The Tar Heels’ performance vs UVA Saturday night was an overall failure. Writing this directly after the game, I am disgusted. I appreciate that the players and coaches all try very hard. I would never question their commitment or integrity. But in any way a football team can be measured, this team failed. Given their successes this season and the past few seasons, the offense’s failure was especially disappointing.
Look, I don’t feel good writing this; you won’t feel good reading this. I’ll keep things brief.
Given the circumstances, opponent, and result, this has to be Drake Maye’s worst start of his career. He did have a special throw to Tez in the first quarter, splitting Virginia’s safeties for six. Throws like that demonstrate the NFL ceiling that will get Drake drafted in the top 5. However, tonight we saw his college floor.
Carolina’s coaching staff didn’t help anyone by letting (making?) Maye throw 48 times, but it’s still unacceptable to be held to a 50% completion rate against this UVA defense. Things just looked off, with Drake missing some open receivers throughout the game. Not every incomplete pass was Maye’s fault, of course — oh, we’ll get to the rest of the team — but as QB1 and captain, he has a responsibility to produce a competent-enough offense to beat Virginia.
Really just a stunning failure from an all-time great quarterback.
Running Backs: C+
Honestly, Omarion Hampton had a great game on the field. 19 carries for 112 yards and another 19 yards on 1 catch in the passing game is normally enough to earn plaudits. I just can’t stomach giving a passing grade to anyone on this team, but the reality is that this was arguably the best unit of the offense.
Maybe the running backs’ biggest failure is that they didn’t stage an armed mutiny against our coaches to take more carries by force.
Wide Receivers: D
You simply cannot drop the ball repeatedly and succeed as an offense. I expect excellence from our receivers because I have seen it time and time again. Tonight was the exact opposite. I’m not here to bash anyone unnecessarily; veterans like McCollum and Jones know they have to catch the ball. Still, I’m tasked with grading the offense and this was a very unfortunate performance from every receiver not named Tez Walker.
Tight Ends: F+
Similar to Hampton on behalf of the running backs, Bryson Nesbit had a nice game with some explosive plays that would ordinarily earn the TE group a nice little grade. And yet, they didn’t do enough to win this game, which means they cannot pass my class.
For the record, Kamari Morales’ holding call that wiped out a huge gain for the Heels in the second half was a travesty of officiating. As Mack told any zebra that would listen, that was a bad call.
Offensive Line: F
The offensive line, as the biggest and toughest guys on the squad, have to eat this failure (pun only half-intended) more than anyone. There was too much pressure on Drake throughout the game. In addition to two sacks, a missed block directly led to the game-sealing interception. The inability to control and push around a mediocre Virginia defense has to be embarrassing to this group. Complete failure up front. I hope they take this as a challenge to get better, because they absolutely need to be should the Heels have any hope to salvage this season.