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Five Good Minutes: North Carolina Preview With Carolina March

To preview this weekend's game between the Eagles and the Tar Heels, we welcome T.H. from the SBNation blog Carolina March for Five Good Minutes. Welcome!


BC Interruption: North Carolina knocked off Miami last weekend despite scoring just one offensive touchdown. In your last two wins against Duke and Miami, you’ve only had one offensive touchdown in each of those games and have field goal kicked those Coastal opponents to death. Do you expect the offense to get going this weekend? Who will step up on Saturday?

Carolina March: This is the offense getting going, I'm afraid. The offensive line has progressed from abysmal to adequate as injured players have returned and others have improved, but it's a mystery what this group will put together in any given week. If anyone will step up, in John Shoop, the offensive coordinator, who has put together some excellent play calling that works with the limitations of this team.


BCI: How much has this team missed having Shaun Draughn in the backfield? What will it take for the Heels to have success running the ball against the Eagles front 7?

CM: Some. Draughn had been alternating with Ryan Houston all season, as each brought a distinctly different running style to the game. Now with Houston, it's a more one-dimensional, physical running game, which hurts a bit. But the Heels aren't above having all sorts of players running the ball as the mood strikes them.


BCI: Statistically, the Heels defense has been very good this year (9th in rushing defense, 8th in total defense). Earlier this year, UNC was able to hold Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams under 100 yards on the day. Will the Heels defense enjoy similar success against BC’s Montel Harris?

CM: Yes. The defense is scary good against the run this season. Even more so than last year, when they held Harris and the rest of the BC running game to 40 yards rushing. The only game this season where a team got significant yards on the ground was Georgia Tech back in September, and that offense has been giving everyone fits this year.


BCI: Now in his third year, Heels fans have had some time now to evaluate Butch Davis’ performance in Chapel Hill. Has he exceeded expectations, met expectations or fallen short of expectations? Do you think Butch Davis can bring the program back to the Mack Brown days of 9 and 10 win seasons?

CM: I'm not sure there were expectations after the lost decade that proceeded him, but if there were, he's definitely met them. And as someone who was on campus for the Mack Brown years, that's definitely achievable. The great thing about the ACC is that it's so balanced, any team that can gain a slight edge can propel themselves to three or four years on top of the conference.


BCI: Finally, the game this weekend is difficult to read. BC’s offense has struggled but UNC’s has been even worse. BC’s defense is strong but UNC’s defense is probably better this year. Make a prediction. Who wins? What’s the final score?

CM: I have to give it to UNC. Their defense is stifling, and the offense is just unconventional enough to get something by the Eagles. It won't be a high scoring game though.

BCI: Thanks for joining us T.H.


For more information on the North Carolina Tar Heels, be sure to check out Carolina March.