UPDATE: Allow me to add this quote from Carolina March which pretty much sums it up:
I want to say, "On the bright side..." here, but there is no bright side. There is only this. And this is very, very bad football.
I scarcely know where to begin. I do know if the football team continues this impersonation of a hen house the switch to basketball mode in Tar Heel Nation will be made within a week.
This was an atrocious performance on the offensive side of the ball since...well...last week. At least last week it was against a legitimate team that had some potential NFL players on defense not to mention a skewed time of possession which kept the offense of the field. In this one there was very little excuse. The defense did their job with the exception of not creating enough turnovers. Other than that, holding the opponent to nine points until the final five minutes of the game is more than enough to secure the win. And before I delve into the grossly dysfunctional offense let me point out that Robert Quinn is a beast. A freaking beast. The defense as a whole played well but Quinn was on a completely different level posting four tackles for loss and three sacks which is made more impressive by the fact UVa QB Jameel Sewell is fairly mobile. So kudos to Quinn and I hope he enjoys his evening because he showed up and did his job today.
The same could not be said for the offense which, as I poured over the stat sheet, presented not one single redeemable quality or individual from today's performance. Seriously. The big contributor on the offensive end today was Greg Little and his paltry 63 yards receiving which was almost half of what T.J. Yates threw today. The run game sucks. It sucks so bad I think we may have to come up with a new name for it because "running" or "rushing" denotes you are actually moving forward in some way and based on what I have seen that is not happening. Shaun Draughn is not getting it done nor is Yates in the passing game.
Now I am fully aware UNC has offensive line issues and is dealing with a group of receivers that is either young or simply not that good. The former puts enormous burden on the running backs to make things happen and the latter calls on Yates to be more than I fear he is capable of being. Still we are talking about going against a UVa defense that had yet to surrender fewer than 26 points in an 0-3 start and the 26 was posted by William & Mary. There is no reason why UNC should not be getting something out of this offense. I have to think there is enough talent on the field even if the offensive line issues are somewhat crippling. What that leaves you with is two options: Either the players are just not playing well or there is some epic fail going on with the coaching. I am beginning to think the latter though I lack the acumen on football issues to know for sure.
I do know that with Yates, John Shoop has always employed short passes with the occasional downfield strike. In the days of Nicks and Tate, this was very effective because either of those guys were capable of creating space to make catches thrown underneath but also had the speed to pick up yards after the catch. Against UVa Yates was 20-36 for 135 yards. Twenty completions on 36 passes is a respectable completion percentage but 135 yards only gets you about 6.75 yards per catch. Again that is respectable but when UNC's longest completion of the day was 23 yards it simply does not cause the opposing defense to open the coverage up any. On one level, you take what the defense gives you and UVa has a decent enough pass defense to perhaps give UNC some issues. However, it seems like a combination of questionable play calling, the failure of the running backs to actually produce and some inaccuracy with some of Yates passes created the incredible mess we witnessed today. I am not sure how to fix it but I do know that if UNC continues to struggle mightily on offense versus any team not named The Citadel and ECU, what do you think is going to happen when the Heels face teams who have actually won games like Virginia Tech. Heck, I am worried about Duke at this point.
This was a bad loss. UVa was 0-3 and a laughingstock in the ACC as well as nationally. For some reason, playing UVa turns into these low scoring ugly defensive struggles. The last time UNC beat UVa was in 2005 and the score was 7-5. Since then UVa has won four straight over the Heels but never scoring more than 23 points. Punts, turnovers and FG kickers make up most of the games between these two schools with UNC unable to get over the hump. In terms of the current season, this is simply a humiliating loss given what we thought UVa was coming into the game. If Georgia Tech could be seen as a wake-up call then I am not sure what your possibly call this other than the worse loss of the Butch Davis era to date.