Just when it appeared John Shoop had found an efficient way to use both RBs.
Junior RB Shaun Draughn suffered a fractured left shoulder blade on the first play of the game against Duke and has been lost for the season. Draughn carried the ball for nine yards but was in obvious pain leaving the field and was out of his shoulder pads within minutes. UNC turned to Ryan Houston for the remainder of the game. Houston recorded a career high 37 carries for 164 yards.
At this point UNC has gotten really thin in the backfield. Jamal Womble and A.J. Blue are already out for the season and now Draughn. The problem for UNC is the running game had developed into the bread and butter on the offensive side of the ball. In the two previous two games versus FSU and VT, UNC had effectively used both Houston and Draughn in different ways almost like a pitchers uses the fastball and changeup. Draughn had been used for quick runs, especially around the ends while Houston was mainly ran inside. Since both RBs brought something different it gave UNC a slight edge when it came to keeping opposing defenses off balanced. Having two RBs also kept their legs fresh over the course of the game, a bit of a bonus when you are chewing seven minutes of clock at a time.
The question is whether UNC can continue to use the same scheme with Johnny White or Anthony Elzy running in Draughn's place or do they simply ride Houston for 30-plus carries per game? I don't see the latter happening unless it is working the way it did against Duke. You also have to wonder if Houston can hold up under that kind of punishment, especially against a team like Miami or Boston College. Regardless, Shoop and Butch Davis have very little time to figure it out before the Hurricanes show up on Saturday for a 3:30 PM start on ABC.