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Week One Roundtable

In an effort to ensure the horse is indeed dead Paul, Doc and I discuss UNC's loss to South Carolina.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Brian: Paul texts me near the end of the game with a simple question: "What are we watching?"

Not sure there was a good answer to that question. UNC had 440 yards of total offense but just 13 points wasting the best defensive scoring game since 2013. So who gets the lion's share of the blame: Marquise Williams or Larry Fedora?

Paul: It's Larry Fedora/s fault for not running the ball with Elijah Hood on 3rd and 3 at the three when it was clearly two down territory. It's Fedora's fault in general for not running the ball more when Williams struggled the whole game. It's the coach's job to recognize that and react to it.

Doc: It wasn't a good look for either one.

Williams for the most part looked uncomfortable. He had happy feet and generally exhibited poor decision-making, especially for a 5th-year senior. He also seemed a step slow and many of his passes did not have a lot of zip on them.Worse, he took sacks when he should have tucked and run. His two end zone interceptions were essentially the same play, looking for the same receiver (Singleton...SINGLETON???) in the same spot in the end zone (so the same D-back made the interception...DUH!)

Still in spite of a less-than-stellar overall effort by Williams, the team still had 1st and goal with under 4 minutes to play with a chance to win the ball game, and frankly some decent work by Williams on that final drive (including a completion with a guy hanging on his jersey) got the Heels to the doorstep.

I just don't get how you don't feed a back like Hood who is gashing the defense, especially if you are going to run on 1st down. In addition, the tackles on both sides had a rough evening but up the middle Carolina was getting great push. So of course you run it on 1st and goal with the game on the line and give it to Logan off the left tackle. -___________-

Paul: I felt like the play calling in this game was also pretty vanilla. Other than the Switzer jet sweeps and a few bubble screens did anything particularly Fedora-y happen?

Also big shout out to Gene Chizik for a pretty great game defensively with basically the same players as last year. They really only gave up the one big run which was later in the game after some fatigue.

Brian: The play calling was a bit odd. Mack Hollins was non-existent, they didn't attempt to stretch the field with deep throws and there was wasn't much in the way of trickeration in this game. Of course the offensive rhythm kept getting broken by penalties and wasted plays. Williams' 2nd INT was after he overthrew Switzer on a quick out then the next play went for little yardage. It seems not nailing some of the shorter, easier plays derailed some drives and compounded matters for Williams. 

Speaking of the defense, clearly some of the same issues were present. Missed tackles are still an issue and you get the feeling a better QB would have done more damage to UNC's secondary. Still, last year's defense propped up its share of bad offensive teams so whatever the reasons, it was nice to see the defense hold an opponent in check. While UNC did get gashed the stops on 3rd and 4th down to get the ball back was a huge defensive moment as was the two sacks and a pressure on Mitch earlier in the half. Plus seeing a UNC DB actually turn and play the ball instead of hugging the receiver and getting DPI was a sight for sore eyes.

Doc: Exactly. You run the flanker jet sweep to Switzer on the 1st play of the game and then what else? Practically zero misdirection and in the two 1st-and-goal series, the calls were pretty much the same: 1st down run, 2nd down Quise keeper, 3rd down pass (intercepted in 1st series).

Yes the defense was gassed on the Carson TD run but it was also the absolutely perfect call against UNC's defensive adjustment on that play. UNC stunted to the inside and the guard and tackle blocked down, leaving no defensive end. The lead blocker took out the outside LB, leaving only the safety who couldn't catch him. Perfect call, perfect execution, perfect storm.

Brian: You mean misdirection like maybe having Elijah Hood and his 138 yards in the game on 3rd and goal at the three so SCAR has to at least account for him? The more I think about that I just don't get why you don't line up with Hood to either give Hood the ball or let Williams read option and roll out. Seems to me if Hood is in the game, maybe SCAR stacks the box to stop him and it opens up the edges. A fake handoff to Hood and Williams sprinting wide could get him in a position to run it in. Instead they have him drop back though Williams did miss an open Logan on the right early in that play.

Bottom line there is it feels like Fedora didn't play to his personnel strength and Williams' happy feet make me wonder if he's been told to not run as much.

Paul: It just seemed like Fedora wasn't thinking at all. His freaking slogan for the team has smart as its first word, how is any of the offensive play calling from last night smart? There was one Switzer bubble screen on third down that stands out as a good play call. Otherwise, without players like Bug Howard breaking a lot of tackles the offense wouldn't have looked nearly as good as it did.

Some of it just seemed like arrogance that he assumed that they'd score whenever we were close. UNC had 440 yards of offense but scored 1 touchdown. That's pathetic no matter how you look at it.

Join us next week in what should be a discussion of UNC's first win of the season.