Fixing Carolina Football: Part One


Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams (12) runs as Virginia Tech Hokies linebacker Tariq Edwards (24) and safety Detrick Bonner (8) defend in the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC’s bye week comes at a great time for the Heels, giving them a chance to regroup and refocus for the second half of this season. The first half, to put it lightly, did not go so well. UNC sits at 1-4 with just seven games remaining in the season. The offense has had some bright spots while being consistently inconsistent,  and the defense is plain bad. This break in the season allows us at Keeping It Heel to try and fix UNC Football in six areas: running offense, passing offense, run defense, pass defense, special teams, and coaching. We will offer suggestions, comment on who should start and who should sit, and try and get the Tar Heels back on the right track in all facets of the game. We will tackle three areas a day, starting today with the offense and coaching.

Run Offense
Vital Stats- UNC is averaging 2.9 yards per carry, gained 500 yards and has a long run of 26 through fives games.

We all knew coming into 2013 that UNC’s rushing attack would be missing some key pieces from last season. Having Gio Bernard and Jonathan Cooper in Carolina blue always guaranteed that the Heels would have a good day on the ground. Those days are gone, and even though we thought AJ Blue, Romar Morris and others would be able to pick up the slack, they haven’t. Averaging 2.9 yards per carry just isn’t going to cut it this year, so UNC needs some RBs to step up in the second half. That back might just be TJ Logan, who burned his red-shirt last Saturday and looked pretty good in limited playing time (25 yards on five carries.) What Logan brings is speed and “big play ability,” two things UNC just hasn’t had this season without Gio. The Heels really need that explosiveness in the backfield, someone who can average five yards per attempt and carry the football team to victory. We will cover this more in coaching, but I think it might be time for UNC to start Logan against Miami to jump start the Heel’s stagnant run game.

Passing Offense
Vital Stats- UNC QBs have 1464 yards, 11 Touchdowns and five interceptions this season.

Every football team starts from the top down. If we are really going to fix UNC football, we have to find a solution to the quarterback situation. The question every UNC fan secretly has in the back of their mind, always lurking like a bad memory, is whether or not it is time to turn the car keys over to Marquise Williams. Now. I mean let Marquise start against Miami, even if Renner is healthy. It is a tough question, and the two QBs are really close numbers wise, granted Williams played four fewer games than Renner.

Renner: Completion %-59.9, Yds/A- 7.35, QB Rating- 133, Rushing Yards- N/A
Williams: Comp. %- 66.7, Yds/A- 8.11, QB Rating- 151, Rushing- 68, 3.2 per attempt

Both of these QBs are solid quarterbacks. Each can throw accurately and make enough plays to win football games. But I think the X-Factor between the two is that last stat. Quite frankly, Williams can create with his feet, and Renner can’t. That extra element that Williams brings is big enough to erase any small advantages that Renner has passing wise. I would even say that Williams is a good passer; he made all the throws against VT minus the interceptions, and his arrow is pointing up as a thrower. I think to really fix UNC’s offensive attack, you have to switch quarterbacks for good from Renner to Williams, starting against Miami on Thursday night.

Vital Stats- UNC’s record is 1-4 this season.

That stat above says it all. Evaluation of coaching comes down to wins and losses, and so far, UNC has been visiting the lost column a lot more than the win column. Coach Fedora has done a pretty solid job however, minus a few errant two point conversion play calls. But to really save this season, I think Fedora really needs to shake up the offense and get it back to its point producing ways of last season. I outlined the decisions in the previous two paragraphs- Start Logan at RB, and Marquise Williams at QB. That backfield is electric and talented, and way more likely to break off a big play than a tandem of Bryn Renner and AJ Blue. With that lineup, Carolina would have the skill position talent to score points and win football games. But I can’t put these motions into action, its up to Fedora to make a bold move and turn this season around. When a team is losing like UNC is, sometimes you need to make a big change or the taste of losing never really leaves a team’s mouth. That downward spiral of losing its tough to break out of, but starting a new RB and keeping the QB switch would do that. In order to fix UNC’s offense, Coach Fedora needs to make the tough decision and go forward with the talented young guns in the backfield.

Tell us if you agree or disagree in the comments below, and offer some of your own opinions as well. And come back tomorrow as we attempt to fix the defense and special teams.