The North Carolina football team stands at a solid 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. The rest of their season consists of 3 games with their best remaining opponent currently is Maryland sitting at a 4-4 on the season. None of their 4 wins are anywhere close to impressive at that. Statistically, the Heel s should finish the season at 9-3. Most teams would consider a 9-3 record as a successful season. However, as most Tar Heel faithful know, UNC is not bowl eligible this season. With their bye week this week and 3 lowly teams yet to play, UNC needs to focus on their weak points in order to not only win out the season, but prepare for next season as well.
The Tar Heel’s biggest weakness is their secondary. This was obvious in the game against NC State. Not only did Mike Glennon throw for a career high 467 yards and 5 touchdowns but there were many broken coverages. One of the most blatant miscommunications resulted in an 83 yard touchdown pass from Glennon to Tobias Palmer which allowed NC State to take a 28-25 lead late in the 2nd quarter. UNC’s secondary has the talent and athleticism to be a great secondary; their communication and discipline is lacking severely though.
The next thing UNC needs to make sure they do is keeping Giovani Bernard healthy. Many people have chalked him up as one of the best backs in the country. I would vote for him for Heisman. I understand that despite not being able to go to a bowl game this year, UNC still wants to win every game they can. They owe that to the seniors. I also understand that UNC needed to beat NC State and break the 5 game winning streak that loomed over their heads. Bernard as a punt returner is obviously their best option because of his sheer explosiveness and vision and it worked out perfectly last Saturday. However, purely based on physics, being a punt returner is one of the most dangerous spots in football. Bernard is only a sophomore and they need him to return next season in order to keep up their current offensive dominance. Backup running back, A.J. Blue, did well in the 2 games that Bernard missed this season, but he is no Bernard. The freshman, Romar Morris, shows a lot of promise as he is lightning fast, but again, Bernard is the full package.
Lastly, the Heels need to continue to develop the offense. Larry Fedora came in this year and established a brand new offense. These things take time to mold. They have gotten a solid grasp of it already given that they are averaging 39.4 points a game. One must take into account though that UNC put up 60+ points against Elon and Idaho. The offense can always enter new wrinkles that will fool opposing defenses. With Bryn Renner, Bernard and leading receiver, Eric Ebron returning next year, I see no reason why UNC should not enter the season in the top 25. They will have to get up to speed quickly as they are not playing a terrible team such as this year against Elon. They open the season at the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Ol’ Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. I think that will be a great opportunity to open the season with a bang and show the NCAA that UNC is not a pushover anymore.
On a side note, the Heels definitely need to keep those sweet baby blue chrome helmets.