…we should probably preview Georgia Tech.
Let’s get this out of the way. Both offenses are probably going to lose the battle at the line of scrimmage. Georgia Tech’s offensive line is too small compared to Carolina’s DTs, and the Heels O-line is so banged up that Shaun Draughn will have Derrick Morgan nightmares tonight. Morgan would probably have found his way into the backfield no matter what, but you get my point.
It’s not going to be pretty unless either team can develop the passing game. Tech, of course, will be focusing on this for most of the game after being torched by Kyle Parker and Jacory Harris in their last two matchups. UNC clearly has the air advantage, especially after Erik Highsmith has been an absolute revelation at wide receiver. Coming into Spring practice, he the #6 WR option at best; now he’s on pace to put up Hakeem Nicks numbers. When Georgia Tech has the ball, if Josh Nesbitt isn’t throwing it to Dermaryius Thomas, he’s not throwing it. I’m not kidding; the rest of the team has caught exactly three passes from him all season.
Not all hope is lost for the offensive lines. Both lines know their weaknesses, and intend to diminish them somewhat. UNC is going to use a lot of play action and waggle passes, and while the Tech line is smaller than others, they are more nimble by the nature of the offense Tech runs. How well they are able to hold their ground at the point of attack will be the difference in this game.
And therein lies Tech’s biggest problem. The point of the option offense is to have as many points of attack available as possible, so that the defense has to account for them all and eventually a seam opens up. UNC has some of the fastest linebackers in the country in Bruce Carter, Zach Brown and LORD QUANTAVIUS, and they’ll have been coached to stay at home no matter what.
I don’t have much confidence in UNC’s offense today. Paul Johnson is really going to have his team fired up, and playing well on the road is always tough. I think, however, that the Heels defense will give the offense just enough room for error to leave Atlanta with the victory.
Prediction: UNC 17, Georgia Tech 12.
For more about the Yellow Jackets, check out the excellent Tech blog From The Rumble Seat.