Preview: Notre Dame vs North Carolina

Notre Dame welcomes the North Carolina Tar Heels to South Bend.

#10 Notre Dame vs. North Carolina
Fighting Irish   Tar Heels
Saturday, November 5th
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN.
2:30 EST


North Carolina On Offense:

Tar Heel Offense '05 Rank Per Game ND Defense '05 Rank Per Game
Rushing Offense #83 118.88 Rushing Defense #69 138.25
Pass Offense #84 174.63 Pass Defense #47 192.13
Pass Eff. Offense #111 96.59 Pass Eff. Defense #71 128.22
Total Offense #99 293.50 Total Defense #61 330.38
Scoring Offense #108 15.25 Scoring Defense #56 21.63

Heading into the 2006 season this looked like it would be an interesting game. Despite a 5-6 record in 2005, North Carolina lost a number of close games to solid competition. Somewhere the wheels feel off for the Tar Heels and head coach John Bunting. North Carolina will limp into Notre Dame Stadium with a 1-7 record and a lame duck coach. Their lone victory came against I-AA Furman 45-42.

It's difficult to point to one specific area that has caused the Tar Heels to struggle, but turnovers have been a major issue. They have suffered 22 turnovers on offense while only snatching eight on defense. The offense has also struggled to consistently move the ball, averaging 3.6 yards per rushing attempt and completing 49.8 percent of their passes.

Bunting has tried two quarterbacks this season. Joe Daily started the first two game of the season, but he was eventually replaced by red-shirt freshman Cam Sexton. Daily has the better completion percentage, but he has struggled to keep the ball out of defenders hands. 

Anticipated Depth Chart.

  QB TD/INT Att-Comp-Yards
  Cam Sexton RS-Fr. 4/8 57-135-840
  Joe Dailey Jr. 2/7 57-93-557

Notre Dame could see either quarterback this weekend. Both players have struggled to direct the North Carolina offense. Daily started his career at Nebraska. Daily had trouble with interceptions at Nebraska. Both quarterbacks are fairly mobile, although Sexton is probably a little more dangerous outside the pocket.

Neither quarterback has a big-time arm.


  RB Hgt/Wgt Rushes-Yards
  Ronnie McGill Sr. 5-11/220 127-523/ 6TDs
  Justin Warren, Jr. 6-1/198 6-32/ 0 TD
  Barrington Edwards  5-9/182 65-238/ 1TDs

McGill is one of the all-time leading rushers in Carolina history, but if the offense line can't create holes, he'll be hard pressed to gain yardage against the Irish.

Barrington Edwards missed the Wake Forrest game due to a suspension. He could be back this weekend. Justin Warren is a former walk-on, so if Edwards is availible, he will be in before Warren.


  FB Hgt/Wgt Recpts-Yards
  Nick Starcevic, So. 6-2/245 1 - 8/ 0TDS
  Bobby Rome, RS- Fr. 5-11/240, 5-60/ 0TDs

North Carolina doesn't use the full back as an offensive weapon.  

  WR Hgt/Wgt Stats
  Hakeem Nicks, Fr. 6-1/ 210  22 rcpts/ 336 yards/ 1TDs
  Jesse Holley, Sr. 6-3/ 210  24 rcpts/ 358 yards/ 1 TDs
  Brooks Foster, So. 6-3/ 200  28 rcpts/326 yards/1 TD
  Brandon Tate, So. 6-1/ 190   3 rcpts/34 yards 

Holley is probably the best receiver of the bunch. He has big play ability, but if the quarterbacks can't get him the ball, he can't make plays. The other players are very young and have been inconsistent.


  TE Hgt/Wgt Stats
  Jon Hamlett, Sr. 6-4/ 260  5 rcpts/ 51 yards/ 1TDs
  Ben Lemming, So. 6-5/ 300  - rcpts/ - yards/ 0 TDs

Hamlet is a fairly decent tight end prospect, but his numbers are limited. The Tar Heels have lost back-ups Rock Wells and Richard Quinn  to injury, so there is very little depth.


  Offensive Line Hgt/Wgt Experience
  LT Brian Chacos, 6th. 6-4, 310 31 Starts
  LG Charlston Gray, Jr. 6-3, 295 25 starts
  C Scott Lenahan, Jr. 6-1, 290 8 Starts
  RG Calvin Darity, So. 6-3, 295 8 Starts
  RT Ben Lemming, So. 6-5, 300  2 Starts

The line has done a decent job of protecting the quarterbacks, but they haven't done a very good job of opening holes for the running backs. Chacos and Gray have solid experience, but it seems like North Carolina likes to run to the right side more often than the left. 

North Carolina On Defense:

Tar Heel Defense '05 Rank Per Game ND Offense '05 Rank Per Game
Rushing Defense #115 205.13 Rushing Offense #95 107.25
Pass Defense #35 171.25 Pass Offense #11 280.00
Pass Eff. Defense #99 145.03 Pass Eff. Offense #23 145.39
Total Defense #93 376.38 Total Offense #30 387.25
Scoring Defense #108 32.63 Scoring Offense #24 30.00

The numbers don't lie for this group. The North Carolina defense is at the bottom of nearly every defensive category. The reason? They just aren't making plays. The defensive front is thin and doesn't get into the backfield. The defensive backs aren't in position to create turnovers. This all adds up to surrendering over 32 points per game. 

Anticipated Depth Chart. 

  Defensive Line Hgt/Wgt Stats
  DE Brian Rackley, Sr. 6-5, 270 21 tackles/ 2 sacks
  DT Kyndraus Guy, Jr. 6-2, 280 18 tackles/ 0.5 sacks
  DT Shelton Bynum, Sr. 6-5, 300 16 tackles/ 1 sacks
  DE Hilee Taylor, Jr. 6-3, 241 25 tackles/ 3 sacks

The troubles for this unit start with  giving up 205 yards rushing per contest. To add to the troubles, they don't get in the backfield and create negative plays. Six sacks by your starting front just isn't enough and they don't have many tackles for loss.


  Linebackers Hgt/Wgt Stats
  SAM Martel Thatch, Jr. 6-2, 215 6 tackles
  MLB Victor Worsley, Sr. 6-1, 235 38 tackles/ 3TFL
  WLB Durell Mapp, Jr. 6-2, 225 46 tackles /3TFL

Senior and 4-year starter, Larry Edwards was lost for the season. He was the one player that was stepping up. This group has some experience. Worsely has size, but limited mobility. Mapp is a solid athlete that can cover.


  Defensive Backs Hgt/Wgt Stats
  CB Jacoby Watkins, Sr. 6-0, 180 39 tackles/ 1 TFL
  CB Quinton Person, Jr. 5-11, 185 19 tackles
  FS Cooter Arnold, So. 5-10, 190 46 tackles/ 1 TFL
  SS Kareen Taylor, Sr. 6-0, 200 48 tackles/ 1 INT

This unit has really struggled to make plays. They have one interception on the season. The tackle totals of this unit tell you that they are probably concerned about runners breaking through the front seven. The defensive front hasn't done the secondary any favors by not getting to the quarterback. Top Stories