After constant rumbling this week, UNC’s defensive coordinator Jay Bateman and the team have parted ways. This comes after an extremely disappointing season for the Tar Heels’ defense in Sam Howell’s final season. We now know that Mack Brown will have at least two coaching searches to conduct, as special teams and OLB coach Javon DeWitt will not be returning either.
Bateman’s legacy with the Tar Heels will be an interesting one, because his defenses somehow managed to get worse each season. Though highly-touted for the job that he did with the Army, he never was able to get what he wanted to get out of his guys.
North Carolina defensive efficiency rankings under Jay Bateman.— Bryan Ives (@awaytoworthy) January 7, 2022
2021: 99th https://t.co/i48rhA32Fz
While finishing the season 99th in defensive efficiency, Bateman’s group also finished 97th in third-down conversion percentage defense, 100th in yards per carried allowed, 102th in yards per attempted allowed, 102nd in QB rating allowed, and 105th in scoring defense. For some perspective as to how much the defense held this year’s team back, Phil Longo’s offense was 10th in the country in total offense according to NCAA.com. In each of UNC’s wins against Power Five teams, Longo’s squad had to come up with 38+ points to win, with their lowest number of points in a win being a blowout win against Duke.
Needless to say, the change at the defensive coordinator position is one that is much needed. Now that the Heels have landed a number of big-time recruits, Mack Brown needs to find a guy that can not only utilize their talent, but develop it as well. Guys like Keeshawn Silver (5-Star), RaRa Dillworth (4-star), Power Echols (4-Star), and Bryson Nesbit (4-Star) need to see a lot more playing time under this new defensive regime and not held back because they are young. Some of this does fall on Mack Brown, as one would think that he has some say in who plays and who doesn’t (sarcasm), but the new defensive coordinator also needs to be open to giving younger guys some burn.
At the end of the day, Bateman’s contributions to the program are appreciated, but change is definitely needed if the Tar Heels want any chance of being a national contender at some point down the road. What do you think of Bateman’s exodus? Let us know in the comments below.