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Week Three Roundtable

Brian, Paul and Doc discuss the week that was and the week to come.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Brian: So after spending a week of fretting over the Illinois game UNC came out and largely took care of business in one of the more complete games of the Larry Fedora area.

The biggest concern is clearly the defensive line which can't generate any pass rush and struggles to stop the run. After three games is it time to panic about that aspect of the defense?

Paul: I'm not that concerned. The offense has been able to move the ball up and down the field without many issues. The worry is the defensive line but the secondary has held up in coverage and when the defense has needed to stand tall it has. If Carolina gives up 17 points per game then that's awesome considering last year.

Doc: Maybe not panic time, but a point of concern. UNC's two Power 5 opponents thus far haven't exactly been offensive juggernauts. Illinois's gaudy numbers coming into the game notwithstanding. Looking down the schedule, you can't feel good about the D-line's inability to contain the rush against Georgia Tech, and there will have to be some pressure generated on guys like Brad Kaaya and Jacoby Brissett or else they are going to pick an albeit improved defensive secondary apart.

Paul: I am more concerned about Miami than either of those other two teams. Georgia Tech uses cut blocks so much that the line  won't be able to get that far up field in the first place. The run defense worries me more against GT and State but Kaaya will be a problem. The offense might still be good enough to still pull Carolina through in these games. I mean last year Carolina contained nothing against Georgia Tech but the offense won the game. I think the offense has looked really good and could win a few games by itself again.

Doc: Still you have to wonder why the D-line hasn't come along in the same manner as the rest of the defense. UNC employed a 4-man front in the previous scheme and while you didn't have Quinton Coples or Sylvester Williams on the front, last year's line didn't seem quite so impotent. As for the linebackers and D-backs, there were flashes of what they were capable of last year, but this year the angles and technique seem so much better. So maybe for the defensive secondary it was a matter of coaching them up but up front, the talent and strength aren't there?

Brian: One interesting aspect is the fact UNC brought in three defensive linemen rated by Scout as four stars but only one is playing. Aaron Crawford has seen action but Jason Strowbridge and Jason Dalton did not play on Saturday and obviously headed for redshirts. In that respect the DL has some future potential but right now isn't great.

Speaking of not great, the attendance is was downright awful Saturday and for the first time since John Bunting's final year UNC has posted back-to-back 40K attendance games. Is this simply a matter of UNC needing to string together some success? Butch Davis was slightly more successful but he also brought a buzz to the program which seems to be lacking right now.

Paul: I think the scheme these past two weeks has been vanilla which has hurt the line's play. I would echo what you think about the line. This could be where the NCAA sanctions are felt most, Larry Fedora didn't really pursue line recruits over these past few years. And the talent and athleticism has not shown up this season. The scheme might be a tactical decision, let the secondary do its job and have the QB make a poor decision. The defense has performed each time it really needs a stop so there might have been a tactical decision to let the secondary cover up while the line doesn't lose contain. This is still a defense that has been pretty good this year. I'm hedging a bit because of the level of competition but still, its been good. The thing we forget about the opener was not only does Carolina probably win if Marquise Williams doesn't throw three terrible interceptions, but if they recover either of the two fumbles forced they win too.

I don't think the defense has been bad yet and the defense could improve especially if they vary where pressure comes from. Carolina has not blitzed much at all because they haven't needed to. Once they blitz I have faith that Carolina will get home. Gene Chizik has not yet made me need to worry about his ability to coach up a defense so I'm holding out hope that they will improve.

On attendance, I think its back to back disappointing seasons. They also haven't scheduled massive draws. When you lose agonizingly in week one and then turn around with an FCS team and then a noon kickoff in nonconference play...why should anyone come? What reason do fans have to come to a game this year? There wasn't a lot of hope after week one.  Carolina also doesn't really have a marquee performance over the past few years at home. The best game last year was the Duke game but that was on the road. In a year when basketball is supposed to be good, do Carolina fans really care about football?

Brian: Therein lies the rub. It's a basketball school and a program that historically hovers around .500. It takes a larger than life coach to move the needle. Mack Brown was that and he also got UNC winning consistently. Butch Davis brought the buzz but the performance never quite lived up to the hype with him bumping his head on eight three straight seasons. Still he brought in good players and people paid attention. Fedora has always struggled to "look" like a big time football coach. As for on the field, beating South Carolina would have at least got people talking then if you are 4-0 going to Georgia Tech, you might very well be ranked and who knows. As for now they will roll over Delaware in front of 40K then go to Atlanta and likely drop one there because Atlanta. However, they return with back-to-back winnable home games versus Wake and UVa which will bring in better crowds because of who they are.

If they can win those two then at Pitt and be 6-2 and 3-1 in the ACC with Duke and Miami coming to town in early November, business should pick up because at that point they would be legitimate Coastal contenders.

Paul: I think they have to win both those home games if they want to fill the stadium. If they beat GT, then I think then people really pay attention. But if they start 1-2 in ACC play I think that other than the Duke game it's 40K in the stadium every week this season. There's just not a lot of energy around the football program (probably because the NCAA stuff won't go away and the team has been pretty disappointing since Gio left) and unless they get some buzz from recruiting or put together a few 9 win seasons this will still be the case for the Heels. We also all know that normally the stadium is pretty empty even against more notable teams anyway, attendance is stimulated a lot by traveling fans of the opponent.