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Tar Heel Hangover: Blown away by the Hurricanes

This one is hard to recover from

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Miami Steve Mitchell-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 last week.

The Tar Heel offense outscored Miami’s 31-26. Unfortunately, 21 points from Tar Heel quarterbacks were scored by the Hurricanes, including two pick-sixes and a fumble recovery and score. Six total turnovers. It was ugly.

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

I would institute the single wing offense. Nathan Elliott, who looked to be the most consistent throwing option, went 16-25 for 104 yards. Chazz Surratt, seeing his first action of the year, was 4-10 for 10 yards and three interceptions. Their combined passer rating was 26.9 with Elliott checking in at a mere 10.1 and Surratt at 16.8. That has to be some kind of record.

The ground game, however, was impressive. Not including Elliott’s sack-driven -25 rushing yards, the team gained 240 yards on the ground.

Surratt is the perfect single wing quarterback. He can pass well enough to keep the defense relatively honest and is explosive when running. Anthony Ratliff-Williams, who I still believe is the most explosive player on the team, would start at the wing-back. The offense could be a particular boon for Ratliff-Williams who is simply not getting the ball enough due to the quarterback and offensive line play. Both Michael Carter and Antonio Williams could start in the backfield to get the maximum number of weapons on the field.

Maybe it would be too hard to teach a new offense in the two weeks before the Virginia Tech game. Maybe Fedora won’t admit the downfall of his scheme and try for something completely new. Maybe it just wouldn’t work.

But hey, things can’t get much worse on offense.

The truth is that without the turnovers, this game could have been relatively close. Of course take these stats with a grain of salt because the game was over so early and Miami could shut it down, but consider: Miami only had 25 more yards of total offense, 10 fewer first downs, and nearly 7 fewer minutes of possession than Carolina. That is a very reasonable defensive showing.

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

The television schedule. After a competitive start, the game pretty quickly got out of hand in the second quarter. By the start of the fourth quarter, even I had turned off the game in frustration and I write articles about the games.

The good news and bad news about playing in prime-time is that the team gets a lot of exposure. On Thursday, the team was totally exposed on national television. While a single game is not likely to be off-putting to potential recruits, particularly with the situation the team is already in, Thursday did nothing to help a growing narrative of poor effort and bad results.

If the team is going to be this bad, it would be better for it to be on regional coverage at noon on Saturday.

Looking Forward: Another off week.

This has certainly been an unusual schedule. Two games, a week off, two games in five days, a week off. At the least, this is another chance to make changes, get healthy, and get competitive.

There are some seasons when this would be a dream schedule. A couple of early games and then a big break before a quick two games, then another big break before a difficult opponent. This is just not the team to take advantage of such a set-up.

Final Thoughts

This is looking more and more like a three-win season, and that assumes the Heels can handle Georgia Tech at home. The next two weeks provide an opportunity for big changes so the same results don’t occur against the Hokies.