Our Guest Blogger this week is Jake from TareEye or Buckheel. Yes, he is a confused individual who can't seem to make up his mind to cheer for tOSU or UNC. We traded questions earlier this week and here are his responses. Click here to see our responses on his site.
1. It seems as if Butch Davis is making his mark in Chapel Hill. What about him is so different from John Bunting?
Bunting is a Carolina man that had the backing of the administration and his teams mostly for that reason. He represented the University well, but he just wasn’t a good football coach.
Even though Carolina finished last season with four wins, which was only one more than Bunting’s final season, it was clear that Davis was changing things.
Why? Well, it was mostly the little things that he implemented that began to change the culture. All of the sudden, the home games were amped up with fireworks, pregame festivities and other little things that just made fans excited.
A general feeling that football would return to glory engulfed Chapel Hill.
As a fan, I can genuinely say that until the last week or so with all the preseason polls and discussion I have not been looking forward to basketball season.
Blasphemy! I can’t say that’s true for the entire fan base, but it certainly is true for those that appreciate football here at Carolina. It’s a process—Carolina fans are conditioned to enjoy basketball more, but Butch is changing that.
This link about sums up why he's a better coach.
But when it comes to the X’s and O’s I think Davis’ willingness to experiment and adapt separates him from Bunting. Davis still makes coaching mistakes—the management of the Virginia game most noticeably—but he truly is a fan’s coach.
2. Last week, Florida State tried to prepare for the triple option by practicing without a ball. How are the Tar Heels preparing for our offense?
You know I haven’t heard any details, but I know last week the Heels rested and started looking at Georgia Tech, so they’ve had an extra week to prepare for the offense.
That’s interesting that Florida State practiced without a ball. Davis hasn’t mentioned anything in his press conferences other than saying that Georgia Tech’s offense forces the secondary to play closer to the line of scrimmage, setting up for play action passes.
From my basic knowledge, the triple option requires the linebackers and lineman to play extremely disciplined. If the quarterback decides to keep it, going straight after him sets up for a big play via the pitch.
The Heels are speedy, but I would argue that they lack speed at defensive end and the linebackers. The defensive tackles—most notably Marvin Austin—are NFL sized and should take away the fullback, but I would have thought the same about Florida State—the play where the fullback took the ball straight up the middle was nifty.
Yet Carolina has merely limited opponents’ running game rather than taking it away. Obviously, this will be the key to the game—can UNC limit the running game?
3. We have not had a lot of time to actually look at Carolina's basic defensive setup. Describe it to us. Who is the defensive player to avoid?
Trimane Goddard is a beast at safety and has made several game-changing interceptions, most notably against Miami. He’s tied for fourth in the nation with 5 picks this season.
Carolina runs a basic 4-3 defense and limits blitzing on passing downs. For the most part, the Heels prefer to play it safe, and it has paid off as they have are tied for first in most interceptions by a team.
A lot of anger from the fan base resulted from the Virginia game in which the Heels played prevent defense late and allowed a game-tying touchdown. This defense also allowed Boston College to score two touchdowns—both at the end of the halves.
The biggest knock on the Heels is definitely the failure of the prevent defense. It allowed Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia and Boston College to drive down much of the field late in the game. Fortunately, turnovers sealed the victory for the Heels against Notre Dame and Miami.
This prevent defense utilizes three lineman and eight defensive backs. However, I don’t think this defense will be unveiled against Georgia Tech unless the game comes down to a 2 minute drill. Carolina doesn’t ever use a standard nickel package—five defensive backs, two linebackers and four lineman—to my knowledge.
4. Who is one player that is going to have to step it up, even up to average, in order for y'all to win?
Cam Sexton has been the key for the Heels since Yates and now Tate have gone down.
The defense has been fairly reliable this season; I expect them to give Carolina a chance in every game with a big play or two—I’m always surprised with the plays they pull out.
But when Sexton shines, the Heels are difficult to defend. Even without Tate, Carolina employs several weapons at receiver that make them extremely dangerous. Hakeem Nicks is a beast of a receiver that can make plays downfield or turn short passes into huge gains. If Sexton can get Nicks the ball, and, most importantly, turn the ball over no more than once, than the Heels have a great chance to win the game.
Butch Davis found out against Virginia that you cannot play it safe—you must place confidence in your quarterback to make plays down the field. Sexton has proved that several times this season, but his tendency to throw interceptions dates back Bunting’s final season.
If Sexton turns the ball over more than once than the Heels loses this game. Period.
5. We are banged up as a team, but our secondary has probably had the worst of it. Do you predict the same amount of exploitation of this current weakness as we do?
Carolina’s strength is the passing game. With a few of the moving pieces gone, though, it seemed like it would regress. At first it did against Virginia, but it emerged again against Boston College—a team also weak in the secondary.
I don’t expect the type of outburst that Sexton and Nicks had against Boston College, but certainly that is what the coaches will focus on.
Carolina’s Shaun Draughn is quietly having a successful season after being moved from safety to running back. Draughn’s production surprises me as he does not seem like he would be a productive back, but the Heels have made it work. Draughn’s ability to hit the hole quickly allows the Heels to move the ball much better, but hasn’t shown more than giving the offense four or five yards consistently. He has not made many long plays.
Georgia Tech cannot sleep on the running game as the coaches have shown the willingness to exploit teams with whatever works.
But Carolina likes to pass on first down—something I love—and it can get them in trouble. However, it also makes it much more difficult to predict the Heels’ play calling.
6. We know about Franklin Street. But what is the best bar on Franklin Street?
Ah, well this blogger is modestly only 20 years of age with six months and six days until he can enjoy the Franklin street festivities. Not that I’m counting or anything.
However, if you want a good locally brewed beer and if you want to get a taste of Chapel Hill, Top of the Hill is the place to be. The beers are based off of local features, and the environment is perfect as the restaurant looks over Franklin Street. Top of the Hill is the place to be on Franklin Street