Carolina is 1-2 entering Saturday’s 12:30 game in Kenan Stadium against East Carolina, and Coach Larry Fedora and his squad have plenty of work to do on both sides of the ball following Saturday’s 28-20 loss in Atlanta to Georgia Tech.
First, the offense.
The Tar Heels are 12th in the ACC in scoring offense with 23.3 points a game and 10th in total offense with 374 yards a game. They are last in rushing offense at 111 yards a game.
“We’re just not playing as well offensively as I’d like,” Fedora said Monday at his weekly press conference. “It would be easy if it was just one thing, we would get that corrected. But we’re just not jelling as an offense—yet. Some of it is continuity upfront, young guys upfront, a lot of different pieces. We’re not getting into a flow. You have to get into a flow to keep moving the chains. You have a penalty here, a missed block there, a missed read here. On offense, you’ve got to have all 11 guys doing it right at the same time.”
Carolina is tied for 11th the league in scoring defense with 25 points a game allowed and 13th in total defense at 412 yards allowed. The unit played well in the first half Saturday at Georgia Tech as the Tar Heels had a 20-14 lead at halftime. But Tech’s potent spread option attack took over in the second half, grinding out 22 minutes of time of possession and two touchdowns.
Fedora liked that the game plan implemented by the coaches and few missed assignments by the players allowed them to be in the right places at the right times. But far too often as the game wore on, the Tar Heels missed tackles on Tech ball carriers.
“We had 21 missed tackles in the game,” Fedora said. “About five of them would have shut down third down and gotten us off the field. Unfortunately, we did not make those tackles. And some of those were tackles that were missed were without a blocker on them. We had some plays with guys showing incredible effort to get off blockers and make a tackle. But some of the misses, they were unblocked and were right where we were supposed to be, the way it was drawn up, and still couldn’t make the play. That’s disappointing.”
Saturday’s game is Military Appreciation Day and the Tar Heels will be shooting for their fifth straight win over the Pirates, who they have beaten annually since 2009.