CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Larry Fedora’s HUNH offense led the ACC with 1,005 offensive snaps in 2014. The Tar Heels are averaging 11 fewer plays per game in 2015, prompting the question as to whether or not UNC has changed its offensive approach.
UNC ran 64 plays in its season-opening 17-13 loss to South Carolina. Next up was a season-high 71 plays in 53-14 win over N.C. A&T, followed by 63 snaps in Saturday’s 48-14 rout of Illinois.
The Tar Heels are currently averaging 66 offensive plays per game, which ranks ninth in the ACC and T-89th nationally.
UNC’s 198 plays through three games are the fewest by a Fedora offense in his eight years as head coach. The previous low was 209 plays run through three games in 2013.
Despite that intriguing small sample size of data, there is no fundamental shift in offensive philosophy.
“That’s the way the games played out,” Fedora said after practice on Wednesday. “The first game we were off the field with three turnovers. That hurts you with the amount of plays you play. And then the other two, the game was in control. We were running clock from the middle of the third quarter on.”
South Carolina dominated time of possession with a 35:38-24:22 differential in the opener, while UNC built a 36-0 lead over N.C. A&T in the second game of the season. Against Illinois, UNC ran 43 plays in the first 31:59 of play and just 20 plays over the final 28:01.
“I’ve never said, ‘hey, let’s get 85 plays,’” Fedora said. ‘Let’s win the game. Let’s do whatever we’ve got to do to win the game. In those situations, we run the clock, get out of the game and get what we want out of it."