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Georgia Tech 35 UNC 28

I hate it when UNC plays Georgia Tech.

I have a Wii and one of the games on there is Sports Resort basketball. It is a fun game except when the skill levels gets high enough beating the computer becomes nearly impossible. Maybe it is my reflexes have slowed but the games get to a point where nothing I do stops the computer from scoring. It hits every three pointer and any time I try to block a shot I go up to early giving it an open look. If I happen to get a block when I get possession of the ball I will miss an open shot or have it blocked. It almost feels rigged.

Having watched UNC play Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech offense for four years now, it feels the same way. UNC cannot stop the Yellow Jackets. It doesn’t matter what the Heels do, GT finds a way to get the yards it needs to the point one wonders if they are cheating. Actually, a lot of people don’t just wonder they outright accuse the Yellow Jackets of chop blocking on every play which may or may not be true. At any rate, it is an exercise in mounting frustration watching the Yellow Jackets roll along which leads to an eruption of profane phrases and unintelligible tongues when UNC does get a stop only to give the ball right back.

Of course I am less hung up on the defense that others are maybe because I have accepted that this defense is what it is at this point. I think people forget that even if the NCAA troubles do not happen at UNC, this defense was going to go through this sort of transitional year. The Tar Heel defense, especially the secondary has seen some serious attrition and it stands to reason at a few years of solid defensive play in the defensive backfield you are bound to run into one like this. Not to mention the triple-option, accented by an effective passing attack, is going to be incredibly hard to stop for most teams. People can complain about defensive schemes and what not but the bigger issue in this game is not so much what the defense gave up but the inefficiency of the offense, especially in the first half.

The odd thing about the offense today was when UNC was backed against the wall down 20-7 the offense stepped up and outscored GT 21-8 to tied the game up. After an abysmal first half, it would have been easy to call it a day and let GT blow their doors off. After the Jackets made it 20-7, Bryn Renner got himself into a groove and UNC drove for an immediate TD to make it 20-14. After GT answered, Renner again completed several passes to pull UNC back within seven. The problem with Renner in this game was his decision making and his awareness of the pass rush. Renner threw two interceptions at the worst possible times, negating rare stops versus the Jackets’ offense. In first half Renner canceled out a Tech INT with one of his own and in the second half following a 15 yard punt giving UNC great field position, Renner made an awful throw which was picked off. In both of those cases Renner threw into heavy coverage or locked onto Dwight Jones too early. The Yellow Jacket pass rush has something to do with that as it seemed Renner was rattled some outside of the two crisp 2nd half drives. Then there was the issue of his ability to get rid of the ball under pressure. Renner was sacked seven times. Some of that was poor offensive line play but most of them were Renner not getting rid of the ball earlier enough.

It is very evident at this point that Renner is at that stage where he simply doesn’t want to throw the ball away. He has not developed that sense good QBs have for opting to fight another down by simply tossing the ball out of bounds.  The same could be said for Renner’s two minute drive management which was in a word, awful. For the most part these issues are experience related. This is Renner’s fourth game starting. He is a redshirt sophomore who has exceptional passing skills and command of the offense. This was also his first true road game. Thus far through four games, there is plenty to be excited about watching Renner play and the aspects of his game which generate the most concern should be resolved with more time behind center. That is why, for as much as Renner is to blame for today’s loss it is blame assessed with restraint knowing he will get better. As Doc pointed out on Twitter, “Bryn Renner looked like a RS soph with 3 career starts today. And still UNC had a chance #notworried”

Despite all that went wrong, UNC still had a chance to win the game and as Renner develops, he will make the plays he couldn’t make today. One player already doing that is Giovanni Bernard who has been so outstanding that it seems like Ryan Houston is being held out again for eligibility reasons.  Bernard had 155 yards and two touchdowns on the day. For the season Bernard has rushed for 402 yards which now puts him over 100 yards per game. The per carry average is even more ridiculous with Bernard going for 7.4 ypc so far this season. It is clear the Heels have a bona fide star running back in Gio Bernard who is just plain fun to watch.

The question is can UNC bounce back from this loss and take care of business in Greenville  next week. The Heels play a dreadful Lousiville team the following week to a win versus ECU and hopefully UL would put UNC at 5-1 heading into the real meat of the schedule. It is certainly doable despite some of the problems on defense which means this season still has nice potential despite what happened in Atlanta.


