Continuing their season after the Virginia Tech game, UNC will need to handle the rest of the regular season well to finish their goal of repeating as ACC champs. This is a tricky time of the year. The newness of the season has started to fade, along with the initial excitement. It’s no longer a new-car type of smell in Chapel Hill. This is a crucial period in the Tar Heels’ schedule. They must continue to stay focused.
Game #6: Miami
What to Exploit: They’re kind of one dimensional. A strong passing attack meshes with a mediocre run game of averaging 144 yards on the ground. If UNC can focus attention on stopping the run game early and make them pass-heavy. Then, drop back and focus on pick sixes.
What to Watch Out For: Quarterback Stephen Morris is a beast. He finished last season with 3,345 yards and an impressive 21 touchdowns. Miami was 25th in passing yards nationally, 295 yards a game through the air. With UNC’s wobbly secondary last season, Coach Larry Fedora needs to keep Morris guessing with different packages and looks.
Game #7: Boston College
What to Exploit: The Boston College Eagles don’t score a lot. Last season, they averaged under 20 points a game and ended with a national ranking of 111th. UNC needs to focus on scoring as early and as often as possible. This will force BC out of their game plan of most likely, clock management. UNC quarterback Bryn Renner needs to get the ball out from the first whistle.
What to Watch Out For: Chase Rettig was the sole bright spot for the Eagles last season. The rising senior led BC to an impressive 45th nationally in passing at 258 yards a game. Look for the Eagles to do the same as Miami and try to beat UNC through the air. It’s about all they have.
Game #8: N.C. State
What to Exploit: You can bet UNC fans and players will have this game circled in bright red Sharpie. After last year’s insane punt-return-for-the-win by Giovani Bernard, UNC went home victorious and State players had their heads down. I also went to the game and I just went home hoarse—but happy. The Tar Heels ought to be sitting a little prettier with the exit of quarterback Mike Glennon but they still need to put emphasis on stopping the pass game early. The Wolfpack were 111th in rushing yards last season and the more we can force them to run, the better for UNC.
What to Watch Out For: They put a solid amount of points on the scoreboard. State put up 28 a game last season and the Tar Heels had to often outscore opponents just to get a victory. UNC needs to play lock-down defense and throw diverse packages at the State offense, trying to confuse a young quarterback. Don’t sleep on this team. Their blood is probably still boiling.
Game #9: Virginia
What to Exploit: Virginia is a pretty poor running team. They just cracked the top 100 with a 98th national ranking in rushing yards per game (128). UNC needs to put focus on its cornerbacks and safeties and let the big boys up front clog the middle against a mediocre running back core. This way, the Tar Heels will have more bodies and blitz packages to stop the Cavaliers’ strength: passing.
What to Watch Out For: Quarterback Michael Rocco is a tough assignment for the Heels. He’s 6’3’’, 225 pounds, and finished last season with just under 2000 yards and 13 touchdowns. Rocco is also entering his senior year and a win against a sleeping Tar Heel defense would be something he could hang his hat on. UNC needs to keep its focus.