#127 R.P.I. North Carolina @ #11 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech football homecoming hosts pseudo yet flailing recruiting-rival North Carolina Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm on ESPN2.
The Hokies are back off an BYE weekend and hopefully are a bit healthier for it | whereas U.n.c. is about as insalubrious physically and mentally as they come. And this segues us into our word of the day…
Today’s word of the day is… “Tears in rain.”
- An all-time Sci-Fi blast from Blade Runner 1982.
- denoting a surprise or reversal on the dying heroic figure.
- …this Saturday at ~7:3o pm???
Head Coach: Herbert Lawrence Fedora age=55, (1-6, year; 75-5o overall); has a rep’ for offense, recruiting, innovation, Wr’s in particular and taking care of himself; as just like N.Saben, he does not look 55 either.
Coach Larry is know for Spread Offenses with so-called: “hot-Slot” works, as a former standout Wr at D-III Austin (Tx.) College and as the former standout coach at Tx. High School football factory powerhouse Garland. Coach Fedora is a highly innovative recruiter… author of the so-called: “Freak Show” or nighttime in-stadium recruits audition for ONLY the **** or ***** most elite U.n.c. recruiting targets! Recruiter Fedora clearly learnt a lot from Ace recruiter Ron Zook down at Florida. And just like Ric Flair at Starcade, he even keeps a recruiting helicopter, that’s a VHT helicopter folks, not a two-star plane!
Coach Fedora has been at a lotta big name schools on his assisting way up, Baylor, Florida, OK.State, Air Force Academy. All spread or option offensive stops as coach Fedora was quietly enough in on the entry level of the basketball on grass synthesis that has become the scoreboard wildfire that we call Spread offenses of today; albeit dating all the way back to 1996 at Baylor. Coach Fedora later got the big whistle job at So.Miss where under Fedora; Southern Miss notched the four most prolific offensive seasons in its 100-year football history. His players also graduated at a higher rate than at any time in school history. So.Miss.edu props insert here (_____) check!
Coach Fedora is 3-5 in bowls and has had some difficulties in hump or big games. Although he is cut from a different Versace cloth as Coach Fedora even scores players on accountability, and even on how well they synergized during team bonding activities; (FAR out!)
Fedora is a 1985 graduate of Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he also received his master’s degree in 1986. He is married to the former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader Christi Wood, and the couple has one son, Dillon, and three daughters, Sydney, Peyton and Hallie.
U.n.c. 2016 record: 8 up 5 down and 5-3 in the A.c.c.
North Carolina Defense: (starters back=was, 4)
- new D-Cord as Coach Papuchis replaces Chizik.
- 113th in total D.
- 114th vs. the rush.
- 79th vs. the pass.
- (somehow) 36th in zone D!
- 51st in Qb’s sacked and 66th in Tackles for a Loss inflicted.
- 119th in 1st Down defense.
- 76th in explosion.
- 33rd in power success rate and 49th in stuffs allowed.
- 119th in passing downs defense!
- U.n.c. is 35th in Dline Havoc and that tells you what little U.n.c. does right on an otherwise porous defense thus far. Do recall this was the 1st or 2nd worst A.c.c. run-fighting unit last season at ~220 rushing allowed. As there are play-makers (De Malik Carney and Dt’s Clarke and Crawford) and they have some experience. Still yet, lotta hero ball here and not much all for one and one for all. Easy group to bait-n-switch or counter misdirect.
- U.n.c. is 117th in Linebacking Havoc. Andre Smith is the headliner of the group, providing a hard-hitting presence in the middle of the field. Well at least this poor Mike was, although that was one good A.c.l. ago (Godspeed). As U.n.c. did have five of it’s top-6 2016 Lb’s back; until Smith got hurt. OLb Cole Holcomb is prolly the best of the rest.
- U.n.c. is 76th in Secondary Havoc. Fs Myles Dorn has the highest success rate of any Heel defender as someone forgot to tell Dorn to just mail 2017 right on in as this is a heady and hard hewn type Foster kid. That being said, two experienced Safeties done for the duration is not helping the Heel middle throw-D one iota here. The secondary, which was the strength of last year’s defense despite totaling an NCAA-worst one interception, has a nice mixture of proven talent and potential. M.J. Stewart is one of the A.c.c.s top Cb’s, and Donnie Miles is a sure-tackling safety who can also bring some “hits” to DeeJay the party. (UPDATE: Fs Miles has a bad arm and is “Questionable” to play on Saturday).
- Saw me a few film-study things here, not all of which do I often see… for example; U.n.c. has a linear medium-Man look with all 3-Lb’s and both Cb’s level at about 5-6 yards off of the Line-of-Scrimmage (LOS). Also saw some off-Man field-side and press-man boundary-side. U.n.c. brings a goaline and short-yardage D that is essentially a 6-2-3. Although it looks entirely like a T-formation (T=hind 3) offense with 2 Wingbacks just outside and offset to the De’s. U.n.c. has some fairly decent so-called “scrape” looks to rally round the ball from their 2nd-layer (Lb’s) and better than expected defensive speed for a boorishly low ranked 113th best halt-unit. Lotta Tampa-2 looks or one S playing high. Not the most physical tackling unit I’ve seen, as I saw numerous Heels along for the ride after an S.Trek like First Contact. Open-field tacking was shallow or downright October classic whiffing at times. D will deal 1-3 guys per play at times which does leave U.n.c. vulnerable to broken yardage on successful blitz pick-ups once you break Ot-box contain.
