UNC Football: Which Defensive Backfield will show up Saturday?


Schizophrenic that is the word I would use to describe UNC’s defensive backfield so far this season. Much of that has to do with them looking really good versus lesser competition and looking pretty poor versus better competition. While that is clearly a factor I don’t believe it is the only factor. Missed assignments have plagued UNC’s DBs in loses but in wins they have been far more disciplined.

Oct, 29, 2011; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels safety Tre Boston (10) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

I think confidence has a ton to do with it. UNC’s DBs look far more confident playing in the confines of Kenan and they
will be there again Saturday. So the question is will those confident DBs show up one more time in Kenan or will the level of competition bring back the DBs that look lost way more than they should? Well I will take the easy way out. I expect to see something in between.

For the most part Virginia Tech’s offense has looked completely pedestrian, even more to the point Logan Thomas has looked nothing like the player we saw last year. The team lacks the great run game they are accustom to and Thomas just doesn’t look like a legit every down passer. We know he lost weapons but he also seems to have lost his accuracy. Thomas barely completes 50% of his passes and has 8 TDs to 6 INTs.

Looking even deeper there isn’t a wideout that VT has that instils fear in to the heart of opponents. They have wideouts with certain athletic gifts but it seems as if Marcus Davis and Dyrell Roberts are still are struggling to grasp the position at this level. Also VT’s offense is just plain basic there is no other way to say it. It has been quite easy so far for legit defenses to defend because they can almost predict what is coming.

For the UNC secondary the formula is simple, don’t miss assignments and get help from the defensive line who need to apply pressure on an inaccurate Logan Thomas. Clearly I don’t expect the defensive secondary to play perfect they are still young and in a new system. I will however expect marked improvement from secondary we saw in Winston and in the first half in Louisville. Jabari Price has been playing better and better from game to game and Tre Boston seems to be developing to a complete leader who backs up his words with his play on the field. UNC has also been getting their hands on the ball and this is certainly a QB who is prone to mistakes.

Still the secondary will need some help, they cannot cover forever and no one should expect them to. Logan Thomas has been sacked 9 times this year the Tar Heels will need to get there early and often on Saturday to prevent him from finding any kind of rhythm.

The secondary has been effective when they are allowed to get in on the blitzing action. I expect them to have some blitzes called for them Saturday especially on third down. They just need to make sure if their number is called that they get there, obviously we know if they don’t it could spell bad news.

This brings me to what actually expect to see Saturday. Logan Thomas will throw for right around 225 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. UNC’s secondary will make some plays and they will probably miss on one or two but I expect their effort will be enough for the Heels to win if the offense doesn’t let them down. This isn’t the VT team we are use to seeing and this is not one of the better QBs UNC will see this year.

UNC’s secondary while not nearly where they need to be yet are getting better. Even though the level of competition goes up on Saturday I believe we will see a confident bunch, playing in what is clearly a venue they feel very good in, against a passing offense that is far from polished. Time for the Rude Boyz to make an appearance.