North Carolina Tar Heels: 5 Observations from Thursday


The North Carolina Tar Heels dropped a hard game to swallow to the South Carolina Gamecocks, 17-13, in Charlotte, NC on Thursday. It was a game where turnovers made up for many things, including a number of cramps and knee tweaks suffered by both sides. South Carolina turned the ball not at all, while North Carolina had three turnovers deep in Gamecock territory. With the main headline out of the way, let’s look at some lessons from the loss.

1. Elijah Hood is on his way
The sophomore running back saw a majority of the carries at the position and he got results, running for 138 yards. Indeed his level of success begged the question of why the Tar Heels did not try to run the ball more, particularly on first downs that resulted in overthrows of short routes.

2. Nick Weiler is perfect so far on the year.
Kick Nick Weiler was much maligned last year as he could not seize control of the kicker role and the team was forced to gameplan around having to get much closer to the goaline before considering that option. Weiler made both of his kicks Thursday, including one from 47 yards. This may be a sign that the Tar Heels do indeed have a kicker this year.

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

3. Bug Howard was the receiving star for the day
Whether it was an accident of skill or coverage, Howard was the target that Marquise Williams found the most often. Howard had more than a hundred yards receiving and three significant drops during the game. Less effort was made to get Ryan Swizer the ball and Quinshad Davis did not see many looks either. South Carolina sat in two deep coverage most of the time, another reason for running the ball more.

4. The defense could not overcome Father Time
The North Carolina defense delivered a decent performance, and the seventeen points that it gave up should have been enough. The defense got ground down over the course of the game by the South Carolina running game and the amount of time they were on the field due to the quick strike philosophy of the offense. That more than anything else was why fresh third string back Shon Carson was able to burst through for forty-eight yards and a score in the fourth quarter.

More from Old North Banter

5. Was Marquise Williams trying too hard?
Williams spent much of his time last year as the offense’s only option. Now it should be clear that he does not need to think that way. Old habits die hard. Williams threw two interceptions into the end zone and a third on the twenty-one yard line. Could it be that he was trying to make something happen on those plays even though it was not there. Did he want to make too big a splash in front of family and friends? Hopefully this will be an issue where Williams will relax and this will get better. He gets A&T next week to sort out these things.

Next: North Carolina Tar Heels 2015 Season Preview