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Tar Heel Hangover: UNC’s week two loss to Louisville

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Thoughts on another difficult Saturday

NCAA Football: Louisville at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Tar Heel Hangover. This is our Monday morning opportunity to review last week’s game, second guess all of the key moments, and set the game plan for the week ahead.

The Elevator Speech: What happened in week two.

The game was much closer than the final score reflected. The Heels had some lapses but looked great for the first three quarters. Louisville is an excellent team and will be tough to beat this year, but at least we have some hope. All of the problems are fixable.

Water Cooler Discussion: If I were the coach...

Another week, another fourth quarter lead, another abysmal final period, another loss. An offense that was rolling through three quarters stalled and the defense was torched all over the field once again.

The pass rush looked like it was strategically set to contain instead of pressure, but it did neither. There seems to be a lack of focus and discipline, particularly on the back side of plays. Too often the weak side contain was sucked into the play, or the backside cover was lulled out of position. Against good teams, those lapses result in big plays and scores. The preparation seemed to be there this week, but the staff has to do a better job of keeping all eleven defenders tuned in to the action.

The offense hummed with Chazz Surratt under center. He looked calm and collected in the first half while picking apart the Louisville defense. One bad decision on an in-pocket scramble resulted in a big loss but not a turnover. He was locked into the Carolina receivers and looked to be in control. His charisma and leadership was evident. Brandon Harris had a nice second half, or at least a nice third quarter, but he was no Surratt after he went down with a leg injury.

Lying In Bed, I Wish I Could Change...

It was obvious the Tar Heels had the wrong quarterback playing for the fourth quarter fourth down play calling

With 11:29 to play in the fourth quarter and the Heels trailing 33-28, it had become obvious that a score was needed to keep pace. Fourth and a long one yard at the Louisville 29. Following a fantastic 18-yard completion, the offense was unorganized and forced to call timeout. At least that gave time to get the play call right. Or perhaps not.

A terribly designed out to the slot receiver resulted in a batted ball and turnover on downs. Where was the option that Harris has run so well this year? Where was the post to Austin Proehl that burned the Louisville defenders all day?

With over eight minutes left, the Heels drove to the Louisville 10 yard line trailing 40-28. Three runs, and a cloud of dust, left a fourth down from the four yard line. The receivers were covered and Harris dumped it to the five-yard line to Brandon Fritts. Fritts’ outstanding individual effort was not enough. What could Surratt have done in that situation? We will never know.

Looking Forward: Old Dominion

ODU has had this game circled on its schedule for a long time. So have all of the fans in Tidewater. This will be a rowdy crowd and a tough place for Carolina to play. Sure, the Monarchs are not going to put up over 700 yards in offense. The margin of error, however, is just not that big. This will be a test and could determine if the team will make a bowl.

Final Thoughts

Again, everything is fixable. It is time to fix it.