HeelTube: One More Look At the UM Game, Trimane Goddard’s Interception, and Some of Our Mistakes

Last Saturday’s game against Miami was, at least in the ACC, one of the best games that you’ll see this season. Both teams had moments of brilliance, Miami jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and Carolina scored two touchdowns in the final nine and a half minutes to take a 28-24 lead with 46 seconds left.

The Trimane Goddard interception, however, might be the biggest play for the Tar Heels in a long, long time.

If he doesn’t fight his way in there, I have no doubt that Kayne Farquharson makes that acrobatic catch. To watch a play like that, where the outcome of the game literally changes hands in a fraction of a second…it’s insane. There’s no other word for it.

As fantastic as Carolina played at times, Miami looked pretty dominant at times against us, as evidenced by this UM highlight reel.

Granted, that was a very talented team we just faced. Graig Cooper and Robert Marve are undoubtedly two stars of the future. But there were many instances when the Hurricanes offense made us look just plain bad. The offensive line consistently opened holes for Cooper up until the fourth quarter. Marve was very successful in the short and medium-range passes, to which UNC’s zone coverage is often susceptible. And on rollouts, the Canes regularly fooled the defense into pursuing the QB while he dumped it off to an open receiver five yards in the flat.And this doesn’t even count the special teams’ unforced errors.

Just to be clear, I am absolutely stoked with how Saturday’s game turned, especially without T.J. Yates. However, as this video shows, this team still has a bit to work on.

BlogPoll Draft: Week Five

Much like a trip from LA to Corvallis, general insanity follows.

Rank Team Delta
1 Oklahoma 4
2 Alabama 6
3 Missouri 3
4 LSU 2
5 Penn State 6
6 Texas 4
7 Brigham Young 2
8 Texas Tech 8
9 South Florida 5
10 Vanderbilt 2
11 Utah 6
12 Boise State 6
13 Auburn
14 Georgia 10
15 Southern Cal 14
16 Kansas 3
17 Florida 14
18 Ohio State 2
19 Virginia Tech 4
20 Connecticut 6
21 Ball State 5
22 Fresno State 2
23 Northwestern 3
24 Maryland 2
25 Mississippi 1
Dropped Out: Wisconsin (#7), Wake Forest (#15), TCU (#21), Clemson (#22), Georgia Tech (#25).

Also Considered: North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Oregon, Catlab.

Ole Miss at #25 is absolutely bananas, and in all likelihood will only last one week. The rest, I can explain.

In my poll, if you lose to an unranked team, you drop out of the top 10. Simple. Alabama reaches #2 after destroying Georgia, who also make a big drop in this week’s poll. It may be difficult to justify putting them behind Auburn, though. The Tigers’ offense has been nonexistent, and they’ve kept close to two teams that, quite frankly, they shouldn’t.

LSU gets a slight drop for giving up more points to Mississippi State than Louisiana Tech, Auburn and Georgia Tech combined (24-23). Penn State goes up as they continue to run on all cylinders, and their demolishing of Oregon State looks that much better. Texas Tech goes up 8 spots for absolutely no reason, and looking at it now it’s kind of ridiculous.

Meanwhile, we get some new school madness. The Vanderbilt Football happy fun time ride makes it into the top 10, and BYU and Utah are 7th and 11th, respectively. This year’s Holy War matchup would be, in all likelihood, a BCS play-in game in one or both of these teams can stay undefeated.

At the bottom of the poll, pretty much everyone from 20 and below is a newcomer (UConn, Ball State, NW, Maryland, Ole Miss). I probably could have figured out a way to squeeze the Tar Heels into this poll, but I’m holding out until after the UConn game. If they beat the Huskies, Carolina will be in my Top 25. Promise.

The final, final poll will be published Wednesday morning. Until then, tell me what’s wrong with this one.

UNC vs. UConn: The BasketBowl

Picture Key:

A: Marcus Ginyard, absolutely pumped

B: reserve guard/pygmy Wes Miller, who I’m pretty sure has just bitten his tongue

C: Byron Sanders

D: Tyler, I think

E: Has just seen something disgusting on the other side of the stadium at the exact moment of the touchdown

F: Deon Thompson

G: “Hey, Will. This is coach Bunting. Have you considered being a defensive lineman?”

H: Don’t know…Bambale Osby?

I: Rayshawn

J: Ramses XVI, who couldn’t care less

K: Wants a high-five from Rayshawn, is so not getting it

L: ICE CREAM!!!

