UNC had a lot of unanswered questions coming into the 2022 college football season. How will they replace Sam Howell? Will the hiring of Gene Chizik help a defense that was bottom of the NCAA in yards per game and points per game? Well, through three games, albeit three wins, the Tar Heels have shown us it’s more of the same high-powered offense and struggling defense. There are both positives and negatives about this team headed into the bye week, and i’m here to break down the big ones.
Drake Maye Needs No Bye Week Improvements
Losing a QB like Sam Howell, who holds nearly all records at UNC typically results in a rebuilding year. That hasn’t been the case for this team though, as Redshirt Freshman Drake Maye has been outstanding. In the first three games, he has totaled 930 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and only thrown one INT. On top of that, he’s shown an ability to be mobile, running for 146 yards and a touchdown. The stats are great, but it’s the poise and maturity that stands out more than anything. He hasn’t gotten into the bulk of the schedule yet, against harder opponents, but that should benefit him. Having the ability to get comfortable with Longo’s offense against weaker defenses should prepare him for conference play. I don’t think he’ll be a Tar Heel for long, but his impact while in Chapel Hill will be unprecedented.
The Defense Has Bye Week Work to Do
The defensive issues in Chapel Hill are really mind-boggling. A unit filled with four and five star recruits, most of whom came back a year older this season, just can’t figure it out. We know about the woes last year, it seemed like teams started the game with 40 points. This year is an exact replica, giving up 473.3 yards per game and 37.7 points per game. Not to mention the fact that this unit allowed 40 points in the fourth quarter to App State. Hopefully they make adjustments on the bye week, the competition they face the remainder of the year only gets better. They should be shutting down teams like Florida A&M and Georgia State, not allowing 26 points per game to them. A unit with Tony Grimes, Storm Duck, Cedric Gray, Kaimon Rucker, Noah Taylor, and Cam’Ron Kelly is too talented to not figure it out eventually.
This Will be a Top 10 Offense in College Football
“This offense is fun playing, you got a lot of open grass. My job is getting the ball and making the right decisions.”@MattLeinartQB is joined by the FBS leader in yards and TDs, @UNCFootball QB @DrakeMaye2 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/KqpVUcgYeS
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 15, 2022
With Drake Maye at the helm, this offense is clicking on all cylinders. The most impressive part of it all? They have done it in two of three games without one of the best wideouts in the nation, Josh Downs. The line is much improved from a team that was bottom of the NCAA in sacks allowed last year. Adding graduate Corey Gaynor at the Center position has made all the difference in the world, and bringing in graduates Spencer Rolland and Ed Montilus with him hasn’t hurt. The depth at the skill positions is where I am most impressed with this team though.
Downs goes out and you immediately have guys like JJ Jones, Kobe Paysour, and Kamari Morales filling the void. Paysour was huge against Georgia St. last week with 5 for 73 and a touchdown. JJ Jones had 4 for 68 and a touchdown against App State in the first half. That only tells the half of it, this running back room is unbelievable. Omarion Hampton is a stud in the back field as a true freshman, running with power and agility. Junior DJ Jones has been incredible out of the backfield in the passing game. Even George Pettaway and Caleb Hood have shown the ability to come in and run hard in power short yardage situations. This offense is deep and has a floor to be top 10 in the NCAA, and a top 5 ceiling. No bye week worries for this group.
How Good Are the 3-0 Tar Heels?
We head into a bye week with a 3-0 record!#CarolinaFootball 🏈 @WellsFargo pic.twitter.com/dbSPAOUm2s
— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) September 10, 2022
There is no doubt that if this team can figure it out defensively, they will be a top 15-20 team in the nation. This offense can score with anybody in the country, but that won’t matter if every team in the ACC is hanging 50 points on them. I don’t think they will figure it out in time to land a high ranking, but I do think this team will go 8-4 at worst. We will know much more about the Heels as they face their biggest challenge yet, after the bye against Notre Dame. This team has plenty of time to improve, weird to say for a 3-0 team, and I think an early bye week will prove to be beneficial.
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Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE