We’ve reached the end of the 2012 football season. At least in Chapel Hill. North Carolina takes on the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday at 3:00 PM in Chapel Hill in what will be the final game of Coach Fedora’s debut season. The Tar Heels, 7-4 and 4-3, are ineligible for a bowl game this season due to self imposed sanctions from an NCAA Investigation for academic fraud. This season has essentially been one long set of practices and scrimmages for the Heels and Tar Heel fans should feel very good about the production Fedora has gotten from his players just one year into a new system.
Bryn Renner and company continue to put points on the board in a system they learned for the first time six months ago. The chemistry that Renner has developed with his receivers in guys like Sean Tapley, Eric Ebron, and Quinshad Davis should continue well into next season. Gio Bernard has proven to be an elite running back at the college level and has by one way or another scored in every game this year. By and large, the offense looks like they’ve really gotten comfortable in their new roles and that’s very encouraging to see. However, if there are any things that could be further developed, this is the last chance to do it.
The Terrapins have allowed 322.5 yards of total offense per game which the Tar Heels far surpass at totals just shy of 400 so it’s easy to believe that Carolina should roll given their season’s history. It’s hard to say if Carolina will be more run or pass focused early, but at the end of the day, the offense will go through Gio. Expect Bernard to humiliate the defensive front four for the Terps and waltz his way to another 100+ yard day with multiple scores.
I know Fedora is going to coach to win the football game, but I think he’ll do some things to switch it up too especially if Carolina builds a large lead early. I like Marquise Williams’ chances to do some things on offense this game that we have only seen him do sparingly this season. From time to time, Williams has come in and scrambled for big chunks of yards and has thrown a few completions. Most of his playing time has been in mop up duty to teams such as Elon and Idaho, but Williams is the type of quarterback that fits the spread offense perfectly. With Renner having a great season under center and the Heels battling in some close games we haven’t seen Fedora switch it up on the field for multiple plays at a time, but I truly think that Williams is the QB of the future and with this being the last game he has to coach before they start counting for real, he will run some things that we aren’t accustomed to seeing in order to get a feel for them for seasons going forward. If that’s the case, Williams should see more snaps.
I’d like to see some trickery and some gadgets, but all in all, I want the Heels to put up points in droves. I can’t imagine that Fedora has a strong feeling one way or another on Maryland bolting for the Big Ten, but his players will more than likely want to send them on their way limping. I expect that they’ll do so.
The Tar Heels will suit up looking for one last win during their dress rehearsal season. Fans should pay close attention to this game because this will be your last look until the spring to watch a developing offense that will define the team’s success for the foreseeable future. Fedora seems to have plenty of confidence in his scheme to this point, but whatever in game fine tuning issues there are that may still left, I hope he gets them ironed out on Saturday.