Before we start thinking and/or believing that North Carolina (1-1) defeating Middle Tennesse State (1-1) 40 to 20 is the beginning of a good season, let’s me say this… many things need to be fixed for that to happen. There were plenty of errors on both sides of the ball, heck, there was an error before the game began for the Tar Heels. And there was also an error outside of the field itself, but that one had nothing to do with the team.
If you are the optimistic type you can say that finding errors in an offense that had over 500 yards (5th time in the Fedora era) while scoring 40 points (7th time in 14 games) is being a nit picker. Or that you would be a stickler if you can fault a defense that had three interceptions and only allowed the Blue Raiders to score once the game was in hand.
But I am not an optimist, nor a pessimist, I try to be a realist, and to be that, even with all of the above stated, when it comes to UNC Football it has a way to go to be a contender for the Coastal Division. To be fair… more of the issues are on the defensive side of the ball, just like last season, but at the end of the line you win and lose as a team.
Bryn Renner had a good day on the field, throwing for 339 yards, a score and an INT (first one in 140 pass attempts), but at times in the first two games of this campaign he has not looked as sharp as he did in the second half of the 2012 season. And while some may take this as bashing a young man playing college football, that is not my intent. It is just to point out how I see it. If you watched the game it seemed like the whole offense stuttered after half time, playing a lot worst than in the first 30 minutes.
The UNC D looked good at time in this game, but if not for an interception in the end zone it’s the Blue Raiders that score on their opening drive of the game. While no one can predict the outcome if that would have happened, however it is not a stretch saying that going from being down 7 nothing to a one handed interception by Tre Boston has to be a momentum changer. And just like the offense, the UNC D fell a lot in the second half, giving up over 300 yards to the opposition.
It almost felt that when the defensive four were on track something good would happen, but when they were off their game slightly the opponents would find wide open targets all over the field.
We can say that the errors were a lot less noticeable in this game then against South Carolina a week and a half ago. However one must ask… is this because they were less of a problem or because the opponent was less of a challenge? I hope the first one, but I do fear the second one. With a trip to Georgia Tech looming two weeks away I doubt anyone wants them to be repeated.
“I thought there were a lot of times today when we were playing the type of ball we want to play, and then there were other times we didn’t,” coach Larry Fedora said afterward. “We’ve got a lot to correct. We’ve got a lot of room for improvement in all three phases. But there were some really bright spots out there today.”
Right now I see UNC as a team that can win its fair share of games. Finding a way to eight victories and a decent bowl game, something that has been the norm for a while. But if head coach Larry Fedora and its staff intend to have this squad fighting for the divisional crown they must find a way to plug the many holes in the defense. As well as keeping the team going for the full game and not just half of it. Without a doubt letting up against a stronger opponent could easily cost this Carolina squad.
Now to the mistake before the game, where Carolina kicked off not the first half, not the second half, but both halves, which is something I have never ever heard happening before. The head coach said that there was a communication issue between the bench and the captains that led to this error. I would have to agree with that statement!
Lastly, to the mistake outside of the field. A picture was put up by Todd Carter on facebook, showing the stands of Kenan, or better said… the empty stands of Kenan Stadium. As I wrote a while back, in order to have a top notch program you must have the school on board, which it seems they are, have a good coach, which we do have and have the fan base behind them. This is football, not a meatloaf song where “two out of three ain’t bad”! So, UNC Football fans… let’s step it up as much as we want our school, our program, our coaches and our players to step it up, or else do not complain when you get what you get!