Carolina beat Delaware on Saturday behind Mitch Trubisky's stellar performance off the bench. Trubisky took over after starter Marquise Williams made what coach Fedora later called poor decisions throughout his first few drives. Trubisky took what the defense gave him, moving quickly through his reads and playing a pretty perfect game from the QB position. The defense on the other hand started very poorly, but still only allowed 14 points to the Blue Hens. Carolina heads into its hardest game of the season against Georgia Tech on Saturday with questions about the quarterback and just how many yards GT will get on the ground (it's probably a very large number).
On to the Grades:
Stop the Run: D
Carolina allowed Thomas Jefferson (still funny every time) to score on a 72 yard touchdown on the second play of the game. The Heels allowed 5.7 yards per carry on the day--an average which was aided by the Blue Hens' quarterback Joe Walker being a really bad scrambler (7 carries for 12 yards). Against running backs the Heels were far worse. This might have been the fact that Carolina ran a very vanilla defensive scheme in this game. Carolina stayed in the nickel for most of the game and kept their safeties about ten yards off the line of scrimmage. The Heels had no reason to not put every corner on an island in this game. Walker came into this game as a terrible passer and Delaware threw the ball three times in the first half.
The Heels could have thrown 9 men in the box on most plays and engaged 8 on every play, but they did not. I don't think that Gene Chizik suddenly forgot how to call defensive plays since Delaware was 2/11 on third down. I think that they chose to call simple plays and this allowed Delaware to run the ball better. The linebackers in this game stayed static at the snap and always waited for their men to move before they decided what to do on the play. There were no blitzes nor anything particularly creative. From what Chizik has shown so far this season and in the past I think that the scheme was this way on purpose. The Delware offensive line always had an offensive linemen who was unblocked (no UNC d-lineman has shown they need to be double-teamed yet this season) and that lineman moved on to the linebacker on his side which created a running lane, it also pushed the first point of contact with a running back up the field so that their backs were always guaranteed three-ish yards on each play.
This does not bode well for Carolina against GT but it does not mean the end of the world. Georgia Tech will still probably run for about 400 yards but last year Carolina's offense managed to out-score them, maybe they can this year too.
Rush the Passer: C-
Part of the linebackers staying static meant that Carolina did not blitz or get much of any pass rush in this game. This really looks to be the problem for the Heels this year. Against non-GT teams, UNC opponents will drop back and pass and have all day to throw against Carolina. The defensive line has simply not generated any type of pressure by themselves. In the future, I would expect UNC to do what they did against Illinois--send five on every play when the d-line can't do it themselves. Carolina did not rush the passer in this game but they also did not blitz at all so it was not the worst possible performance.
Ice Up (Son): C-
Marquise Williams got to! But in all seriousness Carolina did eventually pull its top players in the fourth quarter. So they did not have to play the first string all game but it took far too long for the Heels to pull away from the Blue Hens. Carolina did not score a ton in the first half and they needed Mitch to pull them away from an FCS team. Carolina played down to their opponent in this game and they couldn't get off the field until late.