CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – UNC’s offense is dependent on the arm of quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but in Saturday’s 20-13 over Miami, the junior’s legs were just as important. Trubisky finished the game as the Tar Heels second-leading rusher, amassing 47 yards in 13 carries, including a big 18-yard sprint in the second quarter.
On Monday, Larry Fedora said that Trubisky’s wheels had been put on hold this season because the team had yet to need them. That changed in preparation for Miami, though.
“It was gritty,” Fedora said at his weekly press conference. “We knew we were going to have to run him some, we just expected to do that in that game because of what (Miami) was doing defensively.”
Trubisky used his feet to help the Tar Heels offense keep rolling – the quarterback rushed for a total of six first downs during the game. Two of those conversions came on third down, an area of the game where Fedora was glad to see his team excel.
“For our guys to take the challenge that they were going to have to be good on third down and go 14 for 23 was exceptional,” he said.
Trubisky’s success in the air and on the ground helped build back the quarterback’s confidence after the blowout loss to Virginia Tech two weeks ago.
“I think it’s always big,” Fedora said. “When you don’t play at your best the next game you want to go out and prove yourself. I don’t think there’s any doubt in his mind what his capability is, but he’s a competitor and wants to go out every week and to not do that in a week is putting more pressure on himself to go out and do it the next week.”
When you look at the film defensively, were you better than you thought?
“It confirmed what we thought. We played really well. There were about six plays that we gave up that we shouldn’t have given up. Just bonehead mistakes. If we’d have played those well or like we should have, then it would have been close to as good of a game as we can play.”
Miami went 2-13 on passing plays when inside the thirty-yard line. Did you do anything different pass coverage-wise once they got closer to the end zone?
“No, I think Gene (Chizik) did a great job of mixing up coverages as we went throughout the game. He didn’t set in one thing. We played base defense quite a bit, but we mixed coverages and never let them get a beat on what we were trying to do.”
How frustrating was it to not be able to convert on a goal line situation once again?
“It’s frustrating. Then you start questioning the things that you do when really you just need to knock some people off the ball and get the yard. That’s all you really need to do. You start doubting yourself call-wise when it’s happened in a couple fourth down situations.”
Who will fill Mack Hollins’ role now that he is out?
“It will be multiple guys. We’re probably a lot more prepared for it now because all of those younger guys have been getting reps throughout the season and they’ve been playing and they’ve been contributing. So we’re going into our 12th week, so we don’t have any young guys anymore. They’ve played. They’ve played a season basically, so it’s time for them to go.”
What has Mack meant to the program since he’s been here?
“Mack the person is a guy that’s outspoken and really cares about his team. He’s always pulling for the little guy, I mean always. With him being a former walkon and proving himself, he believes that everybody ought to have to prove himself. He always has felt that way. He’s been a tremendous leader on our football team, he really has. He’s grown as a leader as he’s gotten older.”
Which defender elevated their play on Saturday?
“I’ll tell you what, a kid like Myles Dorn is just coming on and coming on and coming on. I mean he played 40 or 50 snaps the other day. A play that’s going to be forgotten and one that nobody really talks about is when the guy broke and went 42-yards and he ran him down and then we hold them to a field goal. That’s huge. It’s just another play, but it’s not something the coaches forget. He made numerous plays throughout the game. The D-Line continues to get better up front. They’re doing a really nice job up there.”
How big of a hit is to not have Andre Smith for the first half next week?
“Here’s another kid who was recognized Sunday for the way he played was Ayden Bonilla, who stepped in and played really well. He did a heck of a job. We’ll miss Andre for that first half but Ayden will step up or whoever coach J.P. gets ready for that position. They’ll be ready to go.”
Mark Richt said he sent in some tape for some questionable calls in the game. How often do you send in tape?
“Every week… I send in the onside kick, I send in the targeting, I send in different things that happened in the games that were questionable. Even some things that weren’t called I send in because I want clarification on it.”
What’s your understanding of why Bronco Mendenhall has been so successful over the years?
“I mean I don’t know why. He’s been obviously a very good football coach and transitioned from a defensive coordinator into a head coach and did a great job of keeping that program going. That’s not an easy thing to do. He got it to a high level and kept it there, year in and year out. You knew that it was an opponent that would be very good. I’m sure as he progresses at Virginia I don’t doubt that he’ll have that type of success. I think you see a different team right now then you saw at the beginning of the season for them.”