380. That’s the amount of rushing yards that North Carolina gave up last Saturday. I think Coach Fedora and his staff will be quick to tell you that giving those kind of yards up is unacceptable especially after having two weeks to prepare. Now after having two weeks before Georgia Tech, they have a new challenge, preparing for a Virginia team in four days. Virginia is rolling right now after two big wins against NC State and Miami and they will be hosting the Tar Heels in Charlottesville where Carolina rarely wins.
The Tar Heels will have to make tackles on defense in order to thwart the Cavaliers this week. Plain and simple. Unfortunately, they failed to execute this against Georgia Tech. It’s no secret that Paul Johnson’s triple option offense with the Yellow Jackets is designed to get rushing yards in bulk amounts, but yet the Tar Heel defense couldn’t stop it. Watching that game was so frustrating because you could tell that the defense felt like they knew what they needed to do, but just couldn’t do it. So many times the Heels were able to break into the backfield in what seemed to be an imminent sack or tackle for loss, but for whatever reason, Carolina wasn’t able to complete the tackle.
Too many times, not only Saturday, but all season longas well, North Carolina has gotten to the quarterback only not to have been able to bring them down and too many times have the Heels hit the running back in the backfield only to have the tailback break it and run for positive yards. Every time that the front line and the linebackers break through for a supposed tackle, the secondary slows up and gets burned. It’s a vicious cycle that more often than not ends up in a big play or points for the other team.
I don’t mean to sound like there is no talent on the defensive end for the Heels. Kevin Reddick is as talented of a linebacker as there is in the nation and Kareem Martin and Sylvester Williams are so powerful on that defensive front line. They all have a special ability to get past that opposing offensive line and be very disruptive. However, they need to finish what they start. Once you put the initial blow on your target, make sure they don’t recover. In order to beat Virginia that averages over 400 total yards a game on the road, Carolina’s defense must be able to do this. They have to make tackles.