M: jumped over hedges, has not yet been noticed by campus security

N: Adarius Bowman doing a chicken dance. Duh.

I try to make a point about how UNC and UConn are both really good basketball schools, and how it’s peculiar that we enter this game with a combined 8-1 record (and, for all intents and purposes, should have been 9-0). Instead, I end up making this. Such are the inner machinations of my brain.

Are You Prepared To Live In A World…

…where UNC and Duke have the ACC’s two best offensive attacks?

Heading into October, this is a distinct possibility. In a conference which is, to put it kindly, offensively challenged, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils currently sit at 2nd and 3rd in ACC in points per game (31.0 and 30.8 ppg, respectively). Sure, Florida State is ahead of them, but they collected 115 of their 157 points against FCS opponents with a combined 5 wins in 2007. Let us simply revel in this oddity, though, and not get too far into semantics.

Both team shave their fair share of weapons. Duke’s Thad Lewis to Eron Riley might be the most underrated quarterback/receiver combination in the country. For UNC, Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, and Brooks Foster have made things a bot easier for whomever has lined up under center.

What makes the stat so peculiar, however, is the lack of a running game from either team. The Blue Devils have score a combined 72 points against Navy and Virginia (!!!) despite amassing a grand total of 162 yards rushing (78 and 84). Carolina defeated Miami on the road despite 35 yards on the ground, although a closer look at the stats show a solid 3 yard/carry performance by the tailbacks.

So what has been the secret? Forcing turnovers. In each team’s two respective victories against FBS opponents, UNC and Duke have a turnover margin of +6, a combined 14 takeaways and only two giveaways.

So, are you truly, zombies-are-attacking-ohmygod-run ready for prolific ACC offenses from Chapel Hill and Durham in the coming years? Because the future may be sooner than you think.

A Formal Apology to Cam Sexton

Cam, I have a confession to make. I don’t remember exactly what I said about you in your redshirt freshman year, but I am sure much of it was quite, to put it mildly, unflattering.

For this, Mr. Sexton, I offer my most sincere apologies. You have more than made up for the memories of 2006, most of which I now realize was not your fault, with your performance on Saturday afternoon. 148 passing yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter speak for themselves, and you never turned the ball over. In particular, those two touchdown passes were absolutely clutch.

i understand that this is just one game. Clearly, however, you have made great strides in your development during these two years. I now have great confidence in your abilities while T.J. Yates is absent.

Again, thank you for your performance against Miami, and I look forward to watching you lead the Carolina offense against Connecticut next week.

UNC vs. Miami Live Blog

Every game is still a toss-up this year, and this game will probably be decided not by Mike Paulus or Cam Sexton, but the running game, the receivers, and our defense.

Optimistic stat of the day: UNC is undefeated on the road in 2008, averaging 44 points per game. A stat completely out of context, but still. The live blog is in the link below.

Click Here

I’m Not Worried

Coming into this Saturday’s game against Miami, the biggest fuss surrounding UNC is the quarterback situation. T.J. Yates is gone for half the season, and there doesn’t seem to be much separation between Mike Paulus and Cam Sexton (if you believe coach Davis, of course). No matter who plays the general consensus is that the Heels are going to be reeling from this loss.

But you know what? I’m not all that worried about Paulus or Sexton running the offense. Perhaps I should be, but I’m not. And here’s why.

The UNC offense will not change much. Both Butch Davis and John Shoop have made it clear that they are going to run the same offense as they would with Yates as their QB. Both Sexton and Pulus have taken a lot of snaps in this offense at some point, either while the QB situation was still in doubt last year or when Yates was recovering from shoulder surgery this past offseason.

That said, I think we will see a few tweaks to what Shoop has shown us earlier in the year. One of the offenses bread-and-butter- plays last year was the one step drop and quick pass to a receiver at the line of scrimmage. If the corners gave a bit too much space, Yates would take the snap and quickly throw it to Nicks, Tate, or Foster. I lieu of a true running game, this play consistently gained 5-10 yards for the Heels. Those types of plays have been strangely abesnt from the playbook so far in 2008 (presumably because Shoop trusts Yates to make riskier throws). Given the new QB situation and the continued struggles in the backfield, it would be interesting to see if the quickpass makes it back into the playbook.

Both QBs have their advantages. Sexton is certainly a more experienced player than Paulus. While he got a bit of a bad reputation after he was thrown into the fire that UNC’s disastrous 2006 season, people tend to forget that he, like Paulus, was a 4 star recruit out of high school, and was expected to ultimately become the starter before complications got in the way (foot injury, Joe Dailey, his 2006 performance, Yates). A more mobile QB than Paulus, it’s quite possible that he’s a much better quarterback now than he was two years ago. So, no matter what you think of him, Sexton may be every bit the talent (or enigma) that Paulus is right now.

