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August 31, 2010

North Carolina's Offense

Both North Carolina and LSU share somewhat similar stories about how their teams operated last year.  Like LSU, North Carolina relied on a strong defense to win games.  Both teams are counting on improved play from their offenses and more particularly their quarterbacks to succeed this year.  LSU's quarterback, Jordan Jefferson, must become a better field general and get rid of the ball more quickly in passing situations.  North Carolina's quarterback, T.J. Yates, has to work on throwing more touchdowns than interceptions this year.  Fans from both LSU and North Carolina will tell you that solid quarterback play is necessary for a productive offense.  While most LSU fans' attempts to learn which North Carolina defenders will take the field this Saturday are confounded, I thought it might be a more productive plan to examine North Carolina's offense. 

North Carolina quarterback, T.J. Yates, last year threw more interceptions than touchdowns (14 touchdowns to 15 interceptions) but still complete over 60% of his passes for a total of 2,136 yards.  The two main tailbacks for North Carolina, Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn, each completed one pass for 42 and 34 yards respectively.  Redshirt freshman quarterback Bryn Renner may also get in the game this Saturday.  Renner was a top 10 quarterback recruit, was notably accurate, consistent, and intelligent according to Scout recruiting services. Renner also was impressive in Spring and again in this summer.

Sixteen North Carolina players caught at least one pass last year but, only six of those players caught more than 10 passes.  North Carolina's leading receiver is #8 Greg Little, a 6'3" 220lb senior, that accounted for 62 receptions for 724 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Little is one of the players under investigation and may or may not play this Saturday.  As a true freshman last year, #88 Erik Highsmith, 6'3" 175lbs, was North Carolina's second leading receiver with 37 receptions for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns. His senior year of high school Highsmith sported a 4.45-40yard speed and has likely gotten quicker with a year college training.  If Greg Little does not play Highsmith and fellow wide receiver #87 Jheranie Boyd will be expected to step to the front. At 6'2" and 185lbs, Boyd also possesses a good sub-4.5/40 speed. Last year Boyd managed 214 yards on just 12 catches and one or his 4 touchdowns went for 70 yards.  

Wide Receivers will not be Yates' only target.  The third leading receiver is highly regarded tight end Zack Pianalto (#17).  This 6'4", 250lb tight end accounted for 33 catches for 334 yards last year but scored only 1 touchdown. Still, with a slightly more than 10 yards-a-catch average, Pianalto must be kept in check.  Yates also seems to have no problem getting a running back out of the back field for a catch. Junior Running Back Shaun Draughn caught 21 passes last year for 125 yards.  Ryan Houston, also a junior running back, add 11 catches for 82 yards.

Houston was the leading rusher for North Carolina last year.  This 6'2" 245lb running back ran for 713 yards on 191 carries for a 3.7 yard average. Houston also score 9 touchdowns on the ground last year. Shaun Draughn, 6' 205lbs., was the second leading rusher with 567 yards on 124 carries for a 4.6 yard average.  Greg Little was the third leading rusher with 29 carries for 166 yards, a 5.7 yard average.

Another similarity between LSU's and North Carolina's offenses last year was inconsistency in offensive line play.  Last year, North Carolina had to shuffle linemen because of injuries.  Injuries should not be a factor in this Saturday's opener.     


joe said...

all this analysis on UNC and LSU and I still have no idea what to think. my feeling is that LSU will win decisively. our defense should be too much for UNC's lackluster offense. that said, the jury is still out on Jefferson and the O-line . . . we have to see them in action. as I understand it, Butch Davis has a tendency to recruit amazing defensive players. their defense will be sound despite who's playing. I'm going to the game--I just hope I don't have an aneurism in the Georgia Dome.

Anonymous said...

Please understand, that the LSU football fans could see any think, from Miles having the LSU QB pass the football from LSU 2 yard line,as easily to see LSU the LSU QB passing the ball from the NC 2 yard line...No one ever knows, with Miles coaching,he is very unsound.
Just know, that LSU has the better football players, and that alone, is what will carry the day for the LSU football team.

Anonymous said...

This is why I wish LSU would hire another head coach!
ESPN all last football season, asked the TV views, what is the Les Miles LSU offense stile?
Well,we know Les Miles stile,"he do not have any."

Anonymous said...

Butch Davis, is a great recruiter,he left Miami in great shape..It took three years, before Miami stopped winning.
Nick Saban, is a great recruiter,he left Les Miles in great shape,after he left.
Miles, and LSU, is losing to many games...Why?

Anonymous said...

I think,LSU head coach Les Miles is got to go!
He does not take a good picture..You know what I mean?
Send him back to Michigan!

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