Alright, here’s something the Tar Heels haven’t really seen this season: The Triple Option and the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech. It will be up to the linebacker core in Carolina Blue to figure out how to stop this 318.2 rushing yards per game machine. That rushing statistic translates to being the fourth-best running team in the nation. How do our linebackers stop it?
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington has twenty touchdowns this season with only four of them coming from the pass. Not to be confused with Washington, the Yellow Jackets also operate a bit of a two-quarterback system with freshman Vad Lee’s eight touchdowns—six of them coming from the ground. Their receiving core only has caught the ball in pay dirt six times this season. The Yellow Jackets love to run the pigskin.
What’s that mean for linebackers?
Kevin Reddick, Travis Hughes, Darius Lipford, Tommy Heffernan, and Dion Guy need to keep an eye on the guy with the ball. That’s easier said than done. Overall though, UNC has played stingy against the run. It’s the pass that we’ve been ripped for—and that mostly falls on our secondary’s shoulders.
It won’t be a downhill affair, though.
Both the Yellow Jackets and UNC have three wins in conference but the Tar Heels should be especially wary. Georgia Tech is better than they appear on paper. Though Tech has three conference losses to the Tar Heels’ two, they’ve lost two in overtime—one of which to top 20 Virginia Tech—and the third to top 15 Clemson. UNC is following a bye week and though they look good against N.C. State—they gave up a boat load of points. Most of those were through the air.
Our linebackers need to make sure they have arms extended on blockers, so they don’t get pushed back, and run horizontally keeping their eyes on either Washington or Lee. When they crash the offensive line, they need to make sure to begin from the outside in. That means don’t give up the outside lane. Don’t stress too much about the pass. Focus on our strength as a defense—stopping the run.