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14 comments to Georgia Tech 35 UNC 28

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    The annual losses to Ga Tech are even more frustrating then the annual losses to NC State. At least against State we find new ways to lose each year. Not so with Ga Tech. Every year is just like the last year. Every game is exactly the same. Same game plan, same results. It really exposes how useless Butch’s former coordinators are. I will be so glad when we get a new coaching staff next year.

  • rathskellar68

    Renner is Yates with more talent and more upside.

    The secondary is another matter. We’re going to have to score a lot of points, because they’ll be giving up a lot.

    Still, we’re fun to watch and better than expected. So let’s be happy for what we have.

  • TwentyCharactersLong

    It almost feels rigged.

    It probably is. It’s not even a secret that most videogame AIs cheat.

  • notoriousii

    UNC RAJ. How are you feeling about Kevin Sumlin?

  • 52bgJ

    Agree that our offensive woes were the more damaging, but one thing struck me in that our corners have always seemed to be more play-makers, than physical corners..contrast that with say LSU’s hammering ball strippers. Our corners mostly got crushed on the outside runs to give up big plays, and with maybe one or two exceptions, couldn’t handle those corner (chop) blocks. I guarantee you the Jackets wouldn’t be able to do that against a defense like LSU’s. Good tackle technique, and fighting through blocks is a function of coaching & heart, not necessarily talent imo.

    On a positive note, Renner may well become the best QB we’ve ever had, despite the learning hiccups, and I also see the silver lining in yesterday’s game as it relates to 850′s last sentence.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    ^^Sumlin is a good candidate. I would want to see what his record is at the end of the season because last year his team only went 5-7 (the previous two years they were very good though). Another rumor is that Mark Richt is on the hot seat. If UGA lets him go I’d love for UNC to hire him.

  • PRGuy

    One of the frustrating things for me is watching aggressive play-calling on GT’s part on defenses (where is the next blitz coming from?) and being resigned to the fact that our coaching staff still subscribes to the bend-but-don’t-break philosophy. Sigh. I would love to see a more attacking-style defense because I think we have the talent to pull it off.

  • 40yrheel

    same old coaching staff, same old results.

  • makeitWayne22

    this game was lost in the second quarter… BItch all you want about the defense but they came to play in the first half, with picks fumbles, and defensive stops, while the O went punt punt punt punt int… How many 3 and outs did they have in the second quarter alone?

    Terrible offense in the second wore the defense out. UNC had there chances and failed to capitalize. GT is a good team, and good teams find a way to win these games.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    The second quarter play calling on offense was maddening. Everybody knows UNC has no interior run blocking. Everybody knows this. But what does Shoop do for three possessions in a row in 2Q? First down: run up the middle for no gain, Second down: run up the middle for 2 yards, 3rd and long: incomplete pass.

    That being said the D doesn’t get a free pass either. All that NFL talent the last five years and I don’t think they’ve ever held Ga Tech to less then 250+ rushing yards. When your defense has that much talent if the offense scores 28 points that should be enough.

  • notoriousii

    ^^^^Five of Houston’s 7 losses last year were to teams that finished with 8 or more wins. Most would say that is not bad for a rebuilding year; Houston has completed its non conference schedule sitting at 4 - 0 earning them 27th and 26th in the rankings. Hiring Sumlin will also prevent a lot of backlash if Withers is not retained. Keep in mind Sumlin is a southerner with ties in the north and midwest; at a BCS school he could be a recruiting juggernaut. I really did not want to say anything until the conclusion of the season, but Sumlin appears to be stepping out of Briles’s shadow.

    Richt is out of the question since he was awarded the Fulmer Cup last year and is in the running most years.

  • chapelhillfan

    I nearly broke my TV when Shoop called a draw on the last drive on 2nd and 17 with no TOs.

  • Cpump35

    It’s not a rumor that Richt is on the hot seat…it’s scorching in Athens. That being said, there’s absolutely zero reason to hire Mark Richt at UNC. His teams lack discipline and don’t seem all that well coached over the last several seasons.

  • scl11

    ^In other words, Butch Davis