Adequate time has now passed for us to look back at the UNC Georgia Tech game and really see what can be learned about this year’s North Carolina football team. The Heels played their first ACC game against the Yellow Jackets and lost a close one on the road 28-20. The defense didn’t play poorly, and the offense didn’t do too bad either. Really, what ended up happening was the Tar Heels were just worn down. UNC’s defense was gassed in the fourth quarter, and rightfully so, because the defense was on the field almost twice as much as the offense. You can’t expect a defense to play at a superior rate for 40 minutes.
The time of possession advantage was the reason that GT won the game, and the reason they win many of their games. This isn’t really a big secret; wearing down teams and dominating time of possession is what Tech does. But one thing that is a big secret is this. UNC’s current system of fast paced offense puts it at a huge disadvantage when facing the Yellow Jackets and their triple option. In fact, I might even go as far to say UNC will never win a game against Paul Johnston’s GT teams with the Heel’s current coaching staff in place. UNC wants to play fast, GT wants to play slow. The slow team can dominate possession and usually does. UNC running hurry up offense really hurts the teams defense by not letting it rest. The ideal team to beat GT would be to be a slow, methodical offense that can pick apart the weak defense. UNC is the polar opposite of that slow offense, preferring the hurry up style that works so well with almost every other team besides GT. In conclusion, I’m not saying I hate the hurry up system or Coach Fedora. All I am concluding is that the hurry up offense works against the Tar Heels defense so much that it often leads to a loss.
Here are three more takeaways from UNC’s loss
Eric Ebron is a beast
Eric Ebron was often referred to UNC’s best player by the pundits calling the game on Saturday, and for once, I have to agree with them. Ebron causes lots of matchup problems for defenses, and he has the hands and the speed to exploit those problems. Heading into the meat of UNC’s schedule, the Heels need to target him even more.
UNC misses Gio
Its been covered time and time again, but I really miss Gio. He added an extra element of explosiveness to the UNC offense that this current stable of running backs doesn’t have. There was one point in the game when AJ Blue came in and made one or two nice spin moves at the line of scrimmage, juking out defenders. The problem is that he only gained like a yard, eventually being tackled for a minimal gain. I’m sure Gio would have had the vision and explosiveness to take that run from a minimal gain to a big play, and UNC really misses him for that.
Tim Scott is the secondary’s only hope
Before you go waving Tre Boston’s preseason All-ACC selection and interception stats at me, hear me out. Scott is a quick defender who showed promise stopping the run against GT, at one point seemingly recording 3 tackles in one drive. We will learn a lot more about the entire secondary this weekend against pass happy ECU. I expect bigger and better things from Tim Scott, because of his quickness in the pass defending game and strong fundamental tacking skills, in that game and going forward.