U.n.c. Offense: (returning starters=was, 9)
- 98 in total O.
- 86 in ground O.
- 74 in aerial O.
- 124th in 3rd down conversion O.
- 78th in sacks allowed. 69th in TFL allowed.
- 11th in passing efficiency.
- 9oth in explosion.
- Qb1 LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris was back as the alpha Pivot last week, though his 46% passing day may want words with that. As Harris is experienced and has raw metrics, however he’s runs more hot-n-cold that any kitchen sink ever dreamed of. And 52% on the year with a frigid 1:6 passing ratio is downright hard to believe. Still yet, Harris did light Louisville up so there is that; I suppose. Qb throws can and have been tipped/deflected thus far; hands-up coach Wiles! And I too have no (official) idea who the Qb1 will be Saturday at 3:30pm, though I would not die of shock if we faced them, both.
Although 179 rushing Qb1a, or the 58%, 6:3 passing ratio Chazz Surratt is a 6’3”, 215 lb. r-Fresh. fumbling machine (5, so far).
- co-Rb1’s 5’10”, 190 lb. t-soph. Jordon Brown and 5’9”, 195 lb. t-fresh. all-everything recruit Michael Carter lead the way. Carter is the more explosive rusher and he has a dyed Predator hairstyle that just won’t stop. He was also USA Today’s Florida Offensive Player of the Year and was then named AAAAAA or six-A Mr. Football for the sunshine state. The no.9 Rb in the country per Scout who accorded a whopping 3,345 all-purpose yards and only 49 TD’s as a much sought after scholastic senior. Godspeed; as Carter does have a history of right-knee ligament tears; which leaves you wondering just what this Carter kid is on two good wheels? Which prolly does explain that Carter still has some low-shoulderpad burst, though was left wanting for an elite fifth gear or top-speed. Although Carter did seem to run better/faster as the given game worn on. Brown -he too of the Predator hirsute looks, sans the dye- is the physically stronger rusher here. The no.7 H.S. Rb according to Rivals; although he played Qb for his H.S. team in the play-offs. Never seen a Qb with 1,705 rushing and 23 catches for 5o9 until now. So a play-fake could happen here. 3AA (whatever that means) state titlist; who plays with a very nice looking forward lean on tape– nice Yards After Contact (YAC) here.
U.n.c. is 69th or about average in ease of Rb tackling.
- The top-2 U.n.c. Wr’s have a 50% and a 62% catch rate | although receiving actually improves smartly enough after that (73-83%). Anthony Ratliff-Williams is prolly the best of a very thin lot. As U.n.c. has a never seen before six, that’s 6 different Wr’s and Te’s combined already done for the year; Lord help. Plus star(s) Switzer and Bug from last season graduated; leaving this ’17 catch corps very very thin.
- Three U.n.c. oLine starters did return along with three guys who had some decent experience; though two back-ups are out and suddenly what was an okay though not real deep oLine is now downright thin. Three-year starter Bentley Spain at left-Ot is the bell-cow with a Florida and a So.Cal. grad-transfer apiece pitching in. As there is some talent and more than some experience here; although this juxtaposed cohesion is spoiling.
- Lotta Spread sets as that’s an original school Fedora calling-card here; with an H-back (as they are running mighty low on Te’s); with 3 wide and the Qb in a normalized single Hb split ‘gun. Lottsa play-action to freeze anyone in run-support; and this O will throw longer than most quickly hitting modern juicy play-clock needy spread sets. Decent blocking oLine on tape at times, seemed to construct a Cup better than they did anything on the scripted move/roll or any type of breaking down ad-lib movements. The Ot-plunge type looks in their run-fits and they were not as bad as I had suspected. Edge blocking is ahead of the G-c-G push here. Lotta influence or angular zoning here; that tries to displace the dLine at a 45° angle or 1-Gap over be that downhill L or R. U.n.c. had some just literally up-for-grabs under-throws right down the middle seam of opposing D’s on film; wild; reckless throws that any Fs should welcome if not, gobble up. And Heel Qb’s make questionable decisions under duress; very!
- 51% run:pass 49%, a virtually balanced mix.
