You should be able to win a game when you score 42 points.
At some point, it’s really hard to give thorough analysis about a game that really came down to that simple fact. The Tar Heels showed up on the offensive side of the ball and ripped apart Georgia Tech’s defense, but Gene Chizik’s squad let the Yellow Jackets run all over them. Even more infuriating is the fact that Georgia Tech were shut out in two quarters, which means that they were able to score 46 points in the other two. It’s frustrating, it’s extremely irritating, but at the same time, this is Carolina football. We have to start calling it what it is.
With that thought in mind, let’s discuss how the Heels managed to fumble the bag in Atlanta yet again.
Chip Lindsey got the message loud and clear
Before we go super negative, let’s first discuss the positive: Mack Brown and Chip Lindsey made sure that Omarion Hampton and British Brooks got plenty of touches during last night’s game, and it paid off big time. Hampton ran the ball 29 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while Brooks finished his night with eight carries for 56 yards and a touchdown.
If we’re really splitting hairs, it’s a little shocking that Hampton, Brooks, and Drake Maye only finished the game with a total of 267 yards, but it’s obviously a huge improvement from the game against Virginia. The ability to pound the rock opened things up for Maye in the passing game, and it led to a lot of points on the scoreboard. Credit to Lindsey for a really good game plan, but the guy coaching the other side of the ball messed things up for everybody.
Gene Chizik’s defense is regressing
Help me understand something: how is one school consistently this bad against RPO no matter who is coaching the defense? More importantly, how does a team that has been pretty solid tackling all season long regress to the point that they couldn’t buy a tackle against Georgia Tech? Carolina’s defense has always been a bit of an enigma when it comes to why they can’t just figure out their lives, but last night was an example of why our hopes and dreams of a College Football Playoffs bid has always felt more like a pipe dream than anything that is actually attainable.
Georgia Tech finished their night with 635 total yards, 287 passing yards, and 348 yards rushing, which is more rushing yards than they had in five games total this season. Haynes King was able to execute the RPO well against UNC’s hapless defense, and he also was able to throw for four touchdowns just for good measure. Each level of the Heels’ defense had some horrific moments, and it felt like they just had no interest in leaving Atlanta with a win. Is that harsh? Sure, but if you watched the highlights from the game, you’ll also see that maybe it’s not harsh enough. Bad execution, bad game plan, and overall just a really bad night for a defense that has otherwise been fairly decent to start the season.
This program is what it is until they prove otherwise
I realize that my Twitter profile probably suggests otherwise at times, but I truly don’t like being a doom and gloom person when it comes to Carolina athletics. Carolina football has always been an exception to an extent, but it’s mostly stemmed from realism. The Heels’ 6-0 start made me think that maybe, just maybe, it was finally time for my perception of what the team could be and that they were finally ready to turn a corner. But just like that, much like many of you reading this, I was burned for being optimistic and now I have to ask: does Carolina football deserve anymore optimism when it comes to whether or not they can win a championship, conference or CFP?
It’s a crazy conversation to have after just the second loss of the season, but also the conversation we should be having is that the Heels are 8-0 going into their final four games of the season. Instead, we’re all left confused, angry, and extremely frustrated that the coaching staff boggled the game against Virginia, and the defense couldn’t stop a cold against a Georgia Tech team that lost to Bowling Green. Mack Brown’s return to campus was supposed to be program-changing, and in some ways it has been. However, ask yourself: was it program-changing because he struck gold with Sam Howell and Drake Maye? Or has he actually done something substantial with his own two hands?
Look, I am not saying that Mack Brown should be fired or that I in general just don’t like this football program. What I am saying is that maybe it’s time to stop expecting more than what we have been receiving for our entire lives. Maybe this program isn’t meant to go to the College Football Playoffs. Maybe they aren’t meant to even win the ACC championship in the 21st century. For the sake of my own personal sanity, I refuse to think these things are possible until they actually happen from now on. Some say that’s being negative, but for me, I just think it’s being honest about what this program is until they actually have the season we all have dreamed of.