North Carolina could have at least a slightly different rotation at tailback on Saturday when it visits East Carolina for only the third time in program history. Instead of Gio Bernard, a redshirt freshman, carrying almost all of the rushing duties, veteran Ryan Houston and sophomore A.J. Blue could come off the sideline to help. Coach Everett Withers is not disappointed in Bernard's play, which has helped UNC to a 3-1 record, but he doesn't want to wear him down by using him too much early in the season.
Bernard may get some relief
The Winston Salem Journal
Of all the offenses in college football, it's hard to find a bigger contrast than the one between Georgia Tech's run-heavy triple option and East Carolina's pass-heavy spread attack.
The Yellow Jackets, who gained 312 rushing yards in a 35-28 win over North Carolina on Saturday, have run the ball on 79 percent of their snaps. The Pirates, who host the Tar Heels (3-1) Saturday at 8 p.m., have attempted passes 67 percent of the time.
So UNC's defense is in for a drastic shift as it prepares for ECU (1-2), though interim coach Everett Withers said the Tar Heels' offensive emphasis will remain the same.
Tar Heels shift gears to prepare for Pirates' air attack
The Durham Herald-Sun
North Carolina spent the past week preparing to face an offense that runs the ball almost every play. Now the Tar Heels' defense has to change focus to face the opposite extreme: an offense that loves to throw the ball.
North Carolina defense changes focus to defending pass
The Fayetteville Observer
There likely aren't going to be many books written about the rivalry between North Carolina and East Carolina.
The national media usually doesn't spend too much time hyping this meeting of instate foes.
Tar Heels sense rivalry with East Carolina
The Burlington Times-News
In Saturday's game against Ga. Tech, UNC converted just three of eight third downs. The Yellow Jackets — who lead the NCAA in third-down conversions — converted 10 of 16.
Sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner — who was sacked seven times by the Yellow Jackets on Saturday — said the team plans to work on being more efficient earlier in drives to avoid third and long situations.
UNC football to work on being more efficient on first and second downs
The Daily Tar Heel
North Carolina faced a Georgia Tech offense Saturday that aims to wear down opponents with the run. This weekend, the Tar Heels will try to defend the big-play, spread-it-out-attack of East Carolina (1-2).
The two football opponents' strategies seem like polar opposites, but North Carolina (3-1) is emphasizing the same thing as it prepares for Saturday night's trip to Greenville, N.C.: keep the Pirates' playmakers on the sideline by keeping their own offense on the field.
Tar Heels want to eat up clock
The Charlotte Observer