Before we close the books on the 2013 season of UNC football, we take one final look back at the film from the Heel’s big Belk Bowl win in Charlotte. UNC dominated the game and proved to a national audience that their program is on the rise and a force to be reckoned with in the ACC going forward. For now however, lets take a closer look at how the Heels beat the Bearcats and at some of the things that stood out to me on film. Welcome to the film room!
-The impact of that fumble after UNC punted on the first drive was huge. Although UNC did not come away with points, it swung the momentum in UNC’s favor and set up the Heel’s dominance on special teams.
-As I said in the report card piece, Marquise Williams had a mixed bag performance on Saturday. His numbers were not great, but he managed the game well and ran really well. He still needs to work on his execution throws (he missed a couple of screen passes) and deep ball throws, but overall, his passing game is solid enough to maintain the starting QB job next year.
UNC’s defense really played well considering the circumstances on Saturday. With so many injuries, especially to the linebacking core, UNC really had to shuffle guys around and use unnatural sets. Just look at the picture above. UNC is playing three down lineman, a bandit in number 8 Otis standing up right behind them, and then basically one linebacker and six defensive backs. Talk about shuffling. But the Heels still showed up and played well. Tre Boston especially deserves credit for playing so well at linebacker, which is not his natural position.
-Players on UNC’s defense that stood out to me- Norkeithus Otis and Brian Walker.
-If UNC can get a full healthy season of Otis- watch out. He was playing hurt or out all season long and still produced good numbers. He fits the defensive end/linebacker role so well, and is a talented pass rusher going against bigger linemen. His potential for a healthy season is All-ACC type numbers.
-As for Walker, he has the chance to develop into an All-ACC corner in the coming years. He has great instincts and is active in the run game. Look for Walker to anchor UNC’s secondary next season.
-UNC still had a lot of penalties in this game, continuing a negative theme from all season long. But the amount of penalties should decrease next season as a young team gets a year older and more experienced.
-North Carolina’s offense next season has to find a way to put the ball in Quinshad Davis’s and Ryan Switzer’s hands even more.
-Davis only had one catch in Saturday’s Belk Bowl win, but he has the potential to fill Eric Ebron’s production next year. I want to see more of Quinshad Davis screens and deep ball shots next year.
-Regarding Switzer, its obvious he is North Carolina’s most explosive player. He has shown that explosiveness in special teams so far, but I want to see it more on offense. Get him the ball more on screens, jet sweeps, and pass routes more and more next season to let him do was he does.
-Brendon Kay took a lot (read: A LOT) of hits in this game, and it really impacted his performance. Getting pressured that much gets in a quarterback’s head, and the QB is not able to get in rhythm as a passer when all he is thinking about is “My back hurts” and “My O-Line Stinks.” Credit the UNC D-Line and linebackers for bringing the pressure and not letting Kay get comfortable on Saturday.
-I think every NFL scout and UNC fan watching Saturday shuddered and screamed, “Don’t do that!” to Eric Ebron after he leapt over Cincy’s defenders the second time and landed on his back. It was a cool play, but you don’t need to do that when you are up big and have a nice paycheck waiting for you in the NFL.
-Not enough was made of North Carolina’s final drive against UC. With 12:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, UNC got the ball on their own 3 yard line and had to run some clock and ice the game. Some notes on the drive.
-It was the equivalent of the basketball team needing to make free throws in the bonus, and unlike the UNC bball team usually does, Carolina hit their free throws.
-It was a strong drive that ate nearly nine minutes of clock. I counted 12 rushes and three passes, while converting two third downs and being stalled on a final 3rd and 11.
-The key to keeping the drive alive was success on first and second down. UNC only had three third downs the entire drive and ran the ball effectively, keeping the clock running.
-It was weird to see Larry Fedora’s “hurry up offense” going so slow, but the Heels executed the slow drive when they had to.