As for Paulus, there is little doubt about his arm strength, but he definitely won;t threaten anyone with his legs. Like Sexton, he was recruited to be the eventual starter before Yates burst onto the scene. While he does have experience in practice, Virginia Tech was his first true in-game situation. For Paulus, the next five or six games are not just filling in at QB. This could be his to prove, if he plays well enough, that he once again deserves consideration for the starting job. (Or if nothing else, possibly auditioning to transfer in the offseason.) If he cracks under the pressure, we’ve got a stable QB situation when T.J. comes back. If he shines, we’ve got 2 very good QB’s from which to choose.

There are 21 other guys on the field, and their feet are fine. As much as we like to believe otherwise, a good quarterback isn’t always the game-changing talent. Often it’s the QB who just manages the offense, doesn’t make mistakes, and helps his team play better. Uh oh, I think I’m beginning to sound like Dr. Lou! OH NO! Too…many…cliches…(administers tranquilizer dart on self, faints)

(wakes up 4 hours later)…OK, where was I? Oh yes. My point is that how well our quarter back plays will depend, at least partially, on how the rest of the team plays. The defense has to continue performing well, starting against the very talented (if green) Hurricanes. In particular, we’ve seen our linebackers perform above expectations and the emergence of Robert Quinn at defensive end. The offensive line has to perform, giving time for the QB as well as controlling the line of scrimmage for the tailbacks. If everything goes as it should, pretty much all the QB will have to do is hand the ball off on half of the plays and find an open receiver on the other half.

The mistakes of last week are correctable. Let’s face it: Mike Paulus’ pick to Macho Harris, while costly, didn’t cost Carolina the game. Penalties cost them the game. A subpar rushing attack cost them the game. Defensive fatigue cost them the game.

Most importantly, experience seemed to cost them the game. Discounting the third quarter drive where everyone believes VT seized momentum, there were many other factors that led to their comeback victory. UNC committed two bad fumbles that led to 10 Tech points. Jay Wooten missed an early 40 yard field goal. The Heels tried to go for the first down on 4th and 1 at the VT 5 and were called for a delay of game, forcing the Heels to settle for a field goal. A late hit on a fourth quarter punt return ultimately led to the game-winning field goal. Discounting the infamous drive and Paulus’ pick, human error on the part of UNC led to a 23 point swing in favor of the Hokies, from a plausible 27-7 UNC lead.

The good news about all of this is that all of these mistakes can be corrected, and almost certainly will not be repeated to the same extent.

BlogPoll, Week Four

I was really looking forward to putting UNC in the top 25 this week. Alas, I cannot.

Rank Team Delta
1 Southern Cal
2 LSU 8
3 Florida 2
4 Georgia 1
5 Oklahoma 3
6 Missouri 2
7 Wisconsin 1
8 Alabama 1
9 Brigham Young 5
10 Texas 1
11 Penn State 5
12 Vanderbilt 8
13 Auburn 4
14 South Florida 2
15 Wake Forest 4
16 Texas Tech 3
17 Utah 4
18 Boise State 8
19 Kansas 1
20 Ohio State 5
21 TCU 1
22 Clemson 3
23 Virginia Tech 3
24 Fresno State
25 Georgia Tech 1

Dropped Out: East Carolina (#6), Oregon (#17), Illinois (#23).

Also Considered: Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Ball State, Northwestern (seriously!)

Brief Explanations: LSU jumps up to #2 based on their road win against Auburn, which might be the most quality victory for any team thus far. Vanderbilt makes a similar jump for being 4-0 for the first time since Cornelius himself was captain of the team. Boise State makes the leap based on their big road victory over Oregon, albeit hampered by the fact that the Ducks are now on their fifth string quarterback. Paul Johnson seems to be doing a good job for a fairly impressive Georgia Tech team, and Virginia Tech is here because dammit, Frank Beamer knows the science of winning ugly 8-9 times a year that we mortals can barely comprehend.

East Carolina and Oregon drop out with their losses, and Illinois drops for no apparent reason.

The rest is pretty ho-hum. Discuss.

Hello, Deer. Have You Met Headlights?

