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UNC Football: Pressure Cooker

The Tar Heels posted their second shutout of the season against Idaho in a dominant 66-0 victory. It’s a major milestone for Chapel Hill, the first since 1996. They picked off four passes on Saturday and are progressing in their understanding of defensive assignments in coach Larry Fedora’s first year. It was the most lopsided victory in Tar Heel football history and in 12 quarters at Kenan-Flagler Stadium this season, UNC has yet to give up a touchdown.

In the last six quarters that Chapel Hill has played football this season, it’s been nearly flawless—only allowing 321 yards of offense and nine points. This is a direct result of the defense’s mentality: Get after the quarterback. While UNC has a serious element of swagger going for it in the last two games, it is the aggressiveness that I love.

Nothing sums up the aggressiveness that the Tar Heels have displayed more than their Pressure Package. The front defensive four: Quinton Coples, Donte Paige-Moss, Tim Jackson, and Kareem Martin are always swarming the quarterback but UNC looks to stack the box. They want to do this to disrupt the offense’s tempo and make life very uncomfortable for the opposing QB.

They can afford to do this because they trust their outside defenders in one-on-one coverage. Without the ability of a Jabari Price or Tre Boston in the backfield, UNC might not be able to shoulder the risk. The defensive pressure Chapel Hill is able to inflict on the other team’s offense hinges on getting to the football. That way, we won’t get burned on a deep ball.

The pressure package UNC throws on the field is a different kind of look, and to me, almost built on speed—much like a spread offense. Larry Fedora believes it gives us the best chance to grab a “W” week in and week out. It looks to be working.

Tags: Football North Carolina Tar Heels

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