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October 5, 2013
Window of Opportunity?
As we head into the hours prior to North Carolina's showdown with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the Tar Heels are in a conundrum offensively.
While so much has been said about the defensive meltdown in giving up 55 points to East Carolina last weekend, the Tar Heels head into Saturday's game against the Hokies hurting on the offensive side of the ball with injuries.
Senior quarterback Bryn Renner is a gamer, and he clearly wants to be on the field today, but that might not be possible.
Renner went out and warmed up on the Lane Stadium field Saturday morning, but as the game gets closer it appears more and more likely that sophomore Marquise Williams will get the start under center for UNC.
Furthermore, the Tar Heels could really use a spark in the running game as they come into Saturday's matchup with the Atlantic Coast Conference's worst rushing attack statistically, and could look to a newcomer to potentially make an impact.
Last week the UNC running game didn't have the services of Romar Morris as he deals with an injury.
UNC currently ranks dead-last in the ACC with just 100.2 rushing yards per outing, and just three yards on average per carry.
Could Saturday be the day that true freshman T.J. Logan finally makes his Tar Heel debut? Logan has been practicing with the Tar Heels at full speed this week, and head coach Larry Fedora hinted earlier in the week that he could make an appearance.
Logan will be in Blacksburg, dressed out and ready to take the field.
The only question is will he get the nod?
That question, of course, could be answered by how well A.J. Blue runs the ball, and how well Morris returns, if he does return to the field.
If Logan can indeed play, and Morris isn't quite 100 percent, it could make good sense to give Logan some plays and see what he can do against a tough Virginia Tech defense.
Inserting Logan has the potential to not only to give the offense a spark, but to take some pressure off Williams, who will be needing his teammates to step up amidst a hostile environment and quality opponent.
For Williams, who has been getting the brunt of the practice reps in recent days as Renner has worked through a left ankle sprain, Saturday's game is a critical moment.
Williams was heavily recruited by Virginia Tech and finds himself now as a third-year sophomore in a moment where he can be hailed as a conquering hero for UNC if he can somehow lead the Tar Heels past the Hokies.
With Renner hobbled and unable to move around well, he could be a sitting duck against the Hokie front seven, which is full of talent and has helped Virginia Tech become one of the best defensive units against the rush in the ACC so far.
Setting up a less-than-mobile Renner in positions where he could get drilled by the Virginia Tech defense is a potential recipe for disaster, while a fully-healthy Williams could provide a change-of-pace that might open up some things against the Hokies.
And while Virginia Tech is not giving up a lot of passing yardage to anybody, the Tar Heels might be more capable in the read-option game with Williams, and it might also open up some running between the tackles, of which Logan could take advantage.
Logan could definitely open some things up for the Tar Heels, especially if UNC decides to use him on end-arounds or even aligned as an A-Back where he might catch passes. His speed has to be respected and accounted for, and his mere presence on the field could force Virginia Tech's defense to play more honestly.
The Tar Heel offense can only hope that Williams and Logan are ready to go if they're called upon, as it appears they may very well be, because UNC is going to need all the help it can get against this opponent.