I doubt Roy told the kids “get caught on screens” or “be slow in your defensive rotations” or “don’t box out” or “shot a quick 3-pointer whenever it’s painfully obvious to everyone in the arena we need to get the ball inside.” We came into the week leading the nation in rebounding margin. We didn’t look like it. We have 4 players (Barnes, Henson, Zeller and Marshall) receiving All-America consideration. Only 1 of them played decently, and the other three played perhaps their worst game of the season.

    A tough practice will serve as a reminder to maintain that focus and high level of execution ALWAYS. I look forward to Thursday’s response from the players.

  • mrn10sdave

    Zeller deserves the day off.

  • marcus62660

    “…This team isn’t flawed…”

    Thank goodness. I was beginning to worry.

  • faustus1500

    Well, the voters thought enough of UNC to keep them in the Top 10. The Heels are ranked 8th in both polls.

  • carolinablue74

    I think a lot of this hand-wringing would go away if the fans did not have sky-high expectations off this team.

    People are comparing this team to 82, 93, 05, 09 squads. Seriously!! Come on now. This team is not even close to those team. They maybe talented but they lack leadership, maturity and focus.

    After watching the UNLV game I was of the opinion that the ceiling for this team was no more than what they achieved last year. And the same is doubly true now, after the FSU game. Anything more than that is gravy.

  • faustus1500

    ^ I am looking for a season like 2007-08 except not getting blown out at the Final Four. This team is a lot better than the 1999-2000 team which reached the Final Four.

    I think the anger is because this loss is just as bad as any loss from the 2001-2002 season. See the loss against Maryland that season. Of course, Maryland ended up winning the National Title that year and Florida State…..I highly doubt will even reach the Sweet 16.

  • AZACCFan

    If you want to look back, look at this year’s UNC/KU game. Same players, possibly minus Strickland vs FSU due to ankle.

    UNC played very well on a hostile court and maintained focus and intensity.

    So they can do it.

  • gso_tarheel

    They will have to defy all odds to win the NC. No NC team in last 30 years lost by 30+ in the regular season. Of course, it is not the actual loss that is problematic - obviously that game is over and has no real, direct causal link to a NC. But the correlation exists because NC caliber teams don’t lose by 30+ points - they are better than that. And I thought we were better than that this year. I hope they defy the odds and make a historic turn-around. Funny thing is they will need serious focus and intensity from hear on out to do it - their biggest weaknesses have to become their strength.

  • gregrustin

    i could not resist: my idea-if players have turned ankles, sit them down. you cant run as fast as usual and you definitely can cut and respond laterally to defend. play your healthy players.

  • “I am looking for a season like 2007-08 except not getting blown out at the Final Four.”

    In terms of development timeline and maturity, the 2008 squad really is a better comp for this team than the 2005 or 2009 teams.

    2007: Extremely young team that is talented enough to get to the Elite 8, but not mature enough to seal the deal and get to the Final 4.

    2008: More mature, but still young. Gets over the Final 4 hump, but still “lets down” once there.

    2009: Everyone comes back; very mature team. Singularly focused. Coasts through reg season, including some “Huh?” losses. Dominates the NCAA tournament.

    I could absolutely see the same story written about the 2011, 2012, and 2013 teams.

  • Heel To The End

    since the last football thread is a mile behind us…
    did anyone mention Barth got an additional year of eligibility?

  • scl11

    “If you are looking for a similar situation from the Roy Williams era at UNC, the loss at Virginia Tech in 2007 comes to mind.”

    That is exactly the game this reminded me of, and I had forgotten until I read your post. I kept thinking of the 1993 game at Wake (who was unranked too), but that 1993 team just came off one of the greatest comebacks in UNC history and just continued the poor play and shooting from the first half of the FSU game. This team reminds me alot of the 2007 team, and Saturday reminded me of the VPI debacle on steroids.

    And from Roy’s quotes, although he can’t read the players minds either, evidently he feels Saturday’s debacle was related more to a lack of effort than “just a bad day at the office”.

  • scl11

    For all those saying that some of us are overreacting and Saturday was “just one of those days”, Roy disagrees.

    Is Saturday’s game the kind you try to avoid overreacting to and just try to move on?
    “I don’t want to overreact. I think everyone will say that. But that was a real butt-kicking that you just can’t ignore, either. Even when we were winning nine in a row, go back to the press conferences, I wasn’t always saying glowing things. I kept saying our team’s got to get better. So that’s the same party line today. It’s just that it hit the kids between the eyes more than me saying it.”

  • faustus1500

    I would like to see Barnes develop a floater. That would be a lot better than seeing him try to do a spin move in traffic. It is clear he can get to eight feet of the rim with an issue. A floater would be the perfect complement to his game.

  • carolinablue74

    I’m watching the Baylor-Kansas game, players are playing with intensity. Robinson ripped a rebound out of the hands of Perry Jones. The eyes of the different players are just burning with intensity. I am yet to see that kind of intensity from any players on this UNC team. Tyler had that, but since him no one else.

  • BuonRotto

    re: Barnes — a crossover dribble would help a lot.

  • BeachHeel

    Nothing like running suicides until somebody pukes to instill a little toughness. While they’re at it maybe they should bring some of the D-line and linebackers from the football team to mix into the 5 on 5 drills. If they can run over a Kevin Reddick screen I think they will be prepared for whatever they may see in a game. At the very least they should run the drill my old high school team used to run where the coaches would beat on our arms with blocking pads while we dribbled up the floor and drove to the basket. It taught us to play through contact and finish with control and focus. Hmmmm, sounds like something this team needs to learn. Tough practices should be the norm, not the exception.

  • AZACCFan

    Williams on PJ Hairston tonight on radio show:

    “P.J.’s had a tough [season]. Several weeks back he lost his grandfather. This past weekend, he didn’t come to practice today because he lost his great grandfather. Both sides of the family are really, really close.”

  • this team is definitely not 2009, where we returned everyone from an elite 8 year and then a final four run. in 2008 we were in the top 4 all year with KU, memphis and UClA and the 2nd tier was a big drop off. we brought everyone back including one of our all time greats in TH. this year, like all years is unique. the one thing we have going for us is that the rest of the pack is not completely separating itself (yet), so we’re still within arms reach. we can beat anybody imo on any given day. there are no juggernauts. for that reason, we can play our game, and with some luck, we have a chance at a National Title. sh*t, if duke can win it in 2010, this team can definitely win it this year. that being said, we are good enough that we aren’t hoping for a miracle, we want solid evidence that we’re turning it around and that we deserve a title. it’s like a marriage, you can do everything right all the time and the one time you mess up, you’re in the doghouse for a LONG time, and can only earn back your good standing with consistent good behavior lol. nothing will overcome this loss really, in terms of our perception, except consist winning and a clear desire to be great.

    the last few posts have had a book’s worth of comments about what we need to do. they’re all correct, we need them all, and we’ll only be healed with consistent good play. i, for one, have not lost hope on this season. again, we’re not 2009 juggernauts rolling over teams by 20+ in the title game, but we could beat any team in the country in a best of 7 series and that’s enough for me to say i feel good about our chances.

  • 52bgJ

    well said Jordan & I agree.

  • faustus1500


    We are not saying these teams have the same talent. We are saying that in terms of development they are at a stage similar to the 2007-08 team.

  • Asheville Heel

    Hard practices send messages that have lasting effects. If you’ve ever been there you know what I’m taking about. It’s old school and it works. You have to balance it so you don’t lose the team but Roy knows how to do this. It’s also called making men out of boys because what you do later in life does have cause and effect based on the amount of effort you spend and how you react when your character is challenged. With the exception of Zeller, we have a bunch of boys who are playing at being men. Barnes is the primary example and I don’t care that some of you disagree. I know it when I see it and I see it big time with him. You can practice and work to improve to the point of being anal about it. But, if you don’t have the heart to take it to the court and play with effort when things are not going your way then it’s your heart that’s weak. I don’t see the heart in Barnes when his shot is not falling. He loafs on defense and he does not take pride in helping the team by doing the little things that make a difference. If it sounds like I’m down on him, damn right I am. I think he’s a Momma’s boy whose been coddled and does not know how to man-up.
    As for the rest of the team (x-Zeller)they need to grow-up too. But if your AA player, POY candidate, etc… is a wallflower like Barnes then that spreads to the rest of the team. No, these are not professional players and I agree they are student athletes first and foremost. But no one can convince me that there are any illusions about what you sign-up for to play basketball at UNC. You can be born with heart and you can also develop it. With this team, for the most part, it will have to be developed. A little puking will not kill you!

  • Heel To The End

    the women’s team is really banged up, but my goodness.
    destroyed by UConn. 86-35.

  • Meh….lot of people get destroyed by UConn. Women’s team has been in steady decline it seems since the Ivory Latta era teams graduated. They should have won a title with her but didn’t.

    I think most of you misunderstand what a hard practice looks like. Roy is simply not going to run them for the sake of running them. It will not be a punitive thing based on the game but I imagine he ratchets up the penalties for mistakes that are made in practice. Also, based on his comments last night, I think they did a lot of film study. It appears they watched game tape, practiced then watched more game tape. Overall Roy called it a “great practice” and Kendall Marshall said he was really tired on Twitter last night.

  • Heel To The End

    pre-season, i read Barnes was the only player to watch the Kentucky film.
    they need to watch this film several times. they need a poster-sized photo of some damning part of the game that they take on the road and put up in the locker room.
    they dont need to feel like, at any point in the remainder of the season, that they have things figured out.
    stay hungry and mad.

  • I do think we’re a head-wagging team. And rightfully so, we are that good. But when we’re challenged, we need to fight.

    I recall the 1982 UNC team that won it all. Then I recollect the next year, NCSU winning the title. Olajuwon and company were so confident going into that game, that they were laughing and cutting up right before the tipoff. You can best bet that none of the NCSU players were happy with that. I also bet their mentality was that they didn’t appreciate being laughed at, or taken lightly. Most of those players were probably willing to die to make sure Houston knew exactly who they were. Sometimes a fire has to be lit. I hope our players are angry, and have an inward hunger to let the rest of the ACC know that it won’t be that easy, ever again.

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