Coming out of the tunnel in the second half…

Mike Paulus: Yeah, I am sooo pumped for this game, even though I’m probably not going to see a snap. But hey, if I’m in the game, it;s because you’ve slammed the door shut, T.J. Now let’s kick some! Let’s go, T.J.! Let’s go, Quan! Let’s go, Greg! WHOOOOOOOO!!!

(Mike Paulus has just patted the back of each player just mentioned, unwittingly giving them an radio chip in the process.)

Third Quarter. UNC is up 10-3 against Virginia Tech.

This game ain’t looking half-bad. Defense is dominating, we’re in field goal range, and T.J. is looking pretty sharp.

T.J. Yates: HUT HUT!

Radio: Beep beepbeedeedeep beedeedeep beedeedeepeep beedeedeepeep beeeeeeeeeeeeep

T.J. Yates:

Must…sprint…backwards…into…defensive…player…

(Yates is sacked for a loss of 20 yards, and hurts his left foot in the process)

Oh, no! T.J. can’t be hurt!

Butch: Get him out of there!

Yates: I’m…fine…coach…I’ll…stay…here…

(Yates performs 7 step drop on bad foot, is sacked)

Butch: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!

Yates: I don’t know what came over me OW OW OW OW

Alright Mike, get yourself together. This game is on your shoulders now. Hopefully we can get the running game going. Keep the pressure off, you know. You can do this, Mike, This is what you came here for.

Next possession…

Alright, Well start with a run up the middle. Can’t be that bad. HUT HUT! (hands of to Greg Little) GO! GO GO GO GO GO! YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! WAY TO GO GREG! WAY TO GO! Whoo, okay. 17-3. Defense is playing well. Pressure’s off.

VT possession. 3rd and 5. Tyrod Taylor has just been stopped for no gain.

Way to go defense! Way to go!

Unnamed Hokie Player:

Ron Cherry: After the play was over, personal foul, on the…

Radio: BEEEEP BEEDEEDEEP BEEPDEEDEEDEEPBEEEP BEEEEEEEEP

Cherry:

…on the defense. 15 yards from the dead ball spot, first down.

WHAT! He had Quan by the mask! How is that not on Tech, Ron? Oh, well, we can still force a field goal kick.

Virginia Tech scores after another, er, “odd” call, and the score is 17-10.

Okay, so they’ve cut the lead to seven. But come on, that was a fluke. We can still be in control of this game.

So, we’ll just do this like last time. handoff to Greg up the middle and see what happens. HUT HUT!

Radio: BEEEPBEDEDEEEPBEEEP BEDEDEEPBEEP BEEEEEEEEP

Greg Little:

Must…let…go…of…ball…at…inopportune…moment…

Okay, we’re in the red zone, getting into crunch time. We’ve made it this far, I think we can finish this drive get the momentum back, and walk away with victory. Alright, keep it cool.

HUT HUT!

Let’s see to the right here. Hey look! Foster’s open in the flat…

Radio: BEEPBEDEEPBEBEDEEEEEPPBEPBEDEEEP BEEEEP

Must…throw…deep…ball…into…coverage…hope…Hakeem…gets…lucky…

Macho Harris: Mmm yummy delicious interception

Crowd: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Wha…what just happened? Oh come on! What made me throw that to Nicks? How could i be so stupid!

Hokies win the game, 20-17.

Okay, something’s up. way too many weird things have been going on. How could this have happened? HOW!

Meanwhile, not far away…

(phone rings)

(phone rings)

(ph-)

Anonymous voice from Durham #1:

Cut here.

Ananymous voice from Durham #2:

Hey, it’s Greg. Just wanted to let you know that the plan worked. Phase one of Operation Sabotage is complete.

Anonymous voice from Durham #1: Excellent. But I still can’t believe you got your brother to become part of the plan.

Anonymous voice from Durham #2: I know! That dude is so gullible when he’s around me.

Anonymous voice from Durham #1: Muahahahaha….

Anonymous voice from Durham #1: BWAHH-HAHAHAHAAAAAAA…

TO BE CONTINUED…

A Visual Representation of Me At the UNC-Virginia Tech Game

First two and a half quarters:

Pure jubilation. Sure, it was only a 14 point lead, but Greg Litlle had just run 50 yards for a touchdown to put us up 17-3. And honestly, where the hell was Virginia Tech’s offense gonna come from?

Final quarter and a half:

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

You can use that picture to describe the Paulus interception to Macho Harris. Or the Greg Little fumble. Or the Yates injury. Or any of the frustrating penalties. That was pretty much everyone’s face in the stadium in the fourth quarter.

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