T.Heel Special Teams: (return)
U.n.c. and fellow Foster’s guzzling Aussie P Tom Sheldon are a striking 7th best in punting and that could very well be code for the best P we will face all season. 6’3”, 205 lb. Tom hails from Echuca, Victoria, Australia. He’s an oddball Koufax, or southpaw left-footed punter and that means the football spins the ‘rong (i.e. opposite) way; or CCW. Which we’d better be simulating in practice or you could just see a finger-biting muff here. Tom is also every underage Heel teammates best friend on Sunday night as he is the oldest baller in the whole darn A.c.c. (age=28). And when you consider that last year U.n.c. was #1 in the nation in punt return defense (see Δ, or change below); you come to appreciate just how much leg talent Tom brings. Tom has a big enough leg though he’s more of a directional rugby or booming hang-time punter on most kicks. Though he does have a outlying long of 69 career yards; and he’s a sharp all-A.c.c. 2018 and/or 2019 pick. (UPDATE: Sheldon is listed as “day-to-day” with an “undisclosed injury”, God Bless).
- U.n.c. is 38th in punt returns and 27th in KO returns.
- U.n.c. is 75th in punt return defense and 87th in suicide-squad Kick coverage.
- U.n.c. has blocked 2 opposing kicks already with no blocked kicks allowed.
- U.n.c. has blocked no opposing punts and has no blocked punts allowed.
K Freeman Jones handles place-kicking duties for U.n.c. and he handles their P.A.T.’s well enough (100%) and their FGA’s not so much (50%). The 6′, 210 lb. Greg Brady ‘fro or mop hair style wearing r-Jr. who says that people say he looks like Channing Tatum -no I’m not making that up- looks to me like he may not be long for the K1 job. “Free” is a pretty good onsides KO specialist, he was the no.5 ranked K in America by 247, and yet he only fields a long make of 39 in college and 49 in high school. Go fig’ on that, as he is o for life outside of 40 yards in college and that’s just does not a D-1, B.C.S., power-conference K make.
Special Teams letter-grade: very good return teams, kick blocks and great punting are only a FG-K removed from flirting -of not heavy petting- with an A+ here. Though kicking is just so screwy that holds the whole shebang down to a lowercase B+. As U.n.c. needs every point they can get(s).
- VT D.
- VT O.
- UNC O.
- UNC D.
- motive: I suppose one could argue that U.n.c. is still bowl eligible, is that a rally-cap tipping-point here? No. Edge=VT.
- weather: Edge=non-factor.
- health: God Bless though U.n.c. is the 4o77th brought back to life. Edge=VT.
- penalties: 108th best in fewest penalty yards is a lotta hidden field position; made user-friendly. Edge=VT.
- intangibles: 92nd in the all important Turnover Margin (–.43 tpg) and third from last in T.O.P. (time of possession) is just not a good look. Edge=VT.
(and –2.29 in Turnover Luck, whatever that now measurable intangible means?)
On top of all of that, U.n.c. plays fair to middling 1st-3rd Q football. Mid-50’s per Q rank nationally; and then totally wets the 4th Q bed at 1o1st. Which is not code for: health, depth, mental-toughness or leadership.
- fatigue: VT is finally up on R&R, +6 on rest. BIG edge=VT.
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Heels who could start @Tech=7/8 (if healthy).
The takeaway here is… that in their 5 L’s thus far this season U.n.c. is an aggregate –923 total yards in the hole; including no less than three shellacking days at –222 in the hole or worse.
Or in other words, when U.n.c. is bad they suck and here’s hoping they are ready to continue their internship at Shop-Vac.
- Δ1=60% that VT rolls, maybe even goes Bob & Doug at the loony bin (post the brewery) and steamrolls U.n.c., “eh“. As jumping the Heels good and hard right at the start and taking any remaining wind outta their sails might just cause an early tap-out or a premature spitting of the bit.
- Δ2=32% that VT could open up a bit rusticated. Outta synch, too many days off, outta step… and this allows U.n.c. to hang around a while or maybe even two or three quarters; before VT puts this one away comfortably enough, late. A stiff looking VT football team in quest of some sporting WD-40 if you will.
- Δ3=8%, ahhhh, the team bus don’t start? We forgot what time and/or day it was? Or I guess with a lotta sloppy Hokie help… like say -3 or -4 in Turnover Margin we prolly would get beat.
The skinny here is that U.n.c. has gone from bad to worse of late. What with a staggering –1o1 yards redaction in total O in their last three games and a backbreaking softening of –70 yards of rushing allowed over on D.
To put that into prospective for you, U.n.c.’s run D went from 229 ypg allowed on the ground to a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot of an even 300 allowed down in the trenches in their last three contests.
Deeyam! As 300 rushing ypg allowed ranks you a broke-back third from last in all of D-1.
Or in other words…. turn T.Mac’ and company loose and run the damn ball!
This just in… rain is rumored to be wet and Virginia Tech is favored (VT-22) to win here.
This also just in… North Carolina has a downright savage 41% of their pre-season starters listed as Out for the year. —wowow, ouch, yikes and God Bless; all at once. As that’s just not a good look and it sure looks to me like a BYE week rested Virginia Tech football team is catching a slumping -if not an outright foundering- U.n.c. football team at just the right time.
Or to put it another way…
…U.n.c. and coach Ab’s can go cry me a river and ledge jump all they want.
Nixsay any weather.com excuses this year girlfriends as no melodramatic sky-blue tears in rain need apply.
Virginia Tech=36, North Carolina=14