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Stopping Tyrod Taylor

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The most interesting matchup for me tomorrow is going to be what UNC defense is installed to counter Tyrod Taylor. The Hokie passing attack hasn't been particularly successful in the past couple of years, netting 76 yards through the air last year (with Taylor under center) and 107 the year before (with Glennon at the helm). Virginia Tech has managed one passing touchdown in the last two years, and that was a 41-yarder thrown by a wide receiver; the entire margin of victory in both of those games can be attributed to one man, Brendan Ore (204 yards and four touchdowns in two games).  Ore, of course, was kicked off the team in March, and the current running game isn't as impressive.

The zone defense UNC unveiled against Rutgers was phenomenal to watch, and did a great job of shutting down an experienced, pocket-passing quarterback with good receivers. Taylor is none of those things, being a young, scrambling quarterback with no one to throw to and 186 yards on the ground in the last two games. So the question is, do you stick with the zone? A well-covered secondary will just encourage Taylor to run more, and although the front line is being coached to not overpursue, long drives of short runs from under center could sap the Heels. On the other hand, much of the defense against Rutgers hinged on the linebackers closing in quick on short plays to prevent yards after the catch, which you'd think would also be handy in limiting Taylor. And on the gripping hand, last year's young defense held him to 11 net yards rushing and sacked him four times, so the old way of playing had some benefits.

There's a reason I'm not paid the big bucks to coach college football, and I don't have the answer to this. I'll be very interested to see what Carolina does pull out, though.