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UNC’s offense will again be key in 2016

The defense is the focus heading into the season, but it’s offense that will be needed to come up big in again 2016

North Carolina A&T v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Heading into the 2016 season, a lot of the focus has been around UNC’s defense. Last season, it was unspectacular, but solid enough for UNC’s offense to lead the way to the ACC Coastal title.

A larger focus has been put on the defense for 2016 because the offense does have to replace Marquise Williams. The defense itself has to replace some people. A lot of the narrative around this team is focused on how they will probably be taking a step back, because of the losses on offense and the weakness of the defense.

There are valid reasons why UNC won’t reach the heights they did in 2015. The defense might be as a high on the list as people think.

Replacing Williams won’t be an easy task. However, I think most people who watch Carolina football will be optimistic about Mitch Trubisky. The stats he’s put up in his appearances over the past couple years are encouraging. The caveat that they came in a small sample size are totally valid. However, there’s no reason to think that Trubisky won’t be at least solid in 2016.

If he is solid, then the offense will in all likelihood be pretty good again. Elijah Hood returns, as do several good receiving options. And it’s also a Larry Fedora offense. Since Fedora took over, UNC has scored less than 20 points six times in four seasons. It’s a safe assumption that North Carolina will put up points in 2016.

If that is the case, there’s no reason why the offense won’t be able to cover up some of the defense’s struggles.

Despite the losses, you’d like to think there would be at least some slight improvements on defense in 2016. It’s their second year under Gene Chizik. Considering that they switched systems when hiring Chizik, some improvements, if even minor, may come from having another 12 months to work with.

Even if that doesn’t happen, UNC should have the firepower to cover that up again. Maybe not to the level of winning 11 games, but enough to make a bowl game at the very least.

If UNC struggles in 2016, it will probably be down more to the offense than it will the defense. If North Carolina wants to continue to make strides and be a consistently relevant program, then the defense will have to make improvements and soon. But for 2016, it’s the offense that will decide the team’s fate.