3. Georgia has a new coach in Kirby Smart, so Fed

in Plichtchallenges 06.05.2019 10:28
von mary123 • 1.541 Beiträge

Middlesbrough havent seen the English top-flight since the 2008-09 season, but that hasnt stopped the Riverside club from getting off to an impressive start upon their return.Aitor Karankas boys have done well to earn four points from their opening two fixtures and aim to earn more Sunday when they travel to The Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion.Boro (1-1-0) got off to a flying start in their home return to the Premier League on Aug. 13 when Alvaro Negredo gave the hosts the lead after 13 minutes. Stoke, though, pulled back the equalizer through Xherdan Shaqiri with 23 minutes.Despite dropping two points in their first match, the club rebounded well last week with an impressive 2-1 win over Sunderland thanks to a brace from Cristhian Stuani. Patrick van Aanholt pulled one back for Sunderland, but the Teesiders held on.The most important thing is the points, Karanka said. It is always most important to win the game. But it is especially important in a derby, for the crowd. They have been waiting for this moment. I am pleased for the players, and for them.As a manager, you want to have the best players, he continued. When you have those players, you know that you can score any time. We are building a very good squad and I am really pleased.We are playing really well, with our intensity, and its important for us to continue to add points as soon as possible.Middlesbrough are also aiming for a bounce-back effort at home following a midweek 2-1 defeat to Fulham in EFL Cup play.I said after the game against Sunderland that I was really pleased and confident with the team and now we have to recover as soon as possible, Karanka said. Not just the legs, also our heads. We have to go to West Brom knowing that its a really important game and the past is the past. We need to try and win the game again.West Brom (1-0-1) are off to a decent start with three points from their opening two matches. Despite beginning the season with an impressive 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, the Baggies were disappointed with their capitulation and 2-1 loss to Everton last week. Gareth McCauley staked the hosts to an early lead after nine minutes, but Everton answered with goals from Kevin Mirallas in first-half stoppage time and Gareth Barry on the hour mark.I thought we played ever so well in the first half and the manner of Evertons goal in added time was annoying for us because we gave away possession, Pulis remarked. If (Darren Fletcher) chance goes in at the start of the second half that changes the game.Were playing well and creating, but its not just the chances that were missing, were getting into the final third and picking the wrong pass -- its just that bit of extra quality needed.West Brom have won their last four league clashes with Middlesbrough, scoring 11 and conceding none. Their most recent victory over the Teesiders came in April 2010 -- a 2-0 result at The Hawthorns. 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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina coach Larry Fedora spent the past two seasons saying it was time for his Tar Heels to compete for an Atlantic Coast Conference division title.Now that his Tar Heels have won one, the next step is winning an ACC championship and topping a season in which his team matched a program record for wins.You cant do it every once in a while, Fedora said of winning the Coastal Division and reaching the ACC title game. You need to be there. We need to get back in that game and play whoevers going to be in it. . We need to be there to keep progressing the way we want.High expectations follow an 11-win season that included an 8-0 run through the ACC behind a high-scoring offense that provided enough cover for a bend-but-dont-break defense. North Carolina (11-3) lost two shootouts to end the season, first against then-No. 1 Clemson in the ACC title game and against Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl.Along the way, the Tar Heels reached the top 10 for the first time since 1997.They enter this year as the preseason division favorite.We worked extremely hard last year and I think guys finally understand how that translates into success on the field, returning all-ACC tailback Elijah Hood said. Everyones trying to do a little bit more, trying to push themselves to be a little bit better. If everyone does that the team as a whole is just going to be better.Here are things to know about North Carolina for the 2016 season:BIG NUMBERSThe Tar Heels averaged school records of 40.7 points and 486.9 yards last year, highlighted by scoring 125 points combined against Miami and Duke in blowout division wins. The fast-paced attack has been the calling card for the Tar Heels first four seasons under Fedora, and the return of Hood along with receivers Ryan Switzer and Mack Hollins ggive new starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky plenty of weapons.dddddddddddd.I believe we have the talent to be better than our numbers said we were last year, Fedora said.TRENDING UPWARD?The defense went from record-setting bad in 2014 to adequate in its first season under defensive coordinator and former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. And thats really all it took for the Tar Heels to make a leap. North Carolina allowed 24.5 points and 435.9 yards last year, an improvement of about 15 points and 60 yards per game. It loses linebacker leaders Jeff Schoettmer and Shakeel Rashad, but boasts a strong back end with cornerbacks Des Lawrence and M.J. Stewart.SEASON OPENERThe Tar Heels have a measuring-stick opener when they travel to Atlanta to face Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Sept. 3. Georgia has a new coach in Kirby Smart, so Fedoras staff will be guessing on exactly what to expect. North Carolina is looking for its first win against a Southeastern Conference opponent since beating Tennessee in the Music City Bowl to end the 2010 season. Winning that game would be a big credibility boost nationally for Fedoras program.KEY GAMESThe Tar Heels have two big ACC road games that stand out: at Atlantic Division power Florida State on Oct. 1 followed two weeks later by a trip to preseason Coastal No. 2 pick Miami, led by new coach Mark Richt and quarterback Brad Kaaya.PREDICTIONThe Coastal Division hasnt had a repeat champion since 2011. The Tar Heels appear positioned to buck that trend and look strong for nine or 10 wins.---Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the APs college football site at http://collegefootball.ap.org ' ' '

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