The third week of the college football season ends up being a bye for the Tar Heels which will take the extra time to prepare for East Carolina. Here are a few other items worth noting from the non-game week.
-WR T.J. Thorpe is back at practice and conceivably could play against the Pirates next weekend. Larry Fedora, in the ACC coaches teleconference, noted Thorpe was the team's best receiver in the spring and his return would be a boon.
It would mean a lot. Coming out of spring ball, T.J. was our most productive receiver in the spring. He really made a lot of plays for us and did some nice things, and was the most exciting guy I would say we had at wide receiver at the time. And so it will be a big boost to the offense to get him back healthy.
UNC has not utlitized the downfield passing game much in the first two contests of the season. In fact, QB Marquise Williams had to practically beg Larry Fedora to take a shot downfield against San Diego State. If Thorpe returns it would give UNC more speed and in theory permit for more downfield looks. Adding Thorpe to the mix with Mack Hollins and Ryan Switzer gives the Tar Heels enough weapons at WR to stretch the field.
-One possible snag to the offense in general is the play of the line especially with some injuries starting to creep into the equation. Inside Carolina took a look at the offensive line's play during the San Diego State game and noted that Fedora may have tipped his hand regarding an injury to right guard Landon Turner.
"It’s the one guy that had experience and now we don’t have that," Fedora said. "But, those other guys have gotten experience this season, so the way we look at it is it doesn’t really matter whether you have experience or not, we’re going to play and you’re going to have to play well."
As Inside Carolina points out, Fedora will announce season-ending injuries so the fact that has not happened is a positive development. At this point it is not known the extent of Turner's knee injury which he suffered in the first half against San Diego State.
-A quick stat check finds UNC 84th nationally in yards per play at 5.33 and 78th in yards per game with a 418.5 average. On the defensive side UNC has surrendered 5.78 yards per play which is 91st overall. The 427.5 yards per game given up by the Tar Heels has them 97th in the nation in total defense.