I have had two days to stew marinate on the loss and here are some additional thoughts.
- T.J. Yates might very well be the real deal which could end up really sucking for Mike Paulus. The poise and instincts Yates shows in the pocket are everything you would hope from your starting QB. In fact the passing game in general is exciting and from this point forward will be referred to as the Quick Strike Offense(QSO) Obviously Hakeem Nicks had a game he would rather forget but everyone knows he has the tools as does Brandon Tate.
- It has been astutely pointed out that the key play at the end of the game was not the botched snap but rather the fumble on the QB-center exchange two downs prior. UNC was sitting on 2nd and 4 to go and if they get the first down there it is possible they could have pushed a little close and given Barth a chance to kick the potential game winner as the last play in regulation.
- The pass defense needs all sorts of tweaking as does the general pressure applied to the pocket. That being said, UNC has a decent schedule as far as opposing QBs go the rest of the season. Then again that is more of a product of playing in the ACC and not drawing Boston College than it is anything else.
- Penalties, penalties, penalties. Sometimes you can get away with several penalties but in UNC's case they all seemed to come at the worst possible time. Two personal fouls and two offsides on kickoffs are pretty much unacceptable in my book and I imagine Butch Davis feels the same way.
- Speaking of Davis, the most impressive thing he took away from the game was the character. I would absolutely agree. Over the past six years UNC teams have been known to lay down when the going got tough or show zero life resulting in a trouncing. Not this team. The change of attitude is remarkable and stands as the #1 item on the list of key adjustments made by the new coaching staff. I, for one, was fairly adamant that my chief concern with the program was not so much about winning but rather representation. I would love to win eight times or more every season and go to a bowl game but I also want to see a team on the field that fights on every down and makes you proud to be a Tar Heel fan when the game is over regardless of the score. That is what I saw Saturday night. Everything that went wrong in Greenville is totally fixable by either experience, player development or bringing in better talent at certain positions. All that will happen in due course under this coaching staff. Until that comes to fruition I am satisfied with knowing that these guys show up to play and play hard to the very end. As Carolina Watercooler succinctly put it, "Enjoy The Era"