UNC beat Wake Forest 50-14, Brian, Doc and Paul discuss the implications of that in this week's roundtable.
Brian: UNC gets to 2-0 in the ACC for the first time since 1997. The offense hung 50 on a Wake Forest defense plenty of smart people thought was very good and in my opinion I didn't think the offense was necessarily great. At the halfway point of the season just how good is this offense?
Doc: Well it would appear they are who we thought they were. When he is not looking dreadful, Marquise Williams plays like one of the ACC's best quarterbacks. The running game is solid with Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan, and the receiving corps is hugely talented. The line has been doing a good job of keeping Williams (and Mitch Trubisky) upright. In other words, they are playing like a unit that returned 10 starters and after the initial hiccup against SCAR (with three red zone turnovers, including two in the end zone), the offense has hummed along as expected. And yet, as Brian mentions, I think the offense has been good, but not great. Will be interesting to see how good they are when it is all humming.
Paul: I think the offense has been great but inconsistent, with almost all of it at the feet of Marquise Williams. When he's on, he's great but otherwise there isn't much that anyone of the team can do if the quarterback isn't getting the ball to his play makers. I think the offense has shown that it needs Williams to be polished for anything to work regardless of the opposition. I would like to see some more Elijah Hood. I think the Heels could lean on him more at the beginning of games to let Williams find a rhythm. I think Williams should be eased into games a bit more since he almost always gets better as the game moves on.
Brian: True but the first three plays on UNC's first possession were three touches for Elijah Hood. He ran it twice and caught a pass. Then came the bizarre miscommunication where Williams threw it right to the Wake Forest safety. On the next possession Williams had a called run then try to squeeze a pass into Quinshad Davis which was tipped. If it were a simple issue of Williams just missing receivers that would be one thing but both interceptions were bad decisions. He was locked into throwing the ball somewhere from the jump and it didn't end well. However your point is valid, any pass plays he gets early should be safe throws to allow him to get into a rhythm and gain some confidence.
Paul: I agree with all of those points. This feels a lot like we're fretting over a 23 year old. I don't really know what he's going to have on almost any play at the start of a game. You typically know what you're getting after a quarter or so, but at the beginning it's a tossup.
Brian: Which is a problem though how much of this do we blame on the play calling which still feels completely out of sync with reality at times? Hood accounts for 27 yards on the first possession then doesn't really touch the ball again until he gashes Wake Forest for two big runs and a touchdown. Is there some element of Larry Fedora trying to save Hood for the murderer's row portion of the schedule? After all he did get injured last year so perhaps he wants to be sure he has him healthy and fresh when UNC hits the three game stretch that could very well decide if UNC wins the Coastal or not.
Doc: This idea of saving Hood for the grind of the conference schedule is a nice idea, but I don't think that's the case. The play-calling has seemingly always been erratic and there is no doubt UNC under Fedora and Seth Littrell will be pass-first. It just would be nice to see a healthy mix of running back rushes, and more than 8 a game (and only two after halftime)
Paul: As soon as Carolina plays a close game, he needs to have 20 carries. I kind of understand why you rest him in the Wake Forest game--it was never really competitive. But if he's going to keep being awesome--he had a personal 2 play 65 yard drive against Wake's defense--then you have to just feed the beast.