The much-anticipated date has almost arrived as UNC prepares for
their Thursday night battle with the Miami Hurricanes. Now a top 10 team
according to the Associated Press, Miami brings with it a national
spotlight that hasn't been seen since the early 2000's when they were
winning national titles.
With it comes a huge opportunity for the Tar Heels to gain a big
momentum swing in their season with a victory.
It won't be easy, and even fewer give them much of a chance, but a
game like this is about as make-or-break a game a team will see all year
Here are some plotlines to follow.
It remains to be seen just how much playing time either Bryn
Renner or Marquise Williams will get Thursday night. But
it is known that Larry Fedora has full confidence in whichever
quarterback sees the majority of the time.
"I wouldn't hesitate to put him (Williams) in the game," said Fedora
last Tuesday during his weekly radio show. "There's a good chance that
he'll play in each and every game the rest of the way out to be able to
use both of them and the skills that they both have."
Whether Williams plays because Renner isn't healthy enough to go or
because he's in there to give the team another look, it's obvious that
Williams is capable of putting the Heels in a position to win.
Williams was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in
Charlotte and may have shown the first true glimpses of his potential
against the Hokies.
The Hurricanes are a fast team on defense (what else is new about a
Southern Florida team) but the easiest way to slow them down would be to
make them think.
Running the read-option and using some playaction passes off it could
open up some big plays down the field for the Tar Heels as they look to
pull off the upset.
The much-heralded prospect made his season and collegiate debut
against Virginia Tech and has had another full week or practice to
improve upon that performance.
Logan carried the ball five times for a total of 25 yards and figures
to only get better with more reps.
Already one of the more talented players UNC has picked up recently
for their backfield, Logan could provide the missing spark UNC has
lacked with its running backs since the departure of Gio Bernard.
"You really don't do a whole lot of coaching," running backs coach
Randy Jordan said last week. "You coach technique in terms of
foot work, tracks, and then what your reads are. But I tell him, 'Get
you to the line of scrimmage, the rest is up to you. I can't make you a
runner.' Some guys have it and some guys don't, but TJ definitely has
it. I think he's going to continue to get better and he's so young and
he wants to be good."
Logan is the type of player who can match wits with the talented
Miami defense, if he's mentally ready for the challenge of a nationally
This being only his second game, it remains to be seen how Logan will
handle the bright lights of such a contest.
But if he can get into a groove early and supplement the running
styles of A.J. Blue and
Romar Morris he could help solve one of the long-standing
problems the UNC offense has had this season.
Defense, defense and more defense...
Anybody who is a subscriber to this sight knows that UNC has
struggled a bit on defense thus far.
That might be an understatement.
The Tar Heels will be going up against a complete offensive arsenal
against Miami and CaneSports.com publisher commented on that
element of the Hurricanes during an "Ask the Expert" special on Tar
Heel Illustrated Monday: "Incredibly talented
#10/11 Miami (5-0,1-0) vs.
North Carolina (1-4,0-2)
Line: Miami by
October 17 Time: 7:45 pm Stadium:
Kenan Stadium (63,000) TV:ESPN (Watch Online)
THSN; SIRIUSXM (S 85/91,XM 85/91) Weather:Chapel
Hill Forecast Series: UNC leads the all-time series with
Miami, 9-7. Last Meeting: UNC won 18-14 on October 13, 2012
in Coral Gables, Fla.
Miami at a glance
Coral Gables, Fla.
Colors: Orange, Gree &
Sun Life Stadium (74,916)
Surface: Natural Grass
Record: 7-5 (5-3) Head
Coach: Al Golden
(45-45 overall, 18-11 at UM) Last Game: Beat Georgia Tech, 45-30, in Coral
Gables on October 5 Official Site |
Rivals Site Roster |
(58-94, 950 yds, 9 TD)
Rushing: Duke Johnson
572 yds, 6.8 avg, 4 TD)
(20 rec, 383 yds, 19.2 avg, 2 TD)
kids and they have matched that with the level of their performances.
Miami is really, really good on offense and the key is the job that the
offensive line does. When those guys do their job, Miami is a tough
offense to stop and a tough team to beat.
Duke Johnson is a dynamic runner, a threat to go the
distance every time he touches the ball. The receivers and Morris will
all be playing on Sundays really soon. If you are going to defend Miami,
you better have a secondary that can run."
The big play ability of Miami is something UNC defensive coordinator
Vic Koenning touched on last week after the loss to Virginia
Tech led to some ominous signs about UNC's chances of stopping Miami's
"Those two long pass plays were awful," defensive coordinator Vic
Koenning said. "On one, (VT's quarterback) could see right past him and
Dominique (Green) didn't get turned right, and he was (up against) a
fast guy, the other one was just a bad play - there's no other way of
Coaches are notoriously less open with the media than they are with
their own team, so if that's what Koenning was saying to reporters after
practice, it's hard to think the players didn't get the message the
relayed that sentiment to them in private.