UNC Football: Pressuring the Passer

Given UNC’s next opponent maybe this article isn’t perfectly timed but it is certainly a topic of great discussion among UNC fans. Why is UNC allowing opposing QBs to sit back an pick their under experienced secondary apart? Well the easy answer is also the right one. They aren’t doing it on purpose. Until the last quarter of the NC State game they were just doing it the wrong way. I know, I know I am not a coach and don’t make millions but indulge me for a few minutes.

Oct 27, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Kevin Reddick (48) reacts after sacking North Carolina State Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon (8) (not pictured) in the fourth quarter at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

UNC’s 4-2-5 defense is predicated on 3 down linemen and a bandit that stands up on the line. For the most part UNC had been counting on their bandit and corner blitzes to get pressure on opposing QBs. Now it isn’t like UNC hadn’t been getting to the QB but they certainly struggled getting to the QB on 3rd downs. UNC is currently 3rd in the ACC in sacks but only 3 of their 23 sacks this year have come on third down. UNC also is giving up 1st downs on third down and long situations at an alarming rate. So what is the solution to start getting opposing offenses off the field on third down?

Well it seems as if UNC figured out the answer to that question. Late in the State game UNC started blitzing someone who they rarely had. That player was Kevin Reddick. Reddick recorded sacks on consecutive drives in the NC State game. Those plays I believe ultimately changed the Wolfpack’s strategy and let Giovani Bernard get the chance to return the punt that will go down in history.

So the answer as I have laid out seems very simple. Let your best (or second best depending on who you ask) defensive player pin his ears back some times and do one of the things he does best. Kevin Reddick has to be allowed to blitz more on third down. Just bringing four or bringing a corner is not the answer on 3rd downs. Either the QB will have too much time or he will throw it straight to the side the corner is coming from. Disguise it any way you want to but TURN REDDICK LOOSE, he has the speed and knowledge of the game to make life a living hell for opposing QBs.

We may not get to see much of it for UNC’s homecoming (Reddick’s play will also be huge in the GT game) but for UVA and BC it must be done. BC is pass happy and UVA has two QBs that can be rattled easily or can play lights out if allowed to get in a groove. By the end of the year I expect Reddick to have a double digit sack total. I expect the coaches will have seen enough tape in the bye week to see exactly what I see.

Topics: Football, North Carolina Tar Heels

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