Yesterday afternoon, right after 6:00 p.m. EST, began the season for UNC Football, as the Tar Heels took on the Gamecocks as what the New York Post believed to be a lopsided “in-state” matchup. While the newspaper could use a bit of help in the geography department, they might just have someone who has an in with the Vegas odds makers, as South Carolina took this one 27 to 10. But, as is usually the case, the score did not tell the whole story in the first game of head coach Larry Fedora’s second campaign in Chapel Hill.
Here are some points for the first game of the season for North Carolina.
- The North Carolina defense came into the game with many question marks, it left the game with even more. As the announcers said during the game having seven players that are either freshman or walk-ons in the three deep is not going to help the team in the long run this season. Watching the many times that the opposing players got open for a first down, or more, proved that point over and over.
- The North Carolina offense looked like a squad that was waiting for Giovani Bernard to come onto the field, at least at the beginning of the game. It looked like the team was looking for a spark, one that in the 2012 season almost always came from the running back. In this game he was not there and it showed.
- North Carolina is going to lose a lot more games than we think this season if they allow big plays like yesterday. It was tough to watch South Carolina score before a minute and a half of the game had passed. But to watch the pass and catch with no pressure on either side of the pass was even harder. Only a naive fan would not think that the future opponents of the Tar Heels are not going to challenge them deep.
- North Carolina needs to stop the opposition on third down and stop finding themselves on third and long on offense. How many times did the announcers did they say “UNC needs to make a stop here”? Too many. And how many times did they say “UNC got the stop they needed”? Way too few. On the other hand for the hurry up offense that UNC Football wants to run getting themselves in third and long is going to hurt immensely.
- With more practice and lesser opponents, North Carolina could still have a good season, if some glaring problems are fixed. North Carolina needs to put this one behind them, not let it linger as they get ready for their home opener and then their bye week. The last thing that head coach Larry Fedora and his squad need to do is turn the loss against the Gamecocks into another loss because the team did not move on.
And yes, one for the other squad…
- For all the hype and publicity that defensive lineman Javedeon Clowney got, he sure was not as great as I thought he would be. And, even if the weather was 95 degrees, the young man looked out of shape for the first game of the season.
The Numbers of the game…
- North Carolina ran 86 plays, twenty more than South Carolina, but the total yards were 406 to 293 for the Gamecocks.
Do not get me wrong, if you watched the game, it was not all doom and gloom when it came to the Tar Heels. Bernard is not going to be donning the carolina blue anymore, but the combo of Romar Morris and A.J. Blue will be good enough to get the work done in the running department. This should open up the receivers, who did not see much action in this game.
But, after being smacked in the face like the Heels did, the positives will have to wait for a bit, or put in the back of the players’ mind. At least until Carolina comes home to Kenan Stadium for their home opener against Middle Tennessee State. On the other hand, just because the team that is opposing UNC Football isn’t the other Carolina it should not be taken lightly. And that is why, as I said previously, the next game for coach Fedora and his team is your proverbial trap game, and as such should not be taken lightly.