A second look at some portions of the game on tape offered up a few more thoughts some of which may be a rehash of my earlier take on the game.
- The run defense was unbelievably bad and the pass defense was not much better. Forget the statistical nightmare this was with UVa coverting 11 of 20 third downs and the Cavs running for almost 200 yards. There is way too much in the way of missed tackles, poor coverage and a general lack of pressure on the quarterback. The only saving grace for UNC was that they did manage to keep UVa out of the endzone and forced the Cavs into five field goals.
- The second UNC drive of the game was some of the worst pass protection I have ever seen. Yates went down twice and on top of that we had yet another botched exchange between QB and center. Sooner or later that kind of thing is going to kill the Heels at a crucial time…Oh wait, it already has!
- Yates struggled early on and according to sources who were at the game, some of his early passes missed the receivers in a bad way. Rick Steinbacher on the UNC broadcast said he thought Yates did better when he was pressured than he did when he had plenty of time. On the pressure plays Yates just snaps the pass out there whereas when he has time he might think about it a little too much and try to aim the ball more. Yates appears to have good instincts in the pocket and perhaps trusting those instincts more than thinking about could be helpful for him.
- I wonder how much the fumble Johnny White had at the UVa 33 yard line affected the number of carries he got as the game went on or was the decision to only run the ball 11 more times over the final three quarters merely an attempt to accenuate the strength in the passing game. White was not necessarily a world beater and the Cavalier defensive line most certainly is.
- The refereeing in this game was bad on so many levels. How do you miss whether or not the ball cleared the cross bar or not. In fact I have never seen a referee duck his head out of fear the ball might hit him and then make a call on a play which he clearly did not see. I guess we should be more amazed replay actually got it right. The refs also gave UVa a very favorable spot on the 3rd down play with 1:35 left in the game. It looked like the ball was short of the first down but it was spotted on the line and was measured a first down by the nose of the football. The sticky thing about that for UNC was the play ended with a personal foul on UVa and would have pushed them back 15 yards for the punt.
- UVa’s Chris Long is a beast and besides the INT he snagged from Yates he was a general nuisance all game long which including deflecting another pass. The play on the defensive line possibly led to less confidence in the running game.
- Opposing defenses really have to pick their poison with the UNC receivers. Hakeem Nicks probably felt he had something to prove after dropping passes and fumbling one away last week in Greenville. The 53 yard touchdown which Butch Davis called “probably the best single individual play of great effort that maybe I’ve seen in 33 years in the game” shows what kind of caliber player Nicks is. Not to be outdone Brooks Foster had a huge game in terms of yardage. Brandon Tate was quiet both in the offense and on special teams which was a little disappointing. UNC could have used a big return in the second half but UVa did a great job in coverage.
- On the intangibles, UNC was competitive and showed some resiliency after the slow start. The turnovers were killers and as Davis pointed out, the talent level is not sufficient to overcome mistakes like the ones UNC made while not creating any on the other side of the ball. It would have been easy to fold down 16-0 and the offense sort of sputtering. That did not happen which is a positive sign in terms of the direction of this program.
- Kenan Stadium was full and appeared to be loud on TV but not necessarily a factor in the game. Still it was nice to see the Aluminum Jungle is not making an appearance.