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UNC football needs to take advantage of all the new coaches they face in 2016

With over half their schedule made up of teams with new head coaches, UNC needs to take advantage of that to have another good season in 2016.

University of Miami Introduces Mark Richt Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images

One of the themes in the ACC Coastal Division this season is the number of new coaches at rival schools. Three teams in the division hired new coaches this offseason. North Carolina will of course be playing them all. However, those aren’t the only new coaches UNC will face this season.

In all, the Tar Heels will face seven teams with new coaches in the 2016 season. If they are to replicate any semblance of the success they had last season, they need to take advantage of that fact.

Only one of those teams hired someone that was already on their coaching staff. That team was The Citadel. UNC plays them in their second to last game of the season. Considering that they’re an FCS team, that’s a game they should be expecting a win in no matter what.

Other than that, the remaining six opponents all made hires from outside their coaching staffs. In theory, that’s six teams that will have to make some amount of adjustments to life under new coaches.

The first three teams UNC play all have new coaches. The first two games are Georgia and Illinois. The most likely outcome of those games is a 1-1 split. However, if North Carolina can get a win against a Georgia team playing for a first-time head coach in Kirby Smart, they have a real chance to go into conference play undefeated. They could possibly also be undefeated for their October 1st game against Florida State.

Their third game against a new coach is against James Madison on September 12th. JMU is a good FCS program, but North Carolina should be winning that game.

After that, the Tar Heels don’t face another new coach until Justin Fuente and Virginia Tech on October 8th. By this point, teams should have settled into playing for their new coach somewhat. Virginia Tech retained defensive coordinated Bud Foster, so there won’t be as much turnover there, at least on one side of the ball.

That Virginia Tech game starts another string of three-straight weeks against new coaches. They play Mark Richt’s Miami and Bronco Mendenhall’s Virginia the following two games. It’s also three games against ACC Coastal Division opponents. If UNC wants to return to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game, a sweep of those three games will likely be needed.

Playing against new coaches isn’t always an advantage. The five FBS teams North Carolina play all made changes because they thought they could get better coaches. UNC probably won’t go 7-0 against the teams with new coaches. It’s possible that all of those teams improve. However, all of those teams will have to make some adjustments to playing for a new coach in 2016. If UNC wants to be really good again, that’s something they have to